AVA —A new generation has brought buzz back into downtown Ava.
Kasey Doerner, owner of The Turquoise Door, Amy Boland, owner of The Brick Wall Boutique, and Francis Killion, owner of Ava’s Craft Center, have all made a contribution to the thriving business market in Ava.
Doerner, who sells handcrafted, vintage items, said her main goal was to bring life back into a building that has had so many memories.
“At one point it was a booming place,” Doerner said. “I have had many older people come in and tell me how the building I’m in has had many memories and they’re so glad such new life is back downtown.”
Entering into the calm and rustic shop, which was once a place where locals could purchase their drugs and enjoy a soda float, one can still make out the units in the ground where the soda machines once stood.
“Locals come in all the time and tell me how they use to come get a root beer float after school,” Doerner said.
Just next door to Doerner's shop, one can enjoy shopping for boutique-style clothing and jewelry inside of Boland's rural store.
"When Kasey went out on a limb to start her business over there, I was like, you know what, somebody needs to compliment her," Boland said.
Since opening their shops, both Doerner and Boland have seen a change in customers who they say come from places such as Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Du Quoin and Marion.
However, Killion finds the traffic of people to be at a constant since the opening of her shop some 40 years ago.
"There have been a lot of changes to Ava since this shop has opened," Killion said. "I think that (The Turquoise Door and The Brick Wall Boutique) are a wonderful addition to downtown Ava."
Killion, who sells weave rugs, hopes that her business may continue after she is gone.
"I myself have been here somewhere in the neighborhood of 54 years," said Killion. "My mother-in-law owned it (Ava's Craft Center), then she passed and my husband and I owned it, then he passed and now it's just me."
With a new buzz and TRI-county reality moving just next door to Killion's shop, each woman on the downtown strip hopes to continue her business and keep the history of Ava alive.