Community is everything to Toysa True, who in 1970 represented the city as Miss Dowagiac. To many, while that may seem like a lifetime ago, Toy is still doing her part to welcome day-visitors to the downtown, where she owns and operates Shabby Bou Chic.
Having always wanted to own a thrift store and after managing Hope’s Door on Front Street for two years, Toysa bought the business in October 2013, renamed the shop and enhanced displays and merchandise to the upscale store it is today. While she doesn’t own the building, that didn’t stop her from also taking on exterior improvements, something normally left to the property owner.
Reflecting her whimsical side, Toysa’s black and white polka dot awning is not hard to miss on Front Street. A supporter of the arts, she enjoys showcasing locally-consigned art pieces and hand-made crafts, as she encourages local artists, who are in various stages of their craft, to display and sell at Shabby Bou Chic. That, in itself, is likely one of the things that sets her thrift store apart from others, along with its clean and organized presentation, which is sprinkled with antiques, collectibles, new jewelry and even new purses, picked up during her recent trip to New York City with her husband of 25 years, Harry Little.
What brings a smile to her face? Greeting shoppers, especially day-visitors, who Toysa is eager to interact with, as she sends each off with a packet of materials she assembles on the community she adores.
Her support of Dowagiac doesn’t stop there. Toysa still provides community service opportunities to those sentenced through the Cass County Courts.