- Associated Press - Saturday, April 22, 2017

MITCHELL, Ind. (AP) - It could be months before Chris Ferrel sweeps up the last of the sequins, sparkly beads and glitter off the floor after altering dozens of prom dresses in the weeks leading up to high school formals.

Everett and Chris Ferrel have more than their fair share of business ventures, starting with Furniture World, the retail outlet they opened in 1984, and the Golden Comb, which is Chris‘ hair salon. Chris also does alterations and tuxedo rentals.

Servicing Bedford North Lawrence, Mitchell, Shoals, Paoli, Orleans, West Washington, Salem, Bloomington North and South and Columbus North students means Chris is putting in 12-hour days as young people filter in and out of the shop.

“Some I just need to hem or take up the straps, but some are very intricate,” Chris said.

She pulled out a pink satin two-piece ensemble with intricate beaded trim. To alter it, Chris had to remove all the beads and reaffix them when she was done.

“Some years, with some dresses, you do want to pull your hair out,” she admitted. “I try to get the harder ones out of the way first, so I know they’re done and ready to go for the girls.”

Typically, girls start dropping off their dresses beginning in February. Still, as the days tick down for local proms, things can get pretty hectic.

“I enjoy it,” Chris said. “It’s my favorite time of year as far as work goes.”

Chris also takes care of the tuxedo fittings. If a jacket doesn’t fit right or pants are too long, she takes care of it right in the shop.

“I won’t let the boys take the tuxes out of here without trying them on first, and that can get pretty funny because they’re not used to putting all those pieces on,” she said.

“When she attends the grand march, she can tell you who got their tuxes through her based entirely on how it fits the boy,” Everett said.

Good experience

But the Ferrels’ experience stretches far beyond the prom business. Everett has been in various business ventures since he was 17 and started running a Sinclair station. Shortly after the couple were married 38 years ago, Chris joined him.

They started Furniture World during a time when small-town furniture stores were the norm and water beds reigned supreme.

“One year, we sold and set up 32 water beds for Christmas,” Everett said.

As time passed, their ventures continued to branch out as they tried to meet the needs of the community.

“We’ve just always tried to do what we could to help Mitchell because this is home,” said Everett, who has served as a city councilman since 2004. “I love being a councilman because it keeps me in touch with the community, and I believe that’s extremely important.”

Everett also retains his license as an independent broker who sells life insurance, annuities and Medicare supplements.

“I like to say I’m not an expert in anything, but I’ve done a little bit of everything,” Everett said.

Serving others

About three decades ago, Chris began attending the Wesleyan church with the couple’s three daughters, but Everett opted out.

“There was this little prayer room off the sanctuary. They would take names and put them on the wall, where you could pray for the person,” Everett said. “My name was there, and I even went as far as to ask them to remove it.”

Then, one night, while they were visiting a Wesleyan campground in Orleans for a revival, the evangelist who was speaking “laid my life right out in front of me,” Everett recalled, “although I was probably the only one who saw it.”

That night, he went home and sat on his front porch.

“I was tired of fighting it,” he said. “I said, ‘OK, God, I give up. If you’ll have me, here I am.’”

Today, the Ferrels love to serve the community. The couple initiated a free Thanksgiving dinner for the community through their church. Chris makes cinnamon rolls that are used for fundraisers.

“We grew up here, and I can tell you a lot of people have helped me through the years,” Everett said. “I can tell you people have helped me, invested in me and I feel like it’s my time to give back and help others. Mitchell is full of a lot of great people who give and give, and no one ever knows to what extent is given. It’s a privilege to live among people who are generous and loving. That’s what Mitchell means to us.”


Source: (Bedford) Times-Mail, https://bit.ly/2opClt4


Information from: The Times-Mail, https://www.tmnews.com

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