Sodexo Live! Small Business Spotlight: Sweet Southern Spirit

Published on : 3/14/23
  • After spending over 15 years as Controller and CFO for several large companies, Paige Jones found her sweet spot. In 2006, she opened The Sweet Southern Spirit General Store in Lynchburg, Tennessee."We have five children. I wanted to have a flexible schedule," explained Paige. "We started making handmade fudge and tipsy cakes from a family recipe handed down for generations. Our visitors get the experience and charm of an old-time general store in our 100-year-old building."
    family portrait in the woods

    Several years later, Paige expanded the business by acquiring a company in Nashville that provided desserts for downtown hotels. They had never worked with Music City Center, so in 2015, she showed up with samples of her desserts and spoke to the chefs. From there, the orders started coming.

    "From day one, they have been loyal. They go out of their way to ask me if I can make something," said Paige. "We've expanded our business because of this relationship." During COVID, Paige had to close Sweet Southern Spirit for three months. "I continued to pay all my employees their full pay even when they weren't working. Once Music City Center opened back up, we got back to work. The bakery would not have reopened after COVID without Music City Center." Now, Sweet Southern Spirit has 11 employees. "That's one thing that keeps me going. I know that I'm responsible for these families."

    chocolate truffles in clear plastic boxSweet Southern Spirit has earned the trust of the Sodexo Live! culinary team at Music City Center. "They'll call me and say, 'hey, do you make this?' I tell them we'll try," Paige says. "If we don't think we can do it, we don't. I never want to mess up anyone's events, but more importantly, I want my client to be 100% happy." From eggs to whiskey, Paige sources as much as possible from local businesses. Jones uses Jack Daniels, Tennessee Moonshines, and other local spirits to make most of her infused candies and cakes. "If they don't make it in Tennessee, we still try to keep it as local as possible."

    Paige continues to focus on her main clients as she regrows her business. Her next adventure? Mail-order truffles. "I'm really proud of what we're able to do. We're not huge. We don't market. The growth that we have has been grassroots and word of mouth."