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Southern Hospitality

Shaun Tolson

Will Pace found the inspiration to open Circle Seven Outpost & Provisions (www.circle7online.com) in Madison, Miss., while flipping through a Filson catalog in the fall of 2007. He recalls seeing the image of a rugged outdoorsman stepping off a floatplane with a leather travel bag flung over his shoulder. Pace, an avid outdoorsman himself, immediately connected with the scene. Beyond that, he knew that no establishment in his area offered that type of product or lifestyle; the sporting apparel sold locally was mostly camouflage patterned and usually made from synthetic, moisture-wicking materials.

Once Filson had agreed to outfit Pace’s independent store with its clothing and other product lines, other notable brands like Alden and Barbour soon followed. “I was drawn to these brands that you couldn’t find locally,” he says. Today, Pace’s family-run shop carries about 10 high-end outdoorsman brands, including London-based gunsmith James Purdey & Sons, which he says is proving to be a top seller. “One of the highest-grade guns that we sell, the Purdey Sporter, enters the market at just over $50,000,” he says, “and we’ve sold four of those guns right here in Madison.”

Beyond the products that it sells, Pace’s 4,400-square-foot shop stands out for its generous helping of Southern hospitality. Mint juleps often are served in the breezeway on hot summer days, and Pace almost always finds a way to honor special requests. “We carry some of the most exclusive brands, but we do it in a very understated and down-home atmosphere. We know where we are and are comfortable with that,” he explains. “It’s hard to be too uppity here in the state of Mississippi.”

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Photo by Ted Morrison