It’s Not Just a Pizza Place
Oct01

It’s Not Just a Pizza Place

By Bonnie Williamson Fresh is part of the name of Montese’s Fresh and Fast restaurant in Martinsburg, West Virginia,  because it reflects not only on the quality and variety of food offered, but also on a refreshing approach to business and customers. Montese’s owner Mike Schianodicola, hails from a family in Monte Di Procida, Italy, outside of Naples. His passion for cooking started at an early age, acquired from his father and mother, Mario and Archina. “I was always around good cooking. When I go back to visit my parents in Italy, I usually gain eight pounds in ten days,” Mike says, smiling. Still, cooking was not immediately part of Mike’s future. He planned to go to school to learn how to be a captain on a cruise ship. “I thought that would be an exciting career, until I realized I would be away for three or four months at a time. I wanted to be home every night. Have a family,” Mike says. He came to the United States in 1984 to work on his culinary skills with his brother Raimondo. In 2008, he opened Montese’s, named after the nickname of his Italian village. He started out concentrating on pizzas. The kind of pizzas customers order feature just about any topping imaginable. The list for toppings includes pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, onions, bacon, green peppers, black or green olives, fresh tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, banana peppers, pineapple, meatballs, ham, steak and chicken. There is even a peanut butter and jelly pizza. For dessert, customers can order a chocolate chip pizza, or pizzas topped with Nutella, cherries, apples or Oreos. “Our pizza dough and the sauces are made fresh every day. We take great pride in the quality of our food,” Mike says. He has gluten free dough. He adds he will eventually start offering cauliflower dough. One of the most popular pizzas is the Greek pizza (feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, fresh garlic, olive oil, fresh spinach and mozzarella cheese). “Good for the heart,” he says. Still, Mike wanted to offer his customers even more. “I didn’t want to be just another pizza place. I know children love pizza, but I wanted to offer adults a choice, too. I didn’t want people to have to think too much when they are trying to decide what to order. That’s why I added a buffet,” Mike says. Fresh especially comes into play with the buffet, which is All-You-Can Eat. It’s beautifully and enticingly presented. The lettuce tastes as if it was just picked from the garden. Spaghetti and a delicious sauce are among the delights awaiting buffet tasters. A particularly delicious morsel is...

Read More
Dermatology Associates & Surgery Center
Oct01

Dermatology Associates & Surgery Center

Walking into the reception area filled with natural light coming thru the recessed ceiling, I am promptly greeted by a smiling front staff member who welcomes me on a tour of the office. Ducking my head into the exam rooms, I noticed the fresh décor and mounted computer screens displaying information on dermatologic topics. Plaques displayed by the checkout area express appreciation for a local team sponsorship and being chosen Best Dermatology Practice by The Journal. For a practice with seven offices, I am struck by the personal touch the Doctors and staff express to me and the patients in the office. This seems like a group that works well together and are happy with their live’s work. Dr. Nelson Velazquez, takes time out of his busy day to meet with me. I ask how he choose to become a dermatologist, “Once I was accepted into Medical school, and exposed to the specialty of dermatology, I knew this was my calling. I liked that this specialty was a combination of a Medical and Surgical practice within one practice. I’ve been blessed to practice dermatology, and would do it all again.” The practice specializes in medical and surgical dermatology, treating many skin conditions, ranging from skin cancer, eczema, psoriasis, acne, vitilago, cysts, and hair & nail disorders. Much of the focus these days is on skin cancer. The three most common skin cancers are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma. Basal Cell carcinomas appear in many shapes and sizes. These appear on skin that gets repeated sun exposure such as the scalp, neck, and hands. It can also occur on the nose, cheeks, and forehead, but may also develop anywhere on the body. They may appear as a sore that does not heal, a dome shaped growth, or a shiny pinkish patch. Squamous Cell carcinomas also develop on the skin that gets sun exposure or elsewhere on the body. They may appear as a bump that is crusty or rough, or a sore that does not heal. Some Squamous Cell carcinomas begin as actinic keratosis, which are a pre-cancerous lesion. They may be dry, scaly, and rough textured. Melanoma,  if detected early, is highly treatable. Like basal and squamous cell carcinomas, melanoma can be caused by sun exposure, but may also be caused by genetics. Research shows if a close blood relative had melanoma, a person has a much greater risk of getting melanoma themselves. There are different modalities for treating skin cancer ranging from freezing the cancer cells with liquid nitrogen to a surgical procedure called Mohs surgery. With Mohs surgery, the procedure involves removing tissue in...

Read More
Bella Salon and Spa
Aug01

Bella Salon and Spa

By Karen Gardner Walking into Bella Salon and Spa in Hagerstown, located behind a bank and across busy Dual Highway from a pharmacy, feels like walking into another world. Tammy Shindle opened Bella Salon in 2001 with four hairstyling stations. By then, she had 20 years of experience cutting and styling hair in Hagerstown, and she was ready to move to the next step of owning her own salon. Her father-in-law suggested she choose a name near the beginning of the alphabet, to help the salon’s visibility in the Yellow Pages. “That shows you how much things have changed since then,” she said with a smile. Since then, Shindle has been slowly adding services. She’s added a full range of color, toner and foil options. Brow tints. Color fusion. Texturizing and straightening. Hair extensions. Manicures and pedicures came next. Then came skin treatments, eye rescue, lip renewal and hand renewal. Manicures for men. Nail art. Paraffin treatment for hands and feet. Waxing, from basic bikini to Brazilian. Eyelash extensions and makeup applications. More recently, massage has joined the list of spa treatments at Bella Salon and Spa. Traditional, deep tissue, hot stone, prenatal and reflexology are all available at Bella. “As we grew, we decided to offer spa services,” Shindle said. “It’s something our customers were asking for.” When Bella Salon and Spa opened, the business occupied one-third of a building that housed three separate businesses. Shindle’s father-in-law owned the building and suggested she open her own salon. Shindle graduated from Washington County Career and Technical High School in 1982 as a licensed cosmetologist, and had worked her way up to salon manager at another salon. Located on the other side of the building was her sister-in-law’s travel agency. A year after Shindle opened her salon, the third tenant moved out, and Shindle decided to expand into the middle area, allowing her to expand her offerings. As her business grew, she added more services. About six years after her first expansion, Bella added a second story to the salon, with a locker area and offices for employees. Two years ago, Shindle’s sister-in-law decided to move her travel business to her home, and Shindle and her husband Keith decided that was the perfect time to expand the salon and spa business even more. They now own the building, and Keith served as the general contractor for the expansion. “It was a very long process from planning to execution,” Shindle said. The salon is a Redken Elite salon, and Shindle worked with Redken to plan a new color bar for hair coloring. She worked with Peter and Tess Millard, salon designers...

Read More
Berkeley Pottery
Aug01

Berkeley Pottery

Written by Cami Coulter Queen Street in Martinsburg, WV houses a variety of businesses from restaurants and tattoo parlors to salons and fabric shops but a new kind of business just renovated a space on the busy street and put up their “We’re Open!” sign in June. The bright yellow and orange colored storefront of Berkeley Pottery, that can’t be missed, adds a different kind of business to the heart of Martinsburg. Walking into Berkeley Pottery customers can first see tables and chairs for painting, with abstract art designs on the walls, but also shelves holding more than a hundred pre-fired ceramics they can chose from to paint and glaze. All through out the space, the store has friendly, colorful lighting and fun music playing in the background. Continuing further into the space is a cute and quaint social bar and then several pottery wheels held in the back where owner, David Carroll, might be teaching a class to beginner potters. Originally from Greenbrier County, David and his business partner, Mark Thompson, moved to Martinsburg in hopes of their big dream to lift off. They chose Martinsburg because it is very well situated geographically between three major interstates. “It’s a cultural hub for the Potomac highlands,” David explained. He says the surrounding areas like the Eastern Panhandle and Winchester look toward Martinsburg for leadership and cultural affairs. After waiting seven years, they settled down in Berkeley County. Finding an awesome deal on a house from fore closure, they bought and restored it into a place they could call home. David did the same for the thriving Berkeley Pottery. The building had been vacant for thirty years and was in need of some definite TLC. “We renovated it and put our heart and soul into it. I spent six weeks on my hands and knees scrubbing the floors down because they were covered with shag carpet,” David said. The flooring under that shag carpet is hardwood flooring from the original building as well as the plaster on the walls and the ceiling. The brick on the walls were made right in Martinsburg at the Continental Brick Company and many of them show the Continental stamps on the sides. The owners also replaced the stark, florescent lighting with warmer, softer lights to create a more cozy and inviting space. Berkeley Pottery holds three lines of business. Customers are able to paint their own pottery by choosing a ceramic on the shelves provided. Then you can paint and add designs on your chosen ceramic any way you would like. After that, the employees will glaze it in a kiln, which makes the...

Read More
Mikey’s Mini Donuts, family-owned for the whole family
Aug01

Mikey’s Mini Donuts, family-owned for the whole family

By Karen Gardner Mini doughnuts can be a mouth-watering treat, without the guilt of eating a whole doughnut. To get some mini doughnuts, head over to Mikey’s Mini Donuts at the Premium Outlets Food Court in Hagerstown. Mikey’s Mini Donuts are the perfect complement to a shopping trip at the outlet mall. Michael Rosario opened Mikey’s Mini Donuts eight months ago in Hagerstown, where he lives with his wife and 1-year-old child. “It’s a family-owned business,” he said. His wife helps him out, when she’s not working at her job, and his cousin is a business partner. His doughnuts appeal to children and adults alike. “My doughnuts taste like funnel cakes,” he said. That funnel cake taste is baked into the tiny, 2-inch diameter treats, which come with one topping. Many people add a second topping for an extra 50 cents. Toppings include powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, Nutella, chocolate syrup, peanut butter, jelly, marshmallow, marshmallow syrup, strawberry syrup, chopped bacon, chopped peanut, chopped almonds, chocolate chip, Fruity Pebbles and M&Ms. A clear container of tiny, colorful marshmallows sits on a counter waiting to be added to the doughnuts. Other jars contain chopped nuts, Fruity Pebbles and chocolate chips. Syrup containers sit ready to squiggle their contents onto the doughnut treats. A Kitchen Aid sits ready to mix up the dough for the doughnuts. “I make the doughnuts fresh from scratch,” Rosario said. “I make one or two pounds of dough at a time.” The dough is then shaped into the doughnuts and slipped into the fryer. Rosario churns out five orders per batch of dough, and mixes new batches repeatedly to keep up with demand. The tiny doughnuts have even smaller holes, and are similar to doughnut holes, except each one is actually a tiny doughnut. “Kids like to watch me make them,” Rosario said. Besides doughnuts, Rosario offers Waffle Pops, which are strips of Belgian waffle dough on a kebab stick. He also makes these fresh to order. Waffle Pops come with toppings, just like the doughnuts. The whole process of frying dough into a Mini Donut or Waffle Pop takes about two minutes, complete with toppings. Mini Donuts come in bags of eight or 12. Or you can order The Mikey, four Mini Donuts and a scoop of ice cream. Rosario, 34, is a native of Puerto Rico. He and his wife have lived in Hagerstown for about eight years. Rosario has worked as a bank teller, in a warehouse and as a dishwasher, but, he said, “I never found my niche.”  He added, “I’ve always daydreamed about being a business owner.” Rosario learned about the mini...

Read More
Adoring the Views of Harpers Ferry at River Level
Aug01

Adoring the Views of Harpers Ferry at River Level

To experience the Harpers Ferry natural environment was ‘worth a voyage across the Atlantic’ to Thomas Jefferson. Don’t miss it. By Bonnie Williamson In 1783, Thomas Jefferson once stood on Jefferson Rock, now part of the Harpers Ferry National Park in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. He wrote, “The passage of the Patowmac [Potomac] through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature…On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Patowmac in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder and pass off to the sea… This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic.” The beautiful and majestic environment along the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, and the rivers themselves helped a local business, designed for those with a sense of adventure and love of nature, expand far beyond its original offering of white water rafting. River Riders Family Adventure Resort has the experienced personnel and attention to detail to give its customers an unforgettable experience from the challenge of white water rafting to the joy of seeing Mother Nature’s treasures. “We have listened to our customers over the years and give them the kinds of adventures they wanted,” says Tyler Tummolo, River Riders general manager. “We are the premier outfitters year round.” Tummolo says River Riders started out concentrating on white water raftering. The organization began in the early 1970s as Shenandoah River Rafters. More property in the area was purchased over the years with construction of the current facility at 408 Alstadts Hill Rd. beginning in 2003. River Riders is owned by Matt and Laura Knott. White water rafting is still part of River Riders, but now the company offers tubing, aerial forest adventure parks, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, lodging options, fishing canopy and tour/zip lining. “We were the first in the area to have zip lining,” Tummolo says. “It really is a thrilling experience. We had one couple do zip lining and other activities for their honeymoon They thought all of it was phenomenal. Something they would remember for the rest of their lives.” A zip line consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel, mounted on a slope. It is designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to travel from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable by holding on to, or attaching to, the freely moving pulley. For those who might be a little nervous about this adventure, Tummolo says the...

Read More