Palace City Profile: Explore the world, but there's no place like Mitchell
Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the individuals who live and/or work in Mitchell.
Alexandra and Kris Morris have traveled to many places in the United States, and even outside the country, but when it was time to settle down and start a family and a business, they came home to Mitchell.
Alexandra grew up in Mitchell and graduated from high school here. She attended Southeast Technical Institute, then enlisted in the National Guard. She was in the guard for seven years; the experience took her all over the United States, and in 2015, she was deployed to Kuwait.
Kris is a Mount Vernon native who was employed in woodworking from the time he was in high school until he decided to start his own business this past September. He has been in the National Guard since 2010, and for him it was part of a family legacy of military service.
"When you are part of a military family, you know it's a commitment to contribute to something that's bigger than you," he said.
One of their favorite trips was when the two of them met in Ireland while Alexandra was stationed in Kuwait.
"If we couldn't live in Mitchell, we'd live in Ireland," said Alexandra.
This past year has been one of significant change for the couple; they married, welcomed a daughter, Marlow, and started Morris Custom Concepts, a woodworking and cabinet-making company based out of their home shop.
Kris is the hands-on builder and designer, and Alexandra created the website and handles most of the business duties, although she continues to work full time at Krohmer Plumbing as a residential estimator. She's been at Krohmer's since 2012 and has designed many of the showroom displays that feature Kris' cabinets and woodworking.
"I always wanted to start my own business," Kris said. "My goal is to have four or five employees, and to include family as much as possible."
Meeting new people and working to make a client's vision a reality are Kris' favorite parts of being a business-owner, aside from the actual creative work. The paperwork, not so much.
"Working with contracts and insurance has been the biggest adjustment," he said.
The Morrises decided to make their home in Mitchell for several reasons. One, they both have family here, and they want their daughter and future children to grow up around grandparents. Also, they felt greatly supported by the community while Alexandra was deployed. Finally, Mitchell's reputation as being loyal to small, local, family-owned businesses was appealing.
"We are extremely grateful, even for tiny jobs," said Alexandra. "They're all part of our growth."
When they aren't working — and work "takes about 90 percent of our time" according to Kris — Alexandra and Kris enjoy the outdoors, including Lake Mitchell and camping. They have found that making their home in Mitchell has fit their lifestyle.
"I appreciate the sense of community here," said Kris. "I like to know my neighbors."
"When you're in high school, you can't wait to leave your hometown," said Alexandra. "But after being stationed in South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi and California during my National Guard training, no place compares to Mitchell. It's big enough, but small enough. We love Mitchell, and we're excited to grow our business and our family here."