Editors Note: South Georgia Today is pleased to present this limited run series, Hahira’s Working Women. This series will focus on the amazing women who own or manage a business in Hahira, or hold a position of leadership within this small community. These articles will run twice a week until all of these amazing women have told their stories. You won’t want to miss a single one of these stories.
Sissie Tait is not your average business owner. She never really wanted to be self-employed. She made her living cleaning houses and enjoyed her work. After moving to Hahira in 1992, she began to build her house cleaning business while spending time in Lakeland with her father. It was during this time that one of her clients asked her a life-altering question. Out of the blue, he asked her if she had ever thought about becoming a jeweler.
With that small seed planted, Sissie prayed about it and began to examine her options. In 2007, she and her husband took the plunge and opened their small jewelry store, Sissie’s Jewels & Treasures, in Lakeland. The store was incredibly small, but it served its purpose and it allowed her to see her dad whenever she wanted. Although she didn’t really like the drive, she did it anyway because that was where her father called home.
As time passed, she began to look at life differently. She had stopped smoking in 1999 and began to live a healthier lifestyle. She began to exercise and worked hard to improve her diet. Along with her faith, her dedication to improving her health also grew. She learned as much about her health as she could and began to practice yoga. Combined with her now growing business, she knew she was on the right path.
After her father passed away, the only thing that kept her going to Lakeland was the jewelry store. Again, she relied on prayer to guide her. Her goal in life was to “serve the Lord to the fullest every day.” She and her husband began the search for a new building in Hahira that would allow her to work closer to home. In January of 2018, the opportunity they were looking for landed in their lap.
When the property at 200 Church Street came up for sale, she used her inheritance to purchase the buildings. The main building was perfect for the jewelry business, while the small space next door was ideal for a small studio. With the purchase of both buildings, she found she could easily open a yoga studio as a side business to the jewelry store. She knew the property had a purpose and she felt that she had been guided there at the right time to make her dreams a reality.
Sissie’s journey to better health introduced her to yoga and she revelled in the health benefits it offered her. With the additional space converted into a studio, she introduced yoga to the residents of Hahira. Her classes are held in a relaxing atmosphere that allows the participants to relax and release the stress that can often lead to other, more significant health problems. She understands that every community needs a peaceful place and she works hard to make sure her small studio offers that atmosphere to anyone interested in taking one of her classes.
Since moving to Hahira in 1992, she has grown to love the community and its people. Her connection to the other residents in the area allows her to build a strong network that enabled her to help others improve their health and well-being. She knows she can give them the tools to regain their own health, just like she did several years ago. Guided by her faith, she works daily to offer the residents of Hahira insights into a healthier, more positive lifestyle.
Anyone who meets Sissie quickly learns that she doesn’t know a stranger. When she greets you at the counter, she is always wearing a smile. She has learned many lessons in life but for her the most important one is to “follow where the Lord leads you.” She has done just that and He provided her with the opportunities she needed to become a successful and thriving business owner. It may not be what she thought she would be doing for the rest of her life, but Tait says “when you are put on your path and guided by your faith, you don’t say no.”
Her decision to quit smoking many years ago, started several things in motion. The ability to regain her health inspired her to want to help others do the same. With the opening of the yoga studio, she has been able to work with others, sharing what she has learned in the hopes of helping them regain their health as well. She loves the Hahira community and does everything she can to be an active and positive influence to everyone she meets. While she never dreamed of being self-employed, she loves what she does and the new opportunities it offers her on a daily basis.
Visit Sissie in her studio, SJ&T Yoga, at 200 Church Street in Hahira. You will definitely leave with a smile and possibly a few new yoga poses for good measure.