Dancers find the right fit at Encore
Jun01

Dancers find the right fit at Encore

by Bonnie Williamson To dance is to move one’s feet or body rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music. It comes in many forms, one being ballet. Ballet involves complicated choreography and its performances are found throughout the world. However, most people don’t think ballet or other forms of dance are being taught in some place like West Virginia, the home of country roads and farms. A dance apparel shop for those dancers seems like an even more far-fetched idea. Well, those people are wrong. Despite the fact that dance had always been a part of her life, Mercedes Prohaska never thought of having her own dance apparel shop or being co-owner of a dance school in the tiny West Virginia town of Shepherdstown. “I have been a teacher and dance mom for more than 20 years,” Prohaska says, smiling. “But dance was on the back burner for a while. I had a government job in Washington, DC, but I wanted more flexibility in my life. I wanted to be closer to home,” Prohaska says. Her daughter Harlee became involved with dance, taking lessons at a local dance school in Shepherdstown, three times a week. There, Prohaska became friends with one of the teachers, Emily Romine. When the school relocated and left the area, Prohaska kept hearing from the community that Shepherdstown needed a dance school. “People knew us. They wanted a dance school they could trust. We decided to make a fresh start on our own. Have high quality teachers. We took over the former dance studio space and started the Shepherdstown School of dance in 2003.” Shepherdstown School of Dance offers classes in ballet, jazz/modern, and tap. The school currently has 75 students. “We are committed to keep the art and discipline of classical dance alive in our community,” says Romine. The school eventually moved to 400 Princess St., but something was missing. “There was no store in the area where dancers could buy the clothes and supplies they needed. They had to travel to Hagerstown and Frederick in Maryland,” Prohaska says. So in 2011, Encore Apparel in Motion moved to 108 East Washington St., next door to Shepherdstown School of Dance. Still, there is no pressure for the dance students to shop at Encore. “They can shop anywhere they like,” says Romine. “But every time I walk through the store, well I love everything.” Encore has a wide assortment of leotards for children and adults and even gymnastics leotards. There are Capezio tights, dance skirts, dance bags, tap shoes, character shoes for recitals and many other dance supplies all colorfully displayed....

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Luke Loy Shares His Many Talents with His Customers and the Community
Jun01

Luke Loy Shares His Many Talents with His Customers and the Community

by Bonnie Williamson Luke Loy has been using his talents with hair and cosmetics to make his clients at Hair by Luke beautiful for the past 25 years. “But I want to help people who come to me to be beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. I want them to have better lives and encourage them every day,” Loy says. Making things beautiful also includes renovating his 1893 home in Martinsburg, West Virginia, that houses Hair by Luke. “I’ve always loved decorating. I want that beauty to also be a part of the people who come to my salon. They are walking billboards of my work,” Loy says, smiling. Making others feel good about themselves helps Loy, too. “It makes me feel good about what I chose as my career. I am a Master Stylist with a gift for designing styles and color just right for my customers. When life gets you down, come in and see me,” he says. Loy says he has very high expectations when it comes to goals for both himself and his clients. He strives to make his customers as comfortable as possible. He talks to them, listens to them, and even gives them inspirational quotes he has lived by all his life. He also doesn’t let his customers be swayed by many of the fads taking place in the hair styling world, like having their hair dyed in different colors like pink and blue. “The colors fade too fast. Not attractive and not good for the hair,” Loy says. Loy also doesn’t have any set hours. “I’m here for the customer’s convenience, not mine,” he says. Originally from Leetown, West Virginia, Loy received his training at the International Beauty School of Martinsburg. He tried massage therapy for a while, starting one of the first massage therapy businesses in Berkeley County West Virginia. Along the way in his career, for six years Loy was involved with the TLC television reality series, “Gypsy Sisters” and “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.” Both shows, based on those made in the United Kingdom, follow the little-known gypsy culture of the Romanichel and Roma gypsies. Those involved have their shining moments, outrageous parties, huge dresses and big attitudes. Viewers saw coming of age parties, arranged marriages, purification ceremonies and a Veil of Darkness wedding ritual. Gypsies have their own customs and superstitions vital to the survival of their mysterious culture. The shows explored the unique and ancient traditions that have shaped and defined the Gypsy community for hundreds of years. There are only about one million gypsies in the United States. “I got to know...

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Filling Bellies, Filling Lives
Jun01

Filling Bellies, Filling Lives

By Crystal Schelle MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Barrington Mighty was only 30 when he suffered a heart attack. Mighty, now 32, says the experience changed him while sitting beside his girlfriend Roxanne Wiggan, 29, in their downtown Martinsburg restaurant, Island Bliss Cuisine. “She watched me literally flatline and come back,” he says. “I decided I’m here for a reason.” That’s when he founded An9ted Humanitarian Foundation based in his cultural home of Jamaica. Every month the group goes out to different parts of the country to cook hot food to feed anyone who needs a meal. “We walk on the streets and find them, and give them something to eat,” he says. The last place they served meals was in Kingston, Jamaica. But on June 9, Mighty wants to bring the outreach to their newly adopted city of Martinsburg. The event will be 1 to 4 p.m. at Ambrose Park in Martinsburg. “We’re feeding the less fortunate in the community and have a fun day for kids,” he says. Mighty and Wiggan are the parents of two, Tristan and Emily, both 8. They also have another daughter due in August whom they’ve already named Destiny. Wiggan says Mighty’s heart attack “calmed him down.” “When he had the heart attack, he had friends who weren’t there for him,” she says. “He cut out bad company and he’s now more family oriented. He’s appreciative. He spends more time with God. Before, I never heard him say anything about praying. It changed him a lot.” Mighty nods. “I realized I was here for a reason.” Family and food Mighty and Wiggan have family who live in the Eastern Panhandle and would visit the from New York City. But when they visited, Wiggan says they could never find any good Caribbean food. “One day on the back porch he said, ‘I think we should move down here and option a restaurant because I think it would do very well,'” she says. “We decided to bring it here. We wanted to bring something different to the area.” Mighty says he learned how to cook by watching a friend who had a restaurant in New York. Then he’d put ” my own twist on it by making it different from everyone else’s,” he says. Being in the kitchen, Mighty says, became a passion. “Cooking was something that I really enjoy doing. It just became a part of me,” he says. In 2012, he opened up his own New York City restaurant called Tristan’s Caribbean Cuisine. Prior to opening his first restaurant, Mighty did electrical work for a solar company. Later, he worked for Manhattan Electric while...

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Donuts, Done, Differently
Jun01

Donuts, Done, Differently

By Crystal Schelle Moses “Moe” Herr admits he doesn’t even really know how to cook. But what he does know is a good tasting donut. Herr has brought a new type of fluffy, soft donut to Martinsburg serving them up at Moe’s Donut Shop. The shop is at 321 Aikens Center off of Edwin Miller Boulevard. Donuts came at time when Herr wanted to leave the corporate world and was looking for a new business opportunity. “I’ve loved donuts all my life, I’ve consumed donuts all my life. It just so happen I was done with 9 to 5. I was tired of working under someone,” he says. Herr, who grew up in Northern Virginia, was living in Texas at the time. He had been working as a process analyst when he thought there had be something different to do. That’s when he discovered donuts. In Texas, he says, independent donut shops are all the rage. “They’re on every corner basically,” he says. “It was pretty saturated.” Herr did some research and had found two shops. One was practically behind his home and had a great product, while the other had a great location but a lousy location. He opted for quality. “The ultimate goal was to bring this concept back to the Northern Virginia back where I was because there was no donut shops,” he says. But first he had to learn how to make the donuts. He says it took some convincing to have the owners teach him how to make the donuts, but Herr won them over. “I learned what I learned now from the owner of that donut shop,” he says. The recipe, he says, is one that’s basically used at all the donut shops across Texas. The secret, he says, is in the different techniques and ratios used to make the donuts. “We can use the same product, but I might be able to use the same donut because I use more water or something like that,” he says. “My donuts are a little different how my teachers were. You’ve got to make it your own.” It took time for Herr to learn how make the donuts correctly and says with a language barrier some steps he had to figure out himself. “I made a lot of mistakes the first year,” he says. It took about 10 years before he decided to see if he could locate a donut shop with the Texas-inspired donuts close to his hometown area. In July 2017, Herr opened his first shop at 28 E. Picadilly St. Winchester, Va. And in November 2018, he opened the Martinsburg shop in...

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A Cold Coke and a Warm Smile
Apr01

A Cold Coke and a Warm Smile

by Bonnie Williamson You’re greeted with a Coke and a smile as you walk through the doors. This may seem like an unusual way to attract customers to a furniture store, but it has been a tradition at Grand Home Furnishings, a third generation family-run business, since 1953. “It’s a welcoming gesture. A cold Coke and a warm smile,” says Matt Cox, the store manager of Grand Home Furnishings newest store in Martinsburg, West Virginia. “The furniture you buy becomes a part of your family. We want you to become a part of ours.” The idea for the Coke came from: what is the first thing someone offers guests when they visit? Something to drink. When the chain’s store opened in Lynchburg, Virginia, back in 1953, Grand Home’s founder George Cartledge, Sr. offered Cokes to customers who came to the store’s grand opening. Nearly 10,000 people came to the store over the next three days. Grand now gives out more than one million bottles of Coca-Cola a year. A little bit of history follows. The chain’s first location was in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1911 under the name of Grand Piano Company, specializing in pianos, other musical instruments and related merchandise. During the 1930s, the company added furniture, radios and phonographs. The Cartledge family purchased the store in 1945, changing the name to the Grand Piano and Furniture Company. The chain expanded in the 1950s to other locations in southwest Virginia and eventually other states. Eventually, Grand stopped selling pianos and became Grand Home Furnishings in 1998. The Martinsburg store opened in December last year on the site of the former Bon Ton store, which had been part of the Martinsburg Mall complex. The mall, which closed in 2016, was located at 840 Foxcroft Ave. “People in the community really wanted us here. There was just about nothing left on the site since the mall closed. People had to travel outside of the area to find places to shop. We wanted to keep things local, bring things back. We also see a tremendous potential for growth with corporations like Proctor and Gamble settling in the area,” says Cox. The Grand Home Furnishings store has 60,000 square feet of open space packed with furniture and a wide variety of home accessories as far as the eye can see. And customers shouldn’t just look at what’s available. They can become part of the furnishings. Literally. “We want people to sit on the furniture. Try it. Use it. See how it feels. Furniture is meant to be used. It’s okay to relax. The furniture you choose should be right for your home. People...

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Westwood Charm Boutique; Fashion is a Community, Not a Competition
Apr01

Westwood Charm Boutique; Fashion is a Community, Not a Competition

Chelsea Tederick “Fashion has to reflect who you are. What you feel at the moment. Where you are going.” – Pharrell Williams Every quaint downtown main street needs a few basics to be successful in serving the community well, typically referred to as the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker. In fact, Small Business Saturday has become one of the most popular and beneficial shopping events to grace our area as we are a demographic of individuals that enjoy gathering together, visiting all of the local hotspots and giving back to the community as a whole. The very idea of shopping locally sparks a very nostalgic image of window shopping as a family and spending time with those closest to us. Westwood Charm Boutique in downtown Martinsburg is bringing all of those sentimental and comfy, cozy feelings that shopping within ones specific community can create. Being downtown gives us an assortment of businesses to frequent, however, what none of us realized is how much we needed a new women’s clothing store that caters to this very demographic of ladies. Personalized and custom attire blends in with high-end market items, along with local, tailor made pieces that are serving the downtown natives well. Without a doubt this is an establishment that we have been longing for! Jillian Wyand’s childhood home was on Westwood Ave. in Baltimore, MD. and the charming name lent muse to the naming of her dream. A local, graduating from Hedgesville High School, that is deeply dedicated to the care and happiness of the people here, opened Westwood Charm Boutique in 2017 at a location in Meadow Lane Plaza. After getting her feet wet, Jillian realized that her attention was set on making her solo dream a reality and with the support of her loving husband, Matthew, along with 3 beautiful children, she set out to find a location that suited her aesthetic. Being so customer driven and willing to plunge into serving her community, a downtown location, across from the flower shop, established jewelry store and glass gallery seemed like the perfect location to immerse herself into the demographic of shoppers, and it did not disappoint. Most of us can agree that while it is nice to have the amenities of a large city, there is nothing quite like the tailored help that can be offered by Jillian at Westwood Charm. Red carpet service from the moment you enter the boutique as you will be greeted with a warm salutation, smile and offerings of help. If shopping for clothing is not something that is particularly enjoyable to you, step into Jillian’s ‘office’ and watch her create...

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