Experience Counts For A Lot
Jun01

Experience Counts For A Lot

Article By: Paul Long Photos By: Josh Triggs The way Jason Singer sees it, experience counts for a lot. Singer, the owner of Berkeley County-based CounterTop Solutions, estimated that he and his employees have remodeled more than 1,000 kitchens during the last 20 years, and he believes that’s something that potential customers might want to take into consideration. “We’re proud of the fact we’ve built a place you really should see before you complete your project,” he said recently, “even if you go with someone else.” Singer grew up in the kitchen and bath business. For many years, parents owned a showroom called Innerspace in Hagerstown Md. He left the area for awhile and explored other aspects of the construction business before returning to this area and opening CounterTop Solutions in Hagerstown in 2005. He has worked extensively in both the residential and commercial building sectors. “I’ve been lucky to have the skills to work with my hands,” said Singer, adding that he sees himself as more of an entrepreneur these days, and he has been trying to branch out into other things. Every now and then, though, it feels good to handle the work himself. In December 2016, he relocated his business to the Eastern Panhandle, opening the Earth Art Slab Studio and Granite Factory at 286 Langston Blvd. near Spring Mills. At approximately the same time, he launched a new showroom, the Earth Art Slab Studio, at 2625 Valley Ave. in Winchester. Earth Art is CounterTop Solutions’ particular brand of stone, Singer explained. “We wanted to bring up the retail portion of our business,” Singer said, explaining that CounterTop Solutions has been focusing more on retail kitchens since 2013, when it opened a retail showroom in Williamsport, Md. It was at that time that Singer and his staff began photographing slabs on a green screen, an important advancement in the design process. Moving to West Virginia made sense from a location standpoint, according to Singer. While Berkeley County’s population is substantially smaller than that of Washington County, Md., Singer’s market is centered along the Interstate 81 corridor, and his proximity to I-70 is also a bonus. CounterTop Solutions serves customers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia as well as Washington, D.C. Its residential coverage area runs from Harrisburg, Pa., to the north; Harrisonburg, Va., to the south; Deep Creek, Md., to the west and Frederick, Md., to the east. The company also has commercial clients in Baltimore, Washington and several communities in northern Virginia. As a general rule, Singer said, CounterTop Solutions will travel anywhere within a 100-mile radius of Berkeley County to work with a...

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Local Favorite enjoys 50 years of food, community
Jun01

Local Favorite enjoys 50 years of food, community

Article By: Samantha Cronk Photos By: Josh Triggs Although there are no tables, chairs or seating, that has not stopped customers from flocking to Bob’s Carry Out, and the kitchen has never been busier cranking out pizza, burgers, wings and more. And the news couldn’t put a bigger smile on owner Bob Widmeyer’s face as the store celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Reflecting on his 50 years in the food industry, Widmeyer, 88, acknowledges that he did not have the most traditional entry into the industry. From 1953-1963, Widmeyer worked shift work at DuPont, with each week a different shift. When he and his wife Dorothy began to have a family, the constant changing schedules in his shifts began to cause friction between the couple. “We just couldn’t get along, and I knew it wasn’t us, it’s the shift work. Every week I’m on a different shift and I just can’t adjust myself. I knew I had to go. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew I had to do something. So, I got some money and opened our first restaurant,” he said. “I love food. There’s nothing I can’t do with it.” Widmeyer opened his first restaurant, The Colonial Restaurant, in 1966. The restaurant opened with a very different design than what Bob’s Carry Out is today. The Colonial Restaurant began as a full-service restaurant that could seat more around 175 people. It was located in the old Berkeley Hotel, which was owned by the Citizen’s National Bank. It was not long after opening though, when the bank chose to tear down the Berkeley Hotel to build a new bank in that location, and Widmeyer had to move. Rather than give up his desire to provide food to his native Martinsburg city, Widmeyer began the search for a new location. It was in driving around with his wife that he spotted a great spot, an empty building at the corner of Martin Street and Raleigh Street, the current location of the Martinsburg Fire Station. Widmeyer rented the building and enjoyed 10 years at that location before the City of Martinsburg, who owned the property, decided to build a fi re station at that location. Liking the downtown location, Widmeyer purchased the land on the adjourning corner of Martin Street and Raleigh Street, its current location at 130 N. Raleigh St. “We purchased the property, and I built the building in 1976. We had our grand opening in August, and it was well accepted by the community. When we opened the store defi nitely didn’t look like it does now. It was very low scale....

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Everything Old Is New Again at New Charles Town Yarn Store
Jun01

Everything Old Is New Again at New Charles Town Yarn Store

By: Bonnie Williamson Photos By: Josh Triggs Knitting and crocheting may seem like dying arts, but Yarnability, a new business in Charles Town, WV, is taking advantage of renewed interest in these hobbies, as well as teaching these skills to another generation. During summers in upstate New York when she was about ten years old, Karen Frail, Yarnability’s owner, was taught how to crochet by her aunt. However, her career didn’t include crocheting or knitting initially. She received bachelors and master’s degrees in speech therapy. “But I always had a focus on the arts, like music and theater in high school and college,” Frail says. “In the early 2000s, knitting became popular again. It became hip to make your own things.” Frail began working at Yarnability in Shepherdstown, WV, in 2012. At the time, the shop was owned by Susan Wolcott, the former owner of Y2Knit in Funkstown, Md. from 2003 to 2012. Yarnability was located in Shepherdstown for two years on Duke Street then relocated to Princess Street where it remained from 2014 to 2017. “I began to expand my skills since I was surrounded by yarn,” Frail says. “When Susan wanted to retire, she had hopes of continuing the community of knitters and crocheters that Yarnability had helped in creating, so she sold the store to me.” Frail decided to move the store to 130 W. Washington St., Charles Town in March of this year. “I decided to make the move to Charles Town because the area is really pushing the arts with its promotion of an art and cultural district in town, and I wanted to be in it,” Frail said. “It’s also a central location for customers in surrounding areas like Leesburg and Winchester, Va. and Frederick, Md. I felt Charles Town also needed a local yarn shop. “Yarnability is an 850 square foot space, which carries a wide variety of superior yarn, quality tools and classes for the beginner and advanced learners in knitting and crochet. Frail says that Susan Wolcott still teaches classes part-time.”She had quite a following of customers from the Funkstown and Shepherdstown stores,” Frail says. Private lessons are also available at $20 for 90 minutes of instruction. Frail says she offers weekly learn to knit and learn to crochet classes in group settings at $20 for a two-hour session. “We provide project-guided classes, as well as instruction for customer chosen patterns and projects. We invite people to come in with projects they want help with,” she says. She offered a six-week class for the summer and plans to start another one in the fall. The summer class ran from May...

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A Matter of ‘Conveinience’
Jun01

A Matter of ‘Conveinience’

Article By: Jeff Marcum Photos By: Josh Triggs It would be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that convenience stores became such an integral part of the community. Nevertheless, service stations that once provided gasoline for your horseless carriage have evolved into a one-stop shop to buy gas, snacks, groceries, and even a full menu of fresh food. ROCS understands this evolution. In 1952, R. Mark “Mickey” Roach founded what would become R. M. Roach & Sons, parent company of ROCS, Roach Energy, and Sunfire Energy Solutions in Martinsburg. Since then, the company has experienced rapid growth throughout Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties in West Virginia, and in Washington County in Maryland. But ROCS isn’t the same service station started in 1952. Matt Roach, along with his brother, Jason, and father, Steve, all owners of the business, summed it up like this, “Convenience stores are offering a greater customer experience than ever before. The industry has evolved from a simple model of selling fuel, cigarettes, beer, and soda to offering a complete shopping experience that includes grocery, fresh food, and more – the ‘one stop everything’. As consumer demand evolves, the more robust our model must become. Our food service growth is a key part of our expanding offer. It’s an exciting time in our industry and we’re ready for the challenge.” ROCS does not just understand and embrace this new role of convenience stores, they excel at it. ROCS has 15 locations across four counties, and are currently expanding to a 16th location to be opened later this year. Even faced with stiff competition from regional competitors, ROCS continues to thrive as a locally owned and operated business. Kelly Roach, Director of Sales and Marketing, believes that a lot of their success can be attributed to their core values. “Our core values as an organization are a part of every interaction we have daily – with our customers, employees, stakeholders, vendors, and others. ‘Demonstrating Strong Leadership’, ‘Total Customer Dedication’, ‘Build Caring Relationships’, these are just a few of those values. We truly practice what we preach and carry this mindset throughout our relationships. I believe that is what sets us apart from other similar businesses in the area and is the reason why we are such a strong 4th generation family operation; family in the sense that we are still a family-owned and operated organization, but also in the sense of a work family and community. There are many employees that have been with the business for 10-15-20-25 years. We are so grateful to have such a dedicated work family and community; it is the reason why we...

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The Brains Behind Saving Yours
Jun01

The Brains Behind Saving Yours

Article By: Bonnie Williamson Photos By: Josh Triggs It’s a disease that destroys lives: the lives of those afflicted with it, as well as the lives of those who care for the afflicted. It can strike at any age. It’s not just an old person’s disease. It can’t be prevented, cured or slowed. Its name is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is defined as a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It’s the most common form of dementia, a group of brain disorders that result in the loss of intellectual and social skills. This catastrophic illness is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It’s the fastest growing disease in the country. More than five million Americans are in its grip. In West Virginia alone, there are more than 37,000 people with Alzheimer’s and more than 107,000 people caring for them. The Alzheimer’s Association West Virginia Chapter is the only voluntary health organization in the state solely dedicated to providing education and support services to individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, as well as to their families and care givers. The chapter serves all 55 counties in West Virginia, six counties in eastern Ohio and one county in Virginia. The West Virginia Chapter has four offices: the headquarters in Charleston and three regional offices, one in Parkersburg, Morgantown and the newest office in Martinsburg, which started in April 2014. Cecelia Nichols is the regional coordinator for the Martinsburg office. The office covers the seven counties of Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hardy, Grant, Hampshire, and Mineral. Nichols says the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. “The Alzheimer’s Association is the third largest nonprofit fundraiser for Alzheimer research in the world,” Nichols says. “The people who are part of this organization all have the same passion to eliminate this disease. We all have either had a family member who suffered from Alzheimer’s or know someone who has had to deal with this disease. They have a personal connection to the disease.” Nichols’ grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2012 at the age of 78. She lived in her own home in Mineral County West Virginia until one fateful night. “We had special clocks in her home so she could tell when it was day or night and other devices so she could tell the day of the week,” Nichols says. “She would take a bus to an adult day care center. One day she...

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More Than Flowers
Apr01

More Than Flowers

Article By: Tula Mason Photos By: Josh Triggs With the arrival of spring just around the corner and summer not far behind that, our thoughts turn to all of the beautiful foliage and bright, colorful flowers that come along with these warmer seasons. The promises of the sunshine and the aromatic smells and wonderful sights to come tell us that it’s time for those highly anticipated spring and summer weddings to begin. With this in mind a good florist is a must. With many local flower shops to choose from in the Martinsburg, WV area, it may seem a bit overwhelming trying to decide which one would best fit your needs. Please allow me to give you my two cents on this matter based on my own personal experience. I am of the opinion that you just can’t go wrong with Bells & Bows located at 118 W Martin Street in downtown Martinsburg, WV. This well established fl oral business is so much more than just a flower shop but also the perfect place to find all matter of charming gifts and holiday accessories for your home as well. Bells & Bows has been in business since 1984 and was originally owned by an investor from out of town that actually knew very little about running a flower shop let alone creating flower arrangements. For this reason he called upon the fl oral expertise of Charles Spalding to manage the business. As you can imagine, this entailed much more than simply arranging flowers. After all with his 25 years of full-time experience at a florist shop in Virginia, that just so happened to be owned and operated by his in-laws at the time, he was the perfect choice. Charlie’s mother and father in-law taught him all of the ins and outs of the fl oral business including the importance of treating customers like family. Charlie, as he is more widely known to his customers and friends, did not attend design school but rather learned by experience instead. At any rate, he ultimately moved to West Virginia to manage Bells & Bows that was located in a small strip mall on Rock Cliff Drive at the time, bringing with him everything he had learned over the years. Charlie began his lifetime work in the fl oral industry in 1967 because he found out that he had a love for flowers and gardening at a young age. In the beginning he worked at the above mentioned family florist shop on a part-time basis while also working part-time at the public library as well. After a time he realized that his love...

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