Amy and Marty Makowsky

Amy Makowsky and her husband, Marty, stand in front of the building they are purchasing at 215 Howard St., which will house Mississippi Mo Joe Coffee.

Amy Makowsky enjoys a good cup of coffee.

She didn’t always have a taste for the hot caffeinated go-to morning beverage. Rather, her passion for coffee grew over time.

“I’m very late coming to the coffee crowd,” Makowsky said. “I’ll be 49 in May, and I’ve only been drinking coffee since I was 35. So it’s not like some people who say, ‘Oh yeah, I have been drinking coffee since I was 10 years old.”

Now, however, Makowsky is a coffee enthusiast.

“There’s something about the ritual. ... The hot drink, even in the summertime. I just enjoy it,” she said. “After that first couple of sips, I’m right as rain.”

Makowsky also shares her love of coffee with others. “I have made sure that everybody around me is also now a coffee drinker,” she said.

Makowsky, with her husband, Marty, is sharing her love of coffee with all of Greenwood through Mississippi Mo Joe Coffee Co.

She started holding a weekend pop-up coffee cafe in February at the Old City Hall Building on Market Street. The pop-ups will continue through March.

Makowsky is also in the process of purchasing the location of where she plans to permanently house Mississippi Mo Joe, 215 Howard St., which was the former Fincher’s Antiques, by the end of April.

Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Makowsky lived in Memphis except from grades 3 through 8 when her family resided in Virginia.

She graduated from Immaculate Conception Cathedral School in Memphis and then studied at the University of Memphis, where she received a degree in biology.

After college, Makowsky moved to Florida and ended up getting another degree in hospitality.

“When I was in Florida, that’s where the jobs were,” she said.

She learned the hospitality business and was in the manager training program at South Seas Plantation in Captiva, Florida.

Makowsky also attended culinary school.

She moved back to Memphis and worked in hospitality.  Then, she got into human resources and worked as the corporate human resources manager for ServiceMaster in Memphis.

“The majority of my career was in human resources,” she said.

It was while working at ServiceMaster that she acquired the taste for coffee.

“I had a VP who I reported in to, and she insisted that we go to Starbucks for every HR meeting,” she said. “There I am, and I don’t like coffee, so I started with my chai tea latte.”

Soon, she began exploring more of the coffee menu.

“I felt like I was developing a taste for it,” Makowsky said.

Her husband is also “a huge coffee drinker,” so the couple would also try different roasts.

When Amy and Marty got engaged in 2013, she moved to Greenwood, where Marty, who works for Viking Range, was located. The couple married in April  2015.  

When Makowsky moved to Greenwood, she brought her horses.

“I have had horses since I was 25,” she said.

She also does competitive carriage driving.

At her home, she has three Friesians, a Welsh Hanoverian and five miniature horses that she rescued. One of her miniature horses also participates in the competitive carriage driving.

“He’s trained to drive now. So I have a little bitty miniature carriage for him,” she said.

When Makowsky moved to Greenwood, she began working at Milwaukee Tool. After 3½ years,  she decided to start a business.

“I started my own sewing and accessories business for equestrians,” she said. “I was making things like bridal bags and saddle covers and things specific to equestrians, because that’s my background. I had a great time doing that for a year and half.”

Makowsky said her sewing business prepared her for her new venture, which is picking up steam with her weekend pop-ups.

The Makowskys bought Mississippi Mo Joe Coffee Co. from another Greenwood couple, J.P. and Shelley Walker, in October  2018.

“I think my love of coffee has grown even more since we’ve bought the company,” she said. “Before buying the company, I started trying to learn more, because I knew I was not expert. I am a curious person, and I started looking at the history of coffee first.”

Now, Makowsky is learning about the cutting-edge trends in coffee, such as nitro brew, and is putting her culinary education to use as she crafts new coffee beverages, such as her Blues Berry cold brew latte.

“We’re experimenting and seeing what fits with Greenwood, and then what fills that need for people who do like to try new things,” she said.

Mississippi Mo Joe’s signature flavors, however, are tasty on their own, Makowsky said.

“We have the Morning Melodies, which is the light; the Soulful Sound, which is our medium; and Delta Grounds, which is the dark,” she said. “You don’t have to do a lot with them. You put in whatever you want, no more, no less, and they are just good. I feel like if I don’t get in my own way and let the coffee speak for itself, people really enjoy it.”

Makowsky said she attended a Mississippi entrepreneur program in 2017 that was held in Greenwood and co-hosted by the Greenwood-Leflore-Carroll Economic Development Foundation.

“They had awesome speakers — Melisa Fincher from Fincher’s and Caleb and Ben Cox,” she said. “Without that entrepreneur program that I attended, I would never have even attempted to open a shop in downtown Greenwood.”

Makowsky has also received direction from the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Greenwood.

“If you are interested in starting a business, do use the resources that are out there,” she said. “Everybody has been so supportive, and things have just fallen into place, and we’re really excited.”

Makowsky said she anticipates being in her permanent location by the end of April, and there will be more than coffee for sale inside.

“I really want to fill it with local artisan-type items,” she said. “I want it to reflect our community.”

•Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7233 or rrobison@gwcommonwealth.com.

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