• Photo - A customer making a selection of spices at The French Market Cooks from far and wide gather here to survey the more than 350 spices and unlimited mixes arranged on floor-to-ceiling shelves. Owner Brian Crawford, who also co-owns The Loft just across the street, was inspired to reinvent the former drug store into a modern day cooking extravaganza. "Most of the shelving and stuff was here when we bought the building," he said. "Including the old apothecary jars and glass items." Folks who visit The French Market find scores of items for cooking and entertaining, including spices lining row after row and displayed along the store's long walls. "When I visited Saint Charles, there were these neat spice shops,

    Oct 29,
  • Photo - Employees at The Loft prepare espresso for a cappuccino After Jonesboro, Ark., native Brian Crawford retired from Lowe's, he knew he was too young to sit around and watch paint dry. Instead, he bought an old building in downtown Dexter and began applying paint himself. He modeled and remodeled, ordered furniture and dry goods from Europe, coffees and teas from places some folks can't pronounce, truffles and candies from faraway lands and opened a store perhaps best described by Louis Carroll as "curioser and curioser." He called it The Loft. That was about five years ago, he said. Then, just when the place was a bright star in its infancy, came the dark time. "We lost the store to

    Oct 28,
  • POPLAR BLUFF – When Kaplan came on board on August 18, he was faced with the city’s self-funded health insurance nearing a $3,000,000 deficit. His first step in getting out of such a huge hole was to find a health insurance consultant. A request for bids was sent out. The city received two qualified bids for insurance consultants. The low bid of $68,000 was submitted by First Community Insurance of Poplar Bluff. A bid of $85,000 was submitted by AON, an international company. To evaluate the two bids, a committee comprised of seven employees from different departments within the city was formed. Committee members included Deputy Chief Jeff Rolland as chairman along with Steven Burkhead, Gail Barriner, Chris DeGaris, Jason

    Oct 27,
  • Photo: Corner Stop Cafe owner Phyliss Kull Owner Phyllis Kull started her downtown eatery here more than four years ago. She said the fact that she has no walk-in freezers and no deep fryers adds to the ambience of her cafe. Kull said she's living a dream. "Everything is fresh," she said. "Our food is made fresh daily." Kull said she traveled all over the country to find a place like Dexter. "It is really a good town," she noted. "It's slow” in a good way. "It's financially healthy," she continued. "And the people here strive to preserve downtown.” Kull noted she's had her work cut out for her offering fresh items to southern palates. "The Nothing Like It Chicken

    Oct 27,
  • Photo - Joe Vinson of Chrisman Art Gallery Gallery owner Joe Vinson said his family played a role in downtown commerce in one business or another since 1959. The family still has a hand in the oil and propane business, he said. "We've been here in the art business since 1972," the 82-year-old Vinson said. "Here, we specialize in limited edition prints. "We have a frame shop here so we do lots of custom work," he added. "It's tough to find that in a small town anymore."

    Oct 26,

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