By CHAUN SCOTT, Independent Press
When Angella Dickinson put out the word that her women's clothing store, Style Alley, would be opening the doors following Forsyth's Parade of Lights, shoppers showed up in droves.
With the nearest women's apparel 40 miles away, women were anxiously waiting for the day her doors opened in Forsyth.
"It was wonderful," Dickinson said of her opening. "Everyone was so excited to have a women's clothing store. Who knew I was filling a need in the community."
Dickinson was no doubt one of those excited people. The 39-year-old Forsyth alumni officially opened Style Alley on November 27, on Black Friday, inside the old Independent Press newspaper office. It had been a dream of hers since working in the style industry for over 20 years, most recently as a regional manager for an international company Schwarzopf Professional USA.
Dickinson said her experience working in the hair salon industry for the past 20 years has prepared her to take the next step into fashion.
"A lot of people don't realize that hair is part of the fashion trend," she explained. "Fashion trends start on the runway. A stylist sees the new fashion trend on the runway and begins to wonder how that is going to translate to hair. When rose-gold had become popular in jewelry, people started asking for it in hair. So I have always studied fashion trends."
Although living in Denver was exciting, there was always something inside Dickinson that made her want to bring her experience home where her family lives – the place she calls home.
"I just decided I wanted a better way of life. Then one day, I saw a listing for commercial property in Forsyth – it was the Independent Press. I guess in a way, Forsyth called me home."
Hometown returns home
For over two decades Dickinson lived in the hustle and bustle of Denver, Colorado's fast-paced metropolitan lifestyle – eventually, she decided it was time for a change. Dickinson decided it was time to take her lifelong dream of owning a fashion business off the back burner and thrust herself into the pursuit of entrepreneurship.
"I travelled two or three weeks a month covering seven states," Dickinson said. "I just decided I wanted a better way of life. Then one day, I saw a listing for commercial property in Forsyth – it was the Independent Press. I guess in a way, Forsyth called me home."
Wanting to transform her life, Dickinson made a decision to face the challenge head-on and fast forward. And fast it was!
"I first looked at the building in May for the first time. I made an offer in July, we closed in September and demo began two days later," Dickinson said. Dickinson has invested everything she has built over the past 20 years and when the railroad pulled out of Forsyth, she was a little scared. "I had to stop and take a step back and look at the whole picture. I realized, the staples of the community were still here. We have the hospital, school district and a beautiful pool.
Dickinson went ahead with her plans.
"I took a large chance but I believed Forsyth would support a small business – so I sold my condo in Denver. I took every cent and invested in a business in Forsyth." "My mom [Cindy Channel] and Dave [Channel] said I was really brave," she chuckled. "I was either really brave or really stupid – but you don't know unless you try."
Plans to expand
Dickinson isn't done with the work now that the women's apparel store has opened. She is still renovating the back of the old newspaper office and has plans to open a salon in mid-January once the renovations are complete. She will then offer hair cuts, color and anti-aging skin care.
Inspired to inspire
Dickinson had a vision to make a change in her life. She took a roll of the dice and made the move. She is still working on making all her dreams a reality, but she isn't afraid of getting her hands dirty or her nails chipped to make them happen. She is also hoping her courage will inspire other women to do the same and make their dream a reality too. Who knows, maybe she will someday write a book about her experience.