TOP STORY OF THE DAY - The Emporium - A host for local small businesses
The Emporium will have the official grand opening of multiple businesses on February 17.
Chris Godfrey, owner of The Emporium, admits it's been many sleepless nights since he bought the historic downtown building last November, but things are going well.
"We're trialing some hours right now," said Godfrey. "All of their business hours are going to overlap a little bit, so that will actually have some extended hours for the building. People can get used to pulling on the handle, and it actually opens up."
There is currently one suite available inside The Emporium. Godfrey admits he has been selective.
"It just depends on what that business is and if it fits what we're trying to do here," explained Godfrey.
The Emporium has undergone enormous renovations in the few months since Godfrey took ownership; the exterior has recently received a new awning branded with "The Emporium."
Located inside The Emporium
La Pomme Handcrafted creates luxury body, bath, and fragrance products.
Sarah Pomeroy explains she was a stay-at-home for ten years until she started her business a year ago. Pomeroy explains after Hometown Christmas, where she almost sold out in a day, she knew she had something special.
"I just thought it was going to be a creative outlet for me, and it spiraled into a full-on business," said Pomeroy.
Pomeroy explains she researches meticulously and takes customers' safety into high regard.
"I'm very strict about the ingredients I'm using and making sure they're safe products and that they actually work well with each other," said Pomeroy.
Pomeroy says her next project will be candles and wax melts. In addition to bath and body products, La Pomme Handcrafted will offer various other products.
"Less decor, more art. Think of a small gallery space in addition to the products that I make. Just to kind of compliment what I do," explained Pomeroy.
The Mystery Lounge brings something new to Brazil: an escape room and social lounge.
Co-owner Paul Baty is a family man and avid puzzle lover. He says he never really thought about owning his own business until the idea for the Mystery Lounge and escape room came to him on a long car ride.
"It's a family thing. Me, my dad, my brother will probably help out, my wife and three kids," said Baty.
In addition to the escape room, The Mystery Lounge offers relaxing spots to hang out, tables for board games and puzzles, and a table for arts and crafts.
"I didn't think an escape room would go by itself, so we figured out something else to fill in the gaps. We'll rent it out for parties. We're not going to charge for people to come and play games, but we'll have snacks and drinks they can buy," explained Baty.
One Love Photography specializes in boudoir photography and offers sessions for weddings, holidays, and family.
Krystle Shafer, a stay-at-home mom of seven, says she found herself bored after sending her youngest to school. Then, she began building on her photography and searching for a storefront. After seeing it, Shafer says she fell in love with her potential studio at The Emporium.
"I've been doing business for 12 years. I do weddings, family, seniors. I dabble in a little bit of everything, but with this studio, I want to specialize in boudoir," explained Shafer.
Shafer says she wants to offer an experience that will make women feel beautiful and loved and gain confidence.
"Things that society and social media have beaten down, and I want to uplift and build them up. I want to let them see themselves in a different light, through a different lens," said Shafer.
Shafer created a back-to-school drive, Bags for Beauties, in which Shafer collects feminine products, puts them in makeup bags for students, and delivers them to local schools.
"I do that around the start of school in August, but I take donations year-round," said Shafer.
This will be Shafer's fifth year taking donations, and she plans to expand to more schools. Visit Shafer's Facebook page to donate items via Amazon.
Gaea's Refillery is a mobile refillery that allows customers to bring a clean container or buy one to refill with healthier alternative bath and body products or house cleaning supplies.
Owner Renny Young hopes to promote eco-friendly practices. While not a permanent store at The Emporium, Gaea's Refillery often does 'pop-up' markets.
"What got me inspired about my business is reducing the amount of plastic waste and promoting healthier lifestyle choices," explained Young. "That starts with your skin."
In her early twenties, Young was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and believed it was from the products she had been using. She says the spiral of learning what chemicals were in products led her to her master's in biochemistry.
"Almost every single thing that's in the grocery store that you can put on your body or for your clothing has anywhere from two to three cancer-causing agents," said Young. "It's okay because the FDA says it's safe; I don't think that's true."
Learn more about these businesses on The Emporium website or their personal Facebook sites.
Don't miss Friday's edition, featuring the remaining businesses: Almost Anything Imprinting, Game On Productions, TB Health & Wellness, Nana's Kitchen, 812 Records, American Aikido Institute, and Nailed It.