Couple’s necktie, handbag sales go to fund GED courses

Ties to literacy

Flora Thomas-Davis started her school, Christ’s Way Academy, in 2008. When she added adult GED classes, she wanted them to be free.

“The people that are coming for the GED tutoring, they already have enough problems with working on a day-to-day basis and paying their bills and taking care of their kids,” she said. “I don’t want them to feel pressured and feel ‘I can’t go because I don’t have $50 to cover my books.’ I don’t want to tie them down.”

Windsor and four-in-hand knots are another story.

Since spring, Thomas-Davis and her husband, Larnell Davis, have been selling neckties, as well as handbags and jewelry, to fund the GED courses. They call their business Ties2Literacy Thrift and Gift.

“My husband came up with that idea to do the ties,” she said. “You don’t see too many people selling neckties, but he thought it was something original and might take off and be able to help me pay for the supplies and books. It sort of took off from there, and I said why don’t we add some purses?”

They bought designer ties and handbags from a wholesaler and started at an outdoor flea market in Prairieville. The heat became too much to deal with during the summer, so they moved their Saturday-Sunday operation to The Flea Market, 5905 Florida Blvd.

Thomas-Davis had taught at the now-defunct Richland Christian Academy and said parents approached her about helping them home-school after Richland closed. Instead, she started Christ’s Way Academy (christswayacademy.org), which began on Eastgate Drive, moved to Superior Drive and is about to relocate to 1158 N. Littlejohn Drive, near Florida Boulevard. The academy works with children with learning disabilities.

But she didn’t focus all of her attention on school-aged students.

One reason for the current move is to create more space for GED students, whose classes are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday nights.

“I had already in the back of my mind that I wanted to start a GED program because I was a teacher at St. Paul Adult Learning Center for a while,” she said. “That sort of gave me the idea we needed another GED program in town.”