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Sweet Shop owner dies

By By Janet Little Cooper
The Sweet Shop restaurant was a household name in Atmore for more than five decades for the good home-cooking and delicious desserts that were served up daily.
As word surfaced this week that the Sweet Shop's founder, Collie Sharpless had died at the age of 101, residents began to reminisce about the quaint downtown landmark and its owner.
"She was well-known for her lemon ice-box pie," Ernestine Miniard said. "It was the most delicious pie ever. They had a cook that everyone called 'Cookie' who actually made the pies."
Miniard remembers Sharpless and her husband William working seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch and supper while she worked above the Sweet Shop for 18 months operating WATM radio station.
The Sweet Shop was appropriately named from all the accounts that referred to the delicious lemon icebox pie and the banana pudding.
"My husband and I went to the Sweet Shop often," Lucille King Swift said. "It was a treat to drive from Frisco City to Atmore. We ate breakfast there a good bit and always counted a trip there as a treat. My husband, Bush King, was extremely fond of Mrs. Sharpless' banana pudding she made with peaches instead of bananas and he often enjoyed it when she would make it with pineapples instead of bananas as well."
Another Atmore resident had fond memories of the Sweet Shop, after all it was her first job as a young 14-year-old.
"Myself and four of my sisters went to work for Mrs. Sharpless in 1950," Cleo Sellers said. "I worked there for four years as a waitress. Mrs. Sharpless was such a nice lady. They were both just your everyday regular people. They were really good to me and my sisters. There were five of us in our family and they were just always so nice to us. A lot of people came and went in the time we worked there, The lemon ice box pie was the absolute favorite of most everyone who came in."
Sharpless and her husband Will built a house on Horner Street behind the Episcopal Church and worked both day and night at the family style restaurant. The couple owned the restaurant for more than 20 years before selling it to William Sharpless' brother Guy Sharpless, who purchased it for his daughter. At that time the couple moved, living near Pensacola, Fla., where Sharpless passed away Sunday, Aug. 6, 2006.
Years later the restaurant was once again sold to the Pipkin brothers of Atmore.
It was then, that Jack and Claytie Dew purchased the business and operated it until it's closing in the early 1990's.
Atmore mayor Howard Shell said that the Sharpless family was one of Atmore's earliest families that contributed to the town's development by building up the business center.
Collie Roan Sharpless was laid to rest in a graveside service Wednesday, Aug. 9 at Oak Hill Cemetery in Atmore.