If you have ever shopped at Dillard's at West Town Mall, you might have heard a certain laugh echoing throughout the women's shoe department. It's hard to miss.
Among all the styles of fabulous shoes and the many women shopping for the perfect pair, you will find a big smile and a bright spirit.
"People say, 'Is Tammy here?' They either hear me laughing or hear me singing or I'm talking to somebody," says Tammy Williams.
Tammy knows her shoes. "I have a crazy memory that when I see somebody I can remember what size they wear, what they like," says Tammy.
Her customers at Dillard's at West Town Mall know her and love her, but she didn't always sell shoes. Tammy used to sing.
"I started entering talent shows so I snuck into this club because they were giving away $500," says Tammy.
She won that talent show and many more and ended up singing for a band called Cruise Control and she just kept moving on up.
"We were regulars at the American Heritage on Asheville Highway and we met this guy. It was Con Hunley and the Hunley Brothers and Michael Kitts was their drummer," says Tammy. "Michael is a powerhouse. He sings gospel right now. Oh my goodness girl, you talk about a voice. He's bad. He approached me and said, 'Can you come sing with me?' So, I did."
She did well, but then family came first.
"When you're gone and you're a mother and you start having young kids. You can't leave your babies," says Tammy.
Tammy soon started working at Watson's downtown and then moved over to JC Penney. All was going well and Dillard's came calling. "Charles Chambers who worked here at the time. He came in and kept trying to come in and recruit me. He said, 'You'll leave.' I said, 'I'll never leave.' He said, 'Yes you will.'"
She did and from the moment she stepped foot on the floor, she succeeded. She still remembers her first day.
Tammy says, "I didn't realize I had a good day until the next morning. They bring your sales reports downstairs and put them on the counter. So, everybody's in a group over at the register looking at the sales report and then I hear Pat go, 'Who is TD Williams? Who is that?'"
"I looked at my sales report that day. I did $4,600 and something dollars, my first day on the floor," says Tammy.
Tammy has been recognized by Dillard's corporate every year since. "They gave me a ten year thing from Dillard's and it was a written letter from them saying I had done over $11 million dollars for them since I had been working for them. And they gave me a number one Waterford Crystal thing with my name engraved in silver," says Tammy.
Tammy loves selling shoes. She hasn't looked back. "My dream I thought after I started singing, I'm gonna sing, but you know you never know why God puts you where he puts you because you become personal with your customers," says Tammy.
She has thousands of customers who feel the same about her. "It's important to me that we have that thing, that connection, that bond," says Tammy.
Tammy Williams, a shoe-selling machine who loves her customers as much as they love her. You could call it the perfect fit.
"There's always a reason to smile. When you wake up and you are in your right mind and you are in good health and your family's fine, what can you complain about?" says Tammy.
One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.