Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

March 18, 2013

BUSINESS: Searching for purses, blankets, tricked-out lanyards or hair products on the cheap? Step into the tented kingdom of ...THE QUEEN OF BLING

JACKSONVILLE — If a tent filled with low-priced hair bows, Scooby Doo blankets, hats, shoes, studded lanyards, sundresses, and purses can be considered a kingdom, then Yanling Qi is definitely the Queen of Bling.

“Kids and ladies love my place,” the 31-year-old businesswoman said Wednesday. “All the ladies love my bling things.”

Qi, a Canton resident, regularly sets up her sprawling tent during business hours in a parking lot at 604 Bryan Street to sell numerous items she purchased wholesale.  She welcomes numerous incoming — several of them return — customers.

She'll be at this address through the weekend, then will continue to adhere to her business model of “hop around from spot to spot and continue to diversify the customer base around Cherokee County.”

A reporter who visited her tent this week noted that children clearly love the tented store because of the many shiny objects on sale.

Parents, on the other hand, love the tent because the price is right.

“Kids like my place because they like the small things,” she said. “Kids like our $25 to $35 Disney, dog (Scooby Doo) and sports team blankets. Our $1 hair bows are most popular.”

A great many people visit Qi's tent, leave, then come back again later in the day with money and purchase a lot of items.

In a world of ripoffs, many are ecstatic just to get such a good deal.

And the customers certainly appreciate the healthy discounts — even if some are initially incredulous.

“How much for these?” one female customer, eyebrow cocked, asked Qi Wednesday, indicating a variety of nick knacks.

“One dollar,” Qi responded.

“One dollar?” the woman asked again,, breaking into a wide smile when she realized there was no misunderstanding.

For Qi — who runs the business with help from her husband — it is a fresh breath of freedom and escape from the more structured world of restaurants, where she worked before.

She has been in business for herself the past year.

“I work for myself — more freedom,” Qi said. “When you work for somebody else, no freedom.”

Locating in someone else's parking lot takes a permit, and city records indicate Qi and her husband maintain a regular presence at 604 Bryan Street.

Qi said weather permitting, she expects a big wave of customers to descend on her tent at this location during the weekend.

The secret to return business?

“I sell lower than anyone,” she said. “I never want to sell high.”

Contact Ben Tinsley by emailing btinsley@jacksonvilleprogress.com or call him at 903-586-2236.

Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/bentinsley or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12

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