By DiVonta Palmer, Intern
Montgomery, AL-March is the month of Women’s History Month! It is the time where we celebrate those women who have done, doing, and will do amazing things. Mrs. Patricia Thomas is one of those women. She is the proud owner and manager of Patricia’s Boutique which is still going strong over 20 years and counting and has been in business for over 40 years and counting. Aside from running her shop, she is also an independent insurance agent who does several insurances such as life, health, disability income, etc. and has been doing that since 1977.
Mrs. Thomas had not always seen herself as someone who would go into the world of business. While being enrolled at Alabama State University, she envisioned being a lawyer. When asked what changed her mind, she gave an interesting answer. “Every time, I would go to enroll in those classes they would be full or I felt led to do something else. I figured that maybe this was not for me,” she explained. She went to say from taking a few early childhood education courses, it would benefit her in opening Grace Christian Academy.
Grace Christian Academy was a private daycare that she ran from 1989 until its closing in 2009. The ASU alum expressed that there was a challenge in getting her students their uniforms because she couldn’t find someone who could make them. She did not give up though, and she did find a company who would. The other schools took notice and asked her would she be willing to do the same of which she obliged. Yes, her office overflowed with school uniforms, but the idea of a uniform business was born. To think Patricia’s Boutique would have not come into existence if it wasn’t for those classes being full.
Her contributions to society are unmatched like no other. Not only does her store help supply the uniforms for the schools, both public and private, but she also has jewelry, Greek clothing and accessories, women accessories, clergy shirts and robes, and so much more. She also is a mentor to individuals no matter how busy she is or could be. She is willing to give back and encourage others to do the same. “Being here, you are not always busy, so you find the time to give back!”, she exclaimed. This is a young woman who knows that no matter how successful she is and could become more, she doesn’t forget where she comes from and wants to encourage others to follow her lead.
There was no question that she would start her business(es) in her home community, but when it came to its location, she has made a few stops. “I opened originally in the promenade. After 9/11, things were really slow and had to downsize. I was on Mulberry for about eight years. Then I set up on Atlanta Highway behind Krispy Kreme and after Food World closed, I moved to the spot we are now which is 128 Coliseum Blvd,” she said. She went to say that the location where the shop is now is both convenient for traffic and visibility purposes.
If she was able to talk to her teenage self, she says that she would tell her to follow her dreams, become educated about what you are passionate about, and allow God to do his part. “Don’t be afraid of failing. I ask that you don’t stay down, but keep getting up and trying again,” she encouraged. In preparing for the future, she says that one of her goals for the next 10 years for her business(es), is along with her family figure out how to scale the business. Whether it is multiple stores or keeping the one she has; she is looking for new ways to expand. She is continually learning to grow and evolve even this information age of social media. You can find her business on Facebook with Patricia’s Boutique Montgomery.
It can both challenging and exhausting to continue being in the business for as long as she has, but there is inward inspiration that keeps her going. “It is my faith in God, knowing He selected this path for me and just be reminded of God’s wisdom. She goes to expound that He has also graced her through it all, and knows if He has called to it, He will see her through it. This young woman has the faith to keep pushing through and despite what can or can not happen, she is anchored in the Lord.
She has learned many things on her journey, some came across as easy and others came across as not so easy. She explains that one of the easiest things she has learned is setting your own hours and being consistent and the hardest things is keeping your cashflow steady. She went further to say that these things along with others have not made her perfect, but rather faithful and dependable. When asked if she had any advice for those present and/or future business owners, she declared,
“This is a great time, even though we are in a pandemic, to start a business. You have the time to go forth and get your business plan together. You have time to pull your resources together, apply for grants, and assembling your team together to bring your business to fruition.
Mrs. Thomas is a woman who wears many hats and has just as many skills and talents. Not only is she doing amazing with her business(es), but she is also making sure that the next generation has the tools to do even more. She is the wife to Mr. Abraham Thomas, mother to five children, grandmother to five grandchildren, and great-grandmother to two great grandchildren, she is a mentor, a friend, and so much more. As stated, her business is located at 128 Coliseum Blvd., and be sure to pay her a visit. Salute to you Mrs. Patricia Thomas.
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