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Businesses join the existing Fondren Corner as a bookend

Fondren Place

Another major development in the Fondren Historic District of Jackson is up and running.

Fondren Place joins the existing Fondren Corner as a bookend to the area that has undergone major redevelopment the past several years.

The new Fondren Place emerged from the old Duling School, a school on Duling Avenue constructed in 1927.

With the historical backdrop, new businesses are launching. The Auditorium, a restaurant in the Duling School’s old auditorium, recently opened, as did a graphic design company and an antique store. A full-scale salon is scheduled to open soon. A complimentary development that will feature condos is in the works.

“We really have had a good opportunity there,” said Steve Davis of Canizaro Cawthon and Davis Architects, whose design of Fondren Place was recently voted the best architecture in Jackson by the Jackson Free Press. “We’ve worked with some good developers.”

Davis’ firm considered locating its offices in Fondren when it was searching for a new space eight years ago, only to find nothing available. But, Davis said, “you could see the possibilities.”

The allure of the area, with its high foot-traffic count and popularity as a shopping destination, contributed largely to Gozan Interiors’ decision to open a showroom, the Bohemian Kitchen. The showroom started operations in November.

A full-service interior design company, Gozan Interiors specializes in kitchen and bathroom design.

The Bohemian Kitchen will be a full-scale showplace of sorts for the company’s line of cabinetry and appliances. The Bohemian Kitchen, said Gozan office manager Ashley Davidson, features a full-sized working kitchen, with plans already to add a similar space for the company’s complete line of bathroom interiors.

The idea, Davidson said, was for customers to have a place for one-stop shopping when it came to their options for kitchen and bathroom redesign.

“That’s basically what we have it for, to display everything we have,” she said.

Aside from acting as a showroom for its interior design products, the Bohemian Kitchen can host small corporate meetings and social events. With the working kitchen, catering is an option.

“We’re basically wanting to get the word out that we’re here and offer our base for people who want to hold meetings,” Davidson said.

The Bohemian Kitchen has already hosted several small functions, including a meeting of the Delta Gamma Sorority in January. Cooking demonstrations and product showcase events are on the books for March. Those kinds of events have drawn good reviews since the November opening, Davidson said.

Functions like those offer a golden opportunity for the Bohemian Kitchen, Davidson said, in that it draws a large number of potential customers into the showroom. And, when they leave, they tell their friends about it.

“Our owner was in the salon recently and heard a lady talking about the Bohemian Kitchen, and she jumped up and said, ‘That’s my place,’” Davidson said.

Marketing the new place has taken top priority since opening. Davidson said the company is currently developing a target list of groups to invite to the Bohemian Kitchen, with the hopes that event hosting can turn into a significant part of the business model.

Once the showroom hosts a function, the Bohemian Kitchen will have to depend on the most effective kind of advertising.

“Word of mouth has been really good so far. We’ve heard a lot of people talk about it and mention it,” Davidson said. “We’re trying to get more people in there to get the word out so we can let people know who we are. We’re searching for different groups to do that.”

Contact MBJ staff writer Clay Chandler at clay.chandler@msbusiness.com .

About Clay Chandler

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