On the Boulevard – Clothing store fulfills dream of woman from Thailand

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2006

By Michelle G. Lyerly

Kannapolis Citizen

Sometimes, dreams do come true.

For Angkhana Wright, native of a small rural area just west of Bangkok, Thailand, her lifelong dream of owning her own business became a reality when she met now- husband Gary nearly four years ago.

At the time, she was working in Hong Kong as a housekeeper.

The couple met through Gary’s friend from Mississippi, corresponded via e-mail and telephone for a year, and “just out of the blue,” Gary found himself flying to Thailand.

Although he had never seen her face, it was love at first sight. “I still remember her look. She was just waving,” Gary said.

Gary stayed in Thailand for two weeks and then came back home to fill out the necessary paperwork. It took six months to get a visa. Angkhana arrived here in America — on, of all days — Sept. 11, 2004. “She was scared (going through security),” said Gary, who admitted he had advised her not to come on that day.

Coming from a poor family, it had been Angkhana’s lifelong dream to own her own business, so Gary and Angkhana began selling clothes at the Webb Road Flea Market. Eventually, the couple decided to open their own clothing store. “Everything just fell into place,” Gary said.

Eight weeks ago this week, On the Boulevard Discount Clothing, located on the corner of Cannon Boulevard and Fairview, celebrated its grand opening.

The purpose of the store is to sell top brands at a discount price. The Wrights get their merchandise through closeouts and overstocks from various warehouses and department stores. “Everything’s discounted,” said Gary, “as far as we can get it (the price) down.”

Men’s and boys’ jeans are priced at $7.99 and up; Fruit of the Loom shirts can be bought as low as $3.45, and boys’ and girls’ winter jackets, which would typically be priced at $32, can be found for as low as $9.99.

The store carries name-brand merchandise, such as MUDD and Urban Wear for men, as well as plus sizes ranging up to 4-X for men and women — and this is just a sample of the wide range of goodies On the Boulevard has to offer. “We enjoy people coming in and hearing responses about our prices,” said Gary, “you don’t have to spend a lot and have a good style, too.”

First time customer Elizabeth Reeves compliments the selection. “They have a really good selection of a variety of stuff. I like the large selection of extra large sizes. They even have children’s clothing. I like the styles, too. A huge variety for such a small store.”

The biggest treat for Gary has been the addition of his new Signtronix scroll sign on the front of the building, on which he has placed several catchy messages: “Don’t drink and drive”; “Have a safe holiday” and his favorite, “Remember, giving is the greatest gift.”

Gary is also excited about the store’s involvement with a fundraiser for A.L. Brown High School’s wrestling team. Fans can now buy a special discount card and receive 10 percent off purchases from a variety of contributing businesses for the next year.

The Wrights are looking forward to the future. Soon they will be able to do T-shirt transfers for customers. They are also planning to carry dresses in the spring and summer months. “We will carry a lot of dresses,” said Gary.

Gary, who is originally from Arizona, has been in the Kannapolis area 24 years. He and Angkhana have one daughter, 1-year-old Kaewmanee Michelle.

“She’s our biggest shoplifter,” Gary laughed as his daughter picked up some of the merchandise. Kaewmanee is a Thai name meaning jasper.

Gary’s other daughter Kristy, 22, will soon come to help out in her father’s shop.

Business hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. on Sundays.

Contact Michelle Lyerly at 704-932-3336 or news@kannapoliscitizen.com.