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Business climate in flux

By Staff | Jun 4, 2010

Maggie’s Organic Grocery W.Va. 45 bypass intersection

Debra Tipton’s left hand is itching. Explaining that the left hand receives money, she hopes her itchy hand a sign that good fortune will soon return to her business.

Tipton, 54, is the owner of Maggie’s Organic Grocery, west of Shepherdstown near the intersection of W.Va. 45 and Old Martinsburg Pike. She has owned the store for five years now, but says that recently, business has been down-right dreadful.

“I’m crying myself to sleep over losing this store,” says Tipton, who reports that, as recently as October of 2009, she had to rely on the generosity of friends and family to pay rent.

A number of factors, says Tipton, have brought the store to this point. There’s the ever-present Great Recession, which is forcing some grocery shoppers to seek lower prices at corporate grocery stores like Food Lion and Martin’s. She says those same stores are now also carrying a wider selection of organic foods. “I can’t offer the prices that they do because I don’t buy in large volume,” says Tipton.

What Tipton can offer is a wealth of knowledge of natural remedies and alternative medicine, knowledge which she is more than happy to explain in great detail. To talk with Tipton is to take in a stream of homeopathic and spiritual advice mixed with critiques of modern medicine and industrial farming. Tipton is also a master-level Reiki practitioner. Reiki is a controversial alternative form of energy based healing conceived in Japan during the early decades of the 20th century. A study published in the April 2008 edition of the International Journal of Clinical Practice, entitled “Effects of reiki in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials” found that evidence of Reiki’s effectiveness as a medical treatment was wanting, concluding that “the value of reiki remains unproven.”

For Tipton, the value of Reiki is $75 per session, though she also tells of how a grateful Reiki client of hers gave her the money to make the downpayment on her store in 2005. Reiki is actually the one area of Tipton’s business that is growing, she says. She says her practice with Reiki has given her psychic abilities which help her in her healing arts, and reports that she is adept at reading human energy fields.

New coffee

roastery to open

Tony Williams ran in last year’s Freedom’s Run marathon. It was the first time he had ever visited Shepherdstown. He liked it so much that this year, Williams is relocating his entire business, a coffee roastery called Hypnocoffee, from Davis, W.Va, to Shepherdstown. Sort of.

This will actually be the third location of William’s nascent Hypnocoffe empire. Davis will still have its coffee shop, in addition to another location in Vienna, Va., but the preparation of the beans will be done in Shepherdstown. Williams doesn’t plan on selling brewed coffee at his location, but it will be available at Mellow Moods on W. German Street as well as other regional retailers. The HypnoCoffe Roastery will be located at 104 S. King Street, behind the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop.

Williams hopes to open doors by the end of June, but admits the prospect of moving a family and a business may cause some delays.

He was a sponsor of last years Freedom’s Run marathon, and was impressed by the openness of the business community, saying that he was practically recruited to relocate his business to Shepherdstown. “People went out of their way to help us,” said Williams “It made the distance between Davis and Shepherdstown feel very small as we were preparing to launch our Shepherdstown location. If that’s not an adjunct recruitment, I don’t know what is.”