A Clarksville native, Jamie has spent many years living day-to-day and watching her life "go downhill." She spent many years in St. Petersburg, Fla., before returning to Middle Tennessee in 1987, and after overcoming a toxic relationship, the vendor realized she had to make some changes. Her calling, she says, is selling papers.
“Ever since I started doing this, I have loved it," she said. "I really do!"
In 2003, Jamie experienced a shocking loss with the death of her mother. It was around this time that she turned to drugs. She was working dead-end jobs with little hope for the future. But after finding The Contributor, Jamie says she has found the most fulfilling and enjoyable job of her life. In fact, August marked her sixth year selling papers. “I never thought I would go out there and sell papers, but then I saw how much money I could make. I thought 'Yeah, I can do this,' ” she said. “I look forward to seeing my customers everyday.”
Today, she sells at the intersection of Kenner Ave. and Harding Pike in Belle Meade. “I used to go all over Nashville trying to sell. I’ve sold in Donelson, but I do my best where I am now,” she said. “The paper has really kept me going. I have the best customers.”
Jamie especially enjoys after-school traffic, waving to the excited kids on the school bus — with her electrifying personality and vibrant red hair, Jamie has never met a stranger. “You get to talk to all kinds of different people and put a smile on their faces.”
After overcoming a period of homelessness and addiction, Jamie says working with the public has enriched her life. “I thank my customers for giving me the drive to get out there everyday and sell. This is the job for me.” She also says her personal success is, in part, due to the support of her husband, Tommy. “If [we] didn’t end up the way we did, I’d be dead.” This year marks her ninth year as a recovering addict. “I don’t know where I’d be if I was still doing that stuff.”
In the future, Jamie hopes to save up for a car and upgrade her mobile home to a house. As for now, she has no plans to stop selling the paper. “I’ll probably still be out here for a long time. Really there’s no probably, I know I will.”
When she’s not selling papers, she enjoys country music concerts, rescuing cats and spending time at home. She says she loves her customers just as much as she loves her animals; coming from Jamie, that means a lot.
May 16 2018