GREENVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – One Darke County woman has taken a dive head-first, opening a small business in the midst of the pandemic.

Darke County Apparel LLC opened at 624 Wagner Avenue in Greenville on November 15, 2021.

“I wanted to be on Wagner Avenue because it’s one of the busiest streets in Greenville,” said owner Mary Francis, who’s from Versailles.

With a few thousand dollars and a loan, Mary Francis took a risk opening the clothing store knowing that it probably wouldn’t be profitable for a few years.

“No college degree, just high school degree, and here I am,” said Mary.

She opened during the pandemic when many small businesses have been struggling.

“You got to get up, put your pants on one leg at a time and just try. If you don’t, then that’s where you fail, if you don’t try,” said Mary.

From newborn to 5X, the shop offers everything from shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and bags, creating custom apparel and printing logos on clothing. Mary does embroidery, heat transfer, vinyl and sublimation.

This wasn’t always her dream.

“I wanted to have a radio station. So that was my dream. And then this was just my hobby,” said Mary.

But her hobby has turned into her passion. She has only a couple employees, along with her mother who volunteers.

“If she’s busy and a customer comes in, I will ring them up and take care of them,” said Debbie Francis. “I’m so proud of Mary.”

Mary Francis said around the holidays she saw a lot of traffic, and while some of that has fallen off, she’s starting to get busier again. She said the biggest challenge has been getting the word out.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be like a get rich quick thing,” said Mary.

Mary is currently in the process of putting in a screen printer. She said eventually she would like to expand to a bigger store but realizes that’s a few years away.