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Business owners investing in King St. neighborhood

July 15, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Puppeteer Joe Santoro was not dissuaded by the criminal element that has haunted the 400 and 500 blocks of West King Street in Martinsburg, where he purchased a historic home for his puppet theater and birthday house in February.

After all, he and other investors in the neighborhood have appeared to demonstrate that location matters and traffic doesn't hurt, either.

"It's right on main street, it's the perfect location," Santoro said of his property at 412 W. King St.

Nearly 10,000 vehicles per day pass the property, according to traffic counts provided last week by Division of Highways area engineer William "Bill" Shanklin.

Aside from Santoro, recent small business investments made in the 400, 500 and 600 blocks of West King Street and immediate adjoining area of Winchester Avenue are:

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· Redbrick Gallery LLC, 404 W. King St. - Owners Doreane and Dan Mosser anticipate a grand opening for her contemporary modern art gallery in September after more than three years of renovations.

·Dennis L. Dodson Designs, 202 Winchester Ave. - Dodson relocated his floral design business to a building just off the intersection of Winchester Avenue and West King Street in February and already has seen more customers.

· Little Lives Preschool LLC, 514 W. King St. - Owners Jim and Lisa Clipp plan to open the school in August for half-day classes for 3-, 4- and 5-year-old children.

· Former Booth's Cycle shop, 521 W. King St. - Owner Stetson Snowden has plans for two offices and an upstairs apartment after demolishing additions made to the historic building.

· Interwoven mill complex, 600 block West King Street/ Winchester Avenue - Ridgecrest Investments Inc. began renovating the complex for commercial development earlier this year.

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