WATER VALLEY – One of the latest businesses to open downtown on Main Street has been part of the healing process for Tracy McMinn Marberry.
Marberry lost her niece, 19-year-old Brittany Gran-berry as the result of injuries from a one-car accident in April of 2011. She left behind her two-month-old son, Ryder.
Then in November of 2012, Marberry had a brain aneurysm that changed her life and her personality.
Today Marberry is doing much better and she gives much of the credit to her business, B*GRAN DESIGNS, created in the memory of her niece. The business specializes in “vintage inspired” distressed picture frames, custom framing and various other art designs.
“I think everybody deals with grief in different ways. I think this is my way of helping my sister take care of Rider,” she said. “I’m not one of those people who believes in trying to keep the dead alive. But, I feel like Brittney would be proud of me for what I have done.”
Although B*GRAN DESIGNS has been around for about two years, Marberry only recently moved downtown into the building at 205 North Main Street. She shares the space with her sister, Tammy McMinn Tedford, who operates The Caboose Boutique.
“We haven’t gotten into a fight yet,” Marberry commented within earshot of her sister, who was arranging merchandise in her store that specializes in unique women’s fashions on the south side of the building.
“I’m proud to be here. After my aneurism, my personality changed a lot. I had gotten very unsociable. I didn’t want to be around people. I think this has really helped me a lot,” Marberry commented on her business.
“Once you have a brain aneurism, that person is gone. You change. It may be minor, it may be major. Mine’s minor, but I know what it’s like,” she said. “I went through that ‘why me’ syndrome. I wanted my old Tracy back. My kids wanted a normal mother.”
Along with being excited about her own business, Marberry said she feels really good about what is going on in Water Valley. “I can remember when every other building was empty. Now, when we were in search of a building, we couldn’t find one unless it needed twenty thousand dollars worth of work.”
She is also very big on shopping in Water Valley. “It’s getting where you don’t have to go out of town. If I can get it here, I one hundred percent support local business.”
“When people come in here I tell them to check these other stores out,” said Marberry on directing her customers toward other businesses in town. “We’re not selling anything that has already been offered in Water Valley. I make my things. I don’t want to be in competition with anybody.”
The Back Room
Marberry plans to add to her downtown business venture by offering art lessons and specialized art parties in the back room of her store. “My brain works faster than my hands. I have so many ideas…I’m thinking and I’m thinking. But, I can’t get there fast enough,” she said.
Marberry described one of her ideas as an art party for pre-teen girls who are too big for birthday parties. “But, they aren’t too big to get five of their friends to come down here and paint something.”
Another idea involves a “date night out” for couples. “Something that the husband and wife can both come do,” she said.
Still other ideas include baby showers, bridal showers and even meetings. Marberry estimates she can get 18 people into the room if needed. “I’ve got lots of options for this back room. I’m also going to do after-school art and summer art classes. I’m too late into the summer to start it this year.”
But, for the moment, Marberry is concentrating on frames, her main product and something she really loves making.
“Nothing’s the same. They’re all different,” she said. “How I keep coming up with ideas, I don’t know.”
“I’m my worst critic. It’s got to be perfect. I am not going to let anybody have it if it’s not. If the board is crooked, I am going to start all over. That’s just me. I’m a one-person show,” she emphasized.
“There is 14 steps to every frame,” said Marberry, referring to the largest and smallest of her products. “It’s a 14-step process and I do it all by myself.”“It’s a work in progress. I am learning every day.”
The grand opening for B*GRAN DESIGNS and The Caboose Boutique is set for this Friday night from 6 to 8 p. m.