For over three decades The Pecan House in McHenry has been offering delicious pecans, as well as a large variety of other homemade treats, for Mississippi locals and tourists alike. If you’ve never had the chance to visit the rustic looking building on Route 49 though, you may be in for a surprise, as The Pecan House offers much more than just edible delights.

Open every day of the year besides Christmas and Easter, The Pecan House is a family business owned by Phyllis Shoemake and her husband Billy, who took over the establishment from her late mother Barbara Overstreet in 2000. Originally built with reclaimed wood from an old pickle plant in Wiggins, The Pecan House has a quaint charm that brings a warm feeling upon entering.

Walking into The Pecan House your senses are immediately stimulated not only by the aroma of the savory snacks they make on the premises, but also from all the unique decorative items that literally fill the place from floor to ceiling. You can find crosses, candles, picture frames, jewelry, and dozens of other distinctive gifts for the home or that special someone.

When I asked Shoemake about how she goes about finding such interesting things to sell, she told me: “I try to find something that’s unusual. That’s probably the hardest part of the job. Coming up with food items, you can pretty much just taste and test, see if it works, but the products in the store are probably the hardest.

You’re trying to find something that’s unique, and when somebody walks in the door, they’re like, “This is such a cute shop!” That’s what you’re looking for. Something that you don’t see everywhere.”

While I was definitely impressed by all of the charming offerings stylishly arranged by her decorator cousin Michael Dickens throughout the store, seeing all the goodies under the glass display case had my mouth watering, so I asked Shoemake to bring me behind-the-scenes to see how they make some of their over one hundred different types of tasty creations.

When we went to the back of the store into the kitchen, Shoemake went into detail about the production process, and what goes into making some of the popular treats that include cakes, candy, pies, pralines, and pecan logs. She told me: “We don’t use anything but natural preservatives. We keep a little back-stock on everything, but we make everything pretty much in small batches in order to keep everything fresh. That was one of momma’s big things – keeping everything fresh.”

Next, I was introduced to cook Diane Fritado, who has worked for The Pecan House for the past six and half years. She was in the process of hand-dipping pecans into vats of melted dark & white chocolate. When I asked her how many she dipped in a typical day, she told me each tray holds about 120 pecans, and she’ll often make three trays of each flavor. After trying out the hand-dipping process for myself, and getting to taste the results, I wondered just how many chocolate pecans would end up in my mouth everyday if I had her job.

After finishing up my tour, I asked Shoemake what’s her favorite memory of running The Pecan House. She said: “I guess the most favorite is I can still picture my mother sitting up on this counter with a big piece of fudge. She loved candy, and she loved sharing it with her customers. She’d look out the window and see somebody coming in, and she’d know what they wanted, their names, and half of their backgrounds. She had an awesome memory.”

Judging by the guest book filled with dozens of signatures and praises from those who have visited, I’m guessing Shoemake has kept her mother’s tradition alive and well, and will be doing so for many years to come.

The Pecan House is open every day of the week, three hundred and sixty-three days a year. Besides the numerous gift and candy items, they offer a dozen different types of glazed or flavored pecans, all of which can be included in a variety of gift baskets, boxes, or tins. For more information visit or call 601-928-5194

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