When Kaye Simmons moved to Jackson, Mississippi 18 years ago, she had a vision. That vision was for a shopper’s paradise on Lakeland Drive, much like the one she saw exploding on County Line Road. But in Simmons’ mind, the fall out was way too severe. “Overstored,” she says, when describing the outcome. And it’s for that reason, Simmons uprooted her Designer Shoe Palace from Rankin County three years ago. Simmons calls Mitchell Avenue – and Fondren – the next big thing.

The idea is that this area would become a destination, but more importantly, a neighborhood of familiarity. Shop owners, Simmons says, who know their clientele. Businesses who have a niche in the metro market. The Shoe Bar at Pieces, the first business on Mitchell Avenue, is Simmons creation for ladies who love high end fashion and shoes without the high end price. She says it is the customer service, though, that has made her successful. Simmons also credits the relationships building among the other area boutiques like newcomers Pink Lamborghini and the Lipstick Lounge. These bonds help to plan area wide events like late summer’s second line jazz march and fashion show on Mitchell.

Simmons cites trendsetters like the Tree House Boutique and vintage consignment shop The Orange Peel for rounding out the vast selection of offerings, making this a destination. Their one of a kind items, along with Simmons’ “I’ll spend my rent money because i’ve got to have these” shoes are the very things driving the fashionitas to Fondren. Mitchell, Simmons says, has that potential she has watched unfold in other areas of the metro. And her past clientele believe it, too, as they have followed her from Lakeland Drive. And so we asked “knowing what you now know, would you do it all again?” Simmons answers quickly by saying “Id have done this three years sooner. Fondren is the next big thing.”

Originally published in Find It In Fondren Visitor's Guide