Berkshire Business: Female entrepreneurs cast their fates with Adams
ADAMS — Launching small businesses can mean boosting local economies as well, according to four independent downtown entrepreneurs.
Their distinctly different business ventures share a common thread: commitment to their town.
"I love Adams and I have faith in this community," said Aimee Sinopoli, co-owner of the Cutting Edge Fitness and Martial Arts Center. "I believe the downtown will prosper with small locally owned businesses."
Sinopoli pointed to the fitness center's growth as evidence; the business outgrew its Park Street site three months after opening in April 2014, expanding services and welcoming new clients to a current 73 Summer St. space.
"I started with 10 indoor cycling bikes," she said. "We added yoga, boxing, UGI (a 30-minute cardio, core and strength training workout), and then over the winter of 2015 we added the martial arts. In April we added an hour-long boot camp session."
Sinopoli is a certified spin instructor, health coach and also is qualified to teach UGI and other fitness programs. Her husband David Sinopoli teaches martial arts.
A Lanesborough police officer and Pittsfield firefighter, David Sinopoli offers classes including FightFit, martial arts for youth and sessions dubbed "reality martial arts."
He earned numerous black belts in several disciplines including the Superfoot System throughout a 40-year span, she said.
"The thing with the reality martial arts is that is more of what you might find on the street rather than at a tournament," Aimee Sinopoli said.
Sean Jennings, three-time Golden Gloves boxing winner and Berkshire Medical Center vice president of support services, is a center instructor, Sinopoli said.
"I love my job," Sinopoli said. "I get to see people transform. I don't believe in the scale, what I believe in is the ladies who started out fighting to do one push-up and now can do 12. That's what I like to see."
Transformations are a priority for Trishia's Hair and Beauty Boutique owner Trishia Kennedy. The 86 Summer St. salon opened in October and plans to add manicure and pedicure services in June.
Showcasing stylist skills, setting an example for her children and joining efforts to revitalize the downtown factored with the decision to open a business, she said.
"My fiancée owns Limited Editions [barbershop] on the street and we thought that there should be more young blood in the downtown," she said. "We wanted to improve the look of the street. It's easier to work for someone else, but this is my future and in some ways, the future of our town. My children see me doing something, and they bring my business cards to school. They tell people I do hair and I can tell they are proud."
Kennedy is fully licensed and offers a full range of services including up-dos and "mermaid hair," a specific coloring technique that can include glow-in-the-dark neon-dyed hair. Prices vary by service and the shop uses mostly Redken products, she said.
The interior features an aqua and pink color scheme with a clever mix of retro and newer style furniture and display cases. Small chandeliers and vintage mirrors add to the unique salon appearance.
"I wanted something different," she said. "I did the shopping myself at antique shops and tag sales and that was part of the fun."
She is excited to add the manicure/pedicure services.
"I want it to be special." Kennedy said, "I plan to use essential oils in the pedicure water, and I want the whole thing to be fun and relaxing."
Relaxation and healing are big parts of Tranquil Touch Healing, owned by Amber Chalmers and Adams Therapeutic Massage, owned by Sarah Raschdorf. Chalmers opened her doors in December while Raschdorf launched her business on Jan. 1. Both are licensed massage therapists.
Tranquil Touch Healing is located at 56 Columbia St. and offers massage therapy and halotherapy. Halotherapy is a process involving breathing finely ground salt particles while sitting in an enclosed booth.
"Halotherapy uses pharmaceutical-grade salt," Chalmers said. "There are many benefits to halotherapy. I use it and I absolutely love it."
Chalmers offers services including Swedish and deep tissue massage and cold stone therapy sessions. The site hosts two private massage rooms and clients may select the music they prefer during a session.
"I like to let the client choose the music and I've had everything from Frank Sinatra to Aerosmith," she said.
Additional services include commuting to offices to deliver therapies and offering service consultations.
Raschdorf's 37 Park St. Armory Court Suite 1 venture offers a salt body polish, classic and deep tissue massage and aromatherapy and Himalayan Salt Body Polish. She was employed as a massage therapist for several years at the Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa in Lenox.
"I found massage was very effective for pain relief," Raschdorf said. "My experience inspired me to go back to school for this. I get a lot of positive feedback from people when they come out of the treatment room, I can see that [massage therapy] is working."
All four women said that they used personal money to finance their undertakings: Sinopoli said her business investment is at about $18,000 including costs from the 2014 start-up, Kennedy said she's spent about $20,000 to get up and running, and Chalmers said her costs total about $15,000. Raschdorf noted that she acquired equipment and supplies over time and spent about $5,000 to launch her endeavor.
Equally valuable are hard work and dedication, they said.
"I believe the Adams business community is going to grow," Raschdorf said. "I see nothing but good ahead."
"People have been welcoming," Kennedy said. "Owners of other hair salons stopped in and wished me luck, said they thought the place looked nice. Support is important and people in business should be supporting each other."
"It's so nice to be local and able to really talk to people," Sinopoli said. "I love when people come in the door to see what we offer, and I can spend time with them."
"I'm excited," Chalmers said. "We have new businesses and I hope this brings the town back to things going on on the street, to stores being open. I remember the way it was when I was a kid and I would love to see that success come back."
More information ...
• Cutting Edge Fitness and Martial Arts Center classes, costs and schedules may be found at www.cefmartial-arts.com, a business Facebook page or by calling 413-841-0494.
• Trishia's Hair and Beauty Boutique may be found at @trishia.hair Instagram or calling 413-441-8571 or 413-749-7230.
• Tranquil Touch Healing is available at www.tranquiltouch.net or by calling 413-449-6742.
• Adams Therapeutic Massage is available at an Adams Therapeutic massage Facebook page or by calling 413-652-4520.
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