Greenwood Soul Mates — Holley Poe
What is “soul”?
For us, “soul” represents that unique essence each person contributes to their community, weaving a colorful tapestry of stories, talents, cultural experiences and more. In Greenwood, this tapestry is formed by numerous unique individuals who embody the city’s mantra – “Delta Spirit, Southern Soul”. Their captivating stories and deep connections to the region’s food, music and history define our identity as a town and make Greenwood such an extraordinary place to visit. These remarkable individuals are our “Soul Mates”.
Today, we introduce Holley Poe, owner and founder of Delta Roots Takery and Catering Company in Greenwood.
Holley Poe was born in Greenwood and was raised right outside of town in Carrollton, Mississippi. From a young age, her passion for cooking was immediately evident.
I started cooking when I was about 11 years old. My mom was a nurse who worked in Greenwood, and my dad worked for Florewood State Park, so I started dinner every night. My mom would lay out what she had planned, and I was able to follow the directions and began cooking dinner for us to help her out.
As Holley grew more comfortable in the kitchen, she started adding her own unique twist to her mother’s recipes.
As I got older, my mom and grandmother would make delicious food, but I would always find a way to add my personal touch. My grandmother said I made ‘pretty’ food. Cooking has always been a part of my life, it’s one of the many ways I expressed my creative side.
While Holley’s passion for cooking blossomed during her childhood, it was her daughter who inspired her to turn it into a career.
What really kick-started my culinary journey was my oldest daughter. When she was a freshman in high school and part of the cheerleading squad, they organized a bake sale fundraiser. Naturally, I made some baked goods, and our table alone raised nearly $800. At the time, I was working as a hairstylist, but I would receive calls at the salon or on my cellphone from people saying, ‘Hey, would you mind baking me another cake like I bought at the bake sale?’ That’s when it all started, and it was initially a side hustle! Soon enough, I found myself earning more money cooking than cutting hair. Eventually, I reduced my salon appointments, I was dedicating more time in the kitchen, and now it’s become my full-time job!
Holley operated her catering business from her house, delivering homemade baked goods to four counties every week. After three years, she took the leap and established a brick-and-mortar location on Park Avenue in 2019. Initially, Poe focused solely on baked goods. Working around two or three days a week, she would accept pre-orders from Monday to Wednesday, fulfilling and delivering them on Thursday and Friday. Her services extended to Grenada, Carroll, Montgomery and Leflore County. Subsequently, the business expanded to include takeout orders featuring a grab-and-go cooler stocked with delectable pre-made meals such as chicken salad or oven-ready meat and vegetable plates.
At first, we only offered dinner and didn’t serve lunch. We didn’t even have a proper menu! We would post the weekly special on Facebook, and people would call in their pre-orders. We always made sure everything was ready when our customers wanted it!
As the business expanded to its East Claiborne location, it became the official brick-and-mortar Delta Roots Takery and Catering Company we know and love to this day. Lunch offerings delighted customers and became a beloved staple of the establishment, with the business’s continued success being a testament to the support and appreciation of the Delta Community.
What I cherish so much about Greenwood is the profound sense of unity and care found among its people. It’s a place where we stand together during challenging times. I’ve witnessed the community come together and lend a helping hand in countless ways, which is such a rarity. Greenwood isn’t just my home: it embraces anyone who becomes part of this community.
Holley leverages this genuine hometown spirit to entice others to visit Greenwood.
Greenwood is wonderful, but I still believe we can make it even better. Greenwood is the place to be if you’re looking to get away from it all. Explore our unique little boutiques and enjoy some fabulous food. You will be surrounded by people who will love and support you, especially if you give it back to them. The people are the heart and soul of Greenwood.
If Holley were to describe Greenwood in a single word, it would be “home.”