Shop’s grand opening was ‘Smiley’ celebration

Published 1:31 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

My initial meeting with Jennifer and Criss Smiley last summer was delightful and promising as they walked me through their dream space—Smiley Brothers Specialty Foods—under construction. Their description of the finishing touches was captivating. A couple who met on opposite sides of the hospitality business—Jennifer in accounting and Criss as a chef—these two share the expertise to bring this dream to fruition.

Attending their recent opening celebration, I found the final product of the Smiley’s dream come true entrancing. A combination of new construction partnered with old world charm creates a beautifully balanced ambience of inviting warmth.

Criss and Jennifer Smiley are excited to have Smiley Brothers Specialty Foods open for business. (Contributed)

Upon arrival, I found Jennifer Smiley talking with friends.

“This shingle looks like it has a story,” I said, pointing to the tin-covered eave above the butcher shop.

“It’s their story,” Smiley said as she introduced me to Kim and Ron Parton.

“That’s the tin siding from the old building on our property,” Kim Parton said, sharing that she and her husband own the old Hodgens’ property in Pelham. “The table is made from the old barn floor and the wood wrap above the deli and cheese counter is from the barn roof.”

“You’ve given pieces of old Pelham a new home,” I said.

“We’re glad to add to Smiley Brothers,” Kim Parton said. “Criss and Jennifer Smiley are old friends. I’ve been the letter carrier to Jennifer’s office for years. I miss seeing them every day now that they moved here.”

With so much of the Parton’s place around, Kim is sure to be thought of daily.

Running into Kelly and Harper Whitman, I asked if they’d tried any of Smiley’s offerings yet.

“Harper brought home the rubbed chicken. It was delicious,” Kelly Whitman raved.

After taking a before photo at our original meeting, I promised the Smileys I’d return for a follow up.

“Time for that after photo,” I said to Criss Smiley.

Grinning, he coaxed his wife into camera range.

Promise kept.

Visit Smiley Brothers Specialty Foods at the intersection of Highway 52 and Huntley Parkway behind CVS. Visit them on Facebook at