Just a little over a month ago, Camo Chick On 31 opened its doors, with, as co-owner Charity Rogers says, “a vision to build a future for our family, and provide a service for the area.” What’s the service? Providing all things camo for gals in the Valley, and “making you feel warm when you come in.” Getting there has been nothing less than a Herculean task of the heart for the whole clan. In the last 4 years they have lost two family members, both to sudden, tragic automobile related accidents. Charity lost her dad 4 years ago, and her teen aged son two years ago. Her son’s name was Wilson, and, as she says, “Wilson was never without something camo, and the shop is a nod toward his memory.”
Pulling together as a family and opening Camo Chick was a labor of love. Michael Rogers, Charity’s husband, works for PBS Services, cashed in his retirement, everyone put in a good deal of sweat equity, and Camo Chick was born. Charity’s daughter Anjillyn Ray, runs the shop Tue-Friday, and Charity, who is a special ed teacher and works on the Arsenal, works on Saturday. “We took one of Wilson’s great loves, a love we all have,” they said, and here they are.
Everyone knows that camouflage has become a fashion staple in our area, especially during this time of year, and due to the fascination Americans have with the Robertson clan of Duck Dynasty, but the “problem is that there is all kind of stuff for men,” says Michael, “and hardly anything for women.”
So, what do they have? T shirts, flower vases, and hand crafted jewelry made out of 9 mm shells. There are handbags for women that are stylish as well as function as concealment bags for women who carry weapons. There are matching three piece luggage sets, and custom sunglasses.
“We try to use small, family owned businesses,” says Charity, “and we want the store to be comfortable, and find something you love. We want it to be like Cheers,” and we all sang the ‘hook line’ “where everybody knows your name,” and we laughed. Charity said without apology, “We are about helping people, and we are not cheaper than Wal-mart.” She added, “We are small enough to special order single items for people, if they can’t find what they want.”
One of the things they told me about is a custom process for creating functional glassware that sports camo on each of its pieces. The pitcher, wineglass, or vase is submerged in film, and then subjected to an activator. They are made by a local artist.
In addition to camo wear, they carry some Montana Western wear, and have change purses, leather bags, wallets, and key chains. There are also earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Seeing as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, Camo Chick has come up with a custom T shirt that is the quintessential pink with camo all over, complete with a camo ribbon. “A portion of the profits go to breast cancer research,” said Charity.
I asked, as I always do, “Why should I come to you?” Anjillyn says, “We’ll bend over backwards to find you just what you want. Ask us, and we’ll try to get it for you. We take suggestions, and want to hear what Athens has to say, and to make them happy.”
Camo Chick is an official distributor for Camo Diva formal wear. It is now a trend to have camo bridesmaid and prom dresses, along with bow ties and cumberbunds. “Camo Diva is 100% custom made in the USA,” Charity said.
Another of the items carried by Camo Chick are technically known as “eagle claw hat hooks,” or to some, “happy hookers.” The hooks sell for $2.00, and are part of the fundraising campaign for the Wilson Gaut Scholarship fund. Wilson was a student at Ardmore High, and was a member of the FFA. In order to be a recipient of the Scholarship, the student has to be active in the FFA to qualifty.
Michael finished the interview by telling a bit about his childhood growing up on a dairy farm. They raised Holsteins, and he is thankful for the work ethic he developed. “The American Dream is to have your own business,” he said. “We care about the people who come in, and want them pleased when they leave. And, Charity said, “He has done everything to make me happy.” Come to Camo Chick and see what all this love, honor and hard work is about. You’ll be glad you did.
Camo Chick On 31
200 US Highway 31
Athens, AL 35611
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner