Wellness Working & Water on Midday Makeover WENY TV


Wellness Working is my business name for an Independent Nikken Distributorship. As we say in the business, Nikken is a Research & Development company with products. They are headquartered in Irvine CA and are in almost 40 countries around the world. They are based on technologies you wear and sleep on for energy and balance. In addition, there are whole-food, organically grown nutritionals, EccoCert certified skincare and products you can use to create a Wellness Home. You can view these products on a very interactive and comprehensive website. Beverly can be seen at Healthfairs in the area, Wellness Previews that are free and open to the public, or will bring products to your home for demonstrations. All these products are sold directly to the customer through a distributor and drop shipped to your home. Beverly Kennedy may be reached at (607) 738-5156, through email at bkennedy@WellnessWorking.com, and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You may also visit the website at www.WellnessWorking.com

How long have you been in business and what has been the evolution of that?

I created Wellness Working in 1995. I had a blended family of 5 and we were having our second child together. My husband was building a new business and I was at home with the kids. It was a very stressful time. A very dear friend came to me and asked me to look at a business opportunity. It took her 3 months to get me to consider just looking. I finally asked her what this was about and she said MAGNETS. Then she said this was network marketing. I had experience with this business model in the past and vowed I would NEVER consider this again.  However, that was a time when the technology had not caught up with the business model. We did some strength testing and had really interesting results. I decided to give this a try.

Rather than purchase some product to try, I invested what I considered a minimal amount of money into a distributorship and some shoe insoles. The first couple weeks, I experienced burning in my feet. Once I examined a reflexology chart for the feet, I realized they were burning in the same areas where the sinuses are located. I had severe sinus infections at the time. I could not go outside for more than 20 minutes without experiencing full blown “hot lava” running down the back of my throat. It was awful. When my sinus infections went away, my feet stopped hurting. A few days later my feet began to burn again and within a couple days, the symptoms of a new sinus infection began.

About 3 weeks after first putting the insoles in my shoes, the kids had a day off from school. We had 3 pre-teens, a 2 year old and I was pregnant. I was relaxing in my slippers and thought I would lose my mind so off to the mall we went. By the time I put my shoes on and got to the van, my stress level was almost non-existent. I thought that if this is what this technology was doing for me, I was ‘all in’. I purchased a sleep system and have shared the business ever since.

What intrigues you most about this business?

I have always been fascinated with manufacturing and technology. My background is in Instructional Design – creating training programs. I have focused on business and industry. It’s like magic to me how basic elements are manipulated and combined to make things. When I became involved in this business, I began to study the technologies and how they affected the biology of our bodies. Putting them in products we could wear and sleep on was brilliant. I call it the ‘lazy man’s wellness’. You just wear them. It couldn’t get any simpler. Over the years, the company has introduced many more product categories. They have a commitment to being the best in the world at what they do and I truly admire that. Just when I think they can’t get any better, they do. That creates loyalty and a confidence in what I am supporting.

What are your greatest achievements?

I believe I have an optimistic attitude. I have had many challenges throughout my life. Always seeing the brighter side of each experience is a big achievement.

Persevering through adversity is also a pattern of behavior I have nurtured.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks?

Listening to the pessimists and people trying to tell me it can’t be done. Those are my biggest failures. However, when you look at it, nothing is a failure. It is all a learning experience that teaches me big lessons and what not to do in the future.

If you could have a Do Over, is there anything you would want to change?

Not really. I could say I would want to make life easier for me and better for my kids, but we all experienced life together. It has made us who we are today – warts and all.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Happier. More content with my life.


Unique Yoga on Midday Makeover WENY TV


Yoga & More offers classical yoga classes with traditional postures (beginner, mixed level), meditation classes, crystal bowl sound healing classes, workshops with Kundalini yoga and specialty neck Yoga classes . Yoga & More also offers a Yoga Teacher Training program that was started last year. It is a 200 hour program that is registered and certified through Yoga Foundations. Yoga & More may be found at 139 Walnut St. Suite 101, Corning, NY  14830. Retha Cazel may be reached at (607) 962-YOGA (9642), through email at SpiritYoga@yahoo.com, and on Facebook (Yoga & More) and LinkedIn. You may also visit the website at www.SpiritYoga.net.

How long have you been in business and what has been the evolution of that?

I have had Yoga & More for the past 17 years.  Prior to that I had been teaching yoga on a part time basis in town at other locations. I have been in Corning for the past 22 years. I would travel to Alfred and teach. I would travel to Sayre. I would travel with my yoga mats wherever people needed me to be.

How did you get involved in yoga?

I was inspired to try yoga 34 years ago. I had a miscarriage at 16 weeks. I was taking an art class to recover from the depression. Art has always been a fantastic therapy for me. I met a woman in the class who reminded me of my mom and she invited me to take her yoga class. I looked at her as if she had 10 heads and 20 toes.

I tried the class and I liked how I felt. In high school I was a cross country runner, softball and volleyball player. However, none of the sports made me feel good. I always felt lifeless after everything was done. Yoga was the first exercise where I felt rejuvenated afterwards. I had a really nice quality of sleep. The next day I would benefit from the yoga class in my mood and attitude. I kept doing it.

I took classes with my teacher for 2 years. I continued taking classes with other teachers as well. After 6 years, my teacher asked me to fill in for her as an instructor. It was her sly way of getting me to teach. I was doing the practice because I liked it with no intention of teaching. However, she saw the potential. A few years later, the Wilmington Athletic Club in North Carolina (where all this was happening) needed an instructor.  They wanted my teacher to do it, but she could not fit it into her schedule and she asked me to do it. She told me the students would be in good hands with me so I began there. I taught 3-5 yoga classes at night and during the weekends. I cut out the TV and that allowed me the time to focus on my practice and meditation.

I had always heard that yoga was meditation in action and repeated this to my students. Then after 12 years, in 1995, I took my first meditation class. The lightbulb went off and the yoga practice was enriched.

I have a degree in Applied Math & Physics and was working full time for Corning, Inc..  I was transferred to Corning, NY and continued my day job. I began teaching yoga classes in Alfred, Sayre, Wellsboro and traveled to other places.

I eventually reached a turning point in my career. I knew that God had anointed me to be a teacher. I assumed that meant a math teacher. One night in 1999 I was traveling to Alfred to teach a Yoga class. It was a bad storm with everything icing up and I lost control of the car. In those few crisis seconds of heading to a deep drop into a ravine, I asked that I just not be hurt. In that very instant, my car STOPPED, grabbed the guardrail and did not flip over. I know the laws of physics. It should have flipped over. Within a moment, a State Trooper stopped. There was no reason why anyone should have been on that road. It was a huge storm.

After that, I had a conversation with God. I asked 2 questions. 1. What am I doing right? (I wanted the good news first). Answer: You are teaching. 2. What do I need to change?  Answer: You need to teach full time.

In March of 2000 my development group at Corning Inc. was disbanded. Everyone had to go through a process of getting re-hired with another group. I had been planning a trip to India for 3 years. It was a sabbatical that had been approved by my boss in the now disbanded group. I had to apply well in advance (1997) and provide them with my teachers, (John Schumaker, Patricia Walden, Rodney Yee), my practice and a request to come. All I got was a letter saying yes, come in 2000 and bring this letter.

I was not willing to put my life on hold and could not in good conscience promise I would come back to work for anyone. One boss in another group told me we should just wait and see. In the meantime, a Math teaching job opened up at West High School for that September when I would be getting back. I thought, “Great! God wants me to teach math”. I had just received my NYS Certification in teaching. I interviewed and it went well. While I was in India, I received a letter they had hired someone else fresh out of school.

I am in India from May –September of 2000, taking yoga classes from these world-class teachers (BKS Lyengar, his daughter, Geeta and his son, Prashant). I had been taking yoga classes for 18 years and teaching yoga for 12 years. I am now asking God, “What do you want me to teach”? DUHH MOMENT. I said OK.

At the time, Corning Inc. Stock was at a record high. I cashed in 10 years of stock value. Everything was lining up to support me in a comfortable way. When I returned from India, I was in a calm place. 2 months later it occurred to me I had no job and no serious source of income. I had a foot stomping rage one afternoon in the woods of Woodhull. “What have I done”? The next morning, I received a call from CCC. They said our yoga teacher quit. Would you like to teach classes for us? First, I profoundly apologized to God and then I accepted the offer. Over the past 17 years we have added classes such as  contemplative meditation, student support classes, etc..

The Yoga studio has taken off and we completed our first teacher training program. I focus on alignment and how to begin teaching yoga. In order to teach yoga, you have to evolve thru yoga in your own body. You have to be able to teach others how to evolve thru their bodies. Not everyone is a ‘gumbie’. Some people have bodies that hurt or have dis-ease or have emotional trauma. They need a sanctuary. There are different ways to work with all the emotional conditions. Yoga gives you a mental and a physical balancing. It is an evolution of you expanding into your greater good.

Are there any misconceptions about you and your business?

I am not sure if there are any misconceptions about me. I have not heard any. I had one person say they had not come because they heard my classes are very spiritual. After she took a class, she said she really liked it.

I had misconceptions about yoga when I started 35 years ago. I thought I would have to do something weird. I didn’t want to do anything that was contrary to my Christian upbringing. All I can say to that is yoga will enrich your faith no matter what it is.

What are your greatest achievements?

My greatest achievement was sticking with yoga – something I never thought I would do. I went thru cancer treatment a few years ago. It supported me a great deal.

I have always wanted to teach teachers. The Yoga School has been a dream come true where you can begin as a teacher and learn to honor the people in your community when they show up in your class. Yoga is not an exercise or aerobics class. We focus on how to be attentive to create unity within the lives of those in the class.

Community action has been another achievement that we want to build on. Each month we offer free yoga classes to anyone in the community. I co-teach them with some of the students in the Yoga School.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks?

Myself. Stepping forward in to things that are not familiar.

 If you could have a Do Over, is there anything you would want to change?

The truth is, I needed to evolve through my own life and everything I was experiencing in a way that was supportive. So no. I am exactly where I need to be at the right time.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Doing more outreach. More training with other teachers. Being a resource and educator for other teachers.


Wild Birds Unlimited on Midday Makeover WENY TV


The mission of Wild Birds Unlimited is to bring people and nature together. They offer a variety of birdseed, bird feeders, birdbaths, nature gifts and a wealth of information on this subject of everything birds.  Wild Birds Unlimited may be found at 950 County Road 64, Elmira, NY  14903 (Panera Bread, Target, etc.), and Chris Keelty may be reached at (607) 739-8157, through email at cjkeelty@clarityconnect.com, and on Facebook and LinkedIn. You may also visit the website at www.wbu.com/BigFlats.

How long have you been in business and what are the main points of your business and what you do?

Wild Birds Unlimited has been in business with Chris Keelty for over four years at the Big Flats location.  In addition to the many products they sell, there are any number of books and pamphlets on specific birds and bird gardens. Included in that is the new book by its Founder and CEO:  Jim Carpenter.

How has your business evolved?

I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, but about 15 years ago, my son bought me a birdfeeder for Christmas and that really got me started. I am a member of the Audubon Society too, and a corporate sponsor for Tanglewood Nature Center.

I am originally from Long Island. I had a career in healthcare sales that brought me to this area.  I was a Medical technologist originally. My last job was with a smaller company that was acquired by a much larger company, and it was becoming more and more stressful and the business was changing. I began to look for something else to do. The Wild Birds Unlimited store in Corning had been there for 10 years and liquidated. The owner wanted to retire. I had been a customer of the Johnson City store and asked them about their experience with the business and the company. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this would be a good fit for me.

You have previous business experience. Has that given you any skills you use now?

In sales you have quotas to meet, expectations and customers to satisfy. Being in Medical Sales definitely prepared me for this business.

Are there any misconceptions about you and your business?

Not really. Many people walk in the door as beginners, not knowing where to begin with feeders and seed. Periodically, we have seminars in the store, and Tanglewood has helped me a lot with those.  Also, Rick Marci (a naturalist in the Vestal area) has worked with me on presentations to outside groups (Kiwanis, Garden Clubs, etc.).

What are your greatest achievements?

The continued growth of the business. This has been a challenge at times and much more than I had anticipated. People don’t need to feed the birds. It’s not generally at the top of their ‘to do’ list. We rely on a lot of word-of-mouth, advertising and marketing. The newspaper has been pretty successful for our business as well as TV.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks?

Part-time help has been an issue for sure. It has been a challenge to find people who are passionate about this hobby with the flexible time for scheduling. Retired folks with this passion have been the best candidates for part-time help.

If you could have a Do Over, is there anything you would want to change?

I don’t think so.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopeful, we will continue to grow and gain more customers. I would like to be able to have more time to watch the birds myself and take some trips.

Five Facets of Healing Midday Makeover WENY TV


Annah Elizabeth and The Five Facets of Healing was birthed in personal tragedy. It is the result of a calling by Annah Elizabeth to help people heal from grief and that grief may have many different faces – grief from the loss of a loved one, a dream, a personal injury. The Five Facets of Healing may be found at 100 N. Main St., Elmira, NY  14901. Annah Elizabeth may be reached at (607) 288-3483, through email at thefivefacets@thefivefacets.com, on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You may also visit the website at www.TheFiveFacets.com.

How long have you been in business and what do you do?

I began by speaking around the country. I did a TedX event in Nacogdoches, Texas in 2014 and a North Carolina Social Work conference in 2015. I will be one of the featured speakers at the Navigating Through Grief conference in Albany in June. The Newly Bereaved Moms Retreat in August will feature me and the work I have been doing as a workshop presenter.

How has your business evolved?

In order to establish a foundation, it was necessary to do events at no charge in the beginning. However, as it grows and as I become more experienced, I have been able to ask for a fee.  As the business evolved, I had more and more ideas and needed more time to develop them.  I also realized if I truly wanted to make this my living, I needed to offer services.

One year ago, I became an energy practitioner. This is a local service and I needed a space to do this. I opened this office (100 N. Main St. Suite 313). I have also reached out to people on a global scale through social media platforms. I am able to provide energy work locally but also through distance work through an open phone line.

To summarize : my business has 2 aspects to it – The Five Facets of Healing work (workshops, books, talks) and  the energy work I do that is Reiki and Integrated Energy Therapy. In my experience, most people need IET but Reiki has its purpose too in balancing

You have previous business experience. Has that given you any skills you use now?

I was an office manager for a local business for over 7 years. I gained a tremendous amount of skills doing that. I left that to open Apple A Day Farms with my husband. Also, I have always worked with children. Currently, I maintain a part-time position in the school district in order to provide an income and benefits for my family. In the beginning, my present job afforded me time during the day to launch this business and take care of a very active family at night. Also, experience in other businesses helps me with needed skills. I know what questions to ask to get up and running in this business (i.e. Tax questions).

You operate The Five Facets of healing under a different name. What was your reasoning for that?

I don’t want to be known as “the grief lady”.  I want to be able to do different types of literary work and the pseudonym affords me a better opportunity to do that.

Mark Twain is a model for having 2 personas. I spoke at the Clarity event 2 years ago. The first one had no one there I knew. The second event had people in the audience who knew me as a local personality. I was guided to managing this by using the Mark Twain example. People get that.

Do you have any certifications, licenses, degrees?

I used my personal experiences to begin this work with a tremendous amount of research. I also have the training from my past business management work and the skills acquired by anyone who owns a business like Apple A Day Farm. You could say I was self-taught for much of what I did to begin.

I earned my level 2 Reiki here in Elmira from Christy Forsyth and am in the process of completing my Reiki Master certification, which will be done by the end of summer. I obtained my Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced IET training here in Elmira from Joy Storch. I obtained my Master Instructor training in Philadelphia from an IET Trainer out of Florida. This past spring I had the privilege of training under the Integrated Energy Therapy founder, Steven Thayer, solidifying my mastery skills and instructor abilities even more.

I offer 2 approaches to my programming. One uses the Five Facets Philosophy on Healing model and the other incorporates alternative elements. I give the individual what they need based on where they are. Some people are open to energy work and some prefer to keep it academic based. You could call it Life Coaching and Life Coaching PLUS for those who are open to the intuitive element

What are your greatest achievements?

In bringing peace to people. One client came in a back brace for an IET session and left without it. They remained pain free for days afterward. And then there are those people who I’m able to help find peace and resolution in their grief. Those are the most profound experiences for me.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks?

My lack of credentials. There have been opportunities that I have missed out on because some institutions require formal degrees in order to have you participate in their programs and/or events. I struggle with the idea of going back to school for the formal education. My research demonstrates many top people in this field are self-taught.

I am self-employed and work another job which provides insurance and income. This takes time away from me developing my business and slows the growth. I have to navigate around this. There are times when this is very challenging. One of my mottos is “Slow and steady wins the race,” so I embrace each challenge and accept that it brings its own gifts to the table.

Do people have misconceptions about you or your business?

Just me trying to figure out what I offer. The misconception by others is that I have been dealing with grief work.  In my mind I am focusing on healing. As I develop, this will sort itself out, but it’s in my mind and not the client.

If you could have a Do Over, is there anything you would want to change?


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see programs offered on worldwide scale with me training and certifying others in The Five Facets of Healing.

Understanding Essential Oils on Midday Makeover WENY TV


Cha Roberts has been in business since 1999. She began as a massage therapist, progressed to become a colon-hydrotherapist and eventually became part of the teaching staff at the Fingerlakes School of Massage (FLSM) for 10 years. As part of her work there, she taught a 2-day aromatherapy course, Swedish massage and constitutional hydrotherapy. She left the school in 2010 to pursue teaching on her own as the owner of AromaEducators. Cha may be reached at (607) 331-6076 or by email at AromaEducators@gmail.com.  The website is www.AromaEducators.com and they may also be seen on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

What got you interested in Aromatherapy?

As a youngster I loved mixing up scented liquids with creams. Often a cream would lack fragrance and to enhance its smell, perfumes or fragrant oils would be added to create a lovely aromatic experience.  My first real use of essential oils occurred while I was a massage student at FLSM. A two day aromatherapy class was part of the massage curriculum and I was hooked.

After graduating from FLSM, I began co-teaching Swedish Massage and Constitutional Hydrotherapy. When one of the co-owners of the school, Andrea Butje, started the aromatherapy certification program I jumped at the opportunity to be in that class.  My initial training as a Certified Aromatherapist in 2001 eventually lead to co-teaching the very same aromatherapy class I had taken at FLSM.

My vision developed into creating a school to educate others about my passion; teaching students about the molecular components of essential oils and their use in Aromatherapy applications. My primary focus grew into providing information on the proper use and safety of how to use them proportionately in creating products. In 2013 I became certified to teach Andrea’s Aromatherapy Certification Program (ACP) that I had graduated from and in the 3 years since my first class in 2014 I have successfully graduated 35 students in 11 programs at my school.

 What has been the evolution of your business?

While working and traveling for many years, I considered the holistic health field as a second and chosen path. Once I became certified as an Aromatherapist (2001) with my teacher and mentor, Andrea, I continued advanced training through Aromahead Institute and Rhianna Lewis, owner of Essential Oil Resource Consultants (EORC) in Proveonce, France. Both are brilliant educators and have unique styles of teaching about essential oils and their chemical constituents that made it interesting and accessible.  Learning about Essential Oils and the possibilities of their use is deeply nourishing and my passion to teach and share this knowledge compelled me to continue studying with a wide range of Aromatherapy practitioners who are known in this industry.

The ACP is geared toward people who are interested in new and different possibilities in their life. Perhaps a career change or a desire to update their business skills is fueling this decision. Those in the healthcare industry may wish to add aromatherapy and essential oils to their practice. Many of my students are self-employed as distributors for Essential Oil (EO) companies who wish to deepen their knowledge about EO’s in order to support their own client needs and support their business savvy. A comment I hear often is “Wow, I didn’t know that” in reference to some surprising fact when research about an EO they were interested in is highlighted.

My students also learn there are 10 chemical families that we can study and that represent the entire world of essential oils. Each chemical family, in general, has their own therapeutic properties that are helpful. They learn many examples of this.

In the Fall of 2016 I completed a Certified Herbalist Program with Heartstone Herbal School in Van Etan, NY.  Adding this knowledge base to my own education helps to round out my awareness of plant medicine on a deeper level. Essential oils are from plants and they complement the herbal world so very nicely. I am appreciative of how powerful plants are and the role of both combined can be.

What has been your greatest achievement?

Learning how to teach has been a wonderful achievement. In truth, the skills I gained while at FLSM fully prepared me for teaching the aromatherapy classes independently. I enjoy teaching and I love learning. When I am teaching students and don’t know something, when they share something, I am always appreciative. I get a great deal of clarity in my own learning because I am teaching these classes.

There are times when a student is confused about a subject and I have to help them understand the concept at hand. This helps me realize I may also have some confusion around that piece as well. This kind of classroom scenario pushes me to clarify my understanding so I can explain it better now and in the future. But, the real bonus is that I actually “get” it, too.

What have been your greatest struggles, either personally or in business?

I work alone. It’s difficult because there is so much to do. Being organized and focused is a challenge. However, I do work with a phenomenal marketing specialist which is a major plus. I am beginning to seek assistance with others who do help me get better organized in other areas.

Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?

When people come to the program, they are not sure what to expect. Then they learn it is a bit more work than they realized.  Anyone can pass this program, it simply requires confidence. Patience and commitment to achieve the end result will get them there. It’s not difficult, but a wonderful challenge and quite rewarding.

Sometimes I have a person in the classroom who believes they are not receiving enough information. I have come to realize with this type of individual there may never be enough detail to suit them. This class is deeper than most people know, but it is still a basic foundation course. They may have to wait until the next advanced class to find their answers. The training from this course allows them the appropriate terminology and skills to understand the next level of education to build on.

If you could have a Do-Over, what would you do differently?

I would have taken the Teacher Certification sooner. I had an opportunity to do this in 2009 and I didn’t take it for many reasons. When the opportunity came a second time, I jumped on it.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Teaching more classes. I still see clients privately and I would like to devote myself to teaching only.

Benefits of Chocolate on Midday Makeover WENY TV


Life’s So Sweet Chocolates is a business in Ithaca, NY owned by Darlynne Overbaugh that is a maker and purveyor of hand crafted chocolates and retro candies. They have been makers of fine chocolates featuring fair trade chocolate cocoa and unique ingredients since 2008. They went completely fair-trade in 2013. What they do not make themselves, they source from other family owned businesses. Jelly Belly is an 8th generation example of this. Their single location at 116 W. Green St. in Ithaca also sells classic candies and retro candies. Darlynne may be reached at Life’s So Sweet, (607) 882-9842 or by email at lsschocolates@gmail.com.  The website is www.LifesSoSweet.com and they may also be seen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

What has been the evolution of your business?

It all started with my mom and me making candy when I was a kid for fun and for gifts. I grew up in Rochester and she would take me to the different candy stores. There was Andes Candies and Stevers (now colleagues of mine). We got to know the owners of Kaiser’s Candy across from my elementary school. We had a lot of half days and they would take me to their shop on those days.  I would have my lunch and watch TV on a 3 channel Black & White. It was there that I saw Lucy and Ethel eating the chocolate off the conveyor belt in the candy factory. I was sitting right next to the self-made conveyor belt that they made their assortment boxes from. It was formative. They were sweet and generous and let me help. Even now Mrs. Kaiser is still around and influences me by sharing her tricks of the trade. I am all self-taught. I pass that mentoring on to the people who work with me.

I graduated from Wells College as a theater major in 2001 and came to Ithaca to work for the Kitchen Theater Company for 2 seasons. I went to Cornell’s Theater, Form and Dance department. I went from there to the Hanger Theater for 2 seasons. I eventually concluded that late nights and “all nighters” were not my thing.  I took a break with some odd jobs until my husband suggested that I convert my love of making chocolate into a larger enterprise. I thought that wasn’t a bad idea. (yeah spouses!) He has been my greatest supporter through all of this. He is a general manager for a local family-owned business that has been going on for 60 plus years.  We both have this entrepreneurial feel in our lives.  We got married in the fall of 2007 and opened Life’s So Sweet in February of 2008, barely 6 months later. I quit my job and ‘went for it’.

My business began with the Trumansburg location in 2008. We lived in Trumansburg and there was a small spot that I kept for 7 years. It is my belief that every town should have a candy store. I don’t sell confections, I sell memories. When people come in to the store, they have a visceral experience. “I remember this candy”! They ask if I can find a candy from their childhood.

Closing the store in Trumansburg in 2015was very difficult. Many people thought that was an easy decision. It was not. It was never my intention to be a franchisable entity. I was never going to be the next Gertrude Hawk. My intention was to have well-crafted, quality offerings. It is difficult to divide myself between 2 places. The quality began to slip. The core of the product was being created in Trumansburg and brought to Green St.. Even though it is only 15 minutes apart, it was as if we were operating 2 separate businesses. People in each location wanted different things and it became increasingly difficult to tap into the pulse of that for each location. You can’t be everything to everyone. Life’s So Sweet focuses on creating the unusual things and sources out items that re a more common commodity. We take local ingredients and integrate them into our confections that are all made by hand. For example, our Honey Pot Truffle is made with local honey. At that time, I was training my assistants, operating 2 locations with different needs, creating the confections and being a mom and wife. It was too much.

I opened this store on Green St. in 2012. It is a great location. We want to make quality confections in a local environment and responsible, ethical and environmental way. The windows are a challenge. Sun ruins chocolate so we are constantly shifting the store to the frustration of some of our customers.

Can you tell us more about Chocolate and the process you use?

Cocoa for 200 years has been grown on small plantations outside of the country – typically third world. When it gets imported into the US, it has to go through a metal detector to extract any bullets and ‘other’ things. Cocoa has a very long history that dates back 2000 years to the Myans. Chocolate as we know it today – easily accessible, available everywhere – only became possible since the Industrial Revolution when the machinery was available.

Life’s So Sweet Chocolates does not make the chocolate ‘bean to bars’. The process is to import beans, roast them; grind them; process them. We partner with Guittard Chocolates in Califormia (another family owned business). They process the beans in a way that I, myself would do. I wanted something a little more unique to reflect the flavor of the Fingerlakes. They push the envelope in terms of responsibility. People come in the store and ask about soy free, dairy free, nut free. When we made the decision to be completely fair trade, the soy was removed and became sunflower lecithin – the emulsifier that helps coalesce everything in the chocolate.

I have NO degree in chemistry. My professional degree is in Theater and performing arts. Everything I learned in those 5 years of work in the theater was around administration, marketing, producing and I was a playwrite at one point, actor, understudy. All those experiences cultivate skills that translate into owning a business.  I get to go to candy conventions. Those are Awesome!

I also noticed that young people were not being given the tools they need to be productive in their work environment. Life Skills. It takes about a year to fully understand the rhythms of the business. Every season has something different. Christmas is one of our biggest seasons, but so is Valentine’s Day and Easter. My employees receive training to produce the product as well as interact with customers.

In order for me to take a step back and be a better mom to my daughter, I had to make a decision NOT to be producing the chocolate all by myself. When I first opened my Trumansburg store, it was all me for the first 4 months – selling, producing, cleaning – everything. It was a lot of work. As the business has grown and I have grown, I now employ a head confectioner. They had to really convince me that they were the right person for the job. The person before them was with me for 4 years.

What have been your greatest achievements?

“We are still here”! That is a culmination of a lot of different things. I am particularly fond of the fact that people continue to come back to discover what we have every season. It’s not so much about achieving as it is the journey and making sure we are ‘still on it’. As a small business not wanting to be a franchise it’s a struggle AND an achievement.


What have been your greatest struggles, either personally or in business?

We seems to have a very good presence, but getting the word out is a challenge. Being taken for granted that we will always be here is a danger. When I first started out, I had some donation requests. Now I receive 4-67/day. The need in the community is great and when you are perceived as doing well, you get that.

One of the core tenets when I started this business was to be part of the community. A bit of my problem is that I am a ‘bleeding heart’ and say yes to everything. I have had to toughen up a bit. I have come to realize that if I say ‘yes’ to this, something else has to happen along with it. We have 3 full-time staff and we work as a team. We all have our specialties, but we are knowledgeable about everything.

Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?

People want to know if we make everything we sell. The answer is “NO”. The other misconception is that other companies DO make everything that they sell. They do not. It’s not just about the chocolate. I have been asked about Gummy worms. I believe it is about the food trend across the board. “If you sell it, you make it”. I compare it to a farmer growing everything. They cannot feasibly do that. It takes a balance of the things we don’t produce alongside the things we do produce to be successful, well rounded business.

If you could have a Do-Over, what would you do differently?

More organizational structure internally. There are things that will affect my business on the Federal Level with new regulations being enforced. We have to trace our product from source to here.  Fortunately, I can depend on my supplier of the cocoa for the early parts of that. It takes a lot of paper work and infrastructure. There is potential for automation. It’s just doing it, the cost of it, and how it will impact the cost of the product. We have to be compliant by 2018.

This is not my skillset. I wish I had permitted myself to admit that earlier on. If I had, some of the missteps may not have happened.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I have ideas about new products such as our Fingerlakes Bark collection that is waiting on packaging. In 5 years I would like to be recognized as THE chocolate of the Fingerlakes.

(This interview was delayed from February 14. We had to search a bit for the WENY TV interview before posting).

Yoga for Beginners on Midday Makeover WENY TV


The link above takes you to a summary of Wellness Arts Network for 2017. The Directory is in production and Our Women’s Day out is April 22nd. A strong wellness community promotes a strong community in general. The link below will take you to the interview about Doris Farmer. I hope you are sharing these with your circle of influence.


Doris Farmer has been teaching movement for 30 years in various locations such as JET (Joint Education and Training),  Arnot Ogden Health Services, and St. Joseph’s Hospitals. After a while she decided there were things she wanted to provide for her clients that could not be provided in these locations. An evolution occurred over the years that resulted in Heart to Heart Yoga and Healing at 315 W. Water St., Elmira, NY. This is a centralized location where Doris continues her passion for teaching yoga as well as providing a space for other practitioners to offer their services.  Doris may be reached at (607) 742-9682 or by email at doris@YogaHearttoHeart.com.  You are invited to view a full array of classes on the website at www.YogaHearttoHeart.com.

What has been the evolution of your business?

In 1982 I began with Southport Body Conditioning Studio. It was back in the Jane Fonda days when we were doing a lot of aerobics and toning (very similar to what Pilates is now). It was a small space and I quickly outgrew it. This was all women. To expand, I wanted to include men. There was not much offered then in the way of a fitness center/gym space. About 1983, I purchased used equipment and offered machines and free weights along with aerobic classes.

I always realized that at the end of class it was important to get centered and relax your body. People had a difficult time doing that. I knew how good it felt to me and I wanted to help others feel the same way. I innately had that idea that YOGA was something I wanted to do.

You knew about YOGA back then?

I did. I took a few classes back in the ‘70’s. (I received my certification from Kripalu in 1996).

There were others doing it but I said. “No, this is something I am going to do”. It wasn’t all that accepted back then, either. In fact, I named it something else for a while before changing it to Yoga.

Along the way it was very important to me to learn how to create a business plan. I met Bonnie Gestwicki at the Small Business Development Center. I became part of the Women’s Roundtable group there. I gained a lot of information there. I researched how to do a business plan with projections. I found the process exhilarating to realize that I had that ability.

I added Tanning, as a business within the fitness center. I discovered that in the Fitness Industry things change rapidly. You need to be on the cutting edge as much as possible to keep your clients interested in coming back. One of the first things I did was to join an organization called Dance Masters (I believe). It is now called ACE. They wanted to offer accreditation for instructors. I was constantly taking new courses, new routines. keeping up on what was new.

I went to a convention in NYC and they introduced STEP. I did it, I loved it, I ordered the equipment. I was the third in the nation to do that and I brought it back to Elmira! People did not accept it at first. It meant change. It took a little bit as people started to see it crop up in other places. People were exposed to it. Pretty soon it was “Reservation Only”. However, like everything else, it was left behind for the next big thing. I moved on to what was Progressive Aerobics Circuit Exercise (PACE). That used machines in a circuit. It transformed into what we now call CURVES. (Same equipment).

I was a single parent at the time and making ends meet was very challenging for me. In that time frame I ran up against a new regulation that forced anyone who had a fitness center to be bonded if you have memberships. I did not have the financial resources to do that. I thought about what I really wanted to do with my life. I struggled a lot. I just was not bringing in enough money. There were a lot of expenditures – rent, employees, etc.. Eventually the business was sold to Dave Sherman who reopened it as Elmira Fitness Center.

I went back to college. It was about 1993/4 when I started at Corning Community College. I thought I wanted to study Physical Therapy. I got nervous about my math abilities (which they were not very encouraging about). I transferred to Keuka College and received my Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy. I still had to do the math but not as intense. It was a commute to Keuka College but I still taught my Yoga classes at Arnot. We transitioned from a small space at the Women’s Health Center to the old nurses’ lounge (since converted to the ER space). It was a sunken floor with windows. We enjoyed it very much there. I did 3 classes a night, 2 evenings a week. I went to St. Joseph’s facility when they tore this down in their Wellness room for quite a few years. I was displaced again and went to Grace Episcopal Church.

For about 12 years I settled in to working in Occupational Therapy pediatrics, all the while teaching yoga classes. Teaching YOGA was always my constant. I worked for Pediatric PT Services in Horseheads traveling to multiple counties working in their homes and schools (Pre-K) doing early intervention. I was often requested by families and teachers. The owner of that business knew changes were coming and closed down. I stayed on with Chemung County as an independent contractor. The first year was great. However, changes were coming. When that happened, it became very difficult. It changed from a county program to a state program. We were not paid for three months. I had to take loans out to cover my bills. Working for the state, the second year as an independent contractor, I was audited by the state. I passed with flying colors. I was prepared. I was attentive to what I was doing and keeping up on all the rules and regulations. We had a lovely group of people who networked and supported one another. We were all audited at the same time. For me, it was absolutely overwhelming. I thought, “Do I want to do this anymore”? Enough is enough. If I were 40, 50 – maybe. At this time in my life, I should be thinking about simplifying. As an independent contractor working with New York State, I had none of the benefits of an employee. So I thought about my passion and it was Yoga. This has always been my passion.

When I opened Heart To Heart Yoga and Learning Center, I was still working in Occupational therapy. That was in 2013. I decided at the time I wanted to work with adults. I enjoy working with people. I enjoy helping people. However, we as women tend to be very hard on ourselves. It is so important to create nice community with each other to the best of our ability. Granted we will have challenges along the way. Within my classes I incorporate affirmations. The more we say those things to ourselves the more they imprint and the better we are going to be.

What have been your greatest achievements?

Personally, going back to school at 50 and getting my Bachelor’s degree. That was a tremendous accomplishment. I enjoyed very much when I worked for an agency. It was a wonderful experience that gave me a chance to develop an inner strength and confidence that I don’t think I had as much before. I also developed that wonderful sense of community with other folks that we ARE here to help each other. How beautiful is that?

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks, either personally or in business?

I think I already named a lot of them. There were quite a lot of stumbling blocks – a divorce, raising children by yourself, borrowing money (robbing Peter to pay Paul). I am still catching up.

Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?

I think that often some people have this idea that I am not going to go to the gym until I am in shape. They have the same idea about being flexible. How can I do Yoga until I am more flexible? I tell them Yoga is about gaining those things along the way – together. This is for health and wellness. This is preventative care. All the things we are doing here are evidence-based practices. Evidence-based practice? Yoga for backs. Tai Chi for balance. Therapeutic Massage for neck.

If you could have a Do-Over, what would you do differently?

We always think that we would do something differently, don’t we? The other night we had a Reiki session here where the idea was brought up that each chakra has a gift and a challenge. If we carry that over in to life we need challenges just as much as we need the gifts.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I don’t believe I will ever stop doing this. It makes me feel good.

I would like to have some younger folks coming up along the way that are going to offer different kind of programs for physical well-being. I would want to still be here but have a little more time to travel or go to a conference.

Ho’oponopono on Midday Makeover WENY TV


Marcia Beecken began her business in August, 2015 doing energy work out of her home. An opportunity came about to co-rent a space in Horseheads, and she took it. She wants to retire from 28 years of  teaching 2nd graders in 5 years and thought it would be a good idea to begin her business now. Marcia is ready for the next stage of her life to begin.  Her specialty is Integrated Energy Therapy (IET). It is similar to Reiki. It works with the Angels who facilitate healing for people, relaxing, releasing cellular memory patterns and blockages, allowing the body to heal itself. I also specialize in working with children. My favorite program is called Steps For Transformation., the basics of working with your angels and releasing Karma, and finding forgiveness. Marcia is also a Reiki Master. She has a degree in leadership and does some life-coaching in a group setting. Marcia can be reached at Beecken of Light, 206 W. Franklin St., Horseheads, NY  14845, by phone at (607) 279-1157 and by email at Marsha@BeeckenOfLight.com. Her new Website is www.BeeckenOfLight.com.

How did you get to this place?

I have a Bachelor degree in Education. I have a Master’s degree in Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study in School Leadership and Education. This is half way between a master’s Degree and a Doctorate (30 credits). I have been teaching 2nd grade for 28 years.

When I became interested in energy work, I began my Reiki training with Haley Sawyers at Fingerlakes School of Massage. I loved the work, but then a friend of mine took an IET class and working with the Angels resonated with me. I took my first 3 levels of Integrated Energy Therapy with Haley Sawyers and Sandra Hartman at Fingerlakes School of Massage. I did my Master Instructor for Integrated Energy Therapy at The Center of Being with Stephen Thayer, Woodstock, NY. He developed the therapy.

I began working out of my home. It was difficult because I am on a hill and a bit out in the country. It was word-of-mouth through friends and their friends coming to the house. It was sporadic. Stephen Thayer inspired me to branch out. He wanted me to begin asking my angels for ‘more’. They will give you want you want and more as long as you believe.

I talked it over with my husband who is an industrial engineer and stained glass artist, and we decided to get a space. He has been instrumental in helping me renovate the space in Horseheads along with the other business owners who are sharing the building with me. It has been a wonderful learning process around creating healthy boundaries and speaking my truth. I incorporate the Four Agreements into every day on this path. It is what H’o oponopono is all about. We all work hard at keeping the energy in the space whole and inviting.

What have been your greatest achievements?

Creating this space on W. Franklin St.. Everyone who comes into the space feels good. It feels meditative, calm and peaceful. With the IET, I have created a Heart Beam in the space I use and the space Nancy Fairchild uses (She is partnering with me). It is a beam of very positive, sacred energy that goes throughout the building. We all do a number of sacred practices to create sacred space.

We also have a boutique, a common area where we hold a variety of different classes and programs. We have a kitchen area where you can sit with tea and coffee. We have an open porch area for the warmer weather and a drumming circle. There are other practitioners who rent the space to have their programs.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks, either personally or in business?

In business, the greatest stumbling block has been the marketing piece in terms of having the financial resources to advertise. We invested in the renovations and need to pay that off before making more of an investment outside of social media. I am fairly new to the area so I believe the paid advertising piece is important.

The personal stumbling block is TIME. I work full time from 7am and then go to Beecken of Light sometimes until 8pm. It’s difficult to then go home to create things for social media. Then scheduling family time and school time for the kids is a challenge.

Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?

Because I am new, I don’t think people have a conception of what I do or who I am. Some of the work is getting the word out about what we do and having to explain that. Then there is educating people about the benefits of incorporating these things into their daily routines. People are so busy doing for others, they neglect their own needs.

I have been in teaching for so long, I have become accustomed to staying away from talking about spiritual topics. There are times when I think I need to speak on a scientific level rather than a spiritual one. It’s a transition I need to make. I have to be more direct when I talk about my Angel Energy Work.  (That could be another stumbling block).

If you could have a do-over, is there anything you would want to do differently?

I would have been a little less impulsive and more thoughtful about the space I needed to do what I want to do. Although I love the space in Horseheads, I can see where it will be too small in the near future. It’s already limiting for the drumming program we have.

Back in May, I put feelers out for people who wanted to be part of a co-op. in retrospect, I would have followed the vision more closely. However, we had to begin somewhere.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself with a co-op, an umbrella business with other people providing their specialties underneath that. I would prefer that to having separate businesses renting separate space in the same building. 2 or 3 heads are better than one so let’s get together and help each other.

I see myself traveling. My mentors are in Sedona, AZ doing trainings. I would love to travel and do programs. It is important to be in the room and feel the energy of the people and the space. Much of the growth that I have had in my life has come from group work. There are so many dynamics there that push you to make gains to do your best. I value the group work.

I foresee a Center with more IET sessions and massage tables to do this work. I see training more people to use this therapy for themselves including people who are empathic – sensitive to energy that surrounds their environment.

Nancy Fairchild and I are coming out with a new color energy oil line in February that goes with our programs.  They are oils that coordinate with your chakras. The logo looks like a lighthouse and will incorporate with Beecken Of Light.

Keeping Your Xmas Tree Fresh Midday Makeover WENY TV


Randy Parker is the owner of R. S. Parker Landscaping and Garden Center and the newest member of Wellness Arts Network. Randy has been in business for 29 years operating a sole proprietor business involving a Christmas Tree farm, lawn & garden maintenance, renovations, backhoe, and skidsteer (small, rigid-frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments – like a scoop). He has a large inventory of nursery stock to choose from whether you use his services or just want to purchase for a DIY project. His newest venture is the former Maple Valley Farm Market at 791 County Road 64 in Big Flats where he will be expanding into produce and other food products in the spring. He can be reached by phone at (607) 739-0082 or (607) 734-6426, by email at RSParkerland@yahoo.com. A website is currently in development.

How did you get to this place?

Randy Parker’s entrepreneurial journey began at the age of 16, mowing lawns for neighbors and some of his dad’s customers. This developed into a landscaping business. With that, he began to stock his own landscaping material and stored everything at 1825 Grand Central Ave. in Elmira Heights. Eventually, Randy opened a full Garden Center. They stock every kind of tree, shrub and evergreen. “If it’s a tree you want, we can get it”. They offer hanging baskets in the spring for Mother’s Day and a few bedding plants, but the focus is on landscape design, installation and maintenance. Recently, Randy opened a Farm Market on County Road 64 in the former Maple Valley Farm Market location across from Simmons Rockwell. They will be offering honey, maple syrup, goat milk soaps, farm fresh eggs and bakery items (in the spring).

His expertise is derived from the ‘school of hard knocks’, and a lot of sweat equity says Randy.

What have been your greatest achievements in your business?

My greatest achievements have been building relationships with the community and establishing a long list of good customers. Outside of business I am a coach for Fingerlakes Falcons Baseball and a past president.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks in your business?

I haven’t really stumbled much. It’s always been pretty good. I don’t have any complaints.

It doesn’t sound like you are the sort of person who rushes into anything. You are slow and steady.

I’ve jumped into things before but they have all turned out pretty well.

 Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?

I don’t think so. Not that I know of. It’s pretty clear cut. People know what they are getting. (Mom confidently adds, “He presents himself very well”).

 If you could have a Do-Over, what would you do differently?

Not a thing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Doing the same thing. Not much growth. People say to me all the time, “what is your projected growth?”.  I tell them there is none. At 30 years in to this, I am comfortable and happy and where I want to be. I like to stay close to every job.

This is a family business with my wife, my mom and dad, and my son. I have 10 employees who work 9 months out of the year. They have been with me for 20 years or so.

Create a Bouquet on Midday Makeover WENY TV


Shelley Widrig has been an entrepreneur with her husband since 2008. It began with produce, expanded to flower preservation, fresh flowers and jewelry created from flowers. Shelley has business management training to support what she does. You can reach Shelley at her website (www.Forever-Floral.com), by phone at (607) 483-5776 or by email at ForeverFloral@rocketmail.com.

How did you get to this place?

Shelley Widrig worked a full time job in Traffic Control, Scheduling in the sales department and then in credit at a major manufacturing company when she opened a business with her spouse distributing fruits and vegetables from local farmers. They began working from their home and delivering to people’s homes. In 2012, they opened a produce stand in Nichols, NY. Produce is a seasonal business and they needed something to extend their business to year round. Shelley was searching the internet and discovered flower preservation. The only competition would have been in Binghamton, but that business had closed. She had always loved flowers and thought this could be a good niche for her. It was a ‘whimsical idea’ that Shelly had. Most of the preservation work is done in the winter months anyway. The equipment required to preserve the fresh flowers can only run during the winter months because of how much it heats up.

Fresh flowers were added to expand the income revenue. It also supports the idea of flower preservation. Another opportunity opened up to add another produce location in Waverly and eventually the jewelry made from flowers rounded out the offering.

What have been your greatest achievements in your business?

Being able to expand my business and keep it going all these years has been a big achievement. I ran the produce business alone this past summer since my husband had another job doing landscaping and building maintainance.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks in your business?

My business is marketing and that is a big downfall for me. It was a downfall in college too. It was my most difficult class. Especially in this area, word of mouth is very important. You have to be willing to talk about your business and what you do.

I am on social media, but I find I don’t have time to do it. I’m not as computer literate as I should be, too.

 Tell us more about your Brick & Mortar experience over the past summer.

I wanted a building location in order to expand my business into a different area with foot traffic. I found a place 10 minutes away in Owego. We renovated to make it look like a flower shop – paint inside & outside, carpeting throughout, tongue & groove flooring half way up the walls – things like that. We did a banner as a temporary sign because Owego requires a permit for anything permanent. We added a lot of character to the place and invested quite a bit.

However, it did not give me enough of the street traffic I was looking for and we were not able to sustain enough business to cover our expenses. So rather than struggle through the winter eating up the money we had, we decided to break the lease and close up. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.

Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?

I don’t think people realize how much time it takes to preserve the flowers or the investment I have in the equipment to preserve the flowers. You have to pre-treat the flowers to hold the colors. Electric costs are huge in this area and that powers the machine I use. The cost of the machine alone if I were to purchase it now would be over $50,000. People think this is just drying flowers.

I also have to disassemble the bouquets in order to process them for preservation. Also, each flower type has to be treated differently. Some you pre-treat, some you don’t. Different colors require different treatments, especially the reds and oranges and yellows. Flower preservation is expensive.

I make sure to talk about the cost of an average piece before we do anything so that people have an idea what they are looking at. Out of every four people I talk with, one will decide to have it done.

Another misconception people have is they do not have to be local in order for me to preserve their bouquet. They can overnight them to me. I have preserved flowers and sent them all over the country.

If you could have a Do-Over, what would you do differently?

I would begin my business more organized and with more knowledge about the business. However, there never was anyone locally I could go to and get advice about a flower preservation business. I did have a business plan when I began. I veered off that plan getting distracted with other things. It would have been better to make the plan the ‘law’ in running my business.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully, with a brick and mortar with foot traffic that we can call our own and do things we want to do with the business. We have a produce stand now, but that’s a tent. We would want to be autonomous.