On the heels of the news this week that Mimi’s Family and Friends will close by March 5, co-owner Jim Burwell has told Find It In Fondren™ what is next for him. The 65 year old says he will be part of a team that will open new locations of Fresh Market Cafe in areas of metro Jackson and one in Tupelo. Owned by Jackie’s International whose restaurant and hotel holdings include Bumper’s, Pan Asia and Holiday Inn Express, Fresh Market is a place very familiar to Burwell. “I helped start it back in 2003 with Grant Nooe”, Burwell told us. But when widening began on Old Fannin Road three days later, Burwell said the business tanked. “It was tough, but I figured out how to lower costs and market it and by the time the road was done, we were ‘screaming money'”. It was at the same time that Nooe decided to sell that Burwell did, too, staying on though as general manager. “I could make more as an employee”, he said, “than as an owner”.
So when Burwell and his wife Linda decided to shutter their Fondren restaurant, Jim sent Jackie’s International VP of restaurant operations John Kirk, his former boss, a Facebook message and the two reconnected. As a result, Burwell will head up opening teams for the new Fresh Market Cafe locations. For now, he is working as a relief manager in two of Jackie’s metro area properties. And that’s not all: Burwell has negotiated a deal to keep his three full time Mimi’s employees with him as he transitions. “We make such a great team that they are who will (hopefully) be by my side to open the new properties”.
While we will miss your talents here, Jim, we are happy for your new role – and your ability to secure jobs for others too!