Women in Small Business

October is Women's Small Business Month. My coworker Sarah Dudik set a goal to photograph and interview four of the (many!) women business owners downtown.

But October is also football season, and Sarah is rather busy shooting games. (And magazine assignments for the winter issue of Gadsden Style.) So, she recruited me to write the stories.

Then our editors decided to publish them on Saturdays and this October has five of those... so we expanded our series to cover five women who own businesses downtown.

First up was Michelle Bailey, owner of the fabric store Material Girls.

Photo by Sarah Dudik for The Gadsden Times

“I knew if I opened a business, it would be downtown,” she says.

Michelle is from Fayette. She fell in love with a Gadsden boy, Chad Bailey, while he was at the University of Alabama. They married, and Michelle moved to Gadsden, which is when she fell in love with the downtown district.

“It’s just beautiful — the trees, the sidewalks, the architecture,” she says.

Read the full story here.

Next, we visited Anna Heard at Jireh's Boutique & Gifts.

Photo by Sarah Dudik for The Gadsden Times

“I knew it would be more than just a place for people to shop,” she said. “We rejoice together. We laugh together. We celebrate together.

“It’s a girlfriend-family thing. Once they become a customer, they’re more like friends,” she said. “I’ve had some of my customers since day one. I’ve seen their children grow up. It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years. It’s been fun.”

Full story here.

The middle of the month went to Tammy Harvey at The Coffee Well.

Photo by Sarah Dudik for The Gadsden Times

“There are no words to express how much I enjoy meeting the people,” she said. “I love what I do. I’m here most every day from open to close. I’m afraid I’m going to miss somebody.”

Before owning a coffeehouse, Tammy was a one-cup-a-day drinker.

“I still don’t drink it all day,” she said. “I like the taste. It’s a neutralizer. So many people like it. It’s a common ground, an equalizer. People feel more open in a place like this.”

Tammy's tale is here.

Next, we went to Janice Sherrell, owner of Remona's LaDiva Boutique.

Photo by Sarah Dudik for The Gadsden Times

“There was a dress I wanted from Ike Saks, and I hoped my grandmother would buy it for me,” she recalled. “But she said, ‘Janice, I just can’t.’ So I went to Alabama Fabric Store and got fabric and ribbon. I made a dress by hand and wore it to the junior prom.”

These days, Sherrell lends her hand to girls in need of a special outfit for their high school milestones.

Raveen Martin, Gadsden City High School’s homecoming queen, wore a red dress from Remona’s in the homecoming parade.

Read all about Remona's here.

And we wrapped the series with Inez Fambrough and her drapery and design center.

Photo by Sarah Dudik for The Gadsden Times

“I’m well past retirement age but have never even thought about it,” said Fambrough.

The drapery and design center opened in 1989, but Fambrough managed the Sears custom shop for 23 years before that.

“Sears still sends me business sometimes,” she said.

Full story here.

Glad to have this assignment in the bag!

Assignment adjacent


I snapped a photo of these "cheesewagons" on my way to a photo assignment this morning.

I was at Convention Hall to take photographs of the Message in the Bottle symposium hosted by Keep Etowah Beautiful. The assignment was timed so I'd be there for the "critter show," because it's fun to see kids react to bugs and such...

Madagascar hissing roach on Noah

But I loved looking at all of the posters created by elementary school students.


Last week, I attended the Darden Rehabilitation awards luncheon and on my way out of the parking lot, a train passed in front of Back Forty Beer Company and I had just enough time to take this:

Back Forty, train

I posted a link to it on their Facebook page and they liked it, too. Here is their cropped and processed version:

Saunders Firm logo

A former Times coworker, Christina Saunders, is opening her law firm and needed a logo. I am honored that she came to me!

We used a swoopy S and peach accents to denote she's a gal and steady blues to convey her trustworthiness.

These are the initial mocks I sent her way:

Gadsden Style: Fall 2011 issue

The fall issue of Gadsden Style came out on Friday (a week late!) and I was so excited to have the final product in my hands. I think it’s our best issue yet.

Somehow, we ended with Too Much Content. A boon to our readers, a design conundrum for me. How to fit it all in and give everything its due?

On a couple of packages, I wished for more real estate to work with. Lisa Nail’s Arizona photos were spectacular and I really would have preferred four pages to showcase them, but I had to make do with three.

The James D. Martin package was a happy byproduct of little space. “There are how many photos with this story? And it’s how many inches long?”

My byline contributions to this issue were the Auburn and Alabama rooms. I considered myself neutral territory enough to write them both.

I am nerdily excited about the head and subhead of Jill’s story. I worked on that package on a day our editor Cyndi was not in the office and she is my Headline Guru. I sought the help of Kendra Carter, Auburn alum. She was like “maybe you could do a play on the Auburn creed in the subhead... you have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”

Nope. But she sent me the creed and voila! Subhead!

I confessed to both Tom and Jill that I am a Bama fan in pretty much name (and the occasional crimson tee) alone. If I have to pick a team, I pick the Tide because my parents met at the University and without it, I would not exist. But I know less than nothing about football. Well, I know that a “field goal” is 3 points and that a touchdown is either 6 or 7 and may involve one team getting the ball to the other end of the field.

I was super excited that the magazine came out on Friday and the following day, I got to see Club TBLTT in action.

Find your issue now!