ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) – Two women, different ages and born in different towns, were both somehow connected by a local boutique off Buffalo Gap Road in Abilene, and they are now trying to bring other Abileneans together in the same way.
Lizzie Torres went to school in Stephenville, where she studied business, and frequently shopped at a store called Venture19. She moved to Abilene right after she graduated, following her boyfriend. When she got to the Key City, she had a difficult time connecting to the community.
“I noticed that they were opening a Venture19 here, so I just kind of looked into it more, and was lucky enough to be hired by them,” said Torres.
Feeling like this job was meant for her, Torres said she started meeting locals and feeling like she was a part of the city culture.
“I’ve met so many people through this job,” Torres said.
Another woman, Cheryl Johnston, was born in raised in Abilene. But even she has spent some time feeling disconnected from the community, resulting from her retirement after working for AT&T for 30 years.
“I felt like I was going to lose a little bit of myself,” Johnston explained.
Deciding to work at this location, Johnston said she has met more locals, and seen more people she knows.
“Seeing new customers, seeing your friends, just being a part of the community again in a little different way,” Johnston explained of her newfound confidence.
Despite being raised in a different town and an age difference, these women became co-managers and friends, ‘tag-teaming’ on different things, according to Johnston.
Now, they want to bring other locals together by letting them know this is a place for everyone – with men’s and women’s clothing, gourmet food, gifts, and even a bar!
“[It’s] a one stop shop,” said Torres “Where you can get anything and everything you could ever think of.”
This boutiques has only been in operation for a year, but Johnston says there are some nights when the bar is packed.
“It can be a packed house in here, 40 to 50 people,” Johnston said.
Even so, Johnston said the shop isn’t quite where the managers would like it to be. They told KRBC they always want to reach more people across Abilene.
Venture19 has several different locations, but the Abilene location is the only one to offer all of the amenities – including the bar, food, clothing, and gifts.