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Inspired by her own children, Georgia mom opens boutique for kids in need 

Linda Durrence operates Blossom — a store that offers parents in need a place to shop for free clothes, books and other basic necessities for their children.
/ Source: TODAY

In January, Linda Durrence brought her dream of opening a store that caters to the needs of foster children to life.

Blossom, her boutique located in Glennville, Georgia, offers children from infant to college-age a space where they can shop for clothes, free of charge. The 51-year-old mother of six envisioned the store years ago.

“I was raised pretty poor through junior high school,” she told TODAY in a phone interview, adding she was picked on because of the quality of her clothes when she was a kid.

But a tragic accident in 2016 pushed her to turn the boutique from an idea into a reality. 

Durrence’s oldest daughter, Kristin, was killed in a car wreck in December 2016. After her death, Durrence said her family decided, “(to) love with everything that we had.”

Blossom owner Linda Durrence (third from the left) with her family.
Blossom owner Linda Durrence (third from the left) with her family.Linda Durrence / Facebook

In 2017, she thought of that sentiment when she met three girls in foster care named Chelsea, Princessa and Juanita while attending her local church. 

As Princessa and Juanita’s youth leader, Durrence invited them to her home and they started to form a bond. Chelsea soon turned 18 after meeting Durrence, and signed herself out of the foster system.

“They came with one single trash bag and it was about a quarter of the way full.”

Linda durrence

When Durrence and her husband, Mark, learned from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services that the girls were going to be separated, they asked to take them in temporarily. A month later, Princessa and Juanita came to live with them.

“They came with one single trash bag and it was about a quarter of the way full,” Durrence recalled. “That was one for (both of them).” She explained that their clothes either didn’t fit or they were old and tattered.

She added, “They did have toothbrushes for themselves, but they had one trial-sized thing of toothpaste. It just broke our hearts.”

After the girls moved in, Durrence and her husband took them shopping. She shared, “While they were with us, they were going to have everything that (our other children had) because I didn’t want them to feel less than and I wanted them to feel like part of a family.”  

During their first Christmas together, the girls put “Adopt me please,” at the top of their lists. 

Juanita and Princessa were evaluated by a DFCS psychiatrist who reported that the girls were more anchored than they'd ever been before. One day while dropping her children off at school, Princessa told Durrence, “Please let us stay with you. We know y’all love us and we finally have peace. We’re tired of moving.”

Princessa and Juanita had lived in an abusive home following the death of their biological mother and they were not sent to school. The girls attended school for a few years while in the foster care system, but they still had a lot of catching up to do.

After praying about the situation, Durrence — who revealed that she had been secretly spiraling from grief over the loss of her first child — and her husband saw raising Princessa and Juanita as a sign from God and an opportunity to give two children in need a better life.

Durrence noticed a significant change in the girls in their new environment. Explaining the meaning of her boutique’s name, she shared, “Over time, we just watched these girls blossom. It was incredible.” 

After taking classes, Durrence and her husband officially became Princess and Juanita’s foster parents. The couple eventually reunited with Chelsea and became her parents as well.  

“We needed them as much as they needed us,” Durrence said later in the interview. “We realize that now.”

Durrence and her husband are now parents to daughters Sarah, 23, Chelsea, 21, Princessa, 20, Maddie, 19, and Juanita, 16. 

While taking the classes, Durrence and her husband realized that other foster parents might not have the financial means to support their children. 

‘What if there was a place that they could just come and get clothes, jewelry, hygiene items?’” Durrence thought at the time.

She researched other stores with similar business models such as Ruth’s Closet in Maryland, which helps victims of domestic abuse. One Atlanta organization she drew inspiration from was Bloom Our Youth, a non-profit that assists foster children and their families. 

Blossom opened in January 2021. Durrence already has people in the community, surrounding counties and even other countries donating and shipping clothing items to her. She has also received a couple monetary donations. 

Blossom.Linda Durrence / Facebook

“Our phone is blowing up and our email is blowing up,” Durrence said.  

So far, her family and volunteers have been helping her run the store. 

“All of my girls, while they all have jobs of their own (or) are in college, (come) up here and work,” Durrence shared. 

Since she also runs another business, Durrence’s sister Leslie — who helped her become a foster mom — manages the store daily. Durrence tries to be at Blossom at least a few days a week. 

While the idea for Blossom started with foster children, Durrence said that “basically anybody whose parents cannot afford clothes” can receive free items from the boutique. Customers from infant to college-age are welcome. 

“They can come in every quarter and get seven suits of clothing, as well as hygiene items,” Durrence shared. There are also extra items like jewelry, books and a few small toys for younger children. 

All Blossom customers are asked to make an appointment ahead of time. The boutique owner explained, “This is something that I learned from Bloom because some kids are embarrassed and you want to make sure you have plenty of their sizes.” 

Sometimes if there aren’t items in a particular size, Durrence and her family purchase the clothes. She noted that they especially need clothes for boys. 

“I just want people to know that there are other people out there that really care."


Right next door, the family also opened a thrift store where adults who don’t meet the criteria for the boutique can purchase clothes for $1. 

Durrence explained, “We’ve had quite a bit of adult families come in, where they’re all working and everything, (but) they just don’t have decent clothes to wear. They can go in there and clothe their whole family for 20 to 30 bucks.” 

After learning about Blossom, Durrence said her daughters were thrilled and immediately wanted to help. 

“I think it’s therapy for all of my daughters,” Durrence shared. “They’re all very close.”

Since opening Blossom, Durrence has already heard from other people who also want to open their own stores.

“I just want people to know that there are other people out there that really care."