(Southaven, MS) Donna Wadford runs the only cigar bar in Mississippi, and she chose Southaven for a reason.
”Southaven is a strong supporter of businesses and they had an open policy on smoking, so that’s one reason we came here."
But that’s about to change. Aldermen are looking at a smoking ban here.
"Yeah, it was a shocker because everybody around has done it and I don’t believe that’s the reason we need to do it, but I was a little shocked," said Wadford.
Tuesday night’s board meeting brought comments like this one from Southaven resident Don Daniels:
”This is not a smoking issue, this is not a wellness issue, that it is a liberty and freedom issue."
But Southaven has pledged to move ahead, while it protects some of its existing businesses.
Mayor Darren Musselwhite said by phone he wants to craft an ordinance that would exempt businesses like Wadford’s that depend on tobacco from the law, while clearing the air at other businesses that don’t.
If it doesn’t work out, business owners like Wadford say they’re making contingency plans.
”I've looked at the idea of maybe a private club for the smoking business. We’ve got to do something. Small businesses need help. We don’t need to be pushed away,” Wadford explained.
She says she’s here for the long haul no matter what.
”I’ve got a lot invested here, and I’m not ready to pick up roots. I love it here."
Hopefully she’ll never have to.