Petal’s nickname of The Friendly City extends to its businesses as well, as a resurging downtown and a bustling Evelyn Gandy Parkway can attest to. Downtown, in particular, is home to two ends of the business dynamic, hosting the oldest business in the city with The Petal Shoe Shop & Boardwalk Boutique and one of the youngest, The Ssipp Café.
Chris Puckett opened up The Ssipp Café about a year and a half ago at 128 North Main St. in Petal as part of what he calls a commitment to the community.
“I didn’t want to keep seeing Main Street die, and I didn’t want to see more storage units go up on Main Street,” said Puckett, who also owns Connect Chiropractic in Petal and Hattiesburg. “I’m trying to serve the community a quality cup of coffee and make it affordable and a place that people like to go hang out.”
The Ssipp Café offers a wide variety of classic drinks, such as the Americano, Café Au Lait, Hot Chocolate and Latte. Customers can find frappes, iced lattes, Strawberry Dream, milk, and lemonade on the cold side. There are also smoothies and specialty drinks like the Crooked Letter, Main Street, Panther and To The Top. Customers also can find drip coffee, teas, kolaches, muffins, soft pretzels, bagels, crepes and merchandise such as shirts and hats.
The Ssipp Café is open from 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday. The café is closed on Sundays. For more information, call (769) 223-6995.
Q: Why a coffee shop in Petal?
Puckett: Because there’s not one. We’re really the only one where you can get an espresso, anyway.
Q: How has Petal treated you in the year and a half since you opened?
A: Good. Of course, all businesses take a little while to open, and we didn’t have a big advertising budget, so it’s been word of mouth. Business is growing every day.
Q: What is it like being one of the newest businesses in Petal?
A: Just like any new business, it’s a struggle for finding that market and letting them know that we’re there. We’re going to try to do our best to stay there.
Q: What makes Petal a business-friendly city?
A: My father opened his first business 35 years ago, and I’ve been in business myself for 20 years in Petal. Petal has always treated us good, and the people of Petal are great. They’re supportive of what’s popular, for sure.
Q: What’s next for The Ssipp Café?
A: We’re going to start trying to do some live music and maybe some special events at night, whether it be open mic, karaoke or game night. Especially with the new deck that we have built on there, we’re looking to maybe expand a few nights a week to include those kinds of things.
Story by Haskell Burns, Photos by Cayla Burns