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German Street sparks business

By Staff | Apr 16, 2010

Erica and Brian George arrange a row of hair color products earlier this week in their newly opened hair salon, Color Me Sassy, on East German Street. Photo by Michael Theis/Chronicle

As the nation wonders aloud if the worst of the Great Recession is behind us, the eventual success or demise of two new businesses on German Street could serve as a barometer for how the local economy is doing. Within the last month, two businesses have opened their doors on Shepherdstown’s main drag, a hair salon called Color Me Sassy and a high-end retail business called Tomandy Design.

Erica George, the entrepreneur behind Color Me Sassy hair salon at 134 E. German St., says her childhood dream was to own a shop in a thriving small town where people appreciate the mom and pop stores. So, after moving around the country with her husband Brian as he pursued a career in the armed services, she found herself living in Shepherdstown and decided to see how her dream fared in reality. The result is Color Me Sassy, a new hair salon which opened earlier this week on E. German Street.

Brian, now a recruiter, speaks of retirement in five years. Looking ahead, the two appear excited to be setting down roots in their home state, albeit a bit further east than their childhood home of Elkins.

After moving hear a year ago, Erica, who has 10 years experience as a hair stylist, decided to open her own salon. She was wary of loans, and reports that the initial funding for the salon was obtained by downsizing their home and selling their second vehicle.

Erica says that she plans on hiring additional stylists once business gets going. When asked where she sees the business in 20 years, she laughs and quickly responds “right here.” With the opening of George’s salon, Shepherdstown now has four hair salons operating in its immediate vicinity. In addition to Color Me Sassy, there is also Off Mane Street, located at 109 S. Princess St., Hair Design, located at 47 Maddex Drive, and Hair Graphics, located at 8585 Shepherdstown Pike.

Tomandy Design, adjacent to Azad’s Oriental Rug Emporium near the intersection of German and Princess streets, has also recently opened its doors and will soon be hanging their storefront sign. Representatives from Tomandy Design were unable to respond to inquiries from the Chronicle before press time, but the store’s Web site at www.tomandy.com prominently displays picture galleries of sliver jewelery and ceramic pottery.

The opening of Color Me Sassy fills a vacancy recently left behind by the closure of local retail business Wild About Nature, which catered to wildlife enthusiasts of all ages with a range of products from bird feeders to stuffed animals.

The opening of Tomandy Design fills the remainder of a vacancy left in the wake of the departure of the J. Cooper Gallery in 2008. Most of the former site of the J. Cooper Gallery is now occupied by Azad’s Oriental Rug Emporium.

Meanwhile, another vacancy has opened up at 112 E. German St., former site of the short lived hot dog and ice cream shop Alli Kat’s Moondogs. A message posted on the Facebook page of Alli Kat’s addressed the closure, saying “unfortunately, we are not reopening. Thanks to those of you who stopped in, and to the rest of you, sorry we missed you.” Prior to Alli Kat’s, another seasonal ice cream shop had occupied the space for two years.

Another vacant storefront remains across the street at 111 E. German St., former site of the recently relocated Grapes and Grains Gourmet wine and beer store.

Mellow Moods, at 111 W. German St., is making use of extra space by allowing local organizations to rent space above their shop. It has already hosted a Shepherd University senior art show. Another group, the Community Acupuncture Clinic, will offer walk-in acupuncture therapy in the space on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Municipal Shepherdstown’s other commercial hub, the south end of Princess Street, also has a small number of commercial vacancies in the Apex commercial building near the intersection of Princess and Washington streets. That building has two vacant storefronts in suites 4 and 12.