January 10, 2024

A novel by Thomas Wolfe is titled, ‘You Can’t Go Home Again.’

The motivational saying, “Go big or go home” resurfaced in the 1980s after its racetrack lingo origin in the 1940s.

Paige Dennis, owner of Joanns would disagree with the meaning behind the novel, and revise, slightly, the motivational quote.

“I would say, ‘Go Big AND Go Home’ and that’s just what I did,” she said during an interview last week.

In the first two weeks following the opening in late December, visitors and customers have arrived from 19 states, to walk through the doors onto the polished, black and gold marbleized flooring, to be greeted by the massive front counter, flanked by starburst crystal chandeliers.

Dennis shared the history of the establishment, newly constructed at the corner of Broadway and East State Line in South Fulton, a three-story elegantly designed building, which includes portrait windows along either side, featuring works of art sought after by local area prom-goers, pageant participants across the country, those with invitations to a gala event, or a celebrity’s choice of just the right attire for an awards show or the red carpet.

The gowns on display at Joanns could very well be selected, as has been the case in the past, for television series costuming or a Showtime series wardrobe addition.

The merchandise is not limited to just formal wear for the ladies, as Michael Kors tuxedo rentals and purchases may also be made at Joanns.

Large displays of giftware such as Swig cups, specialty candies and Dolly Parton candles are stationed throughout the ground floor area.

Some 38 years ago, the first retail location for Joanns was actually just a few blocks over from the present site, on Walnut Street in Fulton. Bridal, pageant and prom gowns were the specialty at that time, but structural issues and code requirements prohibited their long-term occupancy of their building there.

Paige was still a student at South Fulton High School at the time.

Once the decision was made to move, Union City was selected as the new home for Joanns, with three moves over the years, for the growing business.

“We would outgrow one location, and then find another location. We would remodel and upgrade where we were, and then outgrow it, and go to somewhere larger,” she said.

After graduating from South Fulton High School, Dennis traveled extensively as a designer for a manufacturer, living and working in Asia during portions of the year and Paris at other times of the year.

In 2012, she made the decision to make an offer on a home in South Fulton, after having resided in Woodland Mills.

“I was ready to come home, and really, to start a family. It was time. Actually, it was probably past time. I now have five-year-old twins, Delta Paige and Zachary, who are Pre-K students,” she said.

While Joanns continued to be located in Union City, Dennis enjoyed residing in South Fulton, and reconnected with many of the people she had known in her younger years.

She soon began to have conversations with a neighbor, Jeff Campbell, who had also returned to his native community, and established The Meadows Hotel.

“I began to think that his dream, having come to fruition, through the Meadows, could most likely co-exist with my dream, of coming back home, so to speak,” she said.

She credits Campbell, as well as fellow high school classmate Sam Hancock, as being instrumental in her decision to return to the Twin Cities, as both offered encouragement and support along the journey.

“This area is on the up and up. It is growing. The revitalization and resurgence experienced here in the past few years, being right across from a beautiful hotel, like The Meadows, and also being just a mile away from home, made this location an easy choice for me,” Dennis said.

“We are on the cusp of something great here, I believe. I see the Twin Cities as a hidden gem for this area. We are having other new businesses open up here. People are looking for homes here. I am excited to be a part of it, and I want to leave a footprint and a legacy, in a positive way,” she added.

Joanns is located at 101 Broadway, in South Fulton. The telephone number is 731-479-1771, or visit; @joannsoftenessee.

The business has 14 employees as well as utilizes 17 independent contractors.

There are 16 dressing rooms on the first and second floors, and while appointments are not required, those who visit the business during regular hours of operation without an appointment may have a slight wait, she said, as each customer receives individualized and customized service.

Hours of operation are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sun., 12 noon to 4 p.m.