This month’s BOOM! profile is Barbara and David Grimes. Barbara is well known to many of you who shop for grandchildren and who have a special interest in custom art projects because she’s the owner of Barb’s on Mulberry, a shop which has distinctly graced the Mulberry District of Midtown for 18 years. David is Barbara’s encourager and partner in the lives they share with the community. From Alabama’s legislature to serving school children they believe in giving back to their community…and have lots of fun along the way. We recently shared some time with them and their three year old granddaughter, Lyla, who has become the apple of their eye…at least until their next grandchild arrives in August! We hope you enjoy getting to know Barbara and David as much as we have.
BOOM!: Barbara and David please give us a brief biography, i.e. where you’re from, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, did you raise your family here, schools, family, etc?
Barbara: David is from Phoenix City and I’m from Opelika, Alabama. We both are graduates of Troy University in Troy, David in commercial art and business; mine in art education (k-12)
David’s work brought us to Montgomery. Margaret Carpenter hired him for his fist job here with Composit as a graphic designer. For the past 36 years he has been in the insurance business and still holds his real estate license. David is also a trained mediator through The Alabama Bar Association.
Our oldest son, John David, 28, is married to Amanda Jernigan – they have a daughter, Lyla, age 3. Our second son, Tyler is 24, both attended Trinity Presbyterian School. Both also still live in the River Region, where John David is an accountant with Capital Business Equipment and Tyler is in the construction business. We are members of Trinity Presbyterian church.
BOOM!: Barb, as an entrepreneur, could you tell us about Barb’s on Mulberry and what motivated you to open this very unique business? What is your formula for success?
Barbara: David has always encouraged and supported me to paint and retail my art. While I was the Assistant Director and Public Relations Director of Montgomery Parks and Recreation we traveled to many art shows on weekends and had annual Christmas shows in my home. Then David discovered the present shop location on Mulberry Street, dropped in and asked the lady working at her sewing machine this question, “Have you ever thought of selling this shop?” she responded “I dream about it every day”. SOLD!!!! Barb’s on Mulberry was born May 1997. I really did not want to open up a shop but David convinced me it was time and the best thing for me to do. I had been mourning my mother’s recent death and David knew I needed to get out and start painting again.
We share a formula for success – Hard work, persistence and patience.
We learned never to give up – we just kept moving the cheese. We adjusted our inventory to what was popular with our customers. Focusing on Holiday Art in the shop has added a long term dimension to my retail business. Designing Barb’s own line of t shirts for children, original Christmas ornaments and hand painted Easter Baskets are just a few things that make’s Barb’s on Mulberry unique. Also selling my art in surrounding shops in the area has been a very good move to promote my shop and artwork. A fairly new enterprise for Barb’s – for ages 4 to 100 – is Barb’s “ART ON WHEELS”, where we travel to different venues ( school, daycares, homes, retirement homes, businesses such Nancy’s Ice, churches, etc.) to conduct art classes with various themes of choice. FUN FUN FUN!!
BOOM!: Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner would you share with our readers your love story, how you met and some of the secrets to your marriage success?
Barbara: We met in Troy in a laundry mat – David was a senior and I was a freshman. We kept running into each other at his fraternity house and finally he asked me out after he graduated from college. We married in Opelika, April 16, 1978.
Secrets to our marriage – Our FAITH and being prayerful!!
Also, talk to each other, confront even when it hurts and being patient with each other. Just love each other no matter what happens. Almost 40 years of marriage is not easy – it takes a lot of work… marriage and life are not perfect!! For better for worse, for richer or poorer, thru sickness or health– till death do us part!! We are meant to be with each other – we have too much in common. God put us together for a lot of reasons. Our infertility allowed us to adopt two wonderful sons in which David was so encouraging and supportive of adoption. And I know it was meant for me to be David’s wife throughout the challenges of His MS (multiple sclerosis). David’s favorite thing to say to others about me is “If YOU ever leave I am going with you”!!
BOOM!: Many Boomers are experiencing a renewed sense of purpose, new goals, new careers, especially if they’ve experienced the empty nest syndrome. How would you describe this sense of renewal in your life? Any advice for the rest of us seeking renewal?
Barbara: Our empty nest is great!
Our house stays cleaner longer now, less meals to cook and less laundry.
We are much more independent – we are older and wiser about some things too. We both can just pick up and travel at the last minute. David can spend more time on the road helping assist his brother in the construction business and I can travel to more art shows, girl road trips, visiting friends and family members all over the country. I even went to Europe with my very best high school friend for a month this past spring. We visited London, Paris, Rome, Florence and southern Italy. We have a bucket list and we are trying to complete it – long way to go still – My 2015 goal is to be in art galleries with more of my fine art paintings – I have to put my mind to it, don’t get distracted with the everyday responsibilities of the shop and just start doing it – I have nothing holding me back now.
David: I love piddling for hours in my garage, building, repairing and maintaining our home, organizing our belongings, driving the tractor and working on the hunting land!
Barbara: My Advice…just do it!!!! No more excuses…no more procrastination!
Pretend there is no time left – do it now – the clock is ticking – we are getting older and there may not be a tomorrow.
David: More Advice…Buy a NuWave (infra red cooker) – wow – a meal in 9 minutes, meat and lots of fresh vegetables. Finally, learn to secure your home against any outside interference. Practice a home drill of protection with a weapon of choice, “we are both packin’”!
BOOM!: Barbara and David, what are you most passionate about? Why?
Barbara and David: First and foremost, we love our freedom! Enjoying Lyla, our first grandchild, with another on the way in August. We have been blessed with a good life and a happy family. We have raised our children in a Christian environment, both home and school; we are part of a faithful church family and we lead productive lives with God as our constant protector. David and I want to be good examples to others and always do what is right and moral. Living a Christian lifestyle is very important to both of us.
BOOM!: How do you like to relax and wind down from a hard day’s work?
Barbara: After a day’s work – we both love coming home, starting the nuwave and just chatting over the kitchen counter about the details of our day. David always has lots more stories to share than I
We love to relax on weekends at our lake place at Lake Martin. We love our time together grilling out, enjoy talking on the screen porch and sitting by the fire at the lake. Our favorite thing to do is go boat riding and island hopping searching for old dock wood for me to paint on. I spend many hours painting by the lake. We also like to play and relax at our farm in Macon County. David loves to veg out there – he loves the woods, the dirt, and the sounds of nature there. His favorite thing is to ride his tractor and bush hog. Together we enjoy riding on our 4 wheelers. Driving thru the high puddles of water can be challenging, but so much fun too. I learned how to shoot a gun there. Our boys enjoy hunting deer and duck shooting. We have our annual Easter family reunions there.
BOOM!: Favorite vacation spot? Any travel dreams planned for the future?
Barbara: Our favorite vacation has been on skiing trips with the boys. We had a pop up camper and loved camping with the boys until their senior year of HS. We took many mini camping trips on weekends. Camping trips always brought the best out of our boys – loved that there was no TV or radio – just enjoying nature, collecting wood for our fires at night, cooking on our outside gas stove and cuddling up together at night in the camper to stay warm! Our favorite camping spots were Wind Creek at Lake Martin, Chewacla Park and Fort Toulouse, because we felt like we were miles away!!
David wants to go to Alaska – salmon fishing and I want to return to Italy to study art history and take more impressionist art tours in France.
BOOM!: David, would you share your experience with MS (multiple sclerosis)? How does MS impact your lifestyle/work?
David: The nature of the disease is progressive. I was first diagnosed in 1998 with numbness and fatigue. Now, I have loss of mobility, and experience GI circumstances. I take 3 interferon injections a week. I like to say that I have a walking problem – not a thinking problem. More importantly, “the symptoms will persist and progress only while I am Alive!” As an experienced insurance salesman I want to offer some advice, Disability Income Insurance is grossly undersold! I bought personal insurance on my income when I was 30 years old. Consequently, I have received 60% of my pre-disability earnings for the past 18 years. That is a very big deal!! BUY Disability Income Insurance!!!
BOOM!: Barbara and David, we understand you have another grandchild on the way, what has been your grand parenting experience so far? Do you have grandparent names yet?
Barbara and David: We are Mimi and Pop – it is a brand new love – a joy that we never had experienced. Adopting our boys was a great joy but having Lyla as our first grandchild has been an even better joy! We love being parents and it is even better as grandparents.
With a grandchild we can take more leisure than with our children. We are so much more carefree with her – playing Barbie dolls, art activities, painting projects, puzzles, reading, visiting the Zoo & Museum is so much easier as a grandparent. Household cleaning and other projects are no longer important anymore. We are not as distracted when spending quality time with her.
BOOM!: What is it about living in the Montgomery/River Region area that you like?
Barbara and David: We love our Cloverdale neighborhood and church, live near our kids and grandchild and are blessed with many dear friends. We feel a strong connection to our community which provides a sense of fulfillment and happiness. We also are conveniently located to our favorite forms of recreation…Lake Martin and The Farm! We love living here!
BOOM!: As you’ve aged, have your ambitions changed?
Barbara and David: To have a solvent retirement. We have learned what’s really important in life – we don’t worry or get as anxious as we did in our earlier years of raising kids. When David realized he would be using a cane for the rest of his natural life, we have managed to slow down a lot and not be in such a rush all of the time. Really hard for me but I’m making the adjustment just fine! David just invested in some interesting canes as conversation pieces.
BOOM!: Barbara and David, give us three words that describe you? Your marriage?
David: Funny, caring and intellectual; Barbara: Creative, caring and fun!
Our Marriage: Faith, commitment, love
BOOM!: Do you have any hobbies or other activities that grab your attention?
Barbara: Attending Painting workshops with fellow artists, spinining classes, flea markets & estate sales, I also enjoy painting custom orders of art for customers.
David: Tending to the woods and hunting camp, talk radio, keeping Barb happy!
Barbara: Together we have a 4th of July fireworks store in Equality (near our lake place) – “POP’s FIREWORKS “- Our family runs it during the 4th of July week. It is tremendous fun: no CE requirements or compliance issues, just fire marshal rules of common sense and safety. David is a PYRO and Lyla is no longer scared of the sound of fireworks.
BOOM!: Do you have time to be involved in community, civic or other activities?
Barbara: Yes, I have always been involved with the community, giving back is important. Currently I am a Sunday School and VBS teacher at Trinity Presbyterian Church; a Nellie Burge board member and art volunteer; Montgomery Jr. League fundraiser volunteer; Alabama Art Colony board member; Kappa Delta alumnae fundraiser volunteer; and I contribute many hours to local schools and charity fundraisers. I also spent time on the Hospice of Montgomery board, was the Alabama Legislative Spouses President and a Governors House docent.
David: Like Barbara, I too value giving back to our community. I serve as a Deacon at Trinity Presbyterian Church; Lifeline Children Services, A Sav-a-life adoption agency, board member for over 25 years; YMCA-Camp Chandler board member –for over 30 yrs; and YMCA Metro Board for over 10 years now.
BOOM!: David, are you still involved with politics? Any plans to run for office in the near future?
Barbara and David: YES – Politics is in David’s blood and I loved it. David was in the House of the Representatives for 8 years and it was such a great opportunity for both of us. We loved serving our state and community. I was very involved with David’s legislative activities and served as President for the Alabama Legislative Spouses club. We both have gotten so much fulfillment representing our citizens.
BOOM!: Barbara and David how have the two of you approached technology in your business and personal lives?
Barbara: We both have websites, facebook pages. (personal and business). I rely on both to promote my business. I use instagram too. I send out emails to over 2500 customers with Constant Contact. I design many fliers and ads for ART on Wheels with my Print Master computer program. We Both have ipads. And use them so much. David has a droid (waterproof – it’s a good thing) and my Iphone – I use it often to send instant pictures of art to customers and love recording special moments on the spot of Lyla so we can send them to her parents while babysitting.
We do leave technology at the door when we go out to eat sitting at the table or traveling in the car.
We want to thank Barbara and David for sharing their story with us this month. If you have any questions for Barbara or David, drop by Barb’s on Mulberry located at 1923 Mulberry St. or visit their facebook page. You can also call the store, 334.262.2272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .To learn more about Barb’s visit barbsonmulberry.com. As always, thanks to Kim Bethea from The Studio @ Eastchase for her professional cover photos. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please send them to email@example.com
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