The Second Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

LaborDay%203Labor Day: A last-ditch opportunity to drink lemonade and eat burgers and watermelon in the backyard, or the perfect occasion for shopping end-of-summer blowout and back to school sales?

How about both?

If you plan accordingly, you can have your Labor Day cake and eat it too. Shoppers are really lucky this time of year. The Labor Day retail “moment” is historically when you can find sales to liquidate summer merchandise and enjoy seeing new fall inventory, all at the same time! Usually there are huge sales, and LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait are no exception to this rule. Retailers know we have to go big at this time of year.


Nothing really compares to the winter holiday season when it comes to retail sales, but back-to-school and back-to-college shopping is a significant spending event, with total spending expected to reach $75.8 billion this year!


Each year, the NRF (National Retail Foundation) works with Prosper Insights & Analytics to find out when, where and how American families will shop for school and college. Here are just a few insights from this year’s consumer survey:


  • More families have kids in school — thanks to the large generation of Millennials who are parents of school-age children — which is boosting total back-to-school spending to near-record levels.


  • Plans to shop at big discount stores are down slightly, and consumers are looking slightly more towards smaller businesses with brands we know and love.


  • The largest portion of back-to-school shopping budgets goes toward apparel and electronics. Not only are new clothes and devices a necessity, but these items are also a way for students to express their personalities.


  • Shoppers are already in stores and online. Last year’s shoppers procrastinated, but 2016 is a different story. Nearly three-quarters of back-to-school families are starting their shopping one to two months before school begins.


Who can ever forget that memorable Staples commercial from the 1990s of that father dancing around the store and joyously placing back-to-school items — like staplers, backpacks and pencil sharpeners — in his cart, while his two young children looked on in horror as the classic holiday song “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” played?

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You may be basking in the last few weeks of summer and counting down to Labor Day getaways, but for retailers like us, it was time to go back to school almost a month ago.


LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait started promotions for one of the biggest shopping periods of the year — and one that’s also become the most prolonged shopping period of the year, weeks ago. We know that families buy seasonal items and clothing, from practically the fourth of July until after classes start. Deloitte’s annual back-to-school shopping survey out last month also found that more than a quarter of parents plan to finish their shopping after the start of the school year.

We are seeing sales expanded out throughout the season. Customers are shopping more frequently and making smaller basket purchases over a longer period of time rather than doing one huge buy.  We hope you have had a chance to visit us to enjoy our sales. If not, there is still plenty of time. You will find seasonal items to put away for next year and new fall items you can’t resist! You will see plenty of outfits that can take you right into fall at special savings. Don’t be shy about coming in looking for good sales at LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait, even though it is only July. Currently, Grandma’s Bait is offering 50% off all summer clothing!

LTD 7 will begin featuring their summer sale items on our weekly Facebook Sale. Every Monday and Thursday evening at 8:30 pm.


Now back to that part about chilling in the backyard. If you get a head start on the Labor Day sales and back to school shopping, you will be in a great position to relax with that burger or bratwurst and cool refreshments as summer comes to a close.

Come see us soon!

Living the Dream,




Don’t Rain on My Parade


We hear stories all of the time about inspirational people who defy the odds and succeed. We see commercials on TV that remind us to keep the dream alive. We know of one or two beautiful brides that plan outdoor weddings, despite the odds and chance of rain. We hear the daily forecast that calls for rain and we go ahead and have an outdoor fashion show! And we know that there is an 80% chance of rain tomorrow and we still plan to march in our own 4th of July parade! Of course we do! Like all good retailers, we do not let a little rain scare us away.

Years ago, my sister wrote a book about a woman who dared to keep her dream alive; a charming coming of age story about a lady who faced incredible odds, when a cancer diagnosis hit her out of nowhere. It’s a fantastic book to have on hand, and one that reminds me, all of the time, not to let life rain on my parade. The book is available at LTD 7 and it is entitled, “Dancing In the Rain.” Pick up a copy if you haven’t read it.


Given the forecast tomorrow,  …. “Just dance in the rain”, everyone and smile through the raindrops”

Retail is not a whole lot different than life, folks. When it rains, we put our rain boots on sale. When it pours buckets just before a major outdoor event, we add a few pop up covers and cover up with rain slickers and keep on truckin’!

The. Show. Must. Go. On!

And you see what happens? It turns out to be a great day for activities in the park! Yes, indeed it did!


Mr. and Mrs. Photogenic, Aubree & Richard modeled today and will be featured in their patriotic clothing, compliments of Grandma’s Bait in tomorrow’s a parade. They, as well as all the models, looked absolutely adorable as they walked the runway showcasing fashions available to our customers! No amount of rain in the forecast keeps LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait away! We hope you were able to attend, but if not, here are a few of the great looks we featured.


Tomorrow, the 4th of July parade will be held at Gypsy Hill Park and we hope the forecast of rain will cooperate with us.  We sure hope you will come out and join us!

The show must go on!


Living the Dream… in rain boots,



The Manse: Have You Seen It?



The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Her campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers, because she believed that (they) mothers were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”

Sitting atop the crest of a hill in downtown Staunton’s Gospel Hill historic district is the birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson. The house is often referred to as a manse which is the term the Presbyterian Church used to identify the residence of their minister.

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Way back in 1855, the Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson, a professor at Hampden-Sydney College, accepted a call to be pastor of Staunton Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Wilson, his wife, Jessie Woodrow Wilson, and their daughters Marion and Annie moved into the Staunton manse in March 1855.

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One year and nine months later on December 28, 1856 the third Wilson child was born “at 12¾ o’clock at night” as his proud father recorded in the family Bible. The child was named Thomas Woodrow Wilson for his maternal grandfather. The family called him “Tommy.”

Have you visited the Birthplace and Museum of Woodrow Wilson? Many of us might be shy to say that we drive by it every day and have never been inside.

The handsome Manse erected on the lot may have been designed by the Reverend Rufus W. Bailey, founder of Augusta Female Seminary in 1842 (now Mary Baldwin College), and designer of its classical main building (1844), for he served on the church’s building committee. The manse and the college’s old building are strikingly similar in style.

Builder of the manse was John Fifer of Augusta County. His son, later Governor of Illinois, recalled that the bricks were fired just west of Staunton along the Parkersburg Turnpike, and that some of the construction workers left the job to become soldiers in the Mexican War. Church records indicate that the total cost of constructing the 12-room Greek Revival style brick house with its center halls and four chimneys was about $4,000.

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Only four ministers’ families occupied the manse following the Wilson family. To cover debts from construction of a new church, the Presbyterian trustees sold two sections of the large lot surrounding the manse in 1874. Woodrow Wilson returned to Staunton many times during his childhood. His Aunt, Marion Woodrow Bones, and her family lived here, and his sisters and several cousins attended Augusta Female Seminary under its principal, Miss Mary Julia Baldwin, a friend of his mother. But Woodrow Wilson did not visit the manse again until the year 1912 when, as President-elect of the United States, he returned to Staunton to celebrate his 56th birthday on December 28th in the house in which he was born.

Following President Wilson’s death in 1924, the trustees of Mary Baldwin College determined to raise funds for a memorial building to the President. The congregation of First Presbyterian Church gave its approval in 1925 to the sale of the manse to the college for $30,000 and the college held it until a group could be formed to preserve and interpret the home as a Birthplace museum for the late President of the United States. The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation was established in 1938. The first restoration of the manse started in 1940 and was completed in 1941 bringing the Presbyterian Manse back to its appearance of 1856 when Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born. In May 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to Staunton to dedicate the restored Woodrow Wilson Birthplace as a “shrine to freedom.”


A child was born and Jesse Wilson became a mother for the third time. Wilson, his two older sisters, and a younger brother experienced a comfortable childhood, enjoying the affection of a warm, attentive mother and the instruction of a gregarious yet demanding Presbyterian minister father. That child, who struggled and did not learn to read until he was 10, received the love and support of his parents. It is said in the history books that he may have suffered a learning disability. Woodrow Wilson went from these early beginnings to become a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only President to hold an earned doctoral degree.

He later grew up to become the 28th President of the United States.

During his tenure as U. S. President, in 1914, Woodrow Wilson, as President, signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

On this Mother’s Day, as you drive by the birthplace, give a nod to “Tommy.”

He “done good.”

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!



And, Happy Mother’s Day to all our Mothers and Grandmothers and Moms-In-Waiting and those who might someday become a mom and most especially, to the dear women far and wide, who long to become a mother, may this day be one of hope and promise for you.


Living the Dream,



Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

Oh my goodness have you enjoyed the extra sunshine in the evenings lately? Has it inspired you to take a walk? Rethink your fitness regime?

Have you  glanced at the pots of Lily’s  and tulips in the grocery store? What about your garden? Are you looking forward to some home grown tomato sandwiches, come summer?

Spring is in the air! I feel it. There is hope and newness and freshness all around us. There is renewed growth. There is a new sense of purpose just waiting in the wings and a special sort of beauty in the sunshine and puffy white clouds.

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I have talked with some of you lately who are building your growing kids wardrobes for spring. Still others are plotting a garden and looking  to personalize it with a garden ornament or two. Many of you are thinking ahead to summer vacations and the gifts and totes and clothing you might need. It’s a time of anticipation.


I’ll keep it brief on this special Easter Day. Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate.IMG_8838

Happy Springtime to each and every one of our special customers and friends!

Please stop by any of our three stores for your spring fashions, perhaps a new wreath for the patio or front door. Look to Grandma’s Bait and LTD 7 and LTD 7.2  for your fresh new candle scents, and garden delights. Spring merchandise, for the young and the young at heart is added weekly. Planning a special event or getting married? Let our team of professionals help you with rentals and decorating your rustic wedding.

We would love to see you!

With a spring in my step and living the dream,

PS. LTD 7 Market Days are ahead! Be sure to check our Facebook page and this website for future announcements! April 30th, 2016. Join here:
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We did it-Again!


It’s official! Grandma’s Bait is once again open in downtown Staunton! Despite the forecast of snow and rain, many of you came out to help us celebrate our dream of reopening the wonderful store that so many of you have come to know and love for years.


It was a wonderful day. I was surrounded by young and old and all of those in between and I knew in my heart that we had done the right thing in pursuing this venture. My Dream Team is bigger now and I am incredibly humbled by their love and support.

Oh sure, we have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but with your presence yesterday, you showed us that we can look forward to many happy years serving the children and their families who delight us with their patronage. After all, without you, our dream would be nothing. It truly takes a village and I am so proud to call Staunton my home. I am overjoyed to call each of you “friend,” and I look forward to meeting more of you in the days and weeks ahead as we settle in to our new venture.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your support and love! You make my dreams a reality!


If you haven’t had a chance to meet Clarese, please stop in and introduce yourself. She will be the face of Grandma’s Bait and my right hand. I know you will just love her and I am beyond thrilled to see her talents blossom at Grandma’s Bait. You will also see the friendly faces of Melody and Sarah when Clarese is taking a day or two off and they will be filling in as needed. IMG_8241

If you haven’t met Erin and Susan of Pufferbellies, please drop in their flagship store and introduce yourself to them and let them know you were in Grandma’s Bait!


We have posted over 100 photos of the festivities and the new showroom floor of Grandma’s Bait on Facebook. Please, please join us there and become a follower. You can see many of the wonderful items that we have for sale and you might even spot a tot and friend or two that you know! 

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Thank you to my loyal staff at LTD 7 and LTD 7.2 for supporting me as I launched this latest dream. Thanks for loving on me, holding me up, and carrying the torch when I was away. I simply could not do what I do without each and every one of you! Much love and gratitude!


Finally, thank you to each and every customer friend who enters any one of our stores, even to just say “Hello!” Your support and suggestions and dreams are as important to us as our own! We love you to the moon and back!

I will see you all soon!

Happy Spring, Everyone!

Living the Dream,


Dreams Really Do Come True: The Grand Reopening of Grandma’s Bait



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One store makeover, pallets of clothing and shoes, delightful additions to the toy lines and a lot of blood, sweat and tears later, Grandma’s Bait is ready for its Grand Reopening! But once I’ve opened the doors, the thought comes to me, whatever will I dream of next? That’s the thing about living the dream, I just keep on dreaming until my dreams come true. But more about that later…much later.

This is the week. The doors to Grandma’s Bait will open on Wednesday, March 16th to allow our staff and me to work out any kinks in a successful and smooth reopening celebration later that week. A “soft open” is an unannounced or lightly announced business opening, prior to a grand opening.

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A soft opening is much like the final dress rehearsal before a play. It brings together those who have been with us at LTD 7 and supported us as we opened LTD 7.2. It acts as a place where those of you who have gotten us off the ground in so many ways come together to quietly celebrate and tweak any necessary “flubs” as they occur. We all want to enjoy the Grand Reopening celebration that is to come, so the more familiar we are with the workings of the machinery and the merchandise, before the BIG day, the better.

It is also nice to receive feedback in the initial early stages. During a soft opening, we welcome our first customers and enjoy their comments and observations. Customers may say something that sparks a new idea for us. They may be coming in just to show support and we welcome that, wholeheartedly! And finally, a soft open allows us all to get super excited about the big day…the Grand Reopening.

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Grandma’s Bait will officially (re)open its doors this coming Saturday. It will be a day you do not want to miss!

We cordially invite you to celebrate with us on Saturday, March 19th from 10am to 5pm. Most of the activities will take place between 10:00am and 2:00pm, but the store will be open all day!

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We will have activities for the children, a strolling magician, and refreshments. We have apparel, shoes, gifts and toys that are sure to bring a sparkle to your eye. Please tell all your friends about our store and plan to join us as we unveil our latest dream.

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I will see you next week! Until then, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my cherished leprechauns. Here is to hoping that you find that four leaf clover!

Living the Dream,











Frying Pans & Lipstick

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Empower means “give power or authority to.” When you educate children and believe in them, you empower those kids to go after their dreams.

Empower might seem like a new word, but it’s been around since the 17th century. Today, empower often refers to helping someone realize their abilities and potential, or their dreams, perhaps for the first time. For example, in the 1960s, when women felt like second-class citizens, the women’s movement empowered them to stand up and demand their equal rights.




a combination of circumstances favorable for the purpose;

a good chance or occasion, as to advance oneself

I have had many opportunities to be empowered along the path I have taken in retail over many years. My mentors and the people who have presented me with unlimited opportunities along the way have such a special place in my heart. There is no way to ever thank those who have graced my life with such avenues for the expression of my dreams. The only way I can do them justice is to pay it forward and try to be the example they were to me.

Today is Valentine’s Day. My heart is full of love and gratitude for those who have graced my path all along the way to LTD 7 and LTD 7.2 and now beyond as we prepare to open Grandma’s Bait.

Having Susan and Erin Blanton of Pufferbellies, Staunton, join us as a vendor at Grandma’s Bait is truly a match made in Heaven! We go together like baseball and apple pie; like biscuits and gravy; and…like frying pans and lipstick.

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Wait! Frying pans and lipstick? What in the world am I thinking?

I can explain.

Grandma’s Bait is not a toy store and Pufferbellies is not a children’s clothing store. We are like frying pans and lipstick-seperate but necessary for the buyers that are seeking children’s apparel,toys & gifts. We are keeping it in line with the vision Shirley and Bob had 34 years ago. Why change what works?  Pufferbellies is the expert when it comes to choosing the best in toys & books and novelities.  It is a win-win for you, and it is a win-win for us. In retail this pairing of two seperate entities is known as a vendor relationship, or loosely fashioned, a store-within-a-store concept. Think about Best Buy. They have representatives from phone companies inside their brick and mortar stores. They recognize the opportunity to allow customers to meet with cell phone representatives and set up their phones-in house. Similiar examples are the makeup counters in Macy’s that sell lipstick and the housewares department of the same store, where you can purchase a frying pan…everything is under one roof. The retailer wins as they can offer more; the customer wins as they are able to shop under one roof. The town’s economy wins as small businesses grow.

My successful relationships with my vendors at LTD 7.1 and LTD 7.2 brought me, in perfect timing and syncronicity, to Pufferbellies. We are women empowering women. We are like Valentine’s Day and candy. We are the yin to each other’s yang and we are overjoyed to be opeing the doors to Grandma’s Bait in March.

Pufferbellies will grow. LTD is growing. They will expand. We will expand. They will keep their flagship store, just as I will always have both LTD 7 stores. And our new “baby,” Grandma’s Bait, will grow and expand right alongside Pufferbellies. Two hands making one heart.

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It’s a match made in Heaven! It’s small business supporting small business. It is women empowering women. It is a venture that allows each of us to play to our strengths and to your needs.

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Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Wishing you bushels of love and happiness and the chance along the way to realize your dreams.

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Living the Dream,