with $900 and a dream, couple makes country store a Sibley success

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

It’s Saturday night at the Sibley Store, and players are circling pool tables for the best angle to shoot that little white ball.

Kid Rock blares from the jukebox and friends keep conversations going over the music.

With the number of patrons and the camaraderie among them, it’s hard to believe that the Sibley Store reopened only a few months ago.

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It was Jan. 3 when Jeff and Joy Kitchen bought and reopened the Sibley Store, keeping the name.

Those were humble beginnings &045;&045; &uot;we started with $900 out of our piggy bank,&uot; Jeff Kitchen said.

Now, with regular business from not just Sibley residents but from Natchez, Vidalia, La., and Woodville as well, it could well be called a success.

The road was not always easy. &uot;We almost gave up,&uot; Jeff Kitchen said.

But the Kitchens said they had something money can’t buy &045;&045; &uot;friends who have helped us by working for nothing,&uot; Jeff Kitchen said. Joy, who was born and raised in Sibley, and her husband have found that friends are the key ingredient to a successful business.

In addition to friendly faces, cold beer, snow cones and pool tables, the Sibley Store serves &uot;the best burgers in town,&uot; according to regular Terrence Wimbly. As the evening progressed, more and more customers echoed Wimbly’s opinion.

Surprisingly, the secret recipe to the hamburgers was created by the Kitchens’ tight budget.

&uot;We couldn’t afford a real (professional) flat grill,&uot; Jeff Kitchen said. So he opted for a leaner financial choice &045;&045; the George Foreman Grill.

Yes, the same small grill many American families keep in their cupboard is in part responsible for their rave reviews.

With $900, a George Foreman grill, loyal friends and a dream, the Sibley Store has been reopened at its same old location on U.S. 61. Pool tournaments are held Saturday nights and the store, stocked with food and groceries, is open throughout the week.

The regulars will see you there.