SUMMERFIELD, N.C. -- A paint crew in the Piedmont is used to a surprised look or two. Not just because the entire crew is made up of women, but because they're also women who are a little bit older, from 40-60 years old. Even a few grandmothers in the bunch.
"We get looks all the time. We'll be cruising down the highway in our work van, ladders on top and people see just women in the work van," laughs Countryside Designs, Inc. owner Tana Mills.
Mills started her painting company back in 1990, first doing regular house painting and now specializing in faux painting.
She has always hired women. Women who worked in entirely different professions, but have heard about her company and want to join in on the hard work and the fun.
"I'd rather them come to me not knowing anything about painting and then I can teach them and that empowers them," said Mills.
It's a tight knit bunch these women, working a physically demanding job, often some 10 hours a day. They lug around heavy mirrors and furniture, go up high on ladders and scaffolding.
"We cut up a lot. Tell each other all about our families, what's going with the kids and the grandkids," chuckles Samira Allen, a former teacher's aide who has worked with the company for 8 years. "We are always joking around. I love it. It's just really endearing to work with this same group of women for so long."
It's a great workout for the women. One painter says her bone density scans are better and her LDL numbers have improved.
"What I love is the finished product. Seeing what we've accomplished. We take so much pride in our perfectionism, but we have a good time, too," said Mills.
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