Local entrepreneurs plan to revitalize Farish Street themselves one building at a time

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 7:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Since the 1990′s, one Jackson native has watched plans to revitalize Farish Street fail. So he and others put a plan in motion to be a part of the resurgence, buying a building and opening a business in the district.

Some Jackson entrepreneurs believe Farish Street can be reclaimed one building at a time. Not by waiting for someone else to do it, but by doing it themselves.

“We bought this building because we wanted to be the change that we wanted to see,” said Eric Collins.

He and his wife Yasmin purchased a Farish Street building near Church Street last August. First, they opened Herbal Blessing, which offers herbal supplements. “Meals that Heal,” a 100% plant-based-only cafe, opened next. Longtime business Marshall’s Bookstore is also located there.

The building will house a plant-based industry with a factory that is currently on the site. The goal is to provide Mississippians with plant-based meals and supplements.

“We decided to step out on faith, and some called us crazy for coming down here,” said Collins. “But the vision said that we should be here, so we can help bring it back.”

Renovations are underway to make the north end of the structure a wellness center and an incubator for small businesses.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba has plans to invest $4 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds in this building at the intersection of Farish and Amite Streets. The proposal is for a potential food court.

“I’m excited. I look forward to seeing it,” said the Lanier High graduate. “I am a creator. I am a builder, so I look forward to seeing what they’re going to bring to the table”.

Other entrepreneurs have purchased buildings there in hopes of rebuilding Farish Street themselves.

“I see bustling businesses. I see multiple restaurants,” said the former line technician. “We can’t wait for anybody else to come in and do what we are supposed to do.”

The 40-year-old’s goal is to encourage Mississippians to change their diets and improve their health. He ultimately wants to entice other Jacksonians to invest in the historic neighborhood to see the return of the once-thriving economic hub.

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