by Natalia Dutt, AmeriCorps Member
For the last 18 years Marsha Doak has had the doors open to her festive shop hoping that each person who walks into Picket Patch will feel at home. She has made it her mission to spread joy to the community of Thomas and all those who enter the shop. She has changed the seasonal decorations a grand total of 54 times, experienced the revitalization of Thomas first hand, and created an atmosphere of a home to all. As West Virginia natives, Marsha and her husband, Mark, have been visiting Tucker County since they were in college. When the idea sparked to open her own shop after visiting various craft shows, there was no doubt in her mind that she wanted to take on this adventure in Thomas.
When she started putting in work to open the storefront, Thomas was incredibly quiet. It was nothing like the Thomas we know today, you didn’t have the Purple Fiddle or the tribe of artists. You had a newsstand, the Christmas store, and one other shop, so opening the store was truly a leap of faith. At the time you couldn’t foresee Thomas becoming what it is, but Marsha and her husband dove in and hoped for the best.
The last 18 years proved to be a success in more ways than one. She has remained a staple in the community and upon walking through the doors you feel like you are chatting to an old friend as opposed to a shop owner. Marsha has created a place that continues to bring people back year after year. She cites seeing families growing up and still returning annually as one of the most rewarding aspects of owning her business. Her goal since opening has been to, “greet people with a smile and make them feel welcome,” and I believe has achieved that tenfold. Being one of the original businesses on Front Street, we know today, she has seen the growth first hand and believes the camaraderie between all of the businesses as a major part in all of their success.
The Picket Patch is a store that has made its mission to put smiles on the faces of any and all who come to visit. Changing the decorations completely three times a year without repeats has been the highlight for many who frequent the store. The meticulous care Marsha puts into each of the three seasons shows how much she enjoys the work she is doing. She hand picks every item at various craft shows and takes a day and a half to completely transform her storefront for summer, fall, and Christmas. Each time is unique.
Marsha isn’t just a shop owner alone. She has served the community in many ways for which we cannot thank her enough. From being a friendly smile as we walk down the street to arranging the gorgeous flowerpots along Front St. that make our home as beautiful as possible, her dedication to the city of Thomas is one that is hard to be matched.
As she is taking down her seasonal decorations for one last time, closing the doors, and entering retirement bliss, she wants everyone to know this isn’t goodbye, its see you later. She has enjoyed being part of the Thomas community and knows she will be back. She is grateful for the years of serving joy to the community.
Marsha is eager to announce the storefront will not be standing empty for long. Come spring Ursus Americanus Trading Post, a home gift and custom rustic furniture business will be opening on Front Street. Be sure when you see the new faces that you welcome them to our community just as Marsha welcomed many of us!
Thank you, Marsha, for the 18 years of service to our community, you will be missed.