Get it Downtown - Frederick

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Frederick Faces: Doug Zaruba

Doug Zaruba, owner of Vortex in downtown Frederick, fell in love with the arts during his college years in Buffalo.

While pursuing a major in Physics, Zaruba attended a wide variety of art classes. His interest in painting and jewelry allowed him to participate in many craft shows around the country, winning him an honorable mention for a piece of jewelry in the NY International Jewelry Competition. After completing an apprenticeship with a jeweler for 5 years he became a Master Goldsmith. Doug opened his first store, Zaruba & Zaruba in 1989. He was looking to settle in a rural environment and chose Frederick for its close proximity to two metropolitan cities. Doug worked with his son until 2005 when he sold him the business and moved to Panama for 5 years. There he enjoyed doing sculpture work. He returned to Frederick in 2010, took over the jewelry store and renamed it Vortex.

“Working at the bench” is the most inspiring aspect of Doug’s business. He enjoys the challenge of creating a handmade piece of art that will last a lifetime. Doug believes that the art scene in Frederick is growing. He and the other gallery owners in downtown Frederick are working together to start their own gallery walk, which is set to start in January 2015.

His dream is to one day create sculptures for public outdoor settings.

Frederick Faces

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Frederick Faces: Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson, owner of Ec’clectibles, has always loved merchandising.  He has been in the business “forever.” 

Originally from the Ellicott City area, Paul spent 10 years working for the National Retailer Association in Rochester, NY where he was the merchandising manager, in charge of the designing displays for stores.  He moved on to work for the Goodwill stores in the same city. During that time, a good friend suggested that he should look at Frederick as a possibility to open his own business. The rest is history. 

Ec’clectibles opened its doors in 2004.  Paul enjoys all aspects of the business but what excites him most is the merchandising part. He loves making the product appetizing and gets tremendous satisfaction when customers react positively to his displays. 
Paul loves the vitality of [Downtown Frederick], the wide variety and quality of shops as well as the camaraderie that has developed.

Frederick Faces

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Frederick Faces: Luke and Bob Kannor

Luke Kannor and his father Bob complement each other perfectly as owners of Viniferous (227 N. Market Street), which sells an eclectic selection of wines and craft beers. Luke had always wanted to be involved in running his own business, and Bob had developed a passion for wine while working abroad and attending wine tastings all over Europe. Bob opened the shop over 4 years ago in Downtown Frederick, and Luke decided to join him 2 years later after attending college in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At Viniferous, Luke and Bob pride themselves in having the best wines and craft beers from all over the world, as well being well-informed about the products they have in stock. ”We go on trips and tours to educate ourselves and it reflects in our shop,” says Luke, “It's great to know where the wines come from and to have an interesting story to share with customers about why we chose a specific bottle.” Once the owners have personally tasted each wine and beer they offer, they pass on their knowledge to their staff so they can recommend new favorites to try and suggest wine and food pairings.

Though discovering new brands and developing new pairings is an enjoyable aspect of work for Luke and Bob, their absolute favorite part of their job is working with the customers. “The conversations and stories in our shop are like a reality TV show,” Luke exclaims. Luke and Bob are Frederick locals themselves, living only 3 blocks away from Viniferous. 

“Travel and family are top priorities,” Luke said, and luckily he and Bob have the opportunity to share the family business and travel all over the world for wine tastings. Outside of work, Bob spends time fixing up the 1939 International ‘Viniferous’ Truck, which is used as a delivery truck for the business, and Luke plays drums for a local band, Signs Point East. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Frederick Faces: Jason Jennings, Beth Mason, and David Morders

 Jason, Beth, and Dave

Jason Jennings, Beth Mason, and David Morders began their journey together in 2000 at a large Wire House in Frederick. From there, the trio decided to “bring wall street to main street,” and opened Key Financial Group, LLC, in 2009. Though the group had always wanted to open their own independent financial company, they waited until they had the necessary experience and for the most advantageous time. Once Jason, Beth, and David had gained experience in the field, the timing was triggered by the financial meltdown of 2008-2009. 

The most rewarding part of Jason and his partners’ job is “helping individuals reach their goals and needs from a financial standpoint.” Key Financial Group, LLC, operates as a full service independent financial planning company with a goal of providing “unbiased, independent advice and guidance,” to individuals in the Frederick area.  Aside from helping people, Beth, Jason, and David enjoy the ever-changing business caused by the ever-changing financial markets in our economy. “Our jobs are never the same on a day-to-day basis,” says Jason.

David, Beth, and Jason chose to open their business in Downtown Frederick because of its unique atmosphere and structure unlike that found in corporate Wall Street. Along with helping the citizens individually, the group enjoys “being involved in Downtown Frederick and helping/watching the downtown area prosper and grow.” 

As Frederick natives, Jason and David knew that the downtown area was one they would enjoy living and working in, and Beth has grown to love the city as well. All 3 of the business owners have young families and plan on being in the Frederick area for a long time.

“Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.”

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.