Keshia Horton Johnson
She needed a job to pay for gas and well, whatever else 17 year olds spend their money on. She had been a spend-the-night buddy with my daughter for years and was currently dating my son. Seemed like she’d always been there . . . eating dinner with us, hanging out with my kids, openly witnessing our family drama (don’t judge – you know you have it too). So when she asked for a job – it seemed like a natural transition. She didn’t know a lot about brands & fashion at the time. But, despite her inexperience, I felt like there were plenty of other things she could help with. You know – – tagging clothes, vacuuming, dusting, waiting on customers. That was 14 years ago and if you’ve visited our Cullman store lately you know – – there’s a whole lot more to her talents than pushing a Hoover around.
In the world of retail, it’s easy to see employees come and go as they make their trek through life. But this one, she has weathered many storms at Better Than Before. We’ve gone through 2 store expansions together, a couple of car accidents, several boyfriends, a tornado, one firing, one leave-of-absence and a host of policy & procedure changes. She’s hung in there while I got my kids through college, saw them get married, and became a grandmother – – 7 times! We’ve worked through major milestones in her life – like the loss of her most adored grandmother, college classes, her marriage to her husband Mark and the birth of her sons Owen and Merritt. She has become a better driver, a killer cook and a Rockstar customer service guru. Her family has grown and so has her abilities and capabilities. I’ve thrown a lot at Keshia through the years and nothing seems to have deterred her from what she says she loves to do – interact with people.
Watching that 17 year old girl grow and change into a 32 year old wife, mother and co-manager has taught me a lot about her character. With Keshia, it’s all about relationships – – that’s what fuels her. So when she deals with you in the store, she’s gonna ask you about your kids, your job, your family, what you’ve been doing or going through. If you have a kid under the age of 2 – – she’s gonna want to hold it. If you come through the door looking broken or sad, she’s gonna make it her mission to find out what’s wrong. We tease her about being so nosy but I think it’s just that she cares. She cares as much about your family, kids and life as she does about your MK handbag or Anthropologie sweater. And because we want your visit at BTB to be an “experience” as much as just a visit, we think that’s a very good thing.
So, 14 years later she’s filling her days at BTB Cullman with a lot more than Windex & a Hoover. She’s helping manage intake, product screening, appointments, pricing, and online product selection. She’s helping pull your online orders, sending out your birthday cards every month and making sure all us at the store have every supply we need from price tags, toilet paper, shipping supplies all the way down to scotch tape and paper clips. Her responsibility list keeps growing – she told me a few years back that’s what she wanted. I’ve happily obliged her. But I still can’t get her to go to a conference – – she just won’t leave those babies. I guess just another testimony to what’s priority in her life – relationships.
Next time you’re in our Cullman store, make it a point of saying hello to Keshia. But beware – – you’ll have to let her hold your baby and answer lots of questions – – remember, relationships.