n an odd kind of way, it seems like avenues and paths that seemed feasible for me to pursue in the past all had an underlying meaning. How did the choices I made bring me to where I am today? I am glad you asked. Most of the years of my active employment there was a dream lodged deep in my heart. This dream was to become an entrepreneur. The internet had not gained its popularity at that time. At that time the research required to pursue the entrepreneurial path was all manual labor.
At one point it seemed like there was enough research and statistical data gathered by the man whom I was married and I to start a business. By following all the instructions from our lending institution, we acquired a home equity line of credit and the dream became a reality.
On August 9, 1997, the doors of Miz L’s Ladies Fashions opened in its first location. I was one happy camper to say the least. That day was one of the best days of my life. Imagine the first African American female to open a real viable business locally. This was in an area where less than 2% of the total business owners are African American. You can’t imagine how this made me feel.
Having a call of God on my life, and this retail business seemed to fit like a hand in a glove. As days, weeks, months, and years passed one thing that was clearly obvious was that the majority of the women who came in were either experiencing or had already experienced some kind of over-whelming life situation.
Listening to the women, praying with them and giving them encouragement came very natural to me. The sense of reward in dealing with the women on a personal and spiritual level everyday was priceless to me. To see women come in downtrodden, leaving with a smile on their face, and filled with a renewed hope for life was priceless. Every coin bears two sides and the other side of the coin for Miz L’s is that women were doing better but the sales were not increasing.
The stagnate sales created a need for re-accessing the way business was being run. The bottom line was that I was allowing my human side, taking care of people I met to cost me. Too much liberty spent helping others was causing the business side to suffer. After recognizing this problem, a decision was made. This decision was to move the business to another location.
The new location was better, it was in a strip mall this was in the year 2000. A choice was made with the move. I would curtail much of the personal interaction with the women and focus on business. That did work to a degree however by the time it looked like things were turning around devastation hit and we were faced with 911. America came to a screeching halt. Our pockets were not deep enough to survive. As a result, Miz L’s was closed. ©LaVerne Mitchell November 10, 2014.7:00 PM EDT Cedar Haven shelter for homeless women