Our vision for the Laurel Mercantile and Scotsman Co. stores as we expand is to cultivate a culture of growth and involvement in Downtown Laurel. We aim to provide people with jobs that offer a creative opportunity to serve locals and visitors from around the world. It's an honor to have people come to Laurel and pour into our community, and we want to offer an experience for everyone. We hope that someone can visit and feel inspired to create something beautiful in their home town with each new addition.
At the beginning of 2021, we began a new project at our Scotsman Co. General Store and Woodshop, our eclectic country store designed for the man's man. The General store offers American-made flannels, tools, soda pop, candy, and a close view into Ben's Woodshop.
As you walk into the Scotsman Co. General store, there is a new doorway that leads into the Scotsman Co. Snowball Stand (or "Scotsman Snow," as Josh Nowell likes to call it.)
This new Scotsman Snowball stand is an ode to a southerner's love and appreciation for a refreshing cold dessert on a hot summer afternoon. If you live in the South, you know that it's summer weather in almost every season, so snowballs are a year-round affair.
The owners of Laurel Mercantile and Scotsman Co. dreamed of opening a communal space that would offer a memorable experience for families of all kinds.
Josh shares, "The Scotsman General Store was an old feed store way back when. If you have ever been to an old feed store in the South, it's an assortment of different things. You can get feed for the cattle or chickens, but you can also get flour, popcorn, peanuts, and even hammers. You'd be able to get pretty much anything you would need for a farm. So when we opened the woodshop in the old loading area, we expanded our retail operations into our general store. We sell American Made products, like butcher blocks, flannels, tools, and things like that. We had all of this extra space that we could use, and Jim pointed out that visitors and locals need a place to sit down and enjoy a sweet treat, and he came up with a snowball stand."
Jim says, "The first time I had a snowball was Hansen's snowball stand in New Orleans. It's been around 85+ years, and they have perfected the art of snowball making. The difference between a snowball and a snow cone is the consistency of the ice. Most people don't know that they love snowballs, but it's because they've never had one made like this. Until now!"
For the last few weeks, Jim has been concocting the best mixture of flavors for opening day. Josh enjoys taste testing the most while we add the finishing touches to the small corner shop of the General store.
Jim says, "We have such fun space downtown. There are so many different stores and restaurants to enjoy, but traveling with family is tricky. Everybody has different interests, and not everyone wants to go to the same place. We want to create an atmosphere where the entire family can indulge their interests and enjoy spending time here as a family. That's what led us to build the Scotsman Snowball stand with the largest two-story observation deck right here at the General store."
He continues,"What makes this so cool is that you can sit on the top and overlook the Amtrak Crescent line as it pulls into the station. You can overlook downtown Laurel at sunset and even watch a football game under the deck for a shaded, comfortable experience."
On top of the observation deck is a handprinted mural by Laurel's own artist, River Prince. Down below, the green area, made from LSU practice field turf, is dedicated to playtime and good food from our local food trucks. The perfect place that kids can safely play in a fenced-in area, so parents can sit back and relax.
Jim says, "There are a few more surprises, but I'll spoil this one for you. We're building Mississippi's largest butcher block countertop for this outdoor area. It might be the biggest in the country. Maybe the world!"
Be on the lookout for our official announcement of opening and soon you’ll be able to enjoy a sweet treat at the Scotsman General Store snowball stand. It'll undoubtedly be a "cool" experience!
(P.S. — You can shop Jim and Josh's flannels here!)