Wilson’s of Wickford reaches crowdfunding goal, will remain open


NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — With 3 hours and 44 minutes to spare, Wilson’s of Wickford reached its crowdfunding goal and will stay in business.

The store, which owners said would have to close in August if it didn’t raise $148,000 by Monday at 9:55 p.m., reached its goal on the crowdfunding site crowdtilt at about 6:15 p.m.

“Whoo,” breathed James Wilson, one of the owners and a grandson of the man who founded the store 70 years ago.

“This is awesome,” he said just after 6:30. “It’s been a very active and intense past couple of hours.”

As the total grew closer to the goal, he said, he started making calls to people who were standing by in case emergency action was needed, to tell them they could relax.

“It kind of happened while I was making those phone calls,” he said.

Crowdtilt, which collects pledges online until the goal, or “tilt,” is reached, showed that the donor who put the campaign over its goal was Don Tefft.

“That’s my cousin,” Wilson said.

Tefft was the one who had introduced him to the concept of crowdfunding by sending him a link five weeks ago, Wilson said. Wilson researched companies and chose crowdtilt for the store’s campaign. He called his cousin Monday evening to thank him for the suggestion.

“He had almost forgotten he had sent it,” said Wilson, who was eager to get busy restocking the store.

“We really have to attack all facets — marketing, merchandise and accounting,” he said. He’s going to a men’s show Wednesday. “We have items on order for fall; we need to pick and look at some new stuff.”

“I was pretty sure we were going to do it,” he said. “But until you really get there, there’s always that element of doubt. I have a sense of relief.”

BBETTERDAILY: A Success Story- Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman, who became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she captured the high jump for the United States at the 1948 London Games, died on Monday, July 14, 2014, in Albany, Ga. She was 90.

Her daughter, Evelyn Jones, said she had been treated at a nursing home for a stroke in recent months and went into cardiac arrest after being transferred to a hospital on Monday with breathing difficulties.

Coachman (who was later known as Alice Coachman Davis) received her medal from King George VI. She was invited aboard a British Royal yacht, she was congratulated by President Harry S. Truman at the White House, and Count Basie gave a party for her. She was lauded in a motorcade that wound its way through Georgia from Atlanta to her hometown, Albany.

But she had returned to a segregated South. Blacks and whites were seated separately in the Albany city auditorium when she was honored there. The mayor sat on the stage with her but would not shake her hand, and she had to leave by a side door.

Coachman in 2012. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

As a youngster in Albany, she had run and jumped barefoot, using ropes and sticks for makeshift high jumps. She had not been allowed to train at athletic fields with whites.

“You had to run up and down the red roads and the dirt roads,” Coachman told The Kansas City Star. “You went out there in the fields, where there was a lot of grass and no track. No nothing.”

At a time when there were few high-profile black athletes beyond Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis, Coachman became a pioneer. She led the way for female African-American Olympic track stars like Wilma Rudolph, Evelyn Ashford, Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

“I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” she told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the Games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps. It encouraged the rest of the women to work harder and fight harder.”

Alice Marie Coachman, one of 10 children, was born in Albany on Nov. 9, 1923, to Fred and Evelyn Coachman. She ran track and played baseball and softball with the boys when she was young, but her father, a plasterer, was angered by her refusal to be ladylike and sometimes whipped her for pursuing athletics.

She saw little prospect of an athletic career and thought of becoming a musician or a dancer, having been enthralled by the saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and by Shirley Temple. But she was encouraged by a fifth-grade teacher and an aunt to continue in sports, and she came to the attention of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama while competing for her high school track and field team in Albany.

Coachman moved to Tuskegee and competed for the institute’s high school and college teams and later for Albany State College (now Albany State University). She captured the Amateur Athletic Union high jump championship 10 consecutive times, from 1939 to 1948, and the union’s 50-meter outdoor title from 1943 to 1947. She also won national championships in the 100-meter dash and the 4×100-meter relay.

But Coachman had to wait until 1948 to compete in the Olympics; the 1940 and 1944 Games were canceled because of World War II. On a rainy afternoon at Wembley Stadium in London in August 1948, she vied for gold in the high jump with Dorothy Tyler of Britain. They both cleared 5 feet 6 1/8 inches, but Coachman won because she did it on her first try. Micheline Ostermeyer of France was third.

Coachman, the only American woman to win gold in track and field at the London Games, remembered the moment long afterward.

“I saw it on the board, ‘A. Coachman, U.S.A., Number One,’ ” she told NPR. “I went on, stood up there, and they started playing the national anthem. It was wonderful to hear.”

Coachman’s track and field career ended with the 1948 Olympics, when she was 24. She raised a family, became an elementary and high school teacher, and created the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to aid young athletes and former competitors in financial need.

She is survived by her daughter and a son, Richmond, from her first marriage, to N. F. Davis, which ended in divorce; a sister, Dicena Rambo; one grandchild; and two great-grandchildren. Her second husband, Frank Davis, died about five years ago, her daughter said.

Coachman was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. There is an Alice Coachman Elementary School in Albany.

Coachman faded from public view after the 1948 Olympics, but her pride remained undiminished.

“Go anyplace and people will tell you Wilma Rudolph was the first black woman to win a medal — it’s not true,” she said in an interview with The Birmingham News in 1997, referring to Rudolph’s three gold medals in the sprints at the Rome Olympics. “She came on the scene 12 years later. But she was on television.”


BBETTERDAILY: Increasing Mental Strength

5 Powerful Exercises To Increase Your Mental Strength

The following guest post is by Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker in Lincoln, Maine. In addition to working as a psychotherapist, she is also an adjunct college psychology instructor and she serves as’s Parenting Teens expert.

Psychology often discusses mental health — but what’s not often discussed is a clear definition of mental strength. To me, mental strength means that you regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances. Developing mental strength is about finding the courage to live according to your values and being bold enough to create your own definition of success.

Mental strength involves more than just willpower; it requires hard work and commitment. It’s about establishing healthy habits and choosing to devote your time and energy to self-improvement. (Check out Cheryl Snapp Connor’s post, based on my list of the 13 things mentally strong people avoid.)

Although it’s easier to feel mentally strong when life seems simple — often, true mental strength becomes most apparent in the midst of tragedy. Choosing to develop skills that increase your mental strength is the best way to prepare for life’s inevitable obstacles.

Many exercises exist that can help you develop mental strength. But here are five that can get you started:

1. Evaluate Your Core Beliefs

We’ve all developed core beliefs about ourselves, our lives and the world in general. Core beliefs develop over time and largely depend upon our past experiences. Whether you’re aware of your core beliefs or not, they influence your thoughts, your behavior and emotions.

Sometimes, core beliefs are inaccurate and unproductive. For example, if you believe that you’ll never succeed in life, you may be less apt to apply for new jobs — and inadvertently, you may not present yourself well on job interviews. Therefore, your core beliefs may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Identify and evaluate your core beliefs. Look for beliefs that are black and white, and then find exceptions to the rule. Very few things in life are “always” or “never” true. Modifying core beliefs requires purposeful intention and hard work, but it can change the entire course of your life.

2. Expend Your Mental Energy Wisely

Wasting brain power ruminating about things you can’t control drains mental energy quickly. The more you think about negative problems that you can’t solve, the less energy you’ll have leftover for creative endeavors. For example, sitting and worrying about the weather forecast isn’t helpful. If a major storm is headed your way, worrying about it won’t prevent it. You can, however, choose to prepare for it. Focus on what is only within your control.

Save your mental energy for productive tasks, such as solving problems or setting goals.When your thoughts aren’t productive, make a conscious effort to shift your mental energy to more helpful topics. The more you practice expending your mental energy wisely, the more it will become a habit.

3. Replace Negative Thoughts with Productive Thoughts

Although most of us don’t spend time thinking about our thoughts, increasing your awareness of your thinking habits proves useful in building resilience. Exaggerated, negative thoughts, such as, “I can’t ever do anything right,” hold you back from reaching your full potential. Catch your negative thoughts before they spiral out of control and influence your behavior.

Identify and replace overly negative thoughts with thoughts that are more productive. Productive thoughts don’t need to be extremely positive, but should be realistic. A more balanced thought may be, “I have some weaknesses, but I also have plenty of strengths.” Changing your thoughts requires constant monitoring, but the process can be instrumental in helping you become your best self.

4. Practice Tolerating Discomfort

Being mentally strong doesn’t mean you don’t experience emotions. In fact, mental strength requires you to become acutely aware of your emotions so you can make the best choice about how to respond. Mental strength is about accepting your feelings without being controlled by them.

Mental strength also involves an understanding of when it makes sense to behave contrary to your emotions. For example, if you experience anxiety that prevents you from trying new things or accepting new opportunities, try stepping out of your comfort zone if you want to continue to challenge yourself. Tolerating uncomfortable emotions takes practice, but it becomes easier as your confidence grows.

Practice behaving like the person you’d like to become. Instead of saying, “I wish I could be more outgoing,” choose to behave in a more outgoing manner, whether you feel like it or not. Some discomfort is often necessary for greater gain, and tolerating that discomfort will help make your vision a reality, one small step at a time.

5. Reflect on Your Progress Daily

Today’s busy world doesn’t lend itself to making much time available for quiet reflection. Create time to reflect upon your progress toward developing mental strength. At the end of each day, ask yourself what you’ve learned about your thoughts, emotions and behavior. Consider what you hope to improve upon or accomplish tomorrow.

Developing mental strength is a work in progress. There is always room for improvement, and at times this will seem more difficult than at other times. Reflecting upon your progress can reinforce your ability to reach your definition of success while living according to your values.