At A New You Pink Boutique in Brandon, the drive to succeed remains as strong as ever despite the April 8 death of its co-founder, Lisa Minnifield.
And that's how it should be, said Darlene Gaylord, a banker at the next-door Centre State Bank, where a fund in Minnifield's name has been started, in lieu of funeral flowers.
"She was a ball of energy," Gaylord said about Minnifield the business woman, and Minnifield the missionary. "Heaven had to be busy with it when she came through the doors."
Minnifield's sister, Carol Poole, said at the boutique April 15 that Minnifield had one overriding passion:
"She loved people," said Poole, who co-founded the boutique with her sister. "She was very concerned about the welfare and care of people with cancer."
Toward that end, A New You Pink Boutique opened at 106 West Robertson St., in November 2011, six months after Minnifield was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The boutique is painted in a deep, vibrant pink hue, with merchandise suited both to the unique needs of breast cancer patients and to the universal desires of women to look and feel good from their underclothes to their outfits.
"We definitely didn't want to be a place of depression," Poole said. "We wanted an upbeat atmosphere. We wanted the walls pink, a vibrant pink, and lots of bling and colors and a wealth of lacy panties. That women still felt good about themselves, that was important, that we could build them up so people didn't feel like life was over, but that it was still a time to live."
And live she did.
Minnifield not only stocked her store with compelling fashions but also transformed it into "a platform to share all the information she gathered through research and from talking to doctors, oncologists and surgeons," Poole said.
"She said people didn't talk about it, and how to get the things they needed," said Judy Sands, Minnifield's mother.
Added Poole: "When people came in here they said it was spiritual, a spirit-filled place."
Poole and her sisters — Stephanie Sands and Shanta Sands — said they will continue to run the boutique, which was Minnifiel's dying wish. "She said, 'The boutique will remain open until the last woman walks out the door cured from cancer,' " Stephanie Sands said.
Minnifield beat breast cancer, but in October, after walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure walk, complained of leg pains, Poole said. A trip to the doctor confirmed that cancer had reoccurred in her bones and lungs; it had metastasized through her body.
"My sister didn't suffer through this," Stehanie Sands said. "She encouraged others while she was going through it."
Shanta Sands said people should remember her sister for "her loving smile, her encouraging spirit and, most of all, her ministry."
"I see a positive leader," Poole said. "A very enduring spirit. She just loved people and loved the Lord. She was always putting people first."
A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, April 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Plant City, at 108 South Warnell St.
The funeral will be held a day later, at the same church, at 11 a.m. Internment is at Hillsboro Memorial Gardens in Brandon.
In lieu of flowers, forward memorial donations to: A New You Pink Boutique, 106 West Robertson St., Brandon, FL 33511. Or, drop off your donation to a CentreState Bank location, including the one next door to the boutique, at 102 West Robertson St.
A New You Boutique is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Also, Saturday by appointment. Call: 813-661-7465.
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