by Sophie McNeil Wolf
If you’ve ever done even just a little driving in Belhaven or Fondren, the name “Don Potts” may sound familiar.
That’s because one of Jackson’s most notable realtors probably has a “for sale” sign on a few of those streets.
If you happen to find yourself near Robin Drive in Fondren, it wouldn’t take long for you to also find the house of Don and Becky Potts. There’s the sprawling side garden, two greenhouses and, of course, Willow, the couple’s miniature horse. The Potts family has been a mainstay of the neighborhood since they moved here in 1989, from raising their three kids (Cedar, Maple and Linden) to being involved with organizations like Rainbow Co-op.
From the beginning, the vitality of the area and its citizens were important to the two Fondrenites. Both have worked closely with Rainbow Co-op and Don worked years ago with a few local realtors to create and market the boundaries of what we now call Fondren. In 2015, Don will also become president of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation board after years of service to the organization.
In real estate, Potts is one of the top names to call to bring in good neighbors if you’re near Fondren, Belhaven or Northeast Jackson. “I didn’t set out to be in real estate, but it’s worked out,” he says with a grin.
Love High Noon CafÃ© at Rainbow Co-op? Thank Don and Becky for that. The two started the cafÃ© in 1980 when space became available in Rainbow’s previous space in Triangle Mart. Equipped with only a crockpot and hot plate, the two say they didn’t last long. “Three months is all we could take (before selling),” says Becky.
The Potts make “no bones” about being vegetarian. “I grew up like everyone else with roast beef and mashed potatoes,” says Becky. But today their life looks very different. The Potts don’t use a microwave and rarely use the stove on a daily basis. Their completely organic garden is also a testament to their lifestyle, filled in late fall with lots of leafy greens such as broccoli, three kinds of kale, swiss chard and spinach. Don takes the greens each morning and makes a smoothie with a handful of the greens and homemade almond milk to the gym.
Ask the UPS delivery man where the Potts live and he’ll tell you it is the “house with the horse.” The Potts first got a horse at the interest of their youngest daughter Cedar. Though their daughter is grown, the love of horses remains with Willow. Rescued from Tyler, Texas after their first horse, Little River passed away, Willow can usually be found munching grass in the side yard.
Beyond the fence, there’s a fair share of quiet places to hang out and yard art, like Becky’s mother’s (Roberta Phay) prominent art in the back. There are a few signs too, like the reminder to “Keep Fondren Funky,” thanks to Felder Rushing. “Felder had a few made up and one day we just found it in the yard,” said Don.
And “funky” they’ll stay. “I did catch a little flack (about the sign) from neighbors who said, ‘We don’t want Fondren to be funky, we want Fondren to be sophisticated.’”
“Well, whatever,” he says with a laugh and a shrug.