M.A. Simms: "The American Dream" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/20/02 - Tyler

M.A. Simms: "The American Dream"

A clothes store and a smokehouse under one roof. It's an unlikely combination, but a dream that has paid off for an East Texas family. That's this week's "American Dream".

"I got started in a time period that is a little bit easier," says Molly Simms.

For Simms, it has been a dream road, though there are always a few bumps along the way. She started small. "Started selling twistybeads out of a little shop on Vine Street," says Molly. Then she made the choice to make clothes her life. "I went home and told my parents that I wanted to start a clothing store, and it was just overwhelming to them." They said she needed to have plenty of inventory, and that it might be too expensive. But now, more than ten years later, the store, M.A. Simms, has plenty of inventory... and plenty of customers. And plenty of meat.

"We came up with the idea of selling my brothers smoked meats." In a clothing store? It's a very unlikely combination. "I rode off my brother's coattails."

Brother David, already had success with his "Cap Ranch" line of smoked meats, so why not a merger. But there was one small problem. "You can't sell, your clothes will smell like meat all the time if you produce it there." Ahh... but they renovated an old theatre in Bergfeld Center. And that gave them the chance to install different air systems, sealing off the smell of the meat from the wool and denim and linen. At least inside. "I can't control the parking lot because sometimes you can get out and smell the meats smoking."

Molly says if you're going to build a team to run a company, everyone has to have a different job.  Enjoy it and do it well. "My brother and I neither one liked the book part of it.  I like to create, clothing part, he liked the meat part. My husband is kind of the one that is the book mind and will do that part of the business, so it makes a nice threesome," Molly said.

Molly and her brother split the rent and insurance, and after these years they have never looked back. "I'm lucky, I love what I do so that, Monday morning you're excited about work, and I probably love it too much."

She says it's never without risk, without obstacles and some bonafide setbacks. "You're responsible for the good day, you're responsible for the bad day. But I think the rewards are self satisfying." Being able to say that the success of your business was your doing.

May through September, the Simms have cookouts at Cap Ranch near Mineola. People from all over Texas come to dine and dance in the summer nights.

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