If things seemed a bit quiet on the blog late last week, it would be because we were given the opportunity to pack up our matching Roll Along Duffels and head south to the state where everything, especially the personalities, is bigger. That’s right … we went to Texas!
After landing, indulging in two generous meals (breakfast at OldWest Café and rolls at Daan Sushi Asian Bistro & Bar, respectfully) and a quick check in at the Gaylord Texan, we grabbed our totes and let the GPS guide us to Southlake Town Square, a beautiful outdoor shopping center near Grapevine, Texas. First stop? The adorable Vera Bradley Store with a charming red door and friendly staff.
Friday was all about observing another branch of the Bradley family tree. We were privileged enough to spend the day with Joan Reedy, Vera Bradley’s daughter and sister to our Co-founder, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard. If you ever get the chance to visit with Joan, we assure you, you will be entertained. Just as witty and endearing as her sibling, Joan tours various cities sharing photos and stories about growing up with Vera, Barbie (as she calls her) and being a part of the history of the company so many have grown to love.
A short jaunt off the Texas highway system brought us to an enchanting pink house on a corner in Carrollton. The excited guests were already chatting with Joan and circling the snack table in a tent outside. We walked up to see, among other culinary treats, the most exquisite recreation of a piece of Boysenberry Rolling Luggage we had ever seen, in cake form. We were told the end product – crafted by Christy, a local decorator – weighed in at an impressive 30 pounds, and included every detail, down to the stitching and zipper pulls.
Just when we thought the endearing, small-town charm of The Vintage House couldn’t make us smile any wider, we met Nan Walvoord, the owner. This is a woman who never met a stranger; a fact reflected in her unbelievably loyal clientele. We spent a little over two hours mingling with the Carrollton ladies, and watching Joan and Nan make people’s day, over and over again.
It was time to jump back on the road and journey to The Store in Lake Highlands, owned and operated by Cheryl Calvin. We nestled into a cozy corner and listened to Joan recount tales of water skiing home from school with her sisters and watching the shipping department grow from one person, to the vast facility we now employ at our Stonebridge location. Eager guests would come over to have their picture taken, listen for a bit and have Joan sign their journals.
While the stories leave you with a sense of wonderment and appreciation for what Vera Bradley has become and how it evolved, it was Joan’s approachable nature and razor-sharp wit that left the deepest impression. She’s a testament to the amazing family that is such a large part of the foundation on which this company was built.
We capped the day, and our visit to the Lone Star State, off with an Italian meal in Dallas at Penne Pomodoro, in the company of those we met on our trip. We chatted and laughed, and ended the dinner in the most fitting style … with a piece of Boysenberry Rolling Luggage cake and a round of hugs.
See all of our Texas locations and plan your own southern getaway!