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Opening Store Took Faith And Courage

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  This week in my continuing interviews with Main Street business people. I was fortunate to visit The Velvet Glove and talk to the owners, Candy Rotenberry Tallant and Karen Roten-berry Hancock.
Candy had worked for years as a paralegal but had always had a desire to be in business for herself. Her husband was working at the chicken plant in Water Valley  and on a visit here she drove down Main Street and saw a lot of boarded up buildings and an idea began to form. She looked at several of the buildings and finally saw what she liked, the old five and dime which Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Rusk had opened in 1934.
Candy thought to herself that it took a lot of faith and courage to open a new business in the middle of the Great Depression, and decided that if the Rusks could make it under those conditions, so could she.      
Her sister Karen had always wanted to be in retail so they formed a partnership and in June, 2002, The Velvet Glove opened.  Their thinking was since there wasn’t a gift shop in town, this was a great opportunity.  In clearing out a lot of junk they decided to leave some counters that were hand made by Kenneth Rusk who was an expert in wood working.      
Also a recliner in back which Mrs. Rusk would use for a nap from time to time.   The recliner is still in back just as Mrs. Rusk left it and will be there as long as they are in business. When you walk into the store one of the partners will make it a point to greet you and call you by name if they know you.  Much of the merchandise is handmade and the shop appears crowded, but that is by design.          
Candy says that unlike other gift shops they have live flowers only on Easter and Mother’s day.  They stress customer service and by the way Candy took the time to sit down for an interview and the gracious way she answered my questions, they practice it all the time.  
As Candy told me, “we won’t ever get rich but we’re doing what we  love.” Candy and I have a question for any of you readers who are familiar with the old Rusk building.  As you enter the front door, look up to the ceiling and you will see a perfectly formed oval that matches the rest of the ceiling—do any of you know what that means?
Let me hear from you at my email or write me in car of the herald and join me in wishing Candy and Karen are on Mail street for a long time to come.  Have a great Thanksgiving.

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