Pat Moody 2018-02-08 02:41:18
To my knowledge they’ve never dressed together as the Three Musketeers, but for 22 years they’ve lived by the same credo of “One for all and all for one,” and insisted since day one that since they came into business as a team, they would eventually depart the business as a team. As a result, Linda, Vicki and Sheila from Perennial Accents are now officially in the early stages of finding their successors at the highly successful business they operate in downtown St. Joseph. If you have such an interest, you will do well to contact them soon. Linda Frazee and her daughters Vicki Campbell and Sheila Banasik have been a team since going into business together in 1995, and their Perennial Accents shop at 220 State Street in St. Joseph’s central business district has become a red hot destination attraction for unique kitchen utensils and products, culinary demonstrations and classes, and home and garden decor that can rarely be found elsewhere in the region. Sheila contacted me on a recent weekend and said, “We moved to St. Joseph as a team with the understanding we would leave at the appropriate time in the same manner we started — together.” If you are a fan and regular customer, don’t panic. They are NOT closing up the shop. Their main goal is locate the right buyer to continue the very successful venture they have built together as a family. Perennial Accents actually has deep roots in the Sister Lakes region where Linda and Vicki began in the basement of Linda’s home. There, they would make floral decor and sell at craft shows and the like. As the business grew, they moved out back to the family barn and converted part of that into a shop where they also sold perennial plants and showcased them in beautiful gardens (thus, the name). Vicki says that worked pretty well for about 3 or 4 seasons, and then they came into St. Joe and were part of another business — Upper Crust Gifts & Antiques — before they got their own storefront which is where HarborTown Interiors is today. Vicki says when they first moved into their own shop, Moody on the Market wrote a story and, “We thought we’d hit the big time like being in the New York Times, and it was huge.” About three years later they learned that the space they now call home was going to become available so they contacted building owner Jack Keller, struck a deal and operated in about half of the space they now have for quite a long time, until they learned that the popcorn store around the corner was going out of business, so they were able to knock through the wall dramatically increasing the shop. Sheila calls that “The best decision we ever made because it took us from just getting along to being a solid, thriving business.” Vicki adds, “That took us from a girl’s store to a case where men like this store, too. ” That was about fifteen years ago and the business has boomed ever since. As the family was gathering over the holidays, Sheila says they were reflecting on one of their best years ever — “An awesome year,” — and adds, “With everything being in really good position, having gotten the business into a super good, healthy condition, we all three talked about it over the holidays and said, ‘You know what? Is there going to be a better time? This is really good right now and all three of us feel ready, so…” Vicki chimes in, “There’s nothing better than to go out on top. We feel like everything is in amazing shape, for somebody else to experience great success, and they can take it to another level.” Realizing that if they were to stay much longer, they too would want to invest in pursuing the next level, or they can pave the way for the next person to take it there. All three insist, “We want this store to stay here in St. Joe, we think we have plenty of customers that want it to be here, so we’re hoping that we can help them (the next owners) have a smooth transition so that they can be as successful as we are.” The sale of Perennial Accents would be just for the business and inventory inasmuch as the building is still owned by Jack Keller, but, they’ve already reached out to him…and say he’s worked with them in a phenomenal way, pointing out, “He knew this decision was coming, and he will work with the next owner, as well.” The family agrees, “We would like anybody that has a serious interest in the business to contact us and we’ll go from there. We’re working with a legal team to help make it all happen smoothly. Our financial records are all set for the right person that is serious about taking over.” In the meantime, shoppers will still have a lively destination attraction filled with all the things they know and love. As Vicki suggests, “We’re going to continue to do business as usual, so we’re still ordering inventory, and want to keep the store interesting and viable, but of course as we get into the year, we’re hoping by fall that we know there’s something ready to happen.” Sheila adds, “We hope it doesn’t linger past late summer because the Christmas season is a key, huge season for this business, and anybody new needs to be solidified and well-versed before getting into that season,” and then adds, “Summer is also a really good precursor to the huge holiday season.” So who tripped the trigger to sell? Sheila says she and Vicki kind of started conversation simultaneously by giving one another the look of “are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Vicki adds, “It finally felt right. Before when we’d think about it, we’d chicken out and say, we’ve worked too hard to build this place up and we’re going to continue, but for some reason it just feels right this time and we know that we are in a really good position for anybody to take a look and make a deal.” So, when a deal is made, what’s next? For Sheila, “I will take some time off, rest up a little bit, and then I’ve got some ideas in mind as far as just going back to what I did before I had kids, which is probably doing some kind of office work.” For Vicki, “I am going to do some volunteer work because that’s what I want to do, and then I’ll pursue beyond that. I like working, but I also want to not have to work for a little while, too.” One would think it could be a short time on the block. Vicki says, “We’ve had so many, over many years, people asking us to put this business in other places in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. So we know that this is seen as a viable business venture,” and Sheila pipes in, “We have many people who say you just can’t find a great kitchen store like this, which kind of shocks us, but, I’m glad they came here and shopped with us.” Both admit that some people come in and say “boy I sure wish I had a job like yours. We hear that all the time, I would love to have a business like this.” They also regularly hear pleadings to never go away. As Sheila says, “Mostly what we hear is, constantly, don’t you ever think about closing your store. You can’t go anywhere! Don’t you go, we need you here!” Pledging to work hard with the new owners to have a smooth transition, the Perennial Accents family meanwhile gets back to work, ordering for spring and summer, stocking shelves, and making memories before their own time runs out and they hand over the keys, turn out the lights, and find their next big adventure, followed by new owners who fire up the open sign once again and begin an adventure of their own in the heart of downtown St. Joseph. If you are seriously interested in acquiring Perennial Accents business in downtown St. Joseph you can reach Vicki or Sheila at 269-983-5791 or via email at email@example.com. Some might call Dr. Melanie Jones a late-bloomer, but that’s far from truthful — she’s been an accomplished Optometrist for going on 32 years now. You’d be considerably more spot on if you call her an entrepreneur, because that’s exactly what she is with her newest venture, the Dry Eye Center of Southwest Michigan which she has just opened across from Lakeshore High School in Stevensville. Dr. Jones has been a practicing Optometrist working for hundreds of families for years, but she has now set out on her lifetime dream to establish her own private practice so that she can specialize in a burgeoning field that is increasingly prevalent in society among people of all ages — the issue of dry eyes. The aging population that is surviving years beyond the statistical norm in combination with the proliferation of electronic devices seemingly everywhere we turn have exacerbated the dry eye syndrome far beyond any other time in history. As the role of electronic devices with high definition screens ratchets up in our daily lives, more and more of us are suffering from the nagging problems of gritty, itchy, burning eyes that oftentimes blur our vision until we blink. Staring, typically in an unblinking manner, at electronic screens from desk top computers to tablets, cell phones and even the dashboards in our cars, is contributing mightily to the problem. It is the goal of Dr. Jones to make the Dry Eye Center of Southwest Michigan located at 5770 Cleveland Avenue in Stevensville a center for treating and curing dry eyes for the entire community of Michigan’s Great Southwest. She has invested in and trained extensively on advanced technology in the form of the Occulus Keratograph 5M. That cutting-edge device has a high-resolution camera and is equipped with intelligent software to analyze the data she collects and document it. As a result, Melanie will be able to show patients before and after results of dry eye treatment applications. Research has shown that approximately 90-percent of dry eye disease is attributed to something called meibomian gland dysfunction — or simply MGD. That’s why the good doctor has also invested in an innovative therapeutic medical device for in-office treatments of that condition — the MiBo Thermofolo. Thanks to advancing medical technology, Dr. Jones can offer long-term relief to the vast majority of people who suffer daily with dry eye conditions. But, her new private practice is not exclusive to such treatment. She offers the full range of services you would expect from an office of optometry including eye exams, a collection of designer frames, digital quality lenses, both prescription and non-prescription designer sunglasses, contact lenses, solutions and more. Melanie arrived in the area in 1999 and ever since she graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington she has felt the real need to provide her own private practice and focused on dry eye issues after hearing so many regular clients complain about the problem while only employing artificial tear drops as “treatment.” Extensive travel in her first marriage and a growing family precluded her from taking the leap to her own private practice until now, and she has put down her roots to stay. She tells me, “Starting from scratch is pretty ambitious, but that’s why I felt I needed to focus on a true specialty field like dry eyes. That feeling was solidified when she attended an industry trade conference in Portland, Oregon and found the issue to be so widely discussed in virtually every class she attended that the lightbulb went off and she began her intensive training to become a specialist who treats the cause, not just the symptoms of the disease. In addition to issues generated by electronic devices and our longer lifespans, the increasing ability to accurately diagnose dry eye issues with the amazing diagnostic technology that she now employs in her own practice have made successful treatment considerably more effective. So, if you have grittiness, blurred vision that clears when you blink, burning, itchy eyes, and even excessive tearing — which sounds weird because if you have dry eyes why are you tearing — but, Melanie points out those tears are not good tears, because when you dry out you get reflex tearing and it makes it even worse, you might want to check out the new Dry Eye Center of SW Michigan across from Lakeshore High. You can visit for information and to browse eye wear, but for dry eye treatment, appointments are necessary and you can call for additional information or to make such an appointment at 269-408- 8221. In addition to Dr. Jones, the new office is staffed by Office Manager Derek Sarratore who is shown in the photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market.com standing alongside Dr. Jones in their new office. Join me and local business leaders as we identify forty dynamic young professionals making a difference in our community. We have introduced 40 Under 40, a prestigious new recognition program reserved exclusively for professionals under the age of 40. It started this past Thursday, and you will find a nomination form at MoodyontheMarket.com. Know a professional under the age of 40 making a positive impact in our community? Fill it out and submit. Nominations go to a committee who will select the Forty for 2018. Then on Monday, March 26th, I will unveil the 40 Under 40 during Moody in the Morning on News/Talk 94.9 WSJM and detail each honoree in a special section inside MoodyontheMarket.com. Plus, all of the 40 Under 40 will be invited to a cocktail reception where they’ll be recognized and receive a framed keepsake. Visit the website now and make your nomination for the 40 Under 40. That’s it for this week. See you Saturday right here in MailMax! Pat Moody Morning Radio Personality WSJM Radio firstname.lastname@example.org (269) 925-1111
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