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Jacksonville Couple Up For $25,000 National Business Prize

A Jacksonville couple wants to open a lounge serving up sweet treats and sweet music in Springfield.

The Sweet Spot and Urban Lounge is a step closer to becoming a brick and mortar location after winning a national small-business contest — and now it’s in the running for a $25,000 grand prize.


On a rainy Tuesday at the Beaver Street Farmer's Market, Michelle McInnis was restocking pepper jelly, her most popular treat.

“You can use it on sandwiches, any place you would put mayonnaise or mustard,” she said. “You can also use it on shrimp or put it on chicken. You can mix it with your barbeque sauce and just add a little heat.”

Her stand is decorated with potted plants and white lights strung up around her businesses banner reading “The Sweet Spot Urban Lounge.”


Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

McInnis and her husband Dabbs have been selling jellies, cookies and pies, along with other treats at the farmer’s market for a couple years. He also works as a D.J. Now they’re looking to open their own lounge in Springfield. The plan: to fulfill what McInnis calls a family-entertainment void in the area and employ people with disabilities.

“We both have children that have learning disabilities,” McInnis said. “So it was very important to us to make sure as parents that our kids have the best possible lives,’ she said. And that they will have a very bright future.”

She said the food she makes is dictated by donations she receives. For instance a recent gift of apples turned into jars of apple butter. She said nothing should go to waste.

Sweet Spot was one 103 businesses nationwide to win $1,000 to Sam’s Club and a year-long business mentorship. Judges will pick a grand champion and receive a prize of $25,000 this summer. McInnis says that would be a big help as she and her husband try to save up for a lease and prepare for possible renovations to a space she has her eye on.