Soozeezbeez Honey Beetique
A longtime vendor at area farmers markets launched her first brick-and-mortar store with the Aug. 21 opening of Soozeezbeez Honey Beetique. Susi Caregnato owns the three-employee shop at 200 E. Commercial St. She invested roughly $15,000 in startup costs and signed a two-year lease for an undisclosed rate with Mary Collette. Caregnato said she began beekeeping in 2013 and started participating in craft shows and farmers markets the following year. She produces honey from 10 hives on a friend’s property in Springfield. Soozeezbeez sells raw honey and over 20 infused flavors, such as vanilla bean and strawberry. Additionally, the 2,400-square-foot shop carries handmade items including candles, lotions and soaps made with honey and beeswax, as well as bee-themed decor and jewelry. She said plans for Soozeezbeez include hosting beekeeping classes. In addition to her shop, Caregnato said she’ll continue to sell products next season at the C-Street City Market.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Flying V Mercantile
Five years after opening, Monett boutique Flying V Mercantile LLC moved Sept. 20 to 812 E. Highway 60, Ste. 200. Owner Alyssa Vaughn first opened the store in June 2016 at 219 E. Broadway St. before relocating to the former gas station. Vaughn said she’s invested roughly $400,000 in the property, which included removal of the gas tanks and $170,000 to purchase the 3,000-square-foot building. She still owns the downtown Broadway Street property and has plans to convert it into event space. Flying V sells women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and gifts, she says, adding it shares about half of the Highway 60 building with KeenBean Coffee Roasters LLC. Vaughn recruited the Mount Vernon-based coffee business to expand to Monett, noting she didn’t know its owners Darrell and Tracy Bradshaw before making the pitch. In addition to her five-employee shop, Vaughn also co-owns real estate agency A-List Properties Premier.
Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Dodson-Williams Automotive LLC relocated its new venture Aug. 1 to 2936 W. Republic Road a year after selling its two body shops to Chicago-area chain Crash Champions. Allen Holman said he joined as a business partner with Keith Neal shortly after the Crash Champions deal in September 2020 to relaunch Dodson-Williams Automotive as a mechanic and repair shop. The plans for the new store on Republic Road came after Dodson-Williams outgrew its former location at the intersection of Scenic Avenue and Bennett Street. Holman declined to disclose lease terms and relocation costs. Holman emphasized that Dodson-Williams is a separate entity from Crash Champions and no longer does body work. The mechanic shop employs eight in the 9,300-square-foot space. Dodson-Williams Collision Center was founded by John Dodson and Harold Williams in 1961 with the original location at 507 W. Walnut St. Neal became a co-owner of the business in 1991 and sole owner by 2007.
Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.