Teacher looks forward to a 'sweet' summer

Bill Graham / The Meridian Star

Brittany Kennedy-Horner, a teacher at Magnolia Middle School, will host a ribbon cutting Saturday at The Sweet Shop at 828 46th Avenue.

“A pen full of ink has a story to write.”

That’s Brittany Kennedy-Horner’s philosophy of life.

Kennedy-Horner lives that philosophy daily as she teaches her students at Magnolia Middle School and runs her business, The Sweet Shop, at 828 46th Avenue.

“God gives you the road map, and you follow according to His will, said the 2005 graduate of Meridian High. “Your hard work and perseverance afford you the opportunity to see the fruits of your labor,” she says.

A former MHS Lady Wildcat basketball forward, Kennedy-Horner hopes she can make a difference in the community by doing more than just selling sweet treats.

“When I graduated from MHS, I vowed that my ties to home would only be to my family,” she recalled. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think God would order my steps to bring me back home to make a difference with children just as my teachers did with me. My childhood dreams of becoming an educator and an entrepreneur have come to fruition. What better place to turn a dream into reality than at home?”

Kennedy-Horner’s focus and hard work are paying off, as she prepares to celebrate her second season with a ribbon cutting at the Sweet Shop at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 21. The event will kick off a fun summer, providing the community with a healthy option for a cold and refreshing treats.

Sweet Shop features Italian ice that is gluten-free, fat-free, dairy-free, and cholesterol-free. With tasty flavors like watermelon and strawberry kiwi, Kennedy-Horner boasts that she can create whatever a customer’s heart desires.

One can also find popular fair items like candied apples, funnel cakes, and fried Oreos. This year, she will also offer select flavors of the Italian ice in pint-sizes to take home and enjoy.

And the shop is getting good reviews from locals, including Lisa Smiley, a regular. She says peaches and cream is her favorite flavor, but she loves Kennedy-Horner most of all.

“She always has a smile and gives great customer service,” she said.

“She knows us all by name, and she can usually guess our order when we see her,” she adds.

Paul Tarver, the owner of Quality PC, says he can hardly wait for Sweet Shop to open.

“I’ve driven by several times, hoping she would be in there setting up for her grand re-opening – I would love to catch my favorite: one scoop of strawberry and one scoop of Pina colada,” he said. “I met Brittany when we were members of the Downtown Optimist Club. I sat across the table from her and listened to her talking about her dream of opening this business. I am so proud of her. She has moved from educator to businesswoman; she is just ‘good people.’ It makes it fun to support her and her efforts in the community.”

Elizabeth LaBiche, who discovered Sweet Shop on social media, agrees.

"I find the Italian ice so refreshing,” she said. “Once I tried it, I was hooked. The flavor was so much better than a snowball. Brittany and her staff were very welcoming and excited about their venture. I love supporting a local family business."

Kennedy-Horner’s daughter, Amaria, and her niece, Alyssa, will be helping out at Sweet Shop this summer. Her husband Jaquinton also works off his list of “honey-dos” for the shop like, giving the store a fresh coat of paint.

Horner says he admires his wife’s motivation and her love for people.

“She is an independent lady who opened this business; this has always been her dream,” he said. “Her goal is to help the youth, and I am so happy I get to help her fulfill her plan.”

As a business owner, Kennedy-Horner wants to teach her students the benefits of hard work, responsibility, and integrity outside the classroom. She intends to mentor MPSD students as they undergo the application/interview process and then hire them at the Sweet Shop.

“I hope to partner with other companies in the hospitality industry to offer matching scholarships for some of these students, whether they focus on a trade or a college path,” she said. “When students work hard and maintain a respectable GPA, they should be rewarded for their efforts.”

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