Created on Saturday, 28 September 2013 Written by REUBEN MEES
Two brand new businesses are locating in downtown storefronts and one is closing while several other businesses have moved or are planning moves in the near future.
ABOVE: Tony and Jo Butler and their son, Eli, are opening the new Master’s Touch Electronic Repair at 122 N. Main St. to fix customers’ problems with cell telephones, video game systems, tablets and other electronic devices. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Joni Dailey sits inside her new business the Silver Elephant located inside the 130 S. Main St. Main Street Marketplace on a table she repurposed from a grocery store produce stand. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)
When the dust settles, the shuffle will leave three storefronts vacant along west Columbus Avenue, but two vacant storefronts along Main Street will now be occupied with additional businesses filling space in the Main Street Marketplace at 130 S. Main St.
The two new businesses are The Silver Elephant, a small interior design consulting service and retail repurposed home decor store inside the Marketplace, and Master’s Touch Electronic Repair, a business specializing in cellular telephone, video game systems and handheld device repair at 122 N. Main St.
Owner Joni Dailey was doing some interior design work from the Artistic Treasures building before making the leap into her own business.
“I really enjoy doing this type of work and have wanted to do it for years. My husband and I were finally able to do it,” Mrs. Dailey said, noting that The Silver Elephant will sell unusual items she finds at sales and then transforms into practical household items.
One of her favorites is a produce display cart once used in a grocery store that she has modified into a coffee table with a sliding tray beneath it. She will also sell watercolor paintings by her mother-in-law and Ohio Watercolor Society member Kit Dailey.
Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, unless she is out treasure hunting in which case she will post a sign. Or call ahead at 935-5040.
Master’s Touch is a family-owned business being started by Tony and Jo Butler and their son, Eli.
• Main Street Marketplace café, two test runs, 130 S. Main St.
• Master’s Touch Electronic Repair, new business, 122 N. Main St.
• Silver Elephant, new business, 130 S. Main St.
• Unseen Elegance, new location, 124 S. Main St.
• All About Stitches, new location, 124 S. Main St.
• Court House Square, new location, 1720 S. Main St.
• Housing Services Alliances, new location, 130 S. Main St., basement
• Wilkins Accounting Solutions, new location, 130 S. Main St.
• Stephen’s Fine Jewelry, planned move to 140 W. Columbus Ave.
• Canterbury Coffee, business closing, 135 W. Columbus Ave.
• 2G’s Bar-B-Q, new Monday lunch hours, menu items, 116 N. Main St.
• Main Street Marketplace café, two test runs, 130 S. Main St.
Although Mr. Butler has been working on computers for about 15 years, the trio recently traveled to Arizona to learn the more detailed skills involved with repairing modern devices such as smart phones and tablets.
They even have some knowledge of fixing phones that have been dropped into water if the owner acts quickly to get the battery out and dry out the phone, Mrs. Butler said.
And there are specialized devices to perform circuit board repairs or refinish scratched or damaged data discs.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Friday, Canterbury Coffee, which is located at 135 W. Columbus Ave., will close after 21 years of operation, owner Luana Slemmons said.
“Bellefontaine just doesn’t support me,” Ms. Slemmons said, noting that only a handful of local businesses still buy coffee from her regularly. “I just can’t stay here anymore.”
There will be a public auction of the real estate and contents of the business beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.
Meanwhile, a number of businesses are moving around or to and from downtown Bellefontaine.
Inside the Marketplace, Rebecca Wilkins is setting up an office for her previously home-based Wilkins Accounting Solutions.
She said she was inspired to make the move to a business office as both her clientele and family have grown.
“Business is picking up and getting to be too much to keep doing it at home, especially with a 15-month-old baby,” Mrs. Wilkins said.
And downstairs in the Marketplace, Housing Services Alliances, which was formerly based out of Washington Court House, is in the process of setting up an office that will employ executive director Robert Bender and two others.
The business develops and manages housing for low- to moderate-income families and seniors and was responsible for bringing Notestine Manor and three single-family houses to Bellefontaine, Mr. Bender said.
They plan to offer a variety of services to families looking for an opportunity to get into affordable housing, including low-interest loans and programs that allow them to use sweat equity to contribute to the down payment on a home, housing director Patty Griffiths said.
Back on the streets of downtown, Unseen Elegance owner Laura Hassan has moved into the 124 S. Main St. building that formerly housed Peak Performance Entrepreneurial Center, and she will also serve as a drop-off and pick-up point for Brenda Snyder’s All About Stitches, custom embroidery business, that was formerly located in the Marketplace.
Mrs. Hassan said the new location gives her more space to display formal wear along with the lingerie she started her business with while also creating an environment more appealing to her male clientele.
“This larger space gives us the ability to showcase our dresses and now we will be able to bring in more. Hopefully, we’ll be ready for prom season,” she said. “And we want to try to make it more inviting for all.”
And now that Unseen Elegance is out of the 140 W. Columbus Ave. building, Stephen’s Fine Jewelry is planning to move in, owner John Entelisano said. The move, which is planned for mid-October, is driven by a plan by the owners to sell the 111 W. Columbus Ave. space.
“I can’t take the chance that someone will buy the building and come in December and say I have to be out in two weeks,” Mr. Entelisano said.
Moving the display cases and vault will be expensive, but the added space in the back for private rooms and offices, along with the security of not being forced to move during the holiday season make it worth it, the jeweler said.
Also along west Columbus Avenue, Jane Faber is moving her Court House Square store out of downtown and into the 1720 S. Main St. storefront in the Fontaine Plaza.
Mrs. Faber expects the plaza store will have more traffic and better visibility along with allowing her to expand her selection of lace, curtains and home decor items.
On the restaurant side of downtown, 2G’s Bar-B-Q has begun serving Monday lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and has several new items including frog legs, catfish wraps and sweet potato soufflé.
And in the Marketplace, owner Jason Duff is trying out two prospective clients to fill the deli space. Thursday, Allen and Sheila Campbell operated the deli for 100 clients who bought tickets in advance. A second prospective business is planned in the future, Mr. Duff said.