Journal of 100 Miles

Celebrating the communities and culture along the 100 miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee.


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FACES OF THE TRACE 2009





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The Dragonfly Emporium

The dragonfly is a luminous creature of change and a messenger of life’s beauty, a reminder of the importance of making every minute special and to not limit ourselves.  It is also the inspiration behind the Dragonfly Emporium, a unique café housed in a small cottage, circa 1938, that sits on Second Avenue in Collinwood.

Owner David Harrison, grew up under the influence of an entrepreneurial father in the grocery business in West Tennessee. With years of retail experience, he took his knowledge to the bustling town of Atlanta, GA.  After spending a decade in the metropolitan area working in the restaurant business, he learned to enjoy the culture and the crowds, but knew it was time to make a change.

Family ties drew Harrison to Collinwood where his parents had bought his great-grandmothers house.  When fire overtook the home a few years ago, Harrison made a permanent move to help design and build a new home for them.   While looking for other work, he came across a job to renovate an old house, and noticing the “For Sale” sign, decided to make an offer on what appeared to be a promising venture.  In conversations with community members about what type of business might be needed, Harrison determined the town called for something new and different.  Marrying his knowledge of retail and a genuine knack for working with the public, Harrison came up with the perfect emporium experience, featuring locally created arts & crafts, antiques, gift items and a fun and inviting coffee lounge.

The atmosphere is definitely one of a cozy and eclectic ambiance.  A small front porch with a bistro table welcomes you as you enter.  On occasion, local artists will be creating their work out there.   Inside is a comfortable café surrounded by adjoining rooms that house the unique gifts and antiques while Big Band music plays overhead creating a hip and nostalgic vibe and very original environment.  David has made a successful attempt at creating a great brand – the name coming from serendipitous moments where the dragonfly would keep appearing – where people are proud to say, “I got this at the Dragonfly.”

The proprietor has a wonderful philosophy when it comes to owning a business, as he states, “To give people the best you can give them because they deserve it, there’s no reason not to give the best you can offer.”  Harrison speaks highly of the support and cooperation among the town of Collinwood and hopes he can contribute to building the town as a destination for travelers, as well as, a great place to shop for local folks.

Even more interesting, Harrison’s conviction on life, “Don’t put the good china in the cabinet, use it all the time and enjoy it.”  Just as the Dragonfly Emporium makes every minute special for visitors.

July 2009