West End: Spears Cafe
Coe and Loretha Spears are lifelong residents of Jackson County, having grown up in Marianna and Graceville respectively. The two have been together for 34 years. For the past 8 years, they have served as a staple in the community as the owners of the Spears’ Cafe, a soul food restaurant located in Marianna.
After high school, Coe joined the Army and was stationed in Germany for three years before returning to California for the year. While in the military, he also attended the University of Maryland and the University of San Diego. Loretha attended Graceville High School and has lived in Jackson County for most of her life. Her mother had worked at a seafood restaurant and the couple credit her as the reason their seafood is so special.
Like many others, the couple suffered damage to their business during Hurricane Michael, with a tree falling on their restaurant during the storm. Despite the damage and lack of power, the couple, still having access to water and gas, went to work with flashlights in hand. They cooked food for residents of Marianna following the storm. Despite not having electricity for months, the couple continued cooking food for the community in the weeks following the storm and would both drive to Alabama frequently to bring back food to cook. They both sold and gave away a lot of food to the community during this time.