Anna Boyd Hawks says she always wanted to own a business. The ideas ranged from art gallery to coffee shop and everything in between, but the sense of community was a must. As assistant director of Main Street Clinton, Hawks is constantly interacting with creative people, and she wanted a physical space to reflect that.
“With my Main Street job, I got to know a lot about this area and local craftsmen,” she says. “I was also inspired by the Olde Town Markets and wanted to bring an element of that into a store.”
Seeing homemade, uniquely-designed items and meeting the people behind them propelled her vision. For two years, Hawks took little steps toward creating her store, not quite sure where it would take her. But it wasn’t until the space on the Brick Streets became available that she knew her idea to combine her love of people and art could become a reality. Sure enough, Good Citizen opened its doors March 10, 2017.
Located at 310 Jefferson Street in Clinton, Good Citizen is the source for handcrafted and locally-made products, as well as international items that give back to communities. As their social media states, Good Citizen is all about “celebrating creators and small batch makers, good design and doing good.”
“We try to use companies that have a level of social responsibility,” says Hawks.
Hawks shares the space with friend Emily Hamblin, who runs Hard-Pressed Studio. The store provides a place for her to do her printmaking, as well as display her art.
“I’ve enjoyed having a space outside my home to work on prints and be able to meet a few of the customers,” says Hamblin. She has also helped Hawks put on several art classes for the public, including printmaking, kitchen lithography, and Japanese stab binding.
While much of the store is geared toward college students, Hawks says there’s something for everyone. Jewelry, hats, wall art, and even Mississippi-made beard oil line the shelves.
Good Citizen carries a wide variety of items from local artisans, including handcrafted journals by Dylan Lowe, art prints by Christy Henderson, and custom coasters by Kylie Stinson. Clintonian Scott Taylor makes wooden lamps, shelves, letters, and more.
“I love having my products there,” says Taylor. “Since Taylor/Made is definitely a side-pursuit based in my garage, I don’t have the space to have an inventory for my products. So I can point people to Good Citizen if they want something that is in stock.”
There is also a focus on items that “give back” internationally. Honest Cotton, a company based out of Austin, Texas, allows Mexican women to receive a fair wage for the shirts they make. DOT school supplies, created by Hallie Darphin Brand, helps fund education for children in another countries, and every purchased candle by Bridgewater Candle Company feeds a child for a day. Hawks says the candles are their bestsellers, and they’ve paid for over 500 meals since opening in March.
“Everybody has been super supportive,” says Hawks. “It’s encouraging to see people excited about handcrafted items and supporting artists.”
Since supporting local talent is a huge component of the store, Good Citizen hosted its first artist showcase this past summer. Musician Ben Ford performed; photographer Andrew Welch displayed his prints; and Emily Hamblin demonstrated her printmaking in her studio. Hawks says she wanted to give customers a chance to interact with local artists.
“I sold several of my prints that night,” says Welch. “That people now have my work hanging on their walls is truly humbling.”
“Stories connect with people,” says Hawks. “They want to hear about the person behind the product and the story they are trying to tell.”
Good Citizen has also allowed local creatives to use the space for pop-up shops. Hawks says she often sees something she likes and inquires about carrying it in the store.
“It’s a chance for me to celebrate things that I think are good or beautiful,” she says. “It’s all of my dreams in one place.”
Hawks, originally from Pontotoc, Miss., received her marketing undergrad and her master’s in business administration from Mississippi College. In her spare time, she plays piano and trumpet and dabbles in pottery.
“I would have regretted not opening a business,” says Hawks. “Olde Towne really is the gem of the community, and I wouldn’t want to have a store anywhere else.”
Good Citizen is open Tuesday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Follow Good Citizen and Hard-Pressed Studio on Facebook and Instagram @shopgoodcitizen and @hardpressedstudio.