Nearly four months ago Teresa Sosebee received a medical diagnosis to make any child shudder.
Her father, just in his late 50s, had 24-48 hours to live as he battled vascular dementia and repeated strokes, a physician told her.
In the hours following that diagnosis, she made her dad a pledge.
“He told me that he wanted to see me do what he had done some day,” Sosebee said. “He did so much for our family and gave back to his community.
“I promised him after that diagnosis that I was going to make that happen.”
Beginning Friday the journey arrives.
Sosebee will open Clementine’z at 3320 State 386 which she described as a produce market/general store.
"Not just your average general store," she said.
To begin, the store will be open 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. ET every day but Tuesday at the outset, though Sosebee said the hours will also depend on the season,
The produce side of the store is something that Sosebee carries in the genes.
Founded by her grandfather in 1937, Sosebee’s Produce was a supplier from North Georgia to western North Carolina for decades.
Her father took over the business upon his father’s death and continued the business until his illness just over four years ago.
After 12 years in the medical field and her dad very sick, Sosebee decided the time was right for a move.
Her dad wanted to be near the ocean and they had relatives that spoke glowingly of the area.
She said they had been welcomed and nurtured by the community the past four years.
And when she says her store will feature fresh produce, given her family’s connections in the business, Sosebee means fresh.
“When I think of it I say farm to table,” she said.
In addition to a regional network, Sosebee said she would be tapping into local resources, receiving fresh eggs from Wewahitchka and fresh Tupelo honey products from keepers based in Overstreet.
The general store side of the endeavor, she added, will also take advantage of an array of locally produced items, from toiletries to sundries.
And once a month, Sosebee will hold a kind of mini-farmers market, what she called a “bazaar”, outside her store.
She will invite four or five vendors, of the variety one might encounter at Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach farmers markets, to showcase their wares for a day.
“I want to bring local art to the store,” Sosebee said. “It’s really important to me.”
She will focus on what she called “cost-effective” merchandise: the vendor makes a living but nothing beyond the means of a traveler along the road.
“It wouldn’t make sense to have $200 items,” Sosebee said. “I want to make it cost-effective for everyone.”
And while she will not require, she will encourage each of those vendors to set aside a percentage of their sales that day to be used as a contribution to a local charity.
“My soft spot is the elderly,” Sosebee said, noting the work of Cross Shores Care Center.
Speaking of which, it would be appropriate here to mention that four months after that horrific diagnosis, Sosebee’s father celebrated a birthday Tuesday and was recently discharged from hospice care.
“This is all about him,” Sosebee said of her store.
Vendors interested in being part of Sosebee’s monthly bazaars can call her at 630-7743.