No single label fully captures The Threaded Cork.
During any given visit, a customer can shop for clothing pieces, pick up handcrafted pottery and sip Italian Coffee available at the store’s own bar.
“Words cannot truly define what The Threaded Cork is,” says owner Andrea Jenkins. “Come see it for yourself!”
Part café, part clothing store and part gift shop, the Biloxi business embraces being different. Jenkins opened the doors of the Coast’s only ‘hybrid’ boutique in 2017 in the historic district behind Mary Mahoney’s on Rue Magnolia.
“Every year from then to now has been a milestone, growing the business and being part of the community,” she says. “We pride ourselves on great customer service and continue to grow by adding new and unique products.”
OFFERING ONE-OF-A-KIND ITEMS
The store’s five-year anniversary ribbon cutting on Dec. 9 comes amid the hectic Christmas shopping season.
“The holidays are fun, and very busy,” Jenkins says. “Knowing that customers are coming in specifically because we carry unique items makes it that much more special.”
Shoppers are bound to get thirsty while they browse, and they can order a cup of gourmet Illy coffee from the bar tucked in the back of the store – or a beer if they prefer. The shop also is the only place in Mississippi that sells Polish Pottery — hand-painted European stoneware that is oven, dishwasher and microwave safe.
Jenkin’s best advice to holiday customers: “Shop early, and grab it when you see it!”
“Many of our items, like Polish Pottery and handmade gifts, are literally one of a kind,” she says. “We do offer gift wrapping and shipping.”
Besides showcasing and selling other artisans’ work, Jenkins puts her personal stamp on The Threaded Cork with furniture pieces she’s refurbished, various types of oyster art she creates and mosaics she makes from broken pieces of Polish Pottery. Her aesthetic sense started developing at a young age.
“Growing up, my mom was a costume designer and seamstress, so fashion was always around me,” Jenkins recalls. “Not only did I learn how to sew, but I learned that my passion would to be in the fashion industry.”
After graduating from Florida State University with a double major in fashion merchandising and finance, she began a career in retail management. She and her husband moved many times due to his career in the U.S. Navy – relocating to the Gulf Coast for a second time in 2016.
“Although I’ve always wanted to have a boutique, I knew I needed to take that idea to the next level,” Jenkins says.” As we were thinking of how to stand out and offer something different, the idea of a ‘hybrid’ boutique evolved. We found the perfect place in downtown Biloxi, and everything just came together.”
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
The Threaded Cork’s customers range from local aficionados to visitors from across the country, many of whom rave about the store in online reviews. One poster dropped in for a coffee prior to a hair appointment and now can’t wait to return.
“The place is perfectly appointed, a comfortable place to shop and (provides) the perfect amount of customer service,” she wrote. “If you are in need of a wardrobe update, or just need to pop in quick for a new outfit to wear to a last-minute engagement …., these ladies will meet your every need with grace, kindness and care.”
Another reviewer was delighted to discover The Threaded Cork while visiting from Florida.
“I love everything I have purchased for myself or gifted to friends and loved ones,” she wrote.
Jenkins makes an effort to offer something for everyone. She also wants every person who walks through her door to feel welcome and not intimidated.
“The biggest reward is repeat customers,” she says. “I believe that every small business has challenges, and I like to look at challenges as opportunities to help me see things differently and improve.”
The COVID-19 crisis forced Jenkins to pivot, and her first step was to create a website and continue offering products online that could be shipped, picked up or delivered. Her second step was utilizing social media to reach as many people as possible.
“The pandemic took everyone by surprise, and I realized in the beginning that I needed to fight for what I had built …,” she recalls. “I never gave up, and to this day, it has been paying off.”
Jenkins has plenty of reasons for optimism, as downtown Biloxi has grown significantly over the past five years – increasing her store’s visibility and customer base. Regular patrons have come to know that The Threaded Cork will be open and offering special promotions during events like First Friday on Dec. 2 and Christmas in the City on Dec. 3.
“The most special thing about doing business on the Gulf Coast is that it truly makes us feel like we are a part of the community,” Jenkins says. “The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a special place, and we love it!”