For just more than a decade, Future Visions, at 37 Wall St. in downtown Asheville, has provided statues, candles, incense, artwork and other items from around the globe. But at the end of May, the store will close its doors forever.
The remaining merchandise is being sold at 75 percent off, with all sales going to the estate of the store’s owner and founder, Jenifer Patterson, who passed away on April 20 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Barry Olen, owner of Beads and Beyond just down the street, opened the store with Patterson, his wife at the time. “I remember that we opened on Bele Chere, she kept pushing to get us open then,” Olen said. “She always had her poodle, Raven, there. She had a willingness to help people and a sensitivity to those that might be in need.”
Before then, Patterson also ran Wings, a fashion-accessories shop on Wall Street, with Olen for 20 years. They had both designed and sold masks, hats and other accessories around the world, but the success of a craft fair at one of the early Bele Chere festivals convinced them to move to Asheville. Patterson would eventually serve as president of the American Businesswomen’s Association.
Olen, who has inherited the store, plans to turn Future Visions into a wholesale-bead shop when it closes—though he will keep any of the remaining merchandise, he says, “in a case at the front of the shop, [and] anything we sell from that will go to her estate.”
Despite health problems dating back to the late ‘70s, Olen notes that Patterson remained determined and active in both her business and the community. “Her body was pretty tired—whatever she did took a lot of effort, but she was still in plays, she tried out for every movie, she did tango dancing. Nothing stopped her, she excelled—and she loved that store.”
That enthusiasm was contagious, says Beth Kolousak, who has worked at Future Visions since 1998. “This was like a second home to me. I’ve greatly enjoyed working here and [Patterson] was an amazing person.”