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Making dreams into realities

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By Ron Benningfield

When Pat Davis moved to LaRue County from Jacksonville in 1990, she brought with her a dream—to open a nice gift shop in Hodgenville.

For over 20 years she and her husband Larry Davis have made that dream come true as owners of Almost Home, a gift shop at 48 Lincoln Square known for its creative and innovative items.

“We go to Atlanta, Georgia, and Columbus, Ohio, twice a year searching their gigantic markets for new and different gifts for our customers,” Pat offered. “We try to have our own identity and not carry what other businesses have.”

On each trip south, the couple spends five workdays, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., in Atlanta’s huge market, looking for just the right special gifts that will please their customers.

“I took a pedometer with us one year just to see how much we walked a day there in that market,” said Larry. “We averaged eight miles.”

The effort spent in selecting those items produces some unusual things that range from decorated garbage can covers to paintings of churches with candles in their windows that actually light.

Their inventory also includes popular gift items such as Willow Tree and Jim Shore figures.

“We have the biggest selection of Willow Tree to be found anywhere around here,” noted Pat.

They are friends with Shore, who lives in South Carolina, and were instrumental in his creating a figure of Abraham Lincoln for the celebration of the President’s 200th birthday.

“Two years before the bicentennial we talked with Jim about making the figure for us in LaRue County since it is Lincoln’s birthplace,” explained Larry. “He agreed, and brought 40 figurines of Lincoln into our store.”

The figures of Lincoln, which Shore signed, sold out in two days.

“One interesting thing about Jim’s works—his grandmother was a master quilter, and Jim always includes somewhere in each piece a quilt pattern that makes his figures unique,” Larry added.

Started Small

The Davis’s first shop was on a corner of Main Street and Walters Avenue.

“It was 11 ½ feet by 20 feet with no bathroom or water,” Pat recalled.

One year later they took over the current site that contained an antique mall with several vendors.

“I didn’t think we could ever fill our section up since it was 40 by 17 feet, but soon we needed more space,” Larry noted.

When the last mall vendor vacated the building, the Davis’s decided to change the name to Almost Home from Lincoln Square Mall.

“We came across a poem of a little boy and girl walking down a path toward their home which was coming into view,” Pat shared. “The title of the poem was “Almost Home” and we knew we had found our name.”

Their logo patch reads, “Wherever we are, we’re Almost Home.”

Both Larry and Pat put in extra-long days, especially when the seasons change.

“During those times, Pat usually works 10-14 days straight until 1:30 in the morning changing the displays,” said Larry. “Her experience in setup and display from her years of doing this is invaluable.”

Larry also spends long hours, working from 4:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. each weekday at Fort Knox and then helping out at the store, which is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

“We’re fortunate that we have a really good friend, Judy Deckard, who will watch the shop for us while we’re away,” said Pat.

They both credit good friends for their ability to remain in business.

“We are truly blessed with so many friends we have made,” said Pat. “We don’t consider them customers who come in; we consider them friends.”

“It’s a lot of hard work, but truly worth it when our customers say, ‘I love your shop. It’s my favorite place to shop,’” added Larry.