PERSONAL JOURNEY: Helping other business owners is her passion

Tae Winston was born and raised in Dayton and growing up had a true love of fashion. She said her mother would make all of their clothing and host annual garage sales, modeling both creative design and sales management for her children.

“My mom was in the medical field and my dad was a machinist,” Winston said. “I grew up knowing I could do anything I wanted for a career.”

Winston worked for nine years as a case manager for a local behavioral health center. But after a few years, she found she needed the flexibility to better care for her son Chace, who is autistic. In 2018, Winston officially left the full-time work force in search of a more flexible career.

“I just knew I needed to have my own business because of my son,” Winston said. “And I wanted to do more to help my community.”

Using a sense of fashion and business skills she inherited from her parents, Winston began hosting pop up shops around town while she was still working full time. She also rented out event spaces to help showcase vendors and small businesses all in one place. The largest of these was a fashion resale rally and about 30 food trucks and 50 vendors participated.

“I like the uniqueness of fashion meeting food trucks,” Winston said. “People would come for the food and stay to shop and listen to music.”

Winston says her biggest talent is “styling” people and she ended up purchasing a bus to create a mobile fashion boutique. She removed the seats and replaced them with racks and shelving and called it “Fashion Remedy.”

“More than anything, I love giving people a place to gather,” Winston said. “I have always been a community minded person and being together to touch and hug is really important.”

But in 2020 and 2021, the idea of gathering in large groups suddenly became frightening and was no longer encouraged. Winston, who had been extremely busy hosting events, serving on several boards, including one devoted to developing the Oregon District in Dayton, and creating shops to help entrepreneurs display and sell their wares, suddenly found her business ventures floundering.

“That’s how my businesses operate,” Winston said. “Everything is based on human interaction.”

Rather than allow herself to get depressed, she has taken time to plan for the future, including creating a food truck in honor of Chace, who is now 12 years old.

“Chace is non-verbal,” Winston said. “He loves concession stand food and I wanted to come up with a way to help him feel special and help bring awareness to autism at the same time.”

The truck is called, appropriately, “Chace Concession,” and Chace, himself, will work there, serving the traditional concession stand food that he loves.

“The truck is wrapped in puzzle pieces and it’s all about autism awareness,” Winston said. “I plan to bring in other autistic kids to work with Chace. I think it will help them feel worthy as they don’t always have the same opportunities as other kids.”

Having almost lost her son three times – once after he contracted COVID-19 and twice when he developed cancer, Winston said this time with Chace is even more special to her. And his strength and courage always inspire her. Today Chace is healthy and cancer free.

“I plan to reveal the truck officially in April at Splash Moraine (currently the Payne Recreation Center),” Winston said. “There will be a walk hosted by the Autism Society of Dayton there that day.”

After the past few years, Winston said her priorities have changed. And the dream of having a mobile boutique is slowly taking a back seat to the dream of helping her community.

“I love the idea of doing what I can to help others,” Winston said. “I would like to create a hub so food businesses can come and get whatever they need to be successful. I want to help all small businesses owners get started.”

She plans to do this by hosting events in a large space that will help promote pop up shops and by consulting with other small business owners who have questions or just need help.

“I know I can teach people and provide them with tools,” Winston said. “I want to be that person they can depend on. Chace made me the person I am today, and he keeps me humble. I remember things could be a whole lot worse, but he reminds me that everything will be OK. "

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