Marshallite Debbie Parker dreamed of owning her own retail store from the time she was a little girl and would shop with her mother.
Now as an adult, Parker takes pride in owning and operating Deborah’s Boutique in downtown Marshall, her own store that has given her the chance to fulfill her dream, while serving the women of her community.
“We offer women’s clothes, shoes, jewelry, gift items, purses, back packs and most recently, I’ve started selling East Texas Baptist University items as well,” Parker said. “We feature sizes 2 to 16 in our clothing and sizes small to extra-extra large.”
Parker’s savvy style and friendly customer service has sustained her store for more than two decades in the Marshall economy.
“Since I was in the fifth grade, I have always wanted to own my own store,” she said. “There was a boutique I would visit with my mother and when I was young and it came up for sell so I begged her to buy it.”
While Parker’s mother didn’t make her daughter’s dream come true that day, Parker later had her dream realized after years of hard work serving as a retail employee.
“I worked at Bealls in the Mall and Jo Page came in to my lipstick counter,” Parker said.
Page owned Jo Lyn’s Boutique and a lipstick sale cemented Parker’s recruitment to come and serve as Page’s new store manager.
“She and her husband took me under their wing,” she said. “She is the smartest business woman I’ve ever known. When she retired, I went to work at another retail store before I eventually bought my own.”
Formerly located on U.S. Hwy 80 in Marshall, Parker moved her Deborah’s Boutique store down the road a bit to its new and current location at 100 West Grand Ave in downtown Marshall.
“We’ve been at this new location for six years and I love it here,” she said.
After more than two decades in the retail business, Parker said she’s found the secret to staying open in an ever changing economy.
“Excellent customer service,” she said. “Excellent customer service is what it takes. I have customers now that I dressed their grandmothers, the whole generation of women in the family.”
In addition to customer service, Parker and her staff also stay up on the current and future trends, as well as figuring out what will work for the people in their community.
“I’m very attuned to the community and what my ladies need, whether it be something for a picnic, a wedding or a classroom,” she said. “I take great pride in staying up on the trends and don’t let my merchandise get stale.”
While Parker has stayed up on changing clothing trends, one thing she remains firm on is keeping a personal relationship with her customers.
“We don’t have a website for people to shop online but I have a Facebook and I’ll ship orders to anyone,” she said. “I like to keep that relationship with the customer, face to face. I think that’s what sets us apart from others in the business.”
In addition to offering shipping, Parker also offers free gift wrapping for her items.
Parker said the ever changing styles and trends of the fashion business is one of the things that attracted her to becoming a store owner.
“The world is so much bigger than it used to be,” she said. “I visit the World Trade Center in Dallas five times a year.”
Parker has to keep a good fashion eye on her visits as she buys merchandise for trends six to nine months out.
“It keeps it exciting that the trends change so often,” she said. “I love retail. Everyday is a new day.”
Parker’s boutique features Tribal clothing, Ronaldo jewelry, gift items and even Stonewall chip and dip mixes.