‘Old Koke Plant’ will offer fuel, food and a large beer cellar

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‘Old Koke Plant’ to offer fuel, food, large beer cellar

Posted at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022

Jameson Powell and Cathy Arnold Pigott can see the finish line of the old koke factory, but they know they still have a few weeks to go. The pieces start to fit together and every detail becomes more and more important.

Pigott said she hopes the convenience store at the corner of US 51 South and Natchez Avenue will open by Labor Day weekend, but things could change. A red soda bottle cap hangs in the center of the store with the words The Ole Koke Plant painted in white.

She said the store’s name pays homage to the old coke factory that used to be there.

“RB Wall and James Doyle had a vision to have a convenience store here one day,” she said. “The coking plant was a landmark. Our vision was to design the building like him. I remember when the coking plant was here, it looked like something from outer space. Everything was made of glass and you could see the workers in white suits working in the factory.

The Ole Koke factory welcomes a new generation. They plan to be on the Toast app and offer services such as dine-in, takeout deals, and drive-thru where people can order online or call ahead.

Prepare them, Joe

Pigott says she hopes people feel welcome when they come in to eat. Powell added that they would have a digital jukebox so people could pay to have songs played inside the store and outside at the pumps.

Additionally, they plan to have self-service checkout lines and believe they can provide a new-age convenience store. Powell is ready for opening day to head there to show off all they have to offer.

“It was stressful but it was exciting,” he said. “A lot of things had to fall into place. You have to do the little things well.”

Some of these details include the signage in the gas station. Above the 24-foot-long food bar is the name “Sherry Jean’s Kitchen” written in cursive. Sherry Jean is Powell’s mother and the signature comes straight from one of her cookbooks.

The kitchen will offer you a special blue plate with three meats, vegetables, salads and soups. Pigott said they weren’t limited to a special blue plate. They plan to make sandwiches, burgers and wraps to order and will sell chicken on a stick. Grab and Go breakfasts and lunches will provide a healthy alternative.

Pigott said they will also be selling homemade carrot cake muffins. The Ole Koke factory will also have a coffee bar and the “coldest beer in town”, housed in a beer cellar called JD’s Back Office.

“It is named after my grandfather James Doyle. He and his buddies growing up would hang out in his back office every day, play cards and drink beer after work,” Powell said. “It will be our beer cellar with bachelors and all. It will be a large beer cellar. We will play beer music there. We want to sell an artisanal selection and high-end products. Anything you can think of. It will be an ever-changing type of menu. We hope to add local brewers in the future.

Dirt to finish

There has been a lot of thought put into the design, the color of the booths, the white boomerang pattern on the tables, the glass windows to let in natural light. Everything was new and was built from scratch.

Pigott said they started with dirt and a shovel in February 2022 and are now getting closer to an opening date. Paul Jackson Construction was a pleasure to work with, she said. Almost everything made in the 6,000 square foot Ole Koke factory has been made by locals and has been customized.

“We didn’t want to be your typical convenience store. It made the process more challenging,” Pigott said. “The challenge is that you have to choose things before you can see them. I remember standing here and there was nothing here. He’s a beast, but a gentle beast.

Store hours will be 5am to 11pm with breakfast from 5am to 10:30am. They are always looking for employees so those who apply can pick up an application at the RB Wall located at 1220 US 51 South.

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