Nokomis woman reopens V&P

Published 4:34 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
Debra Phillips of Nokomis knows first hand what it is like to lose everything and wants to do her part in helping other victims of natural disasters.
Hurricane Ivan destroyed the family home that she and her husband, Forest shared with their 3-year-old daughter, Sierra. The house was bulldozed down after being lost to an old oak tree.
"The house had been in our family for 65 years." Phillips said, "It had been passed down from generation to generation."
The Phillips were featured on Channel 10 News shortly after Ivan. The news reporter who interviewed the couple assisted them in submitting an application and tape of their devastation to ABC's Extreme Makeover – Home Edition television program.
The Phillips moved in with her parent's until the couple was able to move a manufactured home onto their property. They remember the generosity of Atmore's citizens and churches well.
"Not only our parents were there for us," Phillips said, "but several people in Atmore helped us out by volunteering their time and services. Brooks Memorial and Nokomis Baptist Church were such a blessing to us helping us out in so many ways."
Phillips home was not her only loss. She had opened a business, Phillips Outlet, three years earlier, which she operated from a new building she had placed next door to her father's store, Mr. Green Jeans in Nokomis. Hurricane Ivan's furious winds turned Phillips building over on its side completely destroying her business inside and out.
Phillips went into the outlet business as a means to help people purchase quality items at reasonable prices. She also wanted to be with her daughter, Sierra, who was just born.
Now for the first time after Ivan tore a path of devastation in the Phillips life, she has reopened her doors again in a new, but familiar location and with a new mission to drive her.
Phillips will continue her outlet business under a new name, V &P Charity Outlet. The name represents her mother's maiden name of Vines and her name, Phillips. She also thinks of it as 'very special people" who she hopes to cater to.
The outlet will operate out of her father's store, Mr. Green Jeans in Nokomis. Her mother will be working with her in the new addition.
"I just feel like God allows things to happen for a reason." Phillips said, "When God shows you what you need to do, you need to do it and not play around with the idea. I just felt like this was God's calling on my life. My mom will be great. She is the best bookkeeper there is."
This time around, Phillips is operating her business as a charity. She plans to give a portion of the stores revenue to Christian Missions in Montgomery who currently has missionaries working on the Gulf Coast assisting with recovery efforts from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She is also donating proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House in Mobile. Phillips was a recipient of the home herself when her daughter was born with complications.
Phillips is able to bring her daughter to work with her also. Spending time with her 3- year – old is top priority for the mom turned businesswoman.
"Sierra is a good salesperson." Phillips said, "She hands customers merchandise all the time wanting them to buy it. She has actually sold things before."
Phillips outlet carries a wide assortment of items from shoes, clothing, house wares, jewelry, and home d/cor to hardware. She even has John Deere products. She plans to expand her business in the near future.

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