Sunday, February 24, 2013

Retail Roundup: Former teacher to open bookshop

Retail Roundup columns

The Storefront blog

A former English teacher-turned-salesman is marrying his two professions by opening a used bookstore in Roanoke's Wasena neighborhood.

Steve Padgett plans to open The Main Street Bookworm within a month, he said.

The small shop sits on Main Street near the Brandon Avenue intersection in a space that is familiar to Padgett.

His mother operated a dog grooming business in the building for 30 years. (The business was sold to Padgett's aunt, and later his sister, who moved it just down the street where it continues to operate.) The building has been vacant since the grooming business moved.

Padgett and his wife, Penni, are voracious readers, and Padgett said he is frequently called upon by friends to recommend books. Those friends encouraged him to pursue the bookstore.

"I had always wanted to have a bookstore," he said. "I just finally decided that I'd do it."

Padgett initially will stock the store mostly with books from his own bookshelves.

"I've bought thousands and thousands of dollars' worth of books over the last few years," he said.

In addition to fiction and nonfiction, he plans to carry a large selection of children's books.

Owning a business is new to Padgett, but his work as a teacher and currently as a sales manager for McNeil Roofing and Sheet Metal has prepared him for owning the bookstore, he said.

Padgett hopes to have the store open soon. He's already put down new flooring, coated the walls and ceiling with fresh paint and ordered the bookshelves, which are in storage.

Candy has local flavor(s)

A Roanoke County chocolatier is turning her passion for candies into partnerships with other local businesses.

Bayla Sussman, the cheery baker behind Baylee's Best Chocolates on Electric Road in southwest Roanoke County, is working with olive oil and vinegar shop Oliveto, microbrewery Roanoke Railhouse and coffee house Froth to create and sell new products.

Sussman started experimenting last year with the idea of incorporating other local ingredients into her chocolates. She used Roanoke Railhouse's Loose Caboose (which is no longer in production) to make beer truffles. Some more tinkering led to a better truffle using the brewery's signature beer, Track One. Sussman will have the truffles on hand for St. Patrick's Day, she said.

She also makes beer and pretzel caramels, using the beer in the caramel to give it a buttery flavor. Those were a hit during the Super Bowl, Sussman said.

They are available at the store now.

Sussman also reached out to Froth, a coffee shop that opened in 2011 at The Forum shopping center on Starkey Road. She created a mocha latte buttercream candy for the coffee shop to sell. For Christmas, she also created a mochaccino candy with dark chocolate, honey, spices and espresso, as well as another variety with milk chocolate and coffee essence.

For Valentine's Day she made fleur de del, raspberry caramel, mocha latte buttercream and amaretto truffle.

In addition, she dips Froth's coffee beans in chocolate to use on her sambuca-flavored chocolates.

You might recall that last summer I wrote about Sussman teaming up with Oliveto to use the store's imported infused olive oils and vinegars in her chocolates.

That partnership is still alive. Sussman is creating blood orange meltaways, blueberry balsamic truffles, Mediterranean medley bark, and very berry basil bark.

The chocolates are sold both in Sussman's shop and at Oliveto, both located at The Shoppes at West Village

Baylee's chocolates are also available at S&W Market and Montano's restaurant.

Sussman doesn't plan to stop there. She said she is in talks with Salem's newly opened Parkway Brewing Co. to create a new product. Sussman is also looking into making chocolates using wines from local vineyards.

Cabinet store relocates

A cabinetry store that started in a Vinton warehouse more than two years ago has moved to Salem where it now has a showroom.

Roanoke River Cabinetry reopened in the new location on Brookland Drive, just off Apperson Drive, about a month ago.

Owner Blake Moore said he was running out of space in the warehouse and wanted a new setting for his business that would allow him to better display the cabinets.

The new store has an 1,800-square-foot showroom with 25 cabinet displays, Moore said.

He said he buys the solid wood cabinets wholesale so he can offer affordable prices. His business also sells countertops and provides installation.

Moore founded Roanoke River Cabinetry in August 2011.

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