Bernice Brown of BYB Janitorial now selling clothing

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 2:03 p.m.
An east Gainesville resident with a passion for cleaning is now trying to parlay her success in the janitorial business into other business ventures.
"I love to clean," said Bernice Brown, owner of BYB Janitorial Service. "I started working with a man who owns a janitorial service, and thought to myself, 'I can do this.' I just always wanted my own business."
Brown said her first contract was with Lakewood Villa apartments in southwest Gainesville.
"I still have that account," she said.
"I distributed fliers and some of my business cards around, and the manager of those apartments contacted me, and asked if I was interested in meeting with him," she said. "I met with him, and I got the contract."
Brown said the contract called for her to clean apartments for people who were moving in, and to clean apartments after people moved out. She said the business is seasonal, like most things in Gainesville, and added that she recently opened up another business to help generate income for herself.
Bernice's Accessories & More is located at 1001 NW 5th Ave. inside the same building as Tre's Handbags & Accessories. Brown said the business has been open for five months, and she said she got the idea about opening the business while visiting a friend's house.
Brown, 49, said she became good friends with Pastor Crystal Griffin while the two worked for a local janitorial service.
"I was visiting her home one day and saw that she had a bunch of clothes boxed up that still had the price tags on them," said Brown, who was a registered nurse for 21 years. "I told her that she needed to sell those clothes, and she gave them to me to sell for her."
Brown said she had a lot of clothes of her own that she didn't wear, and combined those with what she received from Griffin and held several yard sales.
"I then talked to my family about going into business, and they encouraged me to do so, especially my brother, the Rev. Dr. Larry Mitchell," Brown said.
She said she began to search for a building to house her business. One day, she was in Tre's to buy a DVD when she noticed the space adjacent to his business was unoccupied. She said she got in contact with the owner of the building right away to find out if she could rent the space.
She said once she got into the building, it was not hard at all to get her inventory stocked. She sells infant wear, lingerie, wigs, jewelry, M&M and other jackets, jersey dresses, women's church hats and outfits, Red Monkey jeans and shorts, shoes, clothing by Rocawear, purses and more.
She said business was slow at first, but it is picking up day by day.
"I put fliers and business cards out to let people know I'm here," said Brown, who has been married to her husband, Emmitt Brown, for almost 28 years. Brown has five children: Noel Owens, 36, Shawn Young, 31, Emmitt Jr., 22, Jennifer Brown, 21, and Charea Hayes, 10, a granddaughter she is raising.
The 1973 graduate of Gainesville High School said she is happy to have a business on 5th Avenue.
"The people over here have been very helpful," she said. "They stop by and make sure I'm alright."
One teenage girl said she stopped by to see what Brown had because her grandfather, George Young, told her about the business.
"I stopped by to buy a SpongeBob jacket," said 15-year-old Derika Brown. "I love to shop, and my granddaddy told me she sells good stuff in here."
Brown also plans to open up Bernice's Hair & Nail Boutique at the same location. She said she is in the process of hiring cosmetologists, nail technicians and barbers to work as a team. She said anyone interested in applying for those positions should stop by her business or call her at (352) 371-8422 or (352) 219-3886.
Bernice's Accessories & More is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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