Janice Lou (Janie) Fowler Whitfield

whitfield-janieMrs. Janice (Janie) Lou Fowler Whitfield, of Jasper, GA, died  Tuesday, January 19, 2010.

Born June 16, 1942, in Gilmer County, GA, she later moved to Fanin County and graduated from West Fanin High School.

Janie was a founding member of HFH-PC, where she was founder and leader of the Family Selection process.  She served on that committee throughout her involvement with HFH-PC.  Janie later served three terms as a member of the HFH-PC Board of Directors.  A very successful local business woman in her own right, she was a major HFH donor.

Janie was a “stand up” Director, helping at any HFH event….providing lunch at job site, securing the use of buildings in Tate and/or Hinton for family selection process, etc.    She regularly donated free use of her Bargain Barn public notice board to promote Habitat events.

To learn more about this wonderful woman and her husband, Garland, take a look at an article about her that was published in the Pickens County Progress in February 1990.


PAGE 6A  PICKENS  COUNTY PROGRESS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1990

By: JACK STILLMAN

Janie and Garland Whitfield

An outdoorsman used to put on his oldest clothes for fishing or hunting.  In the woods he’d be unnoticeable, anyway.   And besides, the fashion for hunters or fishermen was overalls.   But no more. An outdoorsman now must be decked out in the proper clothing, the latest fashion, and his kit must include the newest models of whatever sport he favors.   A well-equipped outdoorsman is likely to have been to The Bargain Barn, an ostentatious store five miles south of Jasper on old Highway 5.  But the yellow building, with its bravado exterior, belies the epicurean taste reflected in the surfeit of merchandise inside.   You can spend hours just browsing,   gaping at all the new fads that have captured the imagination of sportsmen since the cane pole distinguished the prowess of a fisherman. Many of those who visit this emporium of the great outdoors might be surprised to learn that its owner and operator is a woman, and many of its customers are women.   When 47-year-old Janie Whitfield looks up at the bright yellow sign beside the highway which proclaims:  “Whoa this is it. The Bargain Barn,” a smug- smile creeps across her face. ‘  “lt’s corny, but it gets their attention,” she says. She and her late husband,  Garland, opened an Army and Navy store in Jasper in 1961. “We started on nothing,” Mrs. Whitfield says.  “We started on $500 which we borrowed and Daddy had to sign for it.”  The store later was called The Bargain Barnand the Whitfields  moved to the present location in August  1963.  It was only a small  building then. The first addition was made in 1965.  It has been growing ever since.  Now, there are 15 huge trailers  along the highway beside The Bargain Barn. These are the store’s warehouses.   Mrs. Whitfield is a native of Gilmer County and Garland was born in Pickens County, in the same neighborhood where the store now stands.  “Garland was a very positive thinker,” Mrs. Whitfield said in an interview.  “He had a lot of foresight.  He went into business when he was 17.  He had a little store which was just around the corner.”  They had 1 or 2 employees when they started.   Now there are 24.   Garland died three years ago (1987),  leaving Mrs. Whitfield with the responsibility of running the store.   “I inherited this place overnight,” she said.    “I had worked closely with my husband.  We made it grow.  We are real competitive.”   There was a time, however, when it looked as if they weren’t going to make it.   ln 1975, the store  was closed because of  [the poor]  economy.   Garland went on the road as a salesman, and  his wife  went to nursing school.   She worked as an LPN (licensed practical  nurse) until they  opened the  store in November 1978, with its new look.   Customers come from about 250 miles around,   from three or four states.  Many are preparing for a safari to Africa, or a hunting trip out West.  “They come here to equip themselves. They want the best and the latest,” Mrs. Whitfield says.

Janie Whitfield says her sign may be a little corny,  “But it gets their attention. ”  “You’ve got to stay on top of what is going on.  You have to have tons of imagination.  You’re always thinking about how you’re going to make this work, or make that go.”    –   imaginative things The Bargain Barn does is to offer clinics to its customers.   There are five scheduled this year – fishing, a turkey clinic, fly fishing, archery, and a scope clinic.   “We give special attention to these areas,  and the clinics are taught by experts in their field,” she said.   For instance, Bill Dance, the noted fisherman right now, will hold the fishing clinic.  “lf a man goes to Africa to hunt and he’s spent $2,000 on a scope, he wants to know how to use it,” Mrs. Whitfield said.    “lt’s not just pulling up your gun and aiming it. You have to know what your gun will do.   You have to know what your scope will do.   And you have to know what you can do.”   She notes that Jasper is right in  the middle of one of the best hunting and fishing areas in the  southeast.    “We’re very conscious of outdoor safety,” she said.   “We’re going  to be emphasizing  that more  than ever this  year.”    ” One of the latest outdoor sports is “sporting clay,” which is replacing skeet shooting in a lot of places.   This takes special clothing and special equipment.   A vest will cost $60 or more and an over -and-under shotgun,  a necessity in this sport, can cost $l000.     Ed Hysinger, The Bargain Barn’s hunting expert,  explains  actual hunting situations.  “The situations can change,” he said.  “You don’t know what kind of a situation you’re in until, you’re in it.”  Mrs. Whitfield says many people are finding sporting clay more palatable because they can enjoy shooting without the actual kill;  An increasing number of women are being drawn to this sport, she added. ‘ Hysinger said three sporting, clay courses have been built in  Georgia and eight more are planned.   “About 33 percent of the sporting clay shooters are women”  he said.    “They’re very competitive. Our company is coming out with a special line just for women.”   Mrs. Whitfield said she and her  husband tried from the beginning to make their store a different kind of a place.  “We had a hard time convincing the bankers that our customers would come from a 100-mile radius of Pickens County,  that we wouldn’t have to depend on local trade to survive.   “We finally did it. Now they  come from a radius of about 250 miles. What we really have here is a toy store for big boys.”