For Sheree Vance, living in her hometown and doing a job she loves has been a joy for more than 40 years.

She has lived in Glendale since she was 4 and her parents still live in the home she grew up in on Maple Street.

In 1980, Vance started a business in a little room in the front of the Side Track Shops in Glendale. A friend owned the building but in 1986, she bought it and it’s one of the antique malls in Glendale.

“I grew up with antiques,” she said.

Her grandmothers were both in the retail business. One owned an antique shop and the other owned a country store. Vance said retail has always been a part of her background. She has a lot of fixtures from both of her grandmothers’ stores in her business.

Vance used to go to auctions with her dad when she was young and she kept going as she got older.

“It was part of me to like old things,” she said.

She said it’s the people she meets that often are the most interesting part of her job.

“You meet some of the nicest people and I’ve had customers from Australia, England, Scotland, Germany, Japan and lots of places,” she said.

Recently, she had a 1956 Boy Scout handbook in one of her sale cases. A man came in and told her he’s been looking for that particular book for 25 years and was excited to find it.

“It’s fun to see someone who has been looking for something for a long time,” she said.

She said her shop, and others like it in the town, draw people in who are looking to spend time in a small town.

“I hear all the time from people that they feel like they’ve taken a step back in time,” she said.

While it’s a quiet little town now, she expects that to change some when the Ford plant is built nearby in the next few years, but that’s OK with her because that probably means more business for her store and the town.

“It’s very gratifying to be able to grow up in a small town and mostly have only one job my whole life,” she said.

Because she’s from the area and had a business there for so long, she’s also invested in the community activities and festivals.

The merchant association began in 1983 and she’s been treasurer since it was formed. She’s also active in the Spring Fest and the Glendale Crossing Festival.

She started working on the Crossing Festival as the arts and crafts organizer in 1980. At that time, it was put on by the Lions Club but became its own organization, the Glendale Crossing Festival Inc., around 1997, she said.

She has been chairman of the board since it was incorporated and continues to help with the arts and crafts.

“She put the Crossing Festival on the map,” Glendale resident Markita Conner said.

She said Vance is so organized that she has the festival planning down to an art.

“She has been instrumental in making Glendale the destination spot that it is and always has Glendale’s best interest at heart,” Conner said. “It is very important to her that Glendale stays as untouched as possible.”

The Crossing Festival is a year-round job, Vance said. It’s something she works on in some aspect every day.

“I get messages about the festival pretty much every day,” she said.

The bulk of the work starts in April when she sends out vendor applications, she said.

The Rev. Mike Bell, a long-time Glendale resident, said Vance is a “very energetic community leader.”

“She chairs the Crossing Festival committee and before she came on we made very little money from booths and vendors,” he said, calling her the Crossing Festival cash register. “People do not have a concept of the work she does from sending letters to marking the setup areas and making sure nearly 400 vendors find their correct space. “

He said she always has been energetic about preserving the integrity of Glendale, her home town.

“I am very proud of her,” he said.

At 65, Vance said she has no plans to retire from her work in Glendale, unless something happens with her health to keep her from doing it.

“I enjoy it too much,” she said.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.