“I’ve always loved clothes, but found that when I had to choose between buying clothes for my girls or myself, I’d rather buy for my girls,” Army said. “So I had an idea that I wanted to be able to offer affordable prices for women because moms shouldn’t have to make that decision.”
Also, Amy remembers being in college towns and not being able to afford clothing in the local shops.
That’s why she opened Swank, just off the square on Oct. 24. Swank caters to women of all ages and offers women’s clothing, jewelry, handbags and shoes for women. Seasonal children’s items are also available.
Swank will open on the east side of the square, next to Jillybeans, on Jan. 7.
“We just needed more room to spread out,” she said, “and we’ll definitely have it in our new location. I’ve been really pleased with the business we do. The square businesses have been very supportive. We’ve been very lucky to have been received as well as we have.”
The name Swank was born one day when Amy and her mother were brainstorming for a name for her shop.
“We wanted something different and catchy and came up with Swank,” she says.
Swank can be found online at shop-swank.com
Amy grew up in Weaver and graduated from Weaver High. She has a degree in exercise science and wellness and a master’s in business administration from JSU where she played volleyball.
She and her husband, Patrick, who works for Price Waterhouse Coopers, have two daughters. Madison is 6 and is in first grade at Kitty Stone Elementary School and Bella is 3.
Amy is the daughter of Joy and Baron Reaves. Joy works in public relations at city hall and Baron works for Norfolk Southern Company. Her sister Jennifer Reaves teaches home economics in Tuscaloosa, and her brother Jake Reaves is a production manager for a manufacturing facility in Green Bay, Wisc.
She says her grandparents Jimmy and Jeanette Higgins of Saks have always been there for her.
“They’ve been a part of every single thing I’ve ever done my entire life.”
For a few years now, Amy has been making pasta from scratch because of a wedding gift -- a pasta machine and pasta board -- from her husband’s grandmother.
A gift that she doesn’t have but wishes she did is time. That’s why it will be so convenient to be located next to Jillybeans, which now offers meals to go.
The last big meal she prepared was for family members on Christmas Day.
Amy Macaroni and Cheese and Baked Beans are her mother’s recipes. The mac and cheese is a variation of her grandmother Reaves’ recipe that her mother has made for years. The baked beans are a variation of her aunt Nancy’s. Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies, which are her husband’s favorite cookies, comes from her mother-in-law, Nancy Daley of Iron Mountain, Mich.
“We love chips and dips,” Amy said, adding that Fiesta Dip, her sister Jennifer’s recipe, is one of their favorite.
Macaroni and Cheese
1 bag jumbo elbow noodles
1 large can evaporated milk
¾ block velveeta cheese (at room temperature)
Mild chedder cheese (shredded)
Boil noodles until thoroughly soft and then drain (but leave a little water in the pot). Combine noodles, left over water, velveeta cheese (cut in cubes), beaten eggs and evaporated milk.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. If starting to congeal, then add shredded cheese on top. Put back in oven on broil until the top is browned slightly.
1 lb. hamburger meat
Large can Van Camp’s pork and beans
Brown sugar barbecue sauce
½ yellow onion
Brown hamburger meat and diced yellow onions together. Once finished, drain and then mix with pork and beans. Add in a few heavy squirts of ketchup an barbecue sauce and a couple of light squirts of mustard.
Add at least a half cup of brown sugar (Amy adds more until the mixture/beans are a nice, darker brown color.) Cook in a casserole dish in oven on 350 degrees until it starts to boil around the edges. Then, let it cool for a little bit before serving.
Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 sticks butter
2 cups chocolate chips
4-6 Skor bars broken into bits
1 /2 cups chopped walnuts (optional, and Amy usually doesn’t add these)
Mix together dry ingredients. Add to creamed butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs. Stir in chips, Skor bars, and nuts (optional). Chill dough (not necessary if in a hurry). Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes. Make sure not to overbake, because these cookies are best when soft and moist.
16 oz. sour cream
1 packet Fiesta Ranch Dip (powder mix, which Amy has only found at Wal-Mart)
1 small can chopped black olives
1 small can chopped green chilies (in taco section of store)
1-2 cups sharp grated cheddar cheese
Mix all ingredients together. The amount of cheese you use depends on the thickness you prefer of your dip. Amy uses more cheese. Chill in refrigerator for a while before serving. It is best chilled. Stir after chilling before serving.
Amy said she and her family enjoy this dip with Tostitos Scoops.