• 61°

PROFILE 2010: Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young dreamed many years ago of owning her own shop. Last September, it came true when she purchased the Mustard Seed gift shop from Joy Collins.

A Selma native and 27-year-old business owner, Young relishes the support Demopolis has given her ever since she opened her store doors. She simply can’t get over how proud residents are of their own town, and she appreciates their patronage every single day.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “I’ve never heard of any town being so supportive of their hometown business owners. It’s awesome how people take pride in being from here.”

Young graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in fashion retail in 2006 and finished a public relations internship at famed fashion company Neiman Marcus in Atlanta shortly after. Planning to make way for Chicago, she met her future husband, Patrick Young, and moved to Montgomery to work at her sister’s store. Patrick works in the logging industry.

As a representative for a showroom in Atlanta, Young came to Demopolis where she visited the Mustard Seed. Smitten with it, she approached then-owner Joy Collins and told her to keep her in mind if she ever decided to sell it. Soon enough, Young got that call and opened shop in Demopolis.

Carrying the same name and location, the store has seen some changes under Young’s ownership, but she maintains the personality of the store remains the same.

“We’ve got new luggage lines, as well as a children’s section, which I’d really like to focus on and make a big part of the Mustard Seed,” she said. “We made some changes in the jewelry lines and just broadened the selections a bit more. We offer men’s gifts, including the Colonel Littleton line.”

The gift shop specializes in home accessories and furnishing but is now emphasizing its bridal registry and children’s clothing section. It also sells shoes, socks, Sunday school clothing, toys, books and luggage and purse lines. The Colonel Littleton line for men offers leather products that include luggage and wallets. The store also sells boxers and other men’s products.

For 2010, the Mustard Seed plans to bring a few of the masterminds behind the clothing and apparel lines it sells. Sister Schubert will make a public appearance to meet fans and sign her latest cookbook. Cinda Boomershine, of the cinda b luggage line, will also visit the store.

The shop will hold a children’s open house Feb. 26 and its annual open house later in December.

Young doesn’t hesitate to rave over the reliable help she gets from her four employees. Ann Parsons, Amanda Hall, Emily Yelverton and Emily Bedsole make her proud to run a business that cares about the community.

“I have a wonderful staff,” she said. “They’re so knowledgeable, and they take such pride in working in Demopolis. They’re always happy and cheerful, and they’re just good employees.”

Young currently lives in Linden, Ala., but hopes to move to Demopolis in the near future. She is also an active member in the chamber of commerce and the Rotary Club.

The young businesswoman’s everlasting appreciation for the community’s positive feedback will not soon calm either.

“It’s been absolutely wonderful and so supportive,” she said. “Everyone’s been so happy and delightful to work with. They’ve all supported me even though I’m not from here.

“At my age, you couldn’t as for anything more.”

The Mustard Seed is located on West Washington Street.