Get it Downtown - Frederick

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Frederick Faces: Leslie Wallis and Jacque Zoerner

Only a little over two years ago, Downtown Frederick was just a place Leslie Wallis and her sister Jacque Zoerner could meet for lunch and catch up on each other’s lives. Now, it is a place to call home for their families and their shared business, Sisters Corners Emporium (132 N. East Street). As Jacque and Leslie grew older and progressed in their separate careers, they realized that working for other people was becoming “less and less fun.” When they stumbled across the open shop on East Street, they just knew it was the place for them. “The idea to showcase and support women artisans became a mission and a goal that has been both rewarding and satisfying,” says Leslie.

At Sisters Corner Emporium, the goal to showcase and support women artisans is achieved. The shop offers unique and beautiful handmade goods by local women and fair trade groups, but the business does more for these women than act as a middleman for their products. “We support women in taking an idea, making it reality, and then we sell it for them for the whole world to enjoy,” states Jacque, adding, “We describe ourselves as part incubator, part gift shop, and part therapist’s office.”

Just as Leslie and Jacque foster creativity in the women artisans they support, the artists inspire them in turn.  “The variety of art and artists that pass through our doors is amazing. The depths of the creativity that these women possess is astounding, and with a little support and encouragement, many of them grow as artists and stretch to try new things,” Leslie says admiringly.

When asked why they enjoy having their business in Downtown Frederick, the sisters attributed part of their success to the Downtown Frederick Partnership and other downtown businesses. Jacque claims, “The level of participation and welcome among the downtown businesses is great, and the Downtown Frederick Partnership does a great job supporting all of the businesses and keeping us all working together.”
In case stopping by the store to see Leslie and Jacque isn’t enough for you, there will soon be more opportunities to see them working together. The sisters are involved in a musical group that will be performing in and around Frederick in the near future! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Frederick Faces: Diana Ray

While many people enjoy sitting down to relax with a cup of tea, for some, tea is a passion. Diana Ray, owner of Shab Row Team Emporium (112 N. East Street), believes that “learning about tea is a never-ending endeavor. It encompasses history, geography, and culture. Not to mention the sensory experience!” Diana’s advanced training in tea has made her tea shop a huge success.

Originally from New Orleans, Diana started her journey in the business in a small tea shop in Austin, Texas in the summer of 2000. From there, she managed a coffee and tea shop in Norfolk, Virginia. When Diana moved to Frederick in 2012, she pursued her interest in coffee and tea through her job at Mike Winder’s Frederick Coffee Company. Diana and Mike decided to open Shab Row Tea Emporium as a complement to Frederick Coffee Company and Frederick Fudge and Ice Cream in the summer of 2013.

In the Tea Emporium, shoppers can browse for leaf tea, tea accessories, and brewed tea in a hands-on, homey environment. Diana’s friendly and accommodating staff help her share her passion for tea with their customers. “I love introducing people to tea they’ve never tried before. I would like to put on a series of educational workshops about tea,” says Diana.

In addition to teaching others about the specifics of tea, Diana loves talking to the locals that come through her store. She believes that Frederick is the ideal place for the tea shop and Mike’s other businesses. The constant foot traffic downtown brings a wide variety of people to the shop, providing Diana with one of the most enjoyable aspects of her job. “I love talking to people,” Diana raves, “We get folks from all walks of life here. I am inspired by people who make the community better: independent shop owners, writers, artists, farmers...”

Aside from her passion for tea, Diana loves experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, adventuring outdoors, and sitting down to watch some Star Trek, with a cup of tea in hand, of course. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Frederick Faces: Dana McCormick

“I always said I would like to own a downtown shop and it became reality,” said Dana McCormick, owner of The Little Pottery Shop (117 N. East Street). Although Dana had always wanted to own his own shop, his career path has taken him through many different areas before doing so. After Dana graduated from Penn State University, he had a variety of experiences that include a courier service, a major airline, environmental monitoring, and retail experience, all of which he believes made an impact on his decision to buy the pottery shop.

Though The Little Pottery Shop has been in business for years, Dana is new to the Downtown Frederick merchant community. Dana purchased the shop in April and has been heartily welcomed by the other Shab Row business owners, which ultimately is what has made having a business in Downtown Frederick enjoyable for him. “The Shab Row businesses are like a family and always willing to lend a hand or business advice.  We work together to support each other and never miss an opportunity to laugh and have some fun,” he said. 

With the help of his Shab Row family, Dana has continued the success of The Little Pottery Shop. The store focuses on unique, handcrafted pottery in anything from a sponge holder to large, gallery-quality vases. They also carry gift and art items such as hand-blown glass, jewelry, candles, original art and photography, and wooden bowls and canes. One of Dana’s greatest pleasures in his job is the “never ending process of finding new artists or adding new items to an existing collection,” he said, adding, “There is a lot of satisfaction from selecting items and having customers liking what they see.”

When he’s not in the store or scouting new artists to feature in his shop, Dana loves gardening. “It helps me relax and forget about things as I play in the dirt,” he claims. Once everything in his garden is tended to and he heads inside, Dana enjoys sitting down to watch college football, as many Penn State grads do. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Frederick Faces: Michele Patton and Lisa Henry

Michele and Lisa

Michele Patton and her sister Lisa had always talked about opening a home-oriented store together, but their dream became a reality in May 2008 when the pair opened Home Essentials of Frederick (38 E. Patrick Street). As Michele and Lisa both settled down from various retail careers and living all over the country, the sisters decided to pursue their interest in home-goods and their lifelong dream of opening a business together. Michele explains, “The timing was right, the place was right (Frederick!), and here we are!”

Home Essentials of Frederick is a unique gift store where customers can pick up items from a variety of categories, including home, garden, glassware and kitchen serveware, baby, jewelry, and pet. Many customers shop for both gifts to give and items for their own home. 

When asked about their favorite aspect of their job and working in Downtown Frederick, their answers were one and the same. Michele and Lisa love the variety of their jobs and atmosphere that comes along with having their business in downtown Frederick. “The downtown community is so supportive of our shop…we love visiting with everyone that stops by,” says Lisa. Michele agreed, stating, “We looked several places but loved how downtown feels…. great music, great restaurants, great shops, and a strong local community…..all interested in keeping Frederick low key but vibrant at the same time.” Michele also added, “And we have LOTS of dog visitors… which is so entertaining!” 

It’s not surprising that visitors of the four-legged variety are one of Michele’s favorite aspects of the job; both she and Lisa are strong dog rescue supporters. Lisa has three rescue dogs while Michele has two, with the addition of Stella occurring in just the past month. In addition to their devotion to their business and their dogs, Michelle and Lisa love spending time gardening and gathering with their family. Luckily, they have the opportunity to enjoy them all!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Frederick Faces: Whitney Bingham

Whitney Bingham dabbled in many different aspects of art and business before opening The Muse (19 N. Market Street) in 2003. Growing up, the natural artist spent time sewing and doing other crafts, and she eventually attended an art-focused high school to develop her skills. Whitney then received a degree in psychology with a minor in art from the University of Pittsburgh, leading to her post-graduation career in retail management and merchandising. Throughout her journey through the education system and working for various big-box retailers, Whitney continued creating her own pieces and furthered her love for art, giving her the inspiration and confidence to open her store in Downtown Frederick.

The Muse sells handmade American gifts to the unique Frederick crowd. Most of the pieces they carry are both functional and artistic so that “people can enjoy art in their daily lives and routines.” Whitney shared some of the creative pieces her artists have come up with, such as candle holders made of tractor metal and wallets made of vintage books, explaining, “Creative minds never run out of ideas.” 

Though Whitney loves being surrounded by art on a daily basis, the relationships she has developed with the artists through her business are what truly inspire her. ”I feel so happy and excited when I work with a new artist and their work takes off.  I have watched many of them grow and expand their businesses and it makes me feel really good,” she said. 

When Whitney isn’t scouting new artists or managing her store, you can find her creating her own art. “I have tried many different mediums and enjoy them all but stitching and sewing is where my heart is,” she divulges. Whitney’s talent and dedication are apparent, as she has been juried in two national quilt shows and the Delaplaine’s annual regional juried exhibit. Outside of her work and art, Whitney loves reading and spending time with her fiancĂ©, Nick. 

When asked for something the average person may not know about her, Whitney revealed, “I am a ketchup and mustard connoisseur! Don't even think of serving me eggs unless you have a full bottle of ketchup on the table.”