Lil’ Town, Lotta Love
Written by: Allison Henley
Photos Courtesy of: Janeane Marie Photography
How would it feel to find a go-to boutique with the perfect gift for everyone on your list? Luckily, that place exists at Sweet and Southern Finds in Taylor, less than than an hour’s drive to the northeast side of Austin. This boutique/bakery duo is at the corner of 6th and Main Street. The idyllic location attracts both locals and passersby traveling on Highway 95. This charming shop adds creativity and light to the community, and revitalizes Downtown.
The building that now houses Sweet and Southern Finds has undergone quite a metamorphosis, going through several owners and business models since its beginning in 1923, when it was built as the Magnolia Filling Station. After the closure of the filling station, the building housed a taxi service until its acquisition by the grandfather of the current owner, Karyn Morris, in 1983. During the years of family ownership, this quaint building housed Collections Unique, a store run by Karyn’s grandmother, aunt, and mother, which consisted of Merle Norman Cosmetics, along with other vendors to bring a “fun shopping experience” to the corner building. Collections Unique was housed in the building from 1985 until 2000, when the space was leased to other vendors.
In 2016, inspired by childhood memories in her grandfather’s antique store and her love of finding new purpose in old pieces, Karyn Morris, along with her husband, Jeff, took the leap and took ownership of the building. The Morris duo comes from a business background; with Karyn’s BS in Accounting from Abilene Christian University, and Jeff’s MBA from Texas A&M, their expertise has provided a solid foundation on which to build this dream.
The beautifully staged shop boasts true Texas charm, carrying items such as home décor, locally handmade bookmarks, jewelry, boutique-style clothing, coffee mugs, and much more. Karyn describes the items sold in her shop as a mixture of new and old. “We have antiques, furniture, home décor, seasonal décor, some clothing and jewelry, sweet-smelling candles, and more,” she said. “Our style is a combination of vintage, farmhouse, and light rustic themes, but our goal is always to provide cozy goods that will warm a home.”
When Karyn was asked of her favorite items in the shop, she responded: “I love Taylor, so I would have to say the ‘lil’ town, lotta love’ items (shirts, mugs, tea towels, and magnets) are a favorite. I love hearing the stories of where these items are going and seeing pictures that customers send of their travels and life repping their lil’ town gear. We also have some custom pieces in the shop that are built by my dad: farm tables and benches, ladders, console tables. It is always neat when someone spots one of them, and it is the perfect piece for their home.”
Reflecting on her business, Karyn continued to say, “When people think of Sweet and Southern Finds, I want it to be a place where they can come to reminisce, grab a gift, share a memory, or take a piece they’ve fallen in love with to its forever home.”
To truly embrace the small-town vibe, Karyn is proactive in fostering a sense of community with other local retailers. She participates in the Downtown Promotions Committee to collaborate and provide input for the many events held in Taylor. Sweet and Southern Finds has participated in local community events such as Blackland Prairie Days, the fall Spooktacular, Merry Weekend, Christmas Bazaar, and the Wine Swirl. Additionally, Sweet and Southern Finds participates in Third Thursdays, which is when “a few shops stay open late to create a fun shopping experience,” Karyn explained. “I like to spotlight some of the amazing vendors I have in the shop and invite them to set up for the evening. This has been a successful way to bring in new customers that are connected through my vendors, as well as promote their businesses to my regular folks.”
Karyn’s view of the future of Sweet and Southern Finds reflects her personable nature and the value she places on relationships. “By continuing to promote local vendors, expanding inventory and always finding unique pieces to showcase in the shop, we are helping to create that environment where people want to come be a part of it.”
With the holidays just around the corner, pop in and visit this adorable shop to find some perfect gifts for just about anyone on your list! Sweet and Southern Finds will not disappoint.