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Coats enjoys operating her own antique business

Shirlene Coats was born in Cleveland, Mississippi, but has happily settled down in Oxford.

“I remember my mother played piano in church, and I would sit on the piano bench with her,” she said, recalling childhood memories of the town.

She lived there until she was 4.

“My mother died when I was 4, which is why I moved to Lafayette County to live with my grandparents,” Coats, 61, said. “I remember going to church at Abbeville. I still have the friends I made at church when I was 4 and 5 years old.”

Coats graduated from Lafayette High School, where she enjoyed studying math.

She was also the editor of the school yearbook her senior year of high school.

She got married after high school and worked in several factories.

One of her last jobs was at the The Depot Antique Mall in Oxford.

She worked there five years, dabbling in buying, selling and trading antiques.

“I’ve always had a love for antiques,” she said. “My grandparents had a house full of antiques.”

When the building at the corner of North Lamar and Highway 30 became available, Coats said she jumped at the chance to open her own antique business.

Today, she operates The Cotton Bowl Antique Mall in Oxford.

“My goal was to have everything rented within two months,” she said. “Every space was rented within two weeks.”

Coats said customers love buying items that are refurbished or used.

“We have several dealers in town, and that’s a draw for people,” she said. “People will come if there are several.

“People are not going to drive to Oxford for one shop. If they see a list of them, they will, because there’s more than one opportunity.”

Coats said she has a good relationship with other antique dealers in town.

“There’s a couple of them I will call if someone comes in and they are looking for something really specific that we don’t have,” she said. “I’ll call and see if they’ve got it, and I’ll send them somewhere else if I think there might be something there.”

Coats said she collects primitive antiques from the 1800s and is proud to own several pieces of furniture that she inherited from relatives, one of which is a cedar chest that was made for her mother.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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