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Business owners new to downtown Hagerstown like it

January 02, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • Tututoes owner Brandi Mooers thought Hagerstown Arts and Entertainment District seemed a good fit when it came time to relocate her store, which specializes in selling apparel, including tights, dancewear, shoes and accessories for ballet, tap, modern and hiphop dancing.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

Editor's note: As the City of Hagerstown marks the end of the first year of its Hagerstown Advance initiative, here's a look at some new  businesses that opened recently in downtown Hagerstown.

 

Tututoes & Company Dancewear and Supplies

Tututoes owner Brandi Mooers was looking for more room when she moved her business to North Potomac Street in Hagerstown.

Mooers previously operated her retail dancewear store out of a shopping center across from Hagerstown Community College, she said.

"We're the only store like this in the area," she said.

When it needed room to grow, Hagerstown's Arts and Entertainment District seemed a good fit for the store, which specializes in selling apparel, including tights, dancewear, shoes and accessories, for ballet, jazz, tap, modern and hip-hop dancing, she said.  

Tututoes moved to its location at 107 N. Potomac Street in August, she said.

Mooers said she invested in significant renovations to the building, which at one time was a fire station.

Now, racks of brightly colored dance outfits and walls of shoes serve almost as decor for the shop.

Mooers did not take advantage of any of the city's incentives to entice economic growth downtown. She said business has been good for her since the move.

"I like it down here," she said.

However, she said she would like to see more retail come downtown to help boost existing retail venues.



Tina's Vintage and Variety

Tina Bowers of Frederick, Md., is no stranger to business ownership.

And as the owner of Tina's Vintage and Variety on West Franklin Street, she said she feels her niche in the retail market is booming.

The shop at 26 W. Franklin St. is a consignment and variety shop that sells quality used merchandise, she said. It opened Dec. 1.

"We have a little bit of everything -- antiques, vintage and consignment," she said.

Bowers said she was born and raised in Washington County, and was aware of the struggles and the potential for businesses in downtown Hagerstown.

"I think we need stuff down here," she said. "But I think it is good to be where I am, close to the post office, close to city hall. There is a lot of foot traffic."

And being just down the street from World Treasurers Thrift Shop will not be competition so much as support for her shop, she said. People who shop at thrift stores and consignment stores tend to visit more than one looking for unique items.

"You might find something here you didn't find there," she said.

Tina's Vintage and Variety is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  



Franklin Street Grill

Whether patrons prefer to carry out or dine in, the chef at the Franklin Street Grill said the small restaurant aims to please.

John Bernarding of Baltimore opened the restaurant in October as a lunch stop specializing in wings, cheese- steak subs and sandwiches.

With few restaurants near the grill, which sits on the corner of Jonathan Street at 101 W. Franklin St., Bernarding said Hagerstown was a great location for a restaurant.

The goal was to bring new flavor, quick service and competitive prices to Hagerstown, he said.

While the first month was a bit tough, he said business has been "all right" as daily specials continue to draw in business.

For the future, he said he is considering expanding the grill's current hours to include breakfast and offering carryout platters for parties.

For downtown businesses, he said he is also considering adding a lunchtime delivery service.

For now, the grill is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and offers a variety of traditional sandwiches, subs and burgers.



Boost Mobile, authorized dealership at the Jewelry and Electronic Exchange

Wesam Kayed, owner of the Jewelry and Electronics Exchange on West Franklin Street, now offers contract-free cellular service from Boost Mobile.

With the economy still struggling, Kayed said he saw a need for a contract-free cellular store downtown.

After just seven months of buying, selling and trading electronics and jewelry, he opened the cell phone store in the fall.

"It's been pretty decent," he said of business. "There are a lot of people who need a phone, but because the economy is so bad, they can't afford traditional plans."

In addition to buying phones, the store gives customers the ability to pay their bills and get minutes for their phones.  



Brickyard Grill

As a graduate of L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Md., chef and owner Chris Grossnickle wanted his Brickyard Grill on West Washington Street to be a go-to downtown lunch spot.

In terms of location, he said he could do no better than 15 W. Washington St., less than a block from Public Square.

Grossnickles' house-roasted meats for sandwiches and wraps, full salad bar and homemade chips already have made their mark in Hagerstown, he said.

"I'd say the oven-roasted turkey on a pretzel roll is the most popular," he said.

The restaurant is set up for speed to get customers in and out at lunchtime, he said.

The business, which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, is doing well, he said.

The menu includes dishes like the Santa Fe Roasted Vegetable Wrap, and he said he has many more ideas he hopes to introduce over time.

"I had to rein in the menu to what I could handle for opening," he said.

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