Roasting, an Expression of Flavor
Dec01

Roasting, an Expression of Flavor

Article By: M.T. Decker Photos By: Josh Triggs Coffee. It’s almost a ritual for a lot of us. Some drink it for the caffeine, some drink it for the flavor; there are a lot of coffee drinkers out there, and we all have our favorites. One of the biggest problems we as coffee drinkers have is consistency. While everyone’s tastes are different, we know what we like, and we want to be able to have our favorite coffee any time. We’ve all had that cup of coffee that was perfect and when we go back to get another cup, with that flavor in mind, we’re disappointed because it wasn’t what we were expecting. It happens when you go to a different shop in a chain, and sometimes even the same store. There are a lot of things that go into a good cup of coffee. I used to think it was just the water or how recently the coffee was ground, but there is so much more involved in making that perfect cup of coffee. Talk to Sean Ricks of Ricks Roasters if you don’t believe me. When I asked him what the key step to making a good cup of coffee was, he explained, “Every step, from the coffee plant to your cup is key.” I mean, we all know that the soil and the plant are the basic flavor of the coffee. It’s why we buy Guatemalan, Indonesian, Kona, pure Arabica or Peaberry. It’s the soil, the bean and the growing season, that make for good beans and the base flavor of our coffee. Once the beans are grown, the next step becomes key – how is it prepared? Is it dried in the sun the traditional way, are the beans green, or ripe? How is it packaged and shipped to the roaster? Is it roasted on site or delivered by a roaster? Then there is the roasting process itself; that’s where Ricks Roasters shines. When Sean and Keely Ricks decided to start a business together, the plan was to market and sell an Indonesian coffee Rick had enjoyed when he was stationed in Singapore. They both loved coffee and Sean knew sales and marketing; it was the perfect match. Unfortunately, the Ricks never could find the roasters so they decided instead of distributing someone else’s coffee, they would roast their own. Building on what they knew of coffee, they started working on mastering the skill of roasting coffee. From the time their business plan shifted and they purchased their first roaster, it took them one week to deliver their first pound of coffee. With the help...

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For Shipping And More – Goin’ Postal
Dec01

For Shipping And More – Goin’ Postal

Between the holiday retail sales, Black Friday frenzy and a dutiful list to checkoff, purchasing presents can be the easy part of the holidays, but what about shipping those presents? Goin’ Postal takes the hassle out of shipping and helps reduce that stress, whether during the holidays or any time of the year. Goin’ Postal, in Martinsburg, has been a shipping option for residents since 2007, however new management has led to significant changes to the business, all aimed at making shipping easier and faster for customers. Jason Barrett took over ownership of Goin’ Postal in June 2016 and has been working toward making the business more customer service based and a true community partner. “It was something that was new to me. It’s not a business I’ve been involved with before, the shipping business, but I’m always up for a new challenge. And it certainly was in the very beginning,” Barrett said. “When I first bought the business I let it run for about 60 days or so because it was so new to me. I just wanted to see how things operated first.” After the initial 60 days, however, the changes came fast. Barrett first decided to reduce the charges and pricing for shipping items in order to make the business more competitive. Additional changes included increasing the benefits and awareness of Goin’ Postal’s mail boxes available for rent by residents and businesses. Since the mail boxes have a physical address, residents or businesses renting a box can receive packages from FedEx, UPS and DHL – an international shipping service. Barrett lowered the rate of the mail boxes to match the price of postal boxes at the United States Postal Office as well as offers three free months rent with the purchase of a box for a year. Barrett and the store’s staff have also worked toward making the store more of a community-based business by becoming involved with local philanthropic groups both during the holiday season and year-round. “We are a drop off site for the Berkeley County Humane Society and a drop off site for Toys for Tots during the holidays. We do Cell Phones for Soliders, and we’re a drop off location for the Berkeley County BackPack Program. We also do pet photos with Santa in December. That has been an annual event since Goin’ Postal opened in 2007,” said Sherry Presley, manager for Goin’ Postal. One of Barrett’s most significant changes though was not in policy or pricing but in personnel. After those initial 60 days, Barrett learned of the positive impact former employee Sherry had had on customers and the store with...

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A Unique Way of Helping Cats Find New Homes
Dec01

A Unique Way of Helping Cats Find New Homes

Article By: Tricia Lynn Strader Photos By: Josh Triggs There’s a new, unique way of getting to know and adopt feline friends. It’s called a “cat café.” The only local cat café in the area is Give Purrs a Chance in Berkeley Springs. Prospective adoptive cat parents can come, look, and play with the cute critters. Feline and human can try each on for size before making the ultimate commitment. The idea of the “cat café” began in Asia a few years back. The world’s first cat café, Cat Flower Garden, opened in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998. The Taiwanese cat café eventually became a tourist destination, attracting tourists from Japan and all over the globe. Though the origin of cat café is in Taiwan, it really took off in Japan, where the first one was opened in Osaka in 2004. Originally, the theme of a café whose attraction is cats was so that busy people could pay a fee to watch and play with the cats without the permanent commitment. Japan is a crowded country, and many residents live in small apartments or condominiums where pets are not allowed. Workers could go to a cat café for the companionship and comfort offered. Cat Café has been officially recognized in the Oxford Dictionary since 2015. Cat Cafes have been popping up in North America since 2014 as a tool for pet adoption. Thousands of animals have been adopted through their efforts. At Give Purrs a Chance, founder George Farnham says people come from miles around. “Most of the cat cafes are in major cities,” says George. “We’re the first one in a rural area. We have more cats than others, and we have the biggest square footage. “Their temporary home is a large five-bedroom Victorian home in the heart of Berkeley Springs. Adult cats have the full run of the house. Kittens are kept in two bedrooms. He says there are around 75 such cafes in the U.S., but there is no formal organization overseeing them. Each one is independent. “It’s the wave of the future,” he says. “We’ve adopted out 90 cats in a little over six months. We opened Mother’s Day weekend. “Give Purrs a Chance is a 501c3. George is founder and president. His board members are Jackie Lewis, who used to own a pet supply store, and Laurie Fischer. Adopting out 90 cats in only six months of operation is a great record. George says the closest other cat café, in Washington, D.C., adopted 125 their first year of operation. Statistics vary, with some helping 25 in the first year or on average, 100. He believes...

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The Essence of Community
Dec01

The Essence of Community

When you think of a small town, several images come to mind – ones of warmth and acceptance, familiarity and civility: the very essence of community. If images of a farmer’s market and a general store bring on nostalgia, if a morning drive brings images of community members waving hello to each other as they pass on the street – if these are things you value, you are not alone. Reed’s Pharmacy, with personal care programs and patient-oriented service, nurtures that endearing sense of community in a time when the hustle and bustle of life can make business impersonal. Reed’s Pharmacy stands out in the communities in which they do business, fostering a sense of kinship with their patrons. Their approach to the work they do has not gone unnoticed. Customers come away from an interaction with the owners and staff at Reed’s with a sense that their needs have been met on a holistic level. It is personal. It is comprehensive. It is friendly. This unique attention to detail is what the partners at Reed’s Pharmacy pride themselves on, but it is not surprising when you consider the company’s origin. After decades of friendship, Ken and Tally Reed, Mark and Vicki Williams, and Craig and Amy Hatcher decided to pursue their mutual goal of helping people and serving the community. The friends wanted to find a way to satisfy a need in the communities they loved, but do so in a way that would make a true impact in their customers lives. Their shared interest in pharmaceuticals as well as in business (five out of the six partners graduated from Pharmaceutical programs from West Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio universities) drove these college friends toward a reality that now helps many West Virginians, Marylanders, and Virginians. Acting as consultations, drug reviewers, liaisons, and a helpful second set of eyes for doctors and patients alike, the pharmacists at Reed’s Pharmacy consider it their duty to make sure that their customers understand their medication profile and how changes impact them. They go above and beyond filling prescription orders. They take a specific interest in their customers’ needs and help them to live their best lives. This dedication to people started with one store. Twenty years later they have 5 locations: three in West Virginia, one in Maryland, and one in Virginia. In 1997, the first Reed’s Pharmacy was opened in Berkeley Springs, WV off Rte. 522 by Ken and Tally Reed. With a community spirit in mind, the couple invested in a tract of land that they turned into a commercial hub. The Reeds built a strip mall and filled it...

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Three Outstanding Women Named Girl Scouts’ 2017 Women of Distinction
Oct01

Three Outstanding Women Named Girl Scouts’ 2017 Women of Distinction

Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital has named three women from the Eastern Panhandle as the 2017 “Women of Distinction.” They will be recognized at the 13th annual Women of Distinction luncheon this fall on Wednesday, October 11, at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg. The women, nominated by community members, were selected by their peers for outstanding volunteerism in the community, contribution to their professions, and being exemplary role models for young women. They epitomize the qualities of Girl Scouts’ G.I.R.L. campaign: Go-Getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers, and Leaders™. Vicki Jenkins, Peggy Smith, and Becky Stotler will join the distinguished rank of women who have received the Women of Distinction honor over the past 12 years – and this year all three honorees are former Girl Scouts themselves! Vicki Jenkins has been a dedicated educator for over 35 years, retiring from James Rumsey Technical Institute in 2013, after serving nine years as Director/Principal. She graduated from Shepherd College, earned a Master’s Degree from West Virginia University, and has completed all course work toward a doctorate. She is certified in Public Health Administration and has been named Morgan County Teacher of the Year and West Virginia Home Economics Teacher of the Year. She was inducted into the Career and Technical “Hall of Fame” in 2013, and was selected West Virginia’s Outstanding Career and Technical (CTE) Administrator. Most recently she was named the 2017 Hedgesville High School Outstanding Alumni. Vicki is an active member of Hedgesville Presbyterian Church and the Rotary Club of Martinsburg where she served as Co-Chair for Vocational Service Month. Since 2003 she has been a member of Panhandle Home Health’s Board of Directors, serving as Vice Chair for 12 years. She is a former WV Association Career and Technical Education state president, also serving as president of the Home Economics Division. She has been on the Board of Directors for the Martinsburg/ Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the WV State LPN Board. She has been president of Delta Kappa Gamma, a society for outstanding women educators and also serves as a mentor for new career and technical education administrators. Peggy Smith is a lifelong resident of Jefferson County where she most recently served as the Mayor of Charles Town from 2005-2017. She attended Shepherd College and retired from City National Bank where she specialized in residential and commercial development; she continues as Chairperson of City National Bank’s Regional Advisory Board. She is a past Chairperson of the Jefferson County United Way and received their Van Ryzin Award in 1998 for her outstanding contributions. She also served as project manager for five years at Shenandoah Women’s Center in...

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A Business Brews Up In The Heart Of Winchester
Oct01

A Business Brews Up In The Heart Of Winchester

Article By: Paul Long Photos By: Josh Triggs John Hovermale was in the process of bringing a new craft brewery to Winchester when he met Art Major. Hovermale’s efforts ultimately fell through, but when one door closes, another door usually opens, and he ended up opening a different brewery with Major as the owner and Hovermale as the head brewer. And that, in a nutshell, is how the Escutcheon Brewing Company was born. The brewery opened its doors June 10, 2015, at 142 W. Commercial St. in Winchester, just a few blocks north of the Old Town walking mall. Major and Hovermale chose the North End, at least in part, to help that part of town get off the ground and make it more of a destination. Now, just two short years later, Escutcheon has at least 10 different beers on tap at any given time, and its brews are available in stores and restaurants throughout Winchester and beyond. The tap room, meanwhile, is typically busy on weekends. Lori Hovermale, John’s wife and the brewery’s tap room and social media manager, said Escutcheon is primarily a production brewery that cranks out cans and bottles of its beer for bars and breweries. Its products can be found in area Target stores and convenience stores, and, she said, in the majority of restaurants in the Winchester area. Through the efforts of two dedicated sales representatives, Escutcheon has expanded its reach throughout northern Virginia into Maryland, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. “Our sales guys are hardly ever here,” Lori said. “They’re always out there. That’s a constant thing.” Art Major served for a while in the Merchant Marines and brought his love for the sea along on his latest business venture. The tap room and beer names have nautical themes, and the brewery’s name is based on a nautical term. An escutcheon is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the part of a ship’s stern on which the name is displayed.” John Hovermale is a master brewer who started out at the prestigious Siebel Institute in Illinois more than 15 years ago. He worked at breweries in Vermont, Maryland and Mississippi before coming to Winchester and working for a short time at Winchester Ciderworks. He and assistant brewer Trevor McCabe make all of Escutcheon’s beers on the premises. Major, meanwhile, focuses on the branding and financial aspects of the business. The brewery employs four part-time bartenders in addition to the sales reps. Together, they form a small, tightly knit crew. “Everyone gets along well,” Lori said. “We’re very relaxed.” Lori Hovermale came to Escutcheon in January of this year and married John in May....

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