Joan Donovan with Laura McCallum in the background setting the table.
Laura McCallum and Nancy Lucchesi preparing the meal to serve.
Alice Hebler ~ Mayor of Washington Street
Alice will be closing her business, Paper Plus, after 25 years. There was a very nice write up in The Vicksburg Post, September 10, 2013, about closing her business and here is what was written by Terri Cowart Frazier - firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Hebler, a petite little spitfire, has been a mainstay of the downtown community for 25 years. Now, the owner of Paper Plus says it's time to retire.
"It's time, all my friends have retired and they are having so much fun and I want to travel more," Hebler said.
With seven brothers and sisters all living in desirable destinations, Hebler said she has already planned her first trip in January to visit a sister that lives in Fort Lauderdale.
But as Hebler makes preparations for her future, she said the decision has been bitter sweet. With tears forming in the corners of her big blue eyes, she said she might be retiring, but plans to remain the "Mayor of Washington Street", an honor that was bestowed upon her by Ellis Koury, a former downtown merchant who served in the capacity before her.
The job has no real duties other than to make sure everybody in downtown is OK.
"I'll still have a large presence downtown," Hebler said.
"I plan on volunteering to help our Main Street," she said, adding she would even consider being a merchant substitute if any of her friends needed help.
Hebler said she began her career in the retail market after a conversation with a close adviser.
"I stayed at home with my kids for 12 years and my son John said, 'Mom, why don't you get a job and help Daddy pay bills like everyone else,'" Hebler said. With his 8-year-old advice, Heblere said she opened up Paper Plus.
Hebler said her kids loved the store and would come in after school and help work.
"John was my Halloween buyer and he was good. He told me what gruesome stuff to get and it would sell," she said.
Hebler said starting out she just rented half of the building from Max and Slyvan Klaus and later was given the opportunity to spread out and rent the entire 1318 Washington St. property.
"Klaus always wanted me to buy the building." Hebler said, but since the rent was only $350 she said she never felt the need to buy.
"Why would I want to buy when my rent was so lo?"
After about 10 years of just renting. Hebler said Klaus came to her and said he had an offer on the property.
"I bought the building the next day," she said.
Hebler said she loves visiting and meeting all the people that come into Paper Plus and said, "you just never know who you are going to meet."
She shared a story that she said she will always remember.
"One of the Delta Queens was in and they were having a problem. A man came inside in overalls and he needed to use my phone. He said he needed to call City Hall and about two hours later an entourage came in with a big thank you cake and four bottles of champagne," Hebler said.
It turned out the visitor had been the president of the Delta Steam Boat Company.
She confessed that she and her sister had enjoyed the cake and libations so much they had to call in reinforcements to help them finish out the work day.
The building is in good shape and in a great location, Hebler said.
Hebler said she plans on closing her doors for good in January and said it has been her original goal to stay open for 25 years and added, "I made it."
"It's across the street from the stage and you can sit outside and solve the problems of the world. We call it the porch of wisdom. It's great."
Hebler said it would be nice to see another paper store open up in the space.
"I would like to see someone come in and reinvent it and do it better - someone young with technology skills, and they could make a lot of money," she said.
Pam Melsheimer as a hostess with the mostess!
Katie Hossley looking on while Myrtle Curro and Alice Hebler chat.
All the lovely Secret Sister's presents.
Ina Lott Whittington, Laura Love Ables and Vera Marshall Brown.
Everyone catching up on the news.
Janey Seaburgh, Anita Hossley and Alice Hebler.
Meeting getting ready to start...and close to 30 members attended.
My gift from my Secret Sister.
Laura Love Ables looking over her Secret Sisters gift with Vera looking on.
Laura admiring her two cute turtles!
Joan Donovan received a beautiful silver tray from her Secret Sister.