By Dennis Seid Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneurs Vickie Ramirez and Kim Waddle may not actually be sisters but the bond they've forged creating their company "Southern Sisters Catering" can not be denied.
The buyers and sellers of furniture, mattresses, accessories and other items at the Tupelo Furniture Market don't always have time to get away from the complex to eat.
A handful of entrepreneurs set up restaurants at the twice-yearly market to make sure market attendees fill their bellies.
Among them is Simply Southern Sisters Catering, which is based in nearby Blue Springs.
Vickie Ramirez and Kim Waddle partnered three years ago to start the business. Two years ago, they began selling food in Building V at the market.
"This is the closest thing we'll have as a restaurant," Waddle said with a laugh. "We know how hard it is to run a restaurant, so we're happy to just do it twice a year and just keep on catering."
Ramirez and Waddle aren't sisters, but they've grown close; Waddle's boyfriend is Ramirez's brother.
"We're so close, we might as well be sisters," Ramirez said.
The idea to start a business together began four years ago when Ramirez had a baby shower for her niece and did the cooking.
Waddle did the decorating.
"We made it really pretty, and we knew that was some of our passions of doing this," Ramirez said. "We talked about it and decided in 2013 to open our business together."
Simply Southern Sisters uses recipes time-tested -- and taste-tested -- from both families.
The pecan-crusted pork loin and apple cider pork loin -- marinated with the "good stuff" Ramirez said -- are the most popular entrees for catering events, though not necessarily at the market.
"There are a lot of people who don't eat pork at the market," she said.
Nevertheless, Simply Southern Sisters develops a menu for each market that changes daily. They also have sandwiches.
Then there's the white chocolate bread pudding, a hit at every market.
"People will ask us when we're having it," Ramirez said.
Some foods that come up on their own, like Friday's Italian chicken pasta with spinach.
"She can do that, throw something together and you have a great meal," Waddle said.
Simply Southern Sisters wasn't looking to be a vendor at the market in 2013. They were walking around, hoping to cater to some of the larger exhibitors when they were asked if they'd like to become a vendor.
They made a small meal for market officials to give them a sampling of what they would offer, and it clearly impressed them. "They said, 'we want you here,' and the rest is history," Ramirez said.