New east Nashville retailer honors family's history - WKRN News 2

New east Nashville retailer honors family's history

Posted: Updated: Oct 31, 2012 05:09 PM

On the corner of Arthur Avenue and Garfield streets, sits a house with an incredible story that story belongs to Dawn Cornelius.

"This is the place my life changed forever," said Cornelius, pointing to the modest home behind her. "The fact that my grandmother saved us and brought us to this house is monumental."

In 1972, Dawn and her twin brother were abandoned at a Nashville hospital, because their mother and father didn't want to raise them.

"He convinces my grandmother to go to the hospital, his mother," said Dawn, referring to her father, "To see these children that had been born."

At the age of 65, Olivia Witherspoon took Dawn and her brother home to the house on Arthur Avenue and raised them.

"No preparation for us, we sleep in a drawer for our infant years," Dawn said. "Thank God for the choices she made. She was 65-years-old at the time that she makes that decision. That single decision changed the trajectory of our lives."

Out of Olivia's kindness came the idea to open 1907 Apparel on Fatherland Street in east Nashville.

Dawn explained, "The one thing that strings everything together is I've always had this innate desire and this belief that somehow I can be part of changing the world."

It's called 1907 Apparel, because that is the year Dawn's grandmother was born.

Olivia's picture, as well as other family photos, sits above the door.

Inside the store, which just opened last week, you can find merchandise, such as clothing and house wares, from Nashville and all over the world.

Dawn told Nashville's News 2, "No matter what a customer purchases, seven percent of all of our profits go towards issues or organizations that deal with the issues of poverty, education or agriculture."

"You'll find Joyn, they're an organization out of northern India and what they're dealing with is the issues of poverty," said Dawn. "We carry and organization called Mission Lazarus, they're based out of Nashville but they work in Honduras and Haiti."

Part of the store also includes a place where people can buy a tee shirt and get the year that changed their life printed on it.

Dawn told Nashville's News 2, "Customers will have this moment here to be challenged about what is the year that changed their life."

The idea being, that even though Olivia passed away more than 20 years ago, her story lives on in other peoples' stories.

"I think she would be incredibly proud," said Dawn, looking up at her grandmother's picture.

1907 Apparel is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from Noon until 6 p.m.

For more information, visit their Web site.

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441 Murfreesboro Road Nashville, TN 37210

Telephone: 615.369.7222
Fax: 615.369.7329

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