Mallorie and husband, Jim, own Rasberry Financial Services and co-own The Laurel Mercantile. You can also find them behind the scenes and on the big screen as cast members in the HGTV hit show, “Home Town.” Mallorie recently shared about her life and work.
TELL US ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF REVITALIZING YOUR HOMETOWN?
Well this all started 10 years ago, really. That’s the part of the story that’s so amazing to me. Sure, having an HGTV show has absolutely helped, but the story of Laurel’s rebirth is 100 percent authentic to what was already happening here before the cameras started rolling. There was a core group of people that had invested in Laurel’s comeback, and we were all buying old buildings, renovating them, all while telling Laurel’s story to literally anyone that would listen.
DESCRIBE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE ABLE TO IMPACT LIVES IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
My favorite days during filming are the “reveal” days … where the homeowners finally get to see their new home. There is so much excitement and anticipation that whole day from the entire crew it’s like a wedding day around the office. We are all just on pins and needles waiting for them to finally see it!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY.
Well, I married Jim Rasberry. So that’s No. 1. He and his family are from here and have been very passionate about Laurel, even through the roughest of times. He went to Southern Miss, and I went to Ole Miss. He and Erin (Rasberry Napier) are first cousins — their dad’s are brothers. Erin was my roommate in Oxford and was doing her senior art exhibit on Jim and Danny’s First National Bank Building. She did all the ads, promos, and whole marketing package for the business opening so, naturally, Jim came up to Oxford that evening to see the exhibit. I met him at the exhibit and within two years, I had made Laurel my new hometown! (I’m from Tylertown, Miss., originally.) So it’s just one of those things that by marrying Jim, being best friends with Erin and Ben and moving to Laurel, I knew the family and downtown Laurel were a package deal. It turns out that their passion is infectious, and can even take deep hold of a girl from Tylertown.
AS A MOMPRENEUR, WHAT NUGGETS HAVE YOU LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?
We have a little girl, Lucy, 4, so it’s beyond difficult juggling everything, but I’ve just learned that I have to prioritize. The most important thing is that I’ve learned to say no to things that I’m not passionate about. Limiting myself to working on projects that I care about helps a lot.
WHAT CAN YOU SHARE WITH READERS TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO TAKE THEIR NEXT STEP?
Well, from a perspective of someone who isn’t from Laurel, what helped me most was getting involved. Whenever I moved here, I was working out of Hattiesburg. It wasn’t until I started working here and got on the board for Laurel Main Street that I truly felt vested. I wasn’t just Jim Rasberry’s wife anymore; I was Mallorie Rasberry. Being a part of the progress and change is a no-brainer for a successful business-person wanting to take the next step.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR STORE, LAUREL MERCANTILE.
We’ve been running an online store for several years now so as the announcement of Season One of HGTV’s “Home Town” became a reality, we decided that it was the perfect time to open the brick and mortar right here in downtown Laurel. Our hope is that people will see the show’s third main character, the city of Laurel, and want to come experience it for themselves. We hope that guests will not only visit the Mercantile, but also eat at our downtown restaurants, shop at the other merchants’ stores, visit the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, but most importantly, see what Laurel really is the best-kept secret in Mississippi.