Five years ago she realized there’s something she likes better.
That’s when she began helping her parents, Maurice and Katie Johnson, at their business, The Quality Shoppe.
“I was really just helping them out at first,” she said. “But then I started helping a little bit more and a little bit more and now it’s turned into something full time.”
Rena grew up in Jacksonville. She and Marc, a Pennsylvanian, lived in the suburbs of Virginia. They relocated to be near her family.
“Having a disabled brother (Marcus), it was important for us to start planning for the future,” Rena said. “We were making a lot of trips back and forth. Since Marc and I both grew up in small towns, we were looking for the small town life to raise our children.”
Marc is director of research operations for Intellectual Property Concerns, a northern Virginia based firm. He telecommutes. Their children are Parker, 10, and Kelcie, 7.
Another plus side to the move is the fact that her children get to spend a lot of time with their grandparents.
Rena experienced a busy weekend with The Quality Shoppe’s grand opening at its newest location on the square, 101 Ladiga St., S. E.
Fifty of Blush Prom’s top styles were featured at a trunk show. Girls were encouraged to try on the dresses. Door prizes included two gowns.
“I’m so grateful and touched by the outpouring of support from our community,” said Rena. “It’s just lovely.”
Minnie and Rupert Weaver opened The Quality Shoppe in 1935. Rena’s parents bought it in 1969.
“We’re the longest continuously operating business in Jacksonville,” said Rena. “We’ve had it for almost 35 years and we hope to have it another 35 years.”
The Quality Shoppe offers prom gowns, pageant dresses for little girls and big girls, shoes, bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dresses and mothers’ dresses. The shop also offers a selection of special occasion dresses, including short cocktail dresses, jewelry and tuxedo rentals.
As for ever using that law degree again, Rena said she isn’t closing the door on the idea.
“I’m a member of three bars,” she said. “What I’m doing right now gives me more flexibility with my children. If I ever do decide to do that, it’ll be when my children are older. Right now I’m happy doing what I’m doing.”