Wishes Come True

by Cindy Steele

Wishes Come True was one of the first shops to open in Nashville’s Artists Colony complex in the late 1980s. The location next to the entrance of the inn and restaurant proved to be an ideal spot for fine gifts and collectibles.

Patty Vincent and her husband Frank opened their first shop, Patty’s Porch, eight years earlier. Patty’s Porch started out as a craft consignment shop and later evolved into a gift store.

Patty appreciated beautiful fine items and imagined a shop more geared to her personal tastes. Patty made her “wishes come true” when the space became available in the new building.

When I asked Patty how she decided what to sell she explained, “They tell you it is not a good idea to buy only the things you like. But, basically, I have done that and it has worked for me.”

Wishes Come True sells a variety of collectible lines from the top-end Lladro and G. Armanis to the lower-end Cherished Teddies and Calico Kittens.

“My husband was a fireman for 20 years so I gravitated toward the fireman and policeman lines. The Nuns and the Retired Angels have always been a good line because people love to look and say ‘this is what I am going to look like when I get older,’ or ‘that’s what Aunt Margaret looks like.’ I like handling things that people can relate to either in their life or their friends’ lives.”

Customers have fun looking in her store and frequently admit they are going through their “second childhood.” She said it is fun sometimes just to listen to people’s comments.

Before moving to Brown County Patty worked as a school secretary and community volunteer in her hometown of Whiting, Indiana, near Chicago. Frank was a fireman and operated wholesale and apparel businesses in the city.

The couple asked themselves, “What do we do next?” when Frank retired from the fire department and their children left the nest. They wanted to relocate. They considered moving into the heart of Chicago. Instead they chose the other end of the spectrum, a quiet rural setting in northern Brown County.

Patty and Frank had made frequent business and pleasure trips to this area over the years. Frank sold his wholesale products to Nashville shop owners and the family often camped at the State Park.

Frank continued the wholesale business after moving to Brown County and set up a woodshop where he made wooden crafts. He marketed his wooden apple products at six gift shows a year.

The Vincents led very busy lives between their two shops, the wholesale business, and the wood crafts. Two key employees, Ruth Lynn and Mary Lou Eastman, helped keep things running smoothly.

Also active in the community, Patty served on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and was a past president. She helped establish the Brown County Business and Retail Association.

And as if Patty wasn’t busy enough, she added a third shop, a clothing store called I Deserve It, when the Cornerstone Inn complex was built. Keeping up with the latest hemlines and styles was too much of a challenge for Patty so she closed after four years. Clothing was and still is a passion for Patty, though. She often traveled with Frank on buying trips to New York when he was in the apparel business. Everyone always wanted to see what Patty was wearing when she worked at the school in her hometown.

Patty likes to travel overseas with her daughter. Every year they spend two weeks in a different country. They have been to Germany, Spain, and Italy among others.

Patty and Frank have two daughters, one son, and five grandchildren.

The grandchildren love Brown County. One granddaughter stays with Patty every summer. When the grandchildren need her, “Grandma comes running.”

Patty is now winding down some of her entrepreneurial and community responsibilities so she can spend more time with the grandkids.

John Grubbs is the new owner of Patty’s Porch. The store celebrated its 20th anniversary this September.

“I enjoy the people. I think that’s really why I stay in retail anymore. You don’t know their names but you know their faces,” said Patty. “Wishes is a fun store. I enjoy it. It’s a good atmosphere to work at.”