It was mid week last year around San Antonio’s beloved Fiesta season when I got a visit from a stranger at my salon & boutique, The Oxygen Room & Beauty Bar. I was trying to knock out a laundry list of things before I had to leave to pick up my kids at school, when I see one of our staff coming towards me with a frail, elderly woman on her arm. She was walking towards me with purpose and it was very apparent she had something to say to me.
She introduced herself as Rosemary, and asked me if I was the one responsible for this business. As I gracefully (and fearfully) took her hands in mine, I thought, what did I do?
“So nice to meet you Rosemary. I’m Alicia and yes, I am responsible for this place. Is there something that I can help you with?”
“Yes Alicia, I wanted to stop in and meet you. You see, I drive by here…or my driver, I should say, drives me by here every day as Broadway is how I get to my office. I have been watching you for some time now. I, too, am a woman in business. So I know how difficult it is to survive the test of time. I have watched your place of business grow week after week, month after month. You survived the construction and I love watching what you do with the windows. I find myself looking forward to driving by to see what you do next. I have come in and shopped at your boutique and I just bought a lot of gifts for my family from your store because I want to show my support. I wanted to personally come in and tell you how proud I am of you.”
Well at this point, I am fighting back some tears and losing the battle. This woman came in at the very moment I needed encouragement. I carefully hugged her little body and told her that it meant the world to me that a woman with her life experience came in to pay me a compliment. She nodded and patted my hands with a sense of camaraderie. She came in to give me some girl power and she had accomplished what she came to do.
She went on to take my information because she would be “checking in on me” from time to time. That frail, elderly woman was none other than native San Antonian, Rosemary Kowalski, catering legend and founder of what is today known as The RK Group. Rosemary is one of the city’s most successful business women, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Rosemary’s visit and words felt better than any award I could ever receive. Since then we have kept in touch and become friends. This past October my salon even sponsored the Catrina Ball where Rosemary was the guest of honor.
That tough day at the shop marked a milestone for me and serves as a reminder for me to keep reaching new heights because after all, Rosemary is watching.