Touch of Grace brings pageant experience, options to Chilton County

Published 11:57 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

One of the biggest hobbies and activities in Chilton County is getting a signature store right in their own county with Touch of Grace Pageant & Prom opening in Thorsby. The pageant and prom dress shop held a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 12 to welcome the community in for business.

“It has been a long time coming, and we have been working on the business for almost a year now, and I hope to see it pay off very soon,” Karli Waits, owner of Touch of Grace Prom & Pageant, said.

Waits, who has been involved in pageants since she was a young girl, also has a daughter who is also heavily involved in the pageant scene. Waits has worked in pageant shops in the past helping girls get ready for their big day. Now, she hopes she can help guide girls and their mothers in Chilton County to help make their pageant and prom dreams come true, whether they are experienced at them or getting into them for the first time.

“I just saw that there was a need around here in the community for girls to have the option to shop locally, because sometimes it is hard to go out of county to get things,” Waits said. “I wanted to provide my community with something that was very needed, and it is something I have always wanted to do.”

Touch of Grace Prom & Pageant offers a wide selection of colorful and neutral pageant and prom dresses inside their new building. The building, which was designed on the outside by Todd Bowen and Shawn Ballew, was completely redone on the inside by Waits’ husband, father-in-law and family friends using her ideas for the shop.

The inside features a receptionist desk in the front of the shop, dress selections on both sides of the store, accessories available, such as jewelry, and fitting rooms for trying on dresses to find the perfect one. The white walls are brand new inside, and match well with the original stone floors that were kept preserved inside the store.

Waits said the process was stressful at times with a lot of hours going into the business, and when she first saw the building it was bare with nothing inside. It took her a minute to visualize what she could turn the store into, and with the help of her family, the visions are now a reality.

“I am very happy with the way it turned out,” Waits said. “The floors add character (to the building), but it also adds the history of the building. I am very excited to see how everything goes. I am excited to be here, and I hope I can be one of those people that can help the community.”

Waits said that the most important thing she has learned, and girls continue to learn, about doing pageants are the life skills, leadership, community service, interview skills and more that they can utilize in the real world. Waits hopes she can use her experience and new shop to help guide anyone during their new pageant journeys in the future.