PROFILE: Kathy Dowdy
Business owner chooses not to look back
Teacher, musician, innkeeper and volunteer are just a few hats Kathy Dowdy proudly wears.
She will soon add another one. Dowdy and her husband, Tim, will open their third downtown business, an indoor flea market called Grammy’s Attic, located at 70 South Forest Avenue.
“We’re hoping to open March 31,” Dowdy said. “That’s my spring break.”
Dowdy runs Camellia House Bed and Breakfast. She teaches piano lessons and teaches at LBW Community College’s Andalusia campus. She and her husband also own Mainstreet Sweets.
Dowdy has plenty on her plate without adding another business, but she is not opening the business for herself. She is doing it to keep downtown bustling.
“Everybody kept griping about empty storefronts,” she said. “So I said, ‘Why don’t you rent one?’ If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
She said she looked forward to doing her part to improve downtown and to put some people back to work.
Dowdy is counting on vendors who rent spaces from her to pitch in, run the register and make the business a glowing success.
“As we expand, we’ll open up the second half of the store,” she said.
Dowdy said she would like to see business owners helping each other, promoting each other’s businesses and referring customers to all Luverne has to offer.
To Dowdy, the key to a healthy downtown commerce is a willingness to embrace change.
“I attended a church Bible study at Goshen Baptist Church. It was called ‘The Autopsy of a Deceased Church.’ One of the biggest things churches do wrong is they look back and that church no longer exists,” she said.
Dowdy has found that the same is true of small towns. People can remember when downtown was busy and storefronts were full. But, she found that Luverne’s population had dwindled since “the good ole’ days.”
That’s not to say, Luverne storefronts can’t be full and businesses cannot prosper. Dowdy and her husband consciously chose businesses with low overhead and locations with reasonable rent. They do not have employees and do not plan to hire anyone at the inn and ice cream shop.
“We can revitalize downtown,” Dowdy said. “If people spend all their time looking back and bemoaning how things used to be, that really does nothing good.”