Growing in the Roots of Success
Bill Marable // Journalist
Jackson, Tenn. - Growing up as a young boy in Milan, Tennessee, Vincent Essay Floyd didn’t think much of his middle name. In fact, he thought of it with an air of destain every time he heard it called.
“I was like, no other kids have a name like ‘Essary’ and that was
weird for me,” said Floyd in a recent West Tenn Examiner GoodNEWS
“I used to wish I could change it to something else,” he said
admittedly. “That is until I began to learn what that name meant.”
Today, Floyd is the proud owner of Moffitt’s Wine & Spirits,
Milan’s first ‘official’ liquor store. It is located at 1023 SW Front
Street in a building that was once owned by Floyd’s grandfather,
Essary Moffitt. The business is named in his honor.
“As I got older, I began to hear my older relatives talk about my
grandfather,” said Floyd. Then one day my aunt told me that I was
give his name and he died just six months after I was born.”
From that point on, instead of shunning his middle name, Floyd
endeavored to learn more about his namesake.
One thing he discovered, was that his grandfather was a businessman
in a time when being Black and a business owner in the south was in
many ways a challenge.
Essary Moffitt owned rental properties and a general store.
“I found out that the building that now houses Moffitt’s Wine &
Spirits was once my grandparents neighborhood store,” said Floyd who
also operates a barber shop in the building adjacent to Moffitt’s.
“I had just kind of taken things for granted. You know. My
grandfather left this old building for the family. I really didn’t
realize the significance of it all until I began the journey of trying
to establish Milan’s first liquor store.”
Floyd said that as he traveled around Milan, gathering the
necessary signatures required to have the creation of a liquor store
put on the ballot, he would hear stories about his grandfather and his
Floyd soon discovered that in addition to operating a successful
neighborhood store, Essary Moffitt was the brewer of what many
referred to as the “best moonshine in West Tennessee.”
How ironic that some forty-plus years after his death, the legacy
of Essary Moffitt would be reborn in the very place where he
distributed his famous spirits.
According to Floyd, the store allowed his grandfather access to buy
sugar in large quantities in which he used to make his white whiskey
Floyd says he still marvels at the things he has learned about his
grandfather over the years.
“I sometimes just sit in my car and watch as customers go in and
come out of Moffitt’s and I think about how my grandfather would feel
if he were here today. I think he would be veryproud.”
Moffitt’s Wine & Spirits is open Monday through Saturday from 8
a.m. until 11 p.m. You can call 731-238-2212 to see if they carry
your favorite brand orlog on to their website: