While getting ready this past spring to graduate from USC Aiken, Brooke Thomas also was preparing to launch a store in downtown Aiken.

The grand opening for Ginger Bee Boutique was held July 18 at 110 Laurens St. S.W.

Not even a pandemic could stop Thomas from realizing her dream.

“It kind of worked out to my advantage,” Thomas said. “I didn’t have to go to school anymore, just get online, so it gave me a lot more free time. Really, the only difficulty that I had was getting shipments in because a lot of stuff was delayed.”

Thomas, 22, studied business management at USC Aiken.

“I’ve always loved clothing, and I’ve known what I wanted to do for the past four years, which was to own a boutique one day,” she said. “All through college, I made jewelry, mainly beaded earrings and necklaces, and I sold them in The Alley at some of the events.”

Thomas saved the money she earned to help get her store off the ground.

“It’s a women’s apparel shop,” she said. “We feature clothing, jewelry, shoes and other items. I feel like we bring a different look to the area in style than most of the other clothing stores downtown.”

Thomas described the apparel offered by Ginger Bee as “classy, classic and timeless.”

Ginger Bee also was the name that Thomas used for her jewelry business.

Explaining the ideas that inspired her to choose Ginger Bee as the brand for her ventures, Thomas said, “A lot of people think my name is Ginger because of my red hair, and then people tell me all the time that I’m always as busy as a bee.”

Ginger Bee Boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

"I want to stay in the boutique world and hopefully have other Ginger Bee locations in Georgia in Augusta or Evans," Thomas said of her plans for the future.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. For more access to these types of articles subscribe at my special rate. Click here