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Barbara Willingham to retire; sells building to developer Tim Cantwell

Willingham’s has been a mainstay on Washington Street.

With its candles, jewelry, clothing and housewares, shoppers can find a variety of items to fit their needs.

The retail business also has a large collection of Peter’s Pottery, a favorite with collectors.

But by far the most unique aspect of the retail store is its owner –Barbara Willingham.

She is always willing to help customers with their needs and her upbeat personality makes everyone entering feel special.

Willingham has been in the retail business for 26 years – 20 of those years on Washington Street. She has now come to a place in her life where she is ready to retire.

“It’s just time,” Willingham said.

“I worked 30 years for the telephone company and I’ve been down here for 20 and I was on Clay Street for six years, so it was time,” she said.

Willingham moved her business downtown in 2001 – the same year Amzi Thames took over The Hub and Bobbie Marascalco opened Peterson’s.

“We all three opened up right there together and we had the first Hit the Bricks. I don’t know if we called it that or not, but it was just us three,” she said.

Some of the highlights of being on Washington Street, Willingham said, included two that gave her business an extra financial boost – the riverboats and the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

“We had so much good business. It was some good times down there,” Willingham said.

And while Willingham is ready to enjoy a more laid back lifestyle, she said she will miss her old stomping grounds.

“I hate to leave downtown. I love it,” she said. “I will miss the customers and the friendships downtown. Downtown is wonderful.”

Willingham said she would continue to sell Peter’s Pottery at the Levee Street Market Place.

The property at 1305 Washington will not sit idol, Willingham said.

She has sold the building to downtown developer Tim Cantwell.

“Tim wanted to expand Cottonwood and so he came over and talked to me and I told him what I wanted for the building and he agreed to it,” Willingham said. “Tim is a terrific fellow and he has done a lot for Vicksburg and I know that he will use that building to do more.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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