Sharon H. has been selling The Contributor since its early days in Nashville, and she has played a large part in the expansion of the paper through launching sales in the Green Hills area. Throughout her life, she has conquered heartbreak, injury and homelessness while continuing to be one of the paper’s top-selling vendors. This past week, she was rewarded by the Contributor staff for increasing her sales by 20 percent in the last year.
Sharon, 64, is originally from Kentucky. As an adult, she moved to Indiana, where she met her husband. They started a family and lived contently for many years. Later in their marriage, her husband moved to Memphis for work. At the time, Sharon was struggling to pay her student loans and needed to find work for herself, so she picked up and moved to Nashville. After the temporary job at Kroger’s warehouse expired, she worked for a gas station in the area. “I pretty much did everything around there. I mopped, I did inventory, and I did practically everything else except cashier," she said.
One day, while she was changing the gas prices, she fell and was badly injured. After the injury, she left the job and was out of the streets – still burdened by her bills and without a home.
Then, eight years ago, a woman named Debby Overstreet told Sharon about The Contributor, and soon she became a vendor and started selling the paper outside of the Walgreens on West End.
From there, she moved to sell at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in an effort to increase her sales. There, she had a customer tell her that there were no vendors selling in Green Hills. She moved her sales to the Green Hills and began selling papers outside of Krystal –which she said was the start of her success.
After more vendors came to Green Hills to sell, Sharon moved her micro-business to Kroger, and the management loves her work and loyalty to the store. “I have been there so long that they don’t want anyone out there but me. I keep an eye on their parking lot; if I see trash I will pick it up, if there is a toilet that needs to be plunged I’ll plunge it," she said.
Selling at Kroger is important to Sharon, as those who buy the paper from her are more than just customers.
“The people of Green Hills are my family and many would say that I am like their family. We are all like one big family. If one person is sick I worry and I don’t see them for a while, I worry and vise versa.”
Two years ago, Sharon’s husband passed away. “He was my true love, and I was his true love,” Sharon said. But she pushed on, continuing to be one of The Contributor’s top 15 vendors.
Sharon said that no matter her circumstances, she relies on the Lord, and dedicates all of her success to Him. “The Lord Jesus is the one that takes care of me. He will have His people in Green Hills surprise me when I am in need.
I want to thank the people of Green Hills because they are the ones that have helped me reach my goal.”
Cover photo: Sharon received a monetary award from The Contributor for increasing her sales by 20 percent during 2016.