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A Letter From Mom by Jane Leonard

Our journey began twenty-seven years ago on a cool February evening at High Point Hospital. We both had a rough start, but we landed on our feet. For you, I think you hit the road running. I guess this is inherited, as my Mama Cox always said to me, “You can’t hem a dress on a galloping horse.” As you grew, we enjoyed hours of dance classes, cotillion, proms, piano lessons, scouts, Memorial youth and lots of shopping. As the days passed into years, I began to see this determined young lady become an independent thinker, a young lady who was always reaching for the next brass ring. I cried with you, I laughed with you, and I prayed for God to give you guidance for your next step. Those next steps were big steps indeed.

In the middle of your Senior year at SCAD, you decided to come back to NC and start your business close to the home soil. Blythe Leonard LLC became a reality, involving tons of construction, renovating and rethinking a seventy-year-old building into what it is today, the house of Blythe. You celebrated your fifth year anniversary this past June, not as you wished, but you pushed forward. What a joyful time. My heart was full of thankfulness that your luxury leather business was doing well. Through these five years, I watched you collect funds, support and donate your talents and your gifts to many causes for our city and community. Your deep compassion for others warms my heart. Your dream of owning your own business was no longer on hold.

Now Blythe, you are ready to take on a new adventure. I think the word impossible only motivates you more; I know this because I see it in my reflection each morning. You are always reaching for new heights. Your cause is honorable, the risk high, the process difficult, but you move forward with laughter and without fear. You know you are standing on the shoulders of your grandparents and your great-grandparents who achieved the same goals. One great-grandfather who started six businesses and one who accepted thank you notes from patients who couldn’t pay for their eye exams. One of your great-grandmothers and grandmother ran a textile mill, as strong women pushing industry forward, while your other great-great-grandfather delivered most of the citizens of Thomasville, as he practiced 54 years in Randolph County and Thomasville City. A grandmother who taught young minds, and a grandfather who worked hard and taught Sunday school for thirty years, all achieving their dreams—just like you. These are the generations who gave you determination, a soft spirit, a strong faith and a dedication to drive you forward. These people were part of your story and you are part of their fold.

In September, you purchased 12 East Guilford Street, a building that has great historical significance for our town. You told me years ago that you would own that building and do great things within—now your dreams are coming true. You are going on an adventure that will impact 70 plus artists from Thomasville, North Carolina, and all over the United States. Your heart is sweet, your heart is good, and your heart is full of love for your neighbors, your fellow artist community and your hometown.

You have a knack for seeing opportunities for others and creating beautiful spaces, so I am so excited for you to create this second business for so many. Bring on tomorrow as the song says, “I’ve got the best seat in the house.”

Love, Mom

Jane Leonard