Bonnie Thurmond, The Embroidery Shoppe

Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from difficult situations. It’s a characteristic that serves military spouses well, including Bonnie of the Embroidery Shoppe. 

Bonnie was introduced to her husband, a U.S. Airman, nearly 20 years ago while he was still at the United States Air Force Academy. Now they have 4 children between the ages of 4 and 13, which could be tough with just one income.

When Bonnie first moved, from Jacksonville, FL to Colorado, she worked as a surgical dental assistant. She enjoyed the job, but the pay was significantly less than what she was used to when they moved to Panama City, FL. Bonnie decided to look for something new, and was offered a sales job at a local radio company. Through that position she met two sisters who owned their own embroidery store. She really liked the two women, and began working with them on weekends, learning the tricks of their trade.

This proved to be timely, as something very unexpected happened. A corporate takeover at her radio station led to all the employees being laid off. Bonnie was only 25 years old, had already made major pivots in her career, and was left without a well-paying job. It was time to summon that resiliency. The sisters hired her, and Bonnie dove right in. She fell in love with the work, continued training with them, and did her own embroidery projects on weekends. Bonnie had a baby, and kept working. Her husband deployed, but she kept working. When the sisters approached Bonnie to tell her they were going to sell the shop, Bonnie wrote them a check from her credit card and bought the business– and kept working.

She took over all the leases on the equipment, and kept a storefront with her baby. When the building lease ended she moved the business home. While she missed dentistry, she found a satisfaction in the precision and perfectionism that’s also required with embroidery. 

Now called The Embroidery Shoppe, Bonnie has added a vinyl machine, a heat press, and also does printing. She’s wrangled her family into the business as well, sending her husband off to train on the equipment and getting her kids involved by sorting and cutting fabric, organizing, alphabetizing, matching thread colors, and packing. They love it!

Bonnie enjoys working with schools. She embroiders spirit wear, buttons, and athletic gear. She’s always making a gift extra-special, whether it’s an apron for a teacher, or personalized items for a birthday party. Being from the south, monogramming is one of her favorite things. 

It helps that the business moves with her (Florida, Colorado, Ohio, and now Virginia). She can work with people anywhere, working out details via email and text. She still has clients from Florida, who she met in 2005, including a number of sororities. It still requires the work of growing a new customer base with each move, but she is grateful for the choices it affords her family, with providing extra-curricular activities, educational choices, and family vacations.

October 2020 marks her 12th year in business! With events and large gatherings being limited due to Covid, she’s carrying on through a whole new set of challenges with the business. But thankfully… she’s resilient!

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