Starting new venture is sweet for Ms. Mary

“Ms. Mary” Pruitt looks over her well-stocked display case at Ms. Mary’s Sweet Shoppe in Southside. Ms. Mary opened the shop in August, after retiring from Gadsden State Community College.“Ms. Mary” Pruitt looks over her well-stocked display case at Ms. Mary’s Sweet Shoppe in Southside. Ms. Mary opened the shop in August, after retiring from Gadsden State Community College.

By Donna Thornton/News Editor

When Mary Pruitt retired after 29 years in the Admissions and Records Department at Gadsden State Community College, she decided to fill her extra hours with industry and to indulge a longtime love.

She opened “Ms. Mary’s Sweet Shoppe” at 1528 Ala. 77 in Southside, to offer delectable fried pies, cake balls, cookies and other goodies to the public, just as she has to family and friends for years.

Ms. Mary’s is located on the southern side of the Chevron Station, just across from Deorio’s Pizza. In addition to baked goods ranging from cookies to layer and pound cakes, Ms. Mary sells Better Butts smoked meats by the sandwich, half-pound, pound or butt, and Happy Home flavorings.

“A lot of people think I’m nuts,” Ms. Mary said, for starting a new business venture at age 78 – “to follow my dream, I guess.” However, she said, she has always loved to do things for people and cooking for them is a great way to make people happy.

“Everyone loves to eat,” she said. “I know I do.”

Ms. Mary had a chance to develop her love of cooking early. She said her father ran a family buffet restaurant in Georgia when she was younger and she helped out there growing up.

Later on, she helped out in a few other restaurant ventures with family members.

Ms. Mary opened this business of her own on Aug. 1. She said fried pies may be her specialty, but chess squares, cake balls and cookies sell well, too.

She makes pound cakes and all kinds of layer cakes by order, with two-days notice.

As Ms. Mary takes care of her business, she is taking pride in another recently opened Southside business. Her daughter and son-in-law, Trish and David McBurnett, operate Family Fun Zone, located at 1790 Ala. 77 in Southside. The business, formerly Imagine That Birthday Club, is available for birthday and all kinds of parties by appointment, and is has open play days from 10 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On open play days children have unlimited play for $5 admission, which includes a snack.

Family Fun Zone is a 10,000 square-foot facility, with bounce houses, video games, Wii, and a party room.

Ms. Mary’s is open Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit Ms. Mary’s Sweet Shoppe on Facebook or call 256-504-4621. For Better Butts orders, call 256-490-7716.

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