- There are over 40 varieties of cakes, including gluten-free, in this West Point hot spot. Purchase a slice or take home a box from the freezer.
Luann Purnell, co-owner of Jubilations, placed a small dish of their famous sausage balls on the table. I snapped a picture for this article. Then I tried one. Slowing chewing the warm morsel. I might have said, “Mmm…” before I said, “This is so good!”
With a smile, Luann said, “I know, we have considered changing our logo to say, ‘Cheesecake, Coffee House, and Sausage Balls.’ We sell a lot of these, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Maybe they should add Valentine’s Day to that list.
What a delectable item for breakfast or brunch – nobody can eat just one.
A Family Business with a Big Heart
“Sweet Dreams” was the initial name for the business created by Tammy Craddock. But she learned another company had the trademark for that name, so she changed the name to “Jubilations.” The name means “an act of rejoicing, an expression of great joy,” according to Merriam-Webster’s definition.
Mrs. Craddock began baking in her home kitchen for a local shop in 1983. She moved her business from her farmhouse to a warehouse on Gardner Boulevard in Columbus. Financing for business was complex, and the warehouse required renovation to make it conducive for baking, boxing, and shipping. Mississippi State University’s Food and Fiber Center played a significant role in helping her. With determination and hard work, she created over 40 delicious cheesecake flavors.
In an article written years ago by Sylvia Higginbotham for CLEDA, Tammy said, “We’ve filled a 12,500 handmade cheesecake order for Cracker Barrel, and we sold more than 1,000 cakes in less than ten minutes on QVC home shopping network. There’s no doubt our ability to produce volume without sacrificing quality,”
“I’ve never lost a taste test,” she added confidently.
The successful business brought awards and accolades for Tammy Craddock. Then, came 9-11, orders dropped off, and she didn’t understand why. She contacted George Purnell, a consultant in the hospitality industry. The business grew again. Then, after twenty years, Tammy decided to retire around 2013. It was a natural next step for George and Luann Purnell to purchase and continue Jubilations, especially with George’s extensive background in the hospitality industry. He worked for Purnell’s Pride Chicken, a family business in Tupelo. When the company sold, he moved to Sara Lee Meats (Bryan Foods in West Point), then National Steak & Poultry. He now works for Dot Foods and oversees the operation of Jubilations.
The family business also involves his wife, Luann. A former schoolteacher, today she uses her skills to oversee the fundraising division, give guided tours, and work on new recipes. Their daughter, Susie, lives in Tennessee and is an ESL teacher. She helps with fundraising as a sales agent for Tennessee. Their son, Ray, is an engineer with another corporation but offers advice and ideas for a new recipe. His latest delicious suggestion is Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, added to the product line in the fall of 2023.
In our interview, I could hear the passion of George and Luann’s hearts. They desire to provide high-quality products and operate a business with excellence. That means they want to meet their customers’ expectations and exceed them whenever possible.
A Ministry of Love and Service
George and Luann have a sincere desire to invest in their employees. They aim to recognize each employee’s natural gifts and watch them grow as individuals and employees. Over the years, Jubilations has been the initial place of employment for juniors and seniors in high school and college students. Many first-time employees learn the importance of coming to work on time, safety, teamwork, and cleanliness.
“It has been fun to watch the employees of a certain age set the pace for a strong work ethic. Parents are also happy to see their children working in a great, safe working environment,” states George.
The Purnells are involved with a local program called “Gateway.” The high school students are taught how to complete job applications, dress for an interview, and do a job interview. In the fall of 2023, four students interested in the hospitality industry came to Jubilations to work. Other organizations have sent individuals to work at the Coffee House. They also work with the culinary departments at Mississippi University for Women and East Mississippi Community College. Students help with the development of new recipes and more.
Like proud parents, George and Luann love pouring into their employees. There is a mutual respect and love for each other. Additionally, they enjoy hearing from former employees. Many have told the Purnells, “This is the best job I have ever had.” And that means jubilation for everyone!
Celebrate with Cakes and Coffee
When the Purnells purchased Jubilations, they moved the operation to 6070 Highway 45, Alt South in West Point. They wanted to add a full-service Coffee House, a gathering spot for friends, family, students, and businesses. While in the Coffee House, take a “sneak peek” through the large window. You can watch the bakers at work—mixing, baking, and icing. There are two shifts. I had the opportunity to watch the bakers mix the ingredients for cheesecakes. It is an excellent place for schools and church groups to come. Please schedule a date for a tour.
The Purnells continue to use Tammy’s secret recipes, but they have expanded their product line with sausage balls, money bread, scones, and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. You can select soups and sandwiches from the menu if you stop in for lunch. And don’t forget afternoon coffee and a slice of cheesecake or cake.
There are over 40 varieties of cakes, including gluten-free. Be sure to purchase a slice or take home a box from the freezer. My favorite cheesecake is the Southern Caramel Praline Pecan. However, during my interview, Luann brought me several slices of various cakes to sample. The Chocolate Explosion Cake was simply divine. Wiping the rich chocolate from my lips, I asked about the calorie count. Her reply, “Oh, we don’t talk about that. But it is worth every bite.” I concur!
What is Luann’s favorite? She said, “I really like the coconut, but there is also the carrot, chocolate, and strawberry.” And once you’ve tried their cakes, you will find there isn’t just one favorite, but many, maybe all. High Point Roasters located in Tupelo and Umble Coffee from Starkville provide fresh roasted coffee. Jubilations offers Waverly Sunrise Blend, Costa Rica Roast, Colombia Supremo Roast, and other blends.
Additional Ingredients of Jubilations
If you can’t make it to West Point and don’t want to order online or need a cake immediately, visit the Kroger stores throughout Mississippi or Piggly Wiggly. Jubilations products are also delivered to restaurants throughout the state.
There is the E-commerce side. Products are delivered across the nation, even Alaska and Hawaii. Visit their website for “The Perfect Valentine’s Day Dessert” and other celebrations and occasions. I guarantee the recipient will savor every bite. And don’t forget to send the coffee.
Contact Luann Purnell or review the fundraising information if you need a new fundraising idea. Christmas is their busiest season. Schools, Beta Clubs, Show Choirs, sports teams, individuals involved with pageants, youth conferences, and church groups have used this successful program.
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Luann and George and receiving their hospitality. I felt right at home. But most of all, I saw that God was using this couple and their gifts to touch the lives of many—bringing joy in various ways. And that is the heart of Jubilations!
Join their Facebook group, Jubilations Coffee House, to keep up with the latest sweet specialties and roasted coffee.
Jubilations Cheesecake & Coffee House
6070 Highway 45 Alt South
West Point, MS 39773
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Closed on Sunday
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