Friday, December 20, 2013

Fringe Benefit

In 1972 local entrepreneur Bev Patterson started a new business upstairs in the old Mill building, later to move it down to street-front at 217 College Avenue.  She named it Fringe Benefit.

This very successful women's clothing and accessories shop was there for more than two decades.  Personally I remember Bev's two white dogs hanging around the shop a lot.

Fringe Benefit was eventually bought by Nancyne Willoughby, and about 9 years ago moved to the old spot where Davidson's men's clothing shop was on Main Street.  Fringe Benefit is still going strong, and is one of the nicest retail shops in downtown Blacksburg.

The picture above is of the original store on College Avenue (sorry it's not a better photo).


  1. Back in the day, I called Bev a friend. Though never legally married (who cared in those days) she lived with one of my best friends, Alan Patterson. They rented a house by the River, then Alan built them a beautiful house in Giles County. I spent a lot of time with both Alan and Bev back in the late 60's and early 70's. Bev was not only a terrific business woman, but a kind and gentle soul. I would always stop in to the Fringe, even after I had long moved away. On one visit I was admiring one of the leaded crystal spheres she had on display. "Would you like one?" she asked. "Sure how much are they?" I replied. "For you, no charge." I picked out the prettiest one (of course) and the business woman rose up for a milli second (it was a $20 dollar item), then she smiled, and said, "Here, let me wrap it for you." And she did. When I thought back I realized how special she was, and how greedy I was. Just the fact that I remember that gesture so many years later, tells you how much I think of her today. Though I remain in touch with Alan, I lost track of Bev, though I would love to catch up with her.

    1. Could this by any chance be Frank Miller? I can be contacted at

  2. Wow, this made my heart go boom! That was my store at that time. GOOD TIMES galore.