My Girlfriend’s Jewelry Box

Diana Talcott is the owner of My Girlfriend’s Jewelry Box. She offers beads and jewelry making supplies, but so much more. This is a place for people to gather for friendship and bonding. You can have a party for your special occasion or the Girl Scout Troop. You can just show up for an afternoon of inspiration, conversation and guidance (making jewelry of course). My Girlfriend’s Jewelry Box is located at 222 Broad St. in Waverly, NY 14892. Diana can be reached at (607) 241-2323 or by email at Her website is

How long have you been in business?

I will be celebrating 5 years in August, 2019. It is so exciting.

You started out with beads and bead-making supplies, right?

That was my dream, to own my own bead store. I started out making jewelry with my sister and my sister in law in my 30’s. We beaded ornaments and jewelry.

Beads are what I enjoy so beads are the primary business. Because I have two store fronts, I did add a gift shop right away. I also know not everyone is into beading.

You added the gift shop just for variety? 

Yes. As I said, not everyone is into beading and there are people who like to shop together. If you bring a friend, your friend can look around the gift shop while you are searching for beads.

When did you start the back room?

Probably about a year after the gift shop. I wanted it to have more of a boutique feel.

I thought it would be nice to have the clothes, and the purses in a separate location, and only women’s items. The gift shop has men’s and children’s items in it as well.

What else do you do besides the bead-making?

I have classes and jewelry repair. We can do prom parties, or bridal parties. I have done a couple girl scout groups, which is fun. One group was 13 girls and the next group was 19 girls.

How many adults did you have with the girls?

Probably 3 or 4 parents helped. The rest of the adults either left or walked around while my husband, and I, and a couple of the leaders supervised and helped the girls. The girls seemed to enjoy it and they were good. They actually called me back for another jewelry session. We made anklets.

You did all that in this location?

We did. We did one group here and the other one in the other room and then we switched, and they had to do it in two settings. They had to do two weeks in a row to complete their badge. They completed their Jeweler’s Badge. It was fun.

Do you offer anything else?

I make custom jewelry. I had a lady going on a cruise and she wanted a necklace and earrings to match a dress that she bought. We picked out beads together and I made them for her. You know all the Lia Sophia, and that type of bracelet? They were party plans that people had. The bracelets stretch out after time, and they don’t know what to do with them. I restring that type of bracelet. I have had people say, you don’t know how many of these I have thrown away. I tell them “don’t throw them away”.

How did you get from there to here? What is your background?

I graduated from Newark Valley High School, NY. I had attended BOCES while I was in high school for business/advanced business machines. Computers were just starting out. I learned how to work with computers and a switchboard. I received the vocational award at BOCES which was exciting for me.

I moved to Florida for a year and a half. I returned and just got a job. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I took a few college courses, but have not graduated, and have not taken a lot of classes since.

I worked for SCI in Owego for the whole seven years they were there. They were a manufacturing company that did work for IBM. The entire time we ramped up to 500 employees. I just did a lot of clerical work.

When that was over, I got a job at Waste Management  and was dispatch in Binghamton. They are the largest garbage company in the world. I worked there for 16 years. I was in the operations department. We did safety and a variety of things.

And then what happened?

Since we were a small district, Waste Management sold their local site to the competition, Bert Adams Disposal.

What did you do for Bert Adams Disposal?

I was in the accounting department. I answered phones, I did a little bit of everything. Just office work.

I had been dreaming for years of owning my own bead store. Every time we would go on vacation I would look for bead stores and my husband went right along with me. I one day said, I knew that the owner of this place was retiring. I’m like, I’m just going to go down there and see how much she wants for her inventory.

So this (the store) was here?

This was here for 10 years before I bought it.

Wow, I didn’t know that, I thought you put this together.

A lot of people don’t know that. I wasn’t looking to come to Waverly because I never came this way. I always went the Binghamton way. The owner said “why don’t you just buy the whole building”. There’s no way my husband is going to buy a building in Waverly. I talked to her for a while. The owner suggested the four of us sit down and talk and here we are.

So you bought the building?

Bought the building, bought the inventory, and I have added a lot of inventory since. I have added the gift shop. I started out with consignments because it’s a big investment to buy everything outright. I still have some consignments. I have added the gift shop. I also have two apartments upstairs, which helps a lot.

The previous owner was retiring. She ran it as a retirement business. She wasn’t always open so people got used to that. I kind of started fresh with customers. There were some customers that came but that was the hardest part.

When you first started out, how did you get customers in here? Did you do a lot of advertising? 

I did some, but I learned a lot of people don’t look at the newspaper or listen to your radio station. My best advertising has been two things: 1. Facebook, and 2. Networking. I totally believe in networking. I have some women who have totally supported me and told others about me and have given me opportunities to create. I created centerpieces, the candles with the flowers around them. I did that for a big networking meeting that we went to.

You do those as a donation?

I did them for that and then took them home after and now I can sell them. One of the networking things I went to, I met a good friend and she sells Mary Kay. We just traded. I did a party for her, and she did one for me. It was cool because then you introduce other people to each other.

When you say networking, what do you mean by that? What sorts of things do you look for? Is it just going places? 

Sometimes it’s hard because when you are a single business owner, you have to be here in the store. That part is hard. I have met other groups of ladies like on a Monday since I am closed on Sunday and Monday. I am closed that day. So I have met other small business owners, and we have talked about our challenges and how they have overcome them. That helped me because I have never been in retail before. I’m learning, but it’s nice when other people will share what their circles are or what they do in a certain way.

So you look for groups of women or groups of people that are business owners?

Yes. However, every time I go someplace I’m talking about my business. That is really, really important. I also got involved in the Waverly business association and the chambers. I am a member of the Greater Valley Chamber and I’m joining them again. I am on the board of Tioga County Chamber and I am on the board of the Waverly Business Association.

How much time does that take?

It’s usually one meeting a month, so an hour.

Some people think, oh that’s a big commitment. You know, they want you to do a lot of stuff.

Exactly and it is hard and we have the Waverly Fall Fest coming up and I’m in charge of the vendors. So when I get involved in something like that it does take a little bit of time. The rest of the time you are making decisions. You know how they say, many hands make light work, like if we all take a little chunk then we are all helping each other out.

So you said the Waverly Fall festival?

September 28th is the fall Fest. When you get involved in something like that, people ask you questions or they will hear the name of your business and they will say what is that and you have an opportunity to tell them. Or they will stop by for whatever reason and then they get to see for themselves.

You are self-taught, but I believe being employed with those companies early on helped you gather a lot of knowledge and expertise doing what you did.

I learned Customer service from corporations, and training and safety. You go through a lot of these trainings and you realize I still use a lot of my knowledge about customer service. You asked about awards too and I wanted to say that being on the Waverly Business Association, I won 2017 for business person of the year from them.

What has been your greatest achievement? 

I would say getting business person of the year was my biggest achievement. I just felt very good.

What about stumbling blocks? Is there anything that sort of sticks out? 

The hardest part is getting customers. I feel like every year I grow a little more, but where do you go to reach people. I have people all the time saying I drive by there every day and didn’t know you were there. I have painted both sides of my building a dusty rose color. It used to be one side was red and one side was blue and it had a little white. So I painted them all the same color. I put in the bench and I put in lanterns and I have a flag. People still tell me I didn’t know you were there. Another thing is because it’s been a bead store for so long people have no clue all the rest of the items I have in here. I have something for everybody.

So how do you address that? You addressed the location part with paint, and the bench, and a flag. 

I applied for a grant and I got $400 I believe through the county for the lights and the bench. They would have helped with paint but I had already done that.

Putting pictures on Facebook and getting people involved so that they will share is a biggie. You need people to comment or share your posts rather than just like them. Then you get seen a little bit more.

Do you run contests? How do you get people to comment and share your posts?

Sometimes it’s just something silly. Like you can just put a picture of something totally not related to your business and it gets people and they see your name and they will go to your page and say “oh”. I have 1100 followers.

A lot of people ask me if I do arts and crafts shows and I’ll do some but it’s a lot to carry stuff and especially my stuff. If I have a good opportunity I will do that. I got involved in the Tioga County Arts council. I have done a couple little things there or been on the art trail. I do whatever I can to get noticed or have my name put on a map or just the opportunity to tell about my business. I did Morse code bracelets for the first Friday that they had and charged $5.

Morse code bracelets?

Morse code, you do your name in Morse code with these little dashes and dots and every letter has its own identification. You could do a word rather than your name if you want. So it’s a secret code. I had a really good response. I was able to hand out a card or tell people about my store.

We did a shop hop last year. It was cool. It helps if you can find people who have already done it so you can get ideas. Honestly, when I do a sale people don’t show up. I’m still learning, I don’t know the best way to advertise.

I have learned that you don’t have to give away something to everybody, but if they show up they have an opportunity to be in the drawing. If they do something else, it gets them more opportunity to be in the drawing. For Example: if they purchase something that’s another opportunity. If they purchase $25 or more then its double or triple. You can put as many tickets as you want in that bowl. You are only drawing one. So that’s how I look at it. 

One thing I have been thinking is this – there are so many different kinds of jewelry making (there’s wire, or there’s the loom); I may have different people demonstrating, so they can see how easy it is. Everybody has a different style. They are overwhelmed by the thought, “I can’t do that”. If we show them something that they can do, they may not walk away with that item, but they can at least hands on try something. They could come away with the idea “oh that was pretty easy. I would like to learn more”.

Do people have misconceptions about you or your business?

The biggest thing is that people think I only have beads. It has been a bead store for so long. I’m still looking for ways to let people know that I have other items.

Maybe one day should be a feature.

I sell these braided rugs. I put this one with a bicycle on Facebook and I sold it the same day. I have two other people interested in it if I can still get them. I was like “wow”, I need to do that more. My friend at SHEA Creations, Sarah, up the road posts all the time. She posts all day long. She had a customer come in and say what their top five items are and she listed them. Throughout the day she put each item and showed more about it. I was like, what an awesome idea.

Have you ever done facetime live?

I know it’s easy but I’m so intimidated by it and everybody says video is the way to go.

People want to see. They want it personal, they want to know you. I have some thoughts of doing some videos like easy ‘how to’ videos. If I can figure that out. I wish I had help. If I have a plan in place I will do this on this day, make this certain thing or rearrange this room or whatever, I get it done. If I don’t have a plan it doesn’t get done.

If you could have a do over, is there anything you would do over? Or do differently? 

Honestly, I keep thinking that I wish I was in a different location. I’m not positive Waverly is the place to be.

Is it too far away from things, or?

It seems the people I know and that I’ve known live in Owego and that direction. I’ve always been connected to people at work in Binghamton.

I live only 15 minutes away so it’s not a bad location for me. My business is a specialty shop so people should travel to come to me. It shouldn’t matter really where I am.

I’m a member of the beads society of Central New York and I have only had a small hand full of people that have come. The people that have come say you have such a good selection here. They even told me that I’m better than the bead stores in Rochester. Which makes me feel so good.

They say get your bead society members to come. They promote the three bead stores in Rochester and they promote online stores. So I wrote them a really nice email and I said, I would love it if you would include me in your promotions. They wrote back and thanked me and said if you could do a little write up and tell us about your business, I’ll run it in the next newsletter. So she did, and I even said I would give a 10% discount to the bead society members.

Since you are an association member, could you get an email list? a mailing list? Then just target them in a mailing. If you sent them a postcard and said, “hey! you are in my region, why don’t you come see me”?

I know a girl that lives in Binghamton, she’s a teacher, when she has off she will come down and purchase.

Can you get a testimonial from people who say your bead shop is better than the ones in larger cities? Maybe you could get that testimonial and put it on your postcard. 

I was going to say, there’s no bead stores in Binghamton, there’s none in Syracuse.

There’s none in Elmira, and Corning.

And Ithaca. I am central to all those locations. I need to just get the word out that I’m here. I don’t know how to reach those people like we talked about. Newspapers – people don’t always read them. Facebook has been a really big thing.

I have people say that they googled beads near me and I show up right away, so that makes me feel good and those people will come back. A lady today came in and spent over $100. She didn’t know I was here. She learned how to bead when she was in Florida. She’s like, I’ll be back.

What if you bring a friend? You could give them both a discount. Maybe have a little ‘rewards’ card that says if you come back and you bring a friend, I’ll give you both something (a discount, a special kit for a small item), have a special card just for that. 

I do have loyalty cards. Loyalty cards have been very helpful. I also get email lists, and she signed up. I should send her a thank you note and give her a discount, or bring a friend like you said.

I had a Wellness preview on Tuesday for Wellness Working (another business that I own). I went home and the next morning I had personal thank you notes written. Anybody that orders $100 or more in Nikken, I reimburse them their shipping and handling. So I would put checks in the thankyou notes ($11, $10) because my stuff is more expensive. I think anybody who’s buying online and is spending $100 should get free shipping and handling. Nikken doesn’t do it so I’m doing it. 

See this is networking to me, when you are able to share about what we’re doing. I’m getting ideas from you.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Owego? (laughter)

It depends on where God leads me. I have been telling myself, I need to be happy right where I am because everything has fallen into place for me to be here and I have met some really wonderful people. If I moved I would have to start all over with a lot of them. I plan on still being around for a long time.

In five years what do you think?

I don’t know if I’ll be in a different store front. I’m kind of like outgrowing this place, but I own the building. I’m thankful I have a building that has rental income because that’s helped me get to where I am.

I plan on being in business and having even more customers. That’s my goal.

Healthy Soles Healing Touch Reflexology on Midday Makeover WENY TV

(This interview was conducted May 22, 2018)

Healthy Soles Healing Touch Reflexology offers reflexology, Karuna Reiki, the Reiki of Compassion, ear candling and ionic detoxification. Lois works from 2 locations: 1 East Pulteney St. in Corning, NY  14830 and 301 West Broad St. (Dr. Jeff Patterson, Chiropractor) in Horseheads, NY  14845. She may be reached by phone at (607) 329-0382 and through email at Healthy Soles Healing Touch Reflexology is also on Facebook.

Please explain a bit more about what you do.

Reflexology is a science based on the theory that there are reflexes in the feet (and the hands) that directly correspond to organs, glands and systems in the body. Stimulating those reflexes in the feet or hands helps the body find its own natural balance or homeostasis. It is a relaxation technique.

Reiki is universal energy. The healing energy is channeled through me to the client. I am the conduit or channel of that energy.

Ear candling is about taking a 10” long candle that is shaped like a funnel and placing one end in the ear. You light the opposite end and it wicks ear wax up into the funnel of the candle. It comfortably pulls excess wax out of the ear.

Ionic Detox is about pulling toxins out of the body using a water bath that has been ionized. You place your feet into a bath of ionized water. The body is a negative charge and the water is a positive charge creating a magnetic pull. You do not put anything in the water. You just use an ionizer. The result may show a different color and particles in the water.

I am also an herbalist. However, I have limited space where I do my work now, so I am not active with herbs. I had an herb store on Market St. for 10 years.

How long have you been in business?

I have been doing Reflexology for 23 years. I do not know of any other Reflexologists in the area.

Talk about the differences between a Reflexologist and a Massage therapist.

A reflexologist and a massage therapist working on the feet is two completely different things. A massage therapist works on muscle and a reflexologist works on the reflexes. 45 minutes of reflexology on your feet is different from a massage therapist doing an hour massage where they may spend a few minutes on your feet. A reflexologist will not use oils or anything else that makes your feet slippery.

I had a woman come in and her neck reflex in her feet felt crunchy to me. I asked if she was having trouble with her neck. She worked on a farm carrying milk cans. A bit later I was working on her bladder reflex. It felt as if a bit of salt was sprinkled on a piece of paper. It had the feeling to me of running your finger over the page of salt. I asked her if she had any urinary problems. Her jaw dropped. She just came home from the doctor and was told she had a raging UTI.

I can feel differences. I don’t know what they mean. I am not a doctor. I don’t prescribe or diagnose, but I knew the reflex was not ‘right’ compared to other people I have worked on.

What has been the evolution of you as a business owner?

Originally, I worked at Hess’s Department store at the mall for 10 years. I managed most of the departments they had.

I don’t know why I discovered Reflexology. I signed up for a class is Syracuse. When I walked in to the classroom in 1995 I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. It was as if a choir of angels was singing halleluiah. It was incredible. I have loved it ever since.

That was when I realized there was a healing aspect to things I truly enjoyed. I had always been interested in herbs. I used to make things with my girls – bath salts and soaps, etc.. After the reflexology course, in 1996, I did a course at Healing Spirits, an organic herb farm in Avoca, NY.  It ended up as an apprenticeship with the owners, Matthew Matthias and Andrea Reisen through Rosemary Gladstar.

Hess’s department store closed and I received a small pension. I used that money to open an herb store that same year I finished the apprenticeship in herbs. I moved twice on Market St. and was there for 10 years. My reflexology space was in the same space as my herb shop.

After only a year and a half, my shop was a destination location. I made a product called Booboo Goo. People would come from as far away as Buffalo and South Carolina and sometimes build their vacations around coming to my shop. This was before everything was online and mailed.

What made you close the store?

Corning replaced the water main down Market St. in 2004 (?). Our block was closed for 4 months during the summer while they dealt with the water main and the problems with Monkey Run that ran under the street.  I never got my momentum back. Just around this time, Corning laid off a huge number of people. I stayed open for another year after that, but never quite got the momentum back.

What did you do once the shop was closed?

I opened up another little business with a friend. We made breadboard and knife sets. We made them and traveled all over the country selling them. That was fun.

At the same time, I was still doing reflexology out of Becky Hinman’s office on 14th St. in Elmira Heights. She is an acupuncturist. When she moved to Dr. Patterson’s chiropractic office, I went with her.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

People who have never had reflexology do not know what to expect. A lot of people think reflexology will be like a massage. If someone has an issue, it can be really uncomfortable. Some may come and not tell me there is a problem. They wait to see if I can find it.

What have been your greatest achievements?

Helping people feel better and realize they can still do things. With my herbal background I can offer suggestions for things that may help. It is nice to help people to feel good and know that I can make a difference.

Have you had any stumbling blocks?

The biggest stumbling block was having to close my shop.

If you could have a Do-Over in anything, what would that be (if anything)?

I would still like to have an herb shop or a center where people can get more than just their reflexology done. I would want it to be less of a Spa setting and more of a healing setting where I can sell herbs.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to be in a healing center and have a good presence. I would like to be teaching how to cook and eat for any of the serious issues (Blood Pressure, Diabetes, etc.). I would like to have a place where women can come to relax and BE and be powerful.

The Purple Iris on Midday Makeover WENY TV

The Purple Iris Boutique is a resale boutique for women’s clothing. We carry everything from sneakers to ball gowns. We are very particular/ upscale and try to take only the best of what there is to offer.

They also carry jewelry that is locally crafted. They try to promote local artists – women that make items. When they opened the store, their mission was “Women helping women”. Their vision was to help women dress their best for less, at the same time helping women who are selling their clothing .

How long have you been in business?

We have been in business for 9 years.

What has been the evolution of you as a business owner/non-profit founder?

Georgann Oman: I have always loved clothes. I remember in texture and color what I was wearing on a certain day or what my mother was wearing. That’s how I think and remember special moments in life.

In the 1980’s, I opened the Children’s Shop in my home (when my girls were little). That was a resale boutique for children’s clothing. I did that for 12 years . LOVED IT! I decided to go back into the workforce to do something about my Social Security fund and went to work for a non -profit in Ithaca, for about 10 years, in a program that was similar to the  Dress For Success project.

I prepared to open The Purple Iris Boutique on the side and spoke with Irene on the phone about the puppy, Iris,I had just gotten and may plans  to take her to this shop I plan on opening”. She called me right back and said “Do you want a business partner”? I said “YES I DO”!  9 years have flown by quickly.

Irene Fitzpatrick: I first met Georgann at the age of 15, and we immediately became best friends. Through the years raising 3 children (including 15 foster) Georgann and I would often go weeks before we could even converse on the phone, we were always able to pick up where we left off. We really are more like sisters!

With no retail experience, I offered to jump in with both feet. What we found out is that we complement each other in the business world. I have been surrounded by boys my whole life, so for me, the shop has helped me reconnect with my female self.

I have enjoyed all my job experiences which include childcare, nutrition education & nursing, however these have been my favorite years sharing The Purple Iris with my sister/friend and all the Woman who support us, and have become like family.

We opened a little boutique at 703 S. Main St. in Horseheads, just down the way. We were in there 3 months. The business just boomed! Beyond our wildest dreams! Luckily this storefront was open and we moved in here.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

Georgann: There are some people who will not wear used clothing. That’s ok, but there may be some misconceptions of what “used clothing” is. Many things are brand new with the tags still on.

Unfortunately we don’t sell everything that comes through our doors….items that do not sell we send on to charity.  Sometimes people are disappointed that everything does not sell.

Irene:Many people who stop in to our Boutique for the first time, are very surprised with the Quality & Variety we have to offer.

What have been your greatest achievements?

Georgann: Being a mom and a Grandmother. Having my own business has allowed me the opportunity and freedom to spend precious time with them. It is a little more flexible than if I worked for someone else.

Being successful in business 9 years later and having touched so many lives is also a pretty big achievement that I am very proud of.

Irene: I don’t feel like I have one great achievement, I always have tried my best with any endeavor I’ve pursued. Growing my circle of friends, and taking care of myself just might be my greatest achievement.

Talk about your Mission to help women.

Georgann: I believe that every day we achieve Women Helping Women. Women walk in this store and it is a one-to-one situation here. It is the old fashioned shopping. We get to know the women that come in so well. We know about their grandchildren, their husbands, their struggle with cancer. We know all about their lives. They come in here to talk and get support. The clothing is just the trappings. It’s really about the personal connection.

Irene: I don’t feel like I have one great achievement, I always have tried my best with any endeavor I’ve pursued. Growing my circle of friends, and taking care of myself

Just might be my greatest achievement.

Talk about your Mission to help women.

Georgann: I believe that every day we achieve Women Helping Women. Women walk in this store and it is a one-to-one situation here. It is the old fashioned shopping. We get to know the women that come in so well. We know about their grandchildren, their husbands or their personal struggle with cancer. We are honored to know all about their lives. They come in here to talk and get support. The clothing is just” the trappings”. It’s really about the personal connection.

Irene: Everyone who walks through our door, help us succeed in our mission, we are a place where old friends reconnect, strangers greet, and stories are shared. We aren’t just helping Women, we are all helping each other.

Have you had any stumbling blocks?

Georgann: Yes.

When we opened our second shop in Hanover Square, I knew it was too close. I would not do that again. We were doing so well at the time and wanted to expand. We thought about Watkins Glen and Owego. My mom was not well and I needed to be in town to take care of her so we decided to open in Hanover Square. I knew in my gut that was a mistake. We MUST listen to our guts.

She passed about a year and a half ago at 96. It was the same week we closed our second shop. Her advice to me was “Never stop working. Don’t sit down. Keep going”. So that is what I plan on doing.

Irene: The whole project was so new for me, I second guessed myself a lot in the early years .Fortunately Georgann has been a great Mentor, and I actually found I have more to offer than I realized!

If you could have a Do-Over in anything, what would that be (if anything)?

Georgann: Due to the physical aspect of this business, I would start this sooner when I was younger. I believe the community was ready for this type of business earlier

Irene: Actually I feel everything happens for a reason, and there is always a lesson to be gained. If I had Do-Overs, I wouldn’t be who I am or be where I am now. A very knowledgeable woman, stopped to see us in the early years ( a stranger at that time).

She spoke about how we were doing exactly what we should be doing, at that moment and together.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Georgann: I hope I am still standing here and still enjoying this business and my customers.  I do love it!

Irene: Enjoying life every day, sharing laughter and tears, and continued Good Health at The Purple Iris.

Barbie The Welder on WENY TV

Barbie The Welder is a custom metal sculpture business owned by Barbie Parsons, artist and sculptor. My business is sharing knowledge and strength and hope for other artists and entrepreneurs. The address is 27 Shamrock Dr., Erin, NY 14838. Barbie may be reached at (607) 331-1528 and by email at There is a strong presence on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook under Barbie The Welder.

 “This is one of a kind sculpture you can’t find anywhere else”.

I am living inside the dream that I had for myself 10 years ago. My life has changed so drastically and any way I can give back so that others can change their lives, I am happy to do that. I have been so blessed.

How long have you been in business?

I have been a full-time artist for 3 ½ years. 9 months before that I worked full time at Cameron Manufacturing and Design while I was working part-time at my studio. I was building up some sort of inventory of art to sell once I quit my job at Cameron.

What has been the evolution of you as a business owner?

Originally, I was working in Auto Mechanics and became disenchanted with the way women were being treated. I started working for myself. I was pulling parts off cars at Pick A Part and selling them on Ebay. I was also scrapping metal. I was doing anything I could do to pay the bills for a family of 4.

I saw a movie with Tom Hanks called Castaway in 2007. In the beginning of that movie there was a woman welding wings on an angel sculpture and I was inspired. I wanted to do THAT! It took me 9 months to save up the money to go to welding school at BOCES. It was a 6 month course (104 hours total). I learned how to weld.

I don’t know what I was thinking because I had no garage. I had no welders of my own. I had no way to weld afterward. My teacher, Jim Ostrum, was the perfect match for me. He saw my passion and poured his time in to me. He encouraged me. At the end of the program, I didn’t want to work for anyone else because of my experiences in the automotive industry. He forced me to talk to Ken Woods at Cameron Manufacturing and Design. We did a class tour and I fell in love with the shop. It was all the fabrication tools I was seeing on television shows.

Cameron Manufacturing took a risk with me. I was really inexperienced. I worked there for 5 years and earned my Journeyman in ironplate and sheet metal. (I worked for 9 months and got layed off for 10 months, then I was called back). The whole time I worked there it was to learn the skills and the fabrication and the welding so that I could do this art. I gave them my one month notice and never looked back. This has been my end game ever since I watched that movie.

The day before I quit my job, I went to my local bank to take out a personal loan. I cashed in my 401K. I thought that would be enough to get me through a whole year of creating art if I didn’t sell anything. 9 months later I had not sold one piece and had a total of $35 in the bank.

I did not know anything about marketing or sales. I knew I wanted to create art, but I knew nothing about this other stuff. I sat at my bench and cried. I knew Cameron would have welcomed me back with open arms, but I could not physically bring myself to go back.

What did you do?

I have never dug so deep in my life. I ended up doing a show I never wanted to do. That internal voice said “suck it up and GO” so I did. While I was there I met chainsaw sculptors. They are creating their art and people are surrounding them watching. It never dawned on me that this is what I needed to do.

I connected with the carvers and they took me under their wing. They entertain so they get paid for the shows (instead of paying the show to be there as a vendor). They get fed and given places to stay. They took me with them. I created a community again. After leaving Cameron, I spent 9 months in isolation creating my art. I lost the community of support that I had there. Now I had it back.

I also went to Coney Island for the July 4th weekend and made enough money to get me started. That was my turning point. I was convinced that I could really do this. People liked what I was doing and bought a lot of my pieces. I was almost out of inventory from those 9 months in the studio. I began doing lots of shows and working in the studio in between.

When did the custom business start?

Before I quit my job, Scott’s Guns in Horseheads asked me if I could make a secure gun cabinet. It was 8 feet long with a sloped face on it. Then they wanted window bars. The custom Art Pieces started about early 2016. My first one was a 5’ tall angel at Sullivan’s Funeral Home. That is a very special piece to me. I visit her often. If he had not put money down to buy her, I would have kept her. (My goal is to be able to afford my own art). It is art that makes you feel.

I have ZERO training in art. I didn’t know I was an artist for 6 months. I just knew I wanted to make that angel.

 You are tapping in to something.

It is mysterious. It is mystical. It is ethereal. The difficult thing for me is that I cannot draw. My clients have to take me at my word. They show me a picture. I know I can make this. I have been blessed that people have been willing to hand me money and take my word that I can do what they want, even when I don’t have anything close that I can show them.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

Not in my experience. I am very blessed with the supporters I have in social media. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have such a huge group like this. They tell me they are inspired by me. I am just me in this garage in Erin, NY living my dream. They tell me that because I am doing this, they are living their dreams too.

I am blessed. All this has blessed my sons and my mom and dad. Before, my mom questioned my sanity in the choices I was making. Now she is my greatest advocate.

What have been your greatest achievements?

First of all, my greatest creation is being a mom.

My greatest achievement as a welder is creating my book and teaching other people to create sculpture.

Your book is: Barbie the Welder: Horseshoe Crafts. More than 30 easy projects to weld at home. Racehorse Publishing. Did you self-publish?

I did not. Skyhorse Publishers (a parent company to Racehorse Publishing) contacted me. I created a Horseshoe Wine Rack. I posted a picture to Pinterest that a photographer friend of mine had done. Through the miracle of social media and the internet, it went viral (12,000 LIKES).

From that I received an email that I originally thought was a joke. They asked, “Could you write a book”? I said “Absolutely, I could write a book”. They asked if I could do 20 projects and I said “No problem”. Then they asked if I could do 30 projects. I said, “No problem”. They said they would send a contract and I thought this was all a joke. The book came out in August of 2017.

How long did it take you to do this?

It took me 2 weeks to write the book. Included in that was creating 35 welding projects, writing the descriptions and instructions, and doing the photography myself. I spent one day creating the 35 projects and photographing them. The rest of the time I spent writing the book. 126 pages and 175 pictures.

What if someone wants to do these projects but does not have any welding equipment? What do you do?

You can rent equipment from the local welding supply store. You need a garage and the equipment I used runs on a 110 circuit with a 20 amp breaker. That is what you use at your home. You can borrow a welder or ask someone you know who welds to show you. These projects do not take a lot of experience. My youngest student was a 12 year old girl who designed and welded a flower for her mother.

Any other great achievements you can think of?

I have been sponsored by Miller Welders. I have been sponsored by a small worldwide company, Weiler Abrasives, cut-off wheels and sanding discs, from Cresco, PA. They provide me with products and I promote them through my social media. They found me through social media.

Also, I went to Phoenix, AZ for a month last year. I participated in welding on a 1957 Chevy pickup truck. I had never welded a vehicle. This was an all-women, frame up restoration. Only women were involved in this project (90). It was unveiled last year at SEMA, the world’s largest automobile show. This was me going back in to the automotive industry that I left on a very sour note. It was cathartic. It was an amazingly healing experience.

I want to teach and learn. I want to bring more women in to the welding industry. I want to represent hope and possibility to people. If I can do it, they can do it too. That is my goal.

Have you had any stumbling blocks?

There is no one out there that has done what I envision. There are no mentors that I can look to as a benchmark with a blueprint I can follow.

I have had to teach myself Sales and Marketing. I have learned through Youtube. I spend about 4 hours/day educating myself on the business aspect. My focus now is legal and financial anticipation. When I needed to get my name out, I focused on learning that. Instagram looked visual so I learned how to use that as a tool to gain followers organically.

I am not a salesman. I didn’t have a comfort with that so I learned how to ask Key Questions for information about a potential customer. I watched my son! He was 10 and I have no idea where it came from, but I learned from watching him.

If you could have a Do-Over in anything, what would that be (if anything)?

I have never been happier in my life. I would not change a thing. I needed every pitfall and struggle to get to where I am. I love who I am and where I am. I love giving back.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Doing the same ‘dang’ thing in a much bigger shop with a lot more toys. I am living inside my dream today. For now I can keep this small. It’s not really about the size of the shop, it’s what you do with it – setting it up right, organizing it, etc..

I took my mom to Rochester on an overnight. She was bragging to the woman at the hotel lobby counter about me. She told us her brother works at ARC & FLAME and that we HAVE to go!

Rochester ARC and Flame is a game changer for me. It is a Hot Arts Center that does blade smithing, black smithing, welding and glassblowing/creations. I now have a space where the dragon is going that sits in my front yard because it is too big to bring in here. I can leave it there and work on it until it is done.

I have been guided all my life and blessed with synchronistic happenings like this. We are creating a Barbie-The-Welder Scholarship as another way for me to give back. Low Income/High Passion. The owner of the welding supply business next to the ARC & FLAME Center tells me whatever you donate, I will match. We will talk to the American Welding Society people and see if they can double it. I cried in front of him.

AND bring yourself and your dragon. You can work on that here. AND would you like to teach classes? I had just cancelled my classes her in this very small shop for fear something would happen to jeopardize their safety and everything I had built. Now I have this offer to teach classes in Rochester if I want to – as often as I want for as little or as much as I want.

I am blessed.

Crow Calls-Chickadees Circle on Midday Makeover WENY TV

CrowCalls, Inc. is an established 501(c) 3, Not-For-Profit, Public Charity. It is a place of Worship and a Center for Understanding and Inspiration. Their mission is “to help inspire and support people in searching for their own spiritual understanding through the promotion of health and wellness in the sanctuary of Nature”. The Place of Worship is a spiritual inspiration of the Revs. William and Martha Benedict, ordained Spiritualist Ministers, The Fellowships of the Spirit, in Lily Dale, NY. The Sanctuary includes:

The Chickadees Circle Labyrinth, The Windwalker Medicine Wheel, Forest Bathing Trails, The da Vinci Man in the Star meditation area, Secluded and individualized outdoor meditation areas and Drum Circles.

Celebrate With Your Soul is a for-profit business offering Spiritual Counseling, Readings and Prophecy, Energy Healings, and MARI (Mandala Assessment Research Instruments) Readings, Breath-Body-Mind practices, Ceremonies, Blessings, Family Events, Forest Bathing Classes and other sensory classes.

They are located at 48 Benedict Blvd., Elmira, NY  14903. They may be reached at (607) 425-8432 or by email at Their websites are (underconstruction) and They are also on Facebook.

“Find peace, quiet and time for contemplation to come close to the God Source within your heart and in unison with Nature. God’s gifts to one and all”.

How long have you been in business?

We have been in business since 2013. We built the ChickadeesCircle Labyrinth in 2011 and really got going in 2012. We were ordained as Spiritual ministers in 2013 at The Fellowships of The Spirit ‘s School of Divinity, in Cassadaga, NY.  Reverend Elaine Thomas created The Fellowships of The Spirit Church and Divinity School 30 years ago.  The Fellowships of The Spirit first originated in Lily Dale, (a Spiritualist community created in 1848) and then moved to their current location, just outside Lily Dale’s gates.

What has been the evolution of you as a business owner?

Reverend William Benedict:

I was the director of the Elmira Psychiatric Center for 10 years. I was in various administrative positions before that. I was there for 31 years.

I graduated from Thomas A. Edison High School. As a Heights guy and an athlete I looked up one day and said “Where am I going? The answer was, “I don’t know”. I knew I didn’t want to be a diplomat so I went to Union College Schenectady, NY and took courses for 3 years. Still not knowing what I wanted to do I came home and then left for Vermont with my cousins. I stayed in Vermont for about a year but realized it was just too difficult to make any kind of a living. In the meantime, I had met Martha.

I made a decision to study business. Elmira College was planning to develop a business program and I began coursework that resulted in a degree. I also married Martha and we built our home. When the house was completed I was hired by the Elmira Psychiatric Center as Personnel Officer. Opportunities came along in the business office and I advanced. I completed my Master’s Degree in order to become Director. I have been active in the community with the Chamber of Commerce, The Park Church and The Ernie Davis Community Center. I retired from the Psychiatric Center in 2008.

I became an ordained spiritual minister as a result of the loss of our son in a car accident.

Reverend Martha Benedict:

I grew up on Lowville, NY (near Watertown) and in the 70’s there were only 3 professions you could go into as a woman – nurse, secretary or teacher. As I’ve have always loved working with kids, I decided to become a teacher.  When I graduated from High School, Elmira College was one of 2 private colleges who offered a Masters in Education. I chose Elmira as it was located within a community and appealed to what I was looking for in an education.

I met William while attending Elmira College. I finished my degree in Elementary Education and Reading, we married and for seven years, Bill and I owned the Wooly Bear, a wool yarn shop and cross-country ski shop, across from Pierce’s Restaurant in Elmira Heights.

During that same time, I taught at 5th grade at Cohen Elementary School as a long-term substitute.  Knowing that I would rather assist children in making decisions then telling them what to do, I entered the role as an at risk counselor for Bath Hope for Youth.  My role was to assist families in keeping their children at home instead of entering foster placement. After three years, I chose to find employment closer to home and became employed by Elmira Glove House, as an At-Risk-Counselor in the Elmira City School District.

Longing to further my degree and in keeping with the counseling, I enrolled at Alfred University and earned my Masters degree in School Counseling. I was hired by the Elmira City School District as a school counselor.  As my profession progressed, I found the at-risk children were in need of more guidance.

My Principal, Mr. Joe Madero, recommended that I earn a Masters degree in Administration.  I applied to Cortland, earned my administrative degree and was hired as an Assistant Principal for ECSD.  I retired in 2011 after 9 years as an administrator.

In 1997, our daughter, Maggie, was a freshman in college in Buffalo when our son, Seth, passed in a car accident. In search for answers in any form of healing from such a heavy loss, Maggie found Lily Dale. In 1998 we began traveling to Lily Dale, a Spiritual community to receive readings and answers.

When I retired in 2011, I decided that I wanted and needed more answers. I wanted to heal myself. The Fellowship of The Spirit offered 2 weekends where you could see if becoming a Spiritual Minister was something that you wanted to do. Bill came with me as an emotional support to start, but the growth was phenomenal.

In the first week of Divinity School, Sig Lonegren (Sacred Spaces) taught us how to create and build al labyrinth. We came home and began to develop the property by dowsed our property for earth energy and found the center of the labyrinth.

Are there misconceptions about you or your business?


Bill noted….Unless you are involved in one of the more traditional religions, people think you are a quack. That didn’t bother me a bit. I met 3-4 different people who had near death experiences. After meeting them, I had no fear of dying. I have had a number of de ja vu experiences and have heard spirit talk to me. Before my son died, I had a repetitive dream about a crash. I thought it was about me. It turned out to be about him. But I have always known Spirit is with you.

The misconception is when people do not see things the way you do.

Everybody has their own path to walk. We are interested in building a place of worship to assist people in getting where they need to be on their terms. It is more of a place of worship than a church. We have meditation circles but we really want it to be a center where people will bring their own groups up to get out in nature.

We met Dr. Richard Brown and his wife, Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, at The Fellowships of The Spirit. They taught us how reduce our levels of stress through their breathing practices entitled Breath-Body-Mind. We followed the Drs. to Kripalu, in Lenox, MA. and became certified Level III Instructors.  During a brain storming session, the Drs. inquired if anyone would be interested in starting a Community pilot program for research purposes.  We volunteered.

We returned home, discussed the possibilities with Mr. Brian Hart, Chemung County Commissioner of Mental Hygiene.  Mr. Hart was very supported, so as a team, we started the Chemung County Positive Breath Pilot.

Our first Breath-Body-Mind conference was held at RIT in Rochester, NY. The second year we moved the conference to Geneva, NY and half of the participants came from Chemung County so we brought the BBM conference to Chemung County. We now are in our 6th year of offering conference with participants traveling in from all over the country.

 When people come here, do they get what they are expecting or do they find something else?

They get more than they anticipate, as there is a special magic in the earth energy here on West Hill.

Last year, Robert Egby, noted author and professional dowser, dowsed the property.  Robert found one of the largest geo-spiral, a circle of positive earth energy, on the property.  A geo-spiral is created as ground water flows to the surface and forces its way through the layers of the earth creating a spiral of positive healing energy. Geo-spirals are in several different sizes.  The smallest has 7 rings.  The largest is 49 rings. The spirals increase in size by sets of 7 (7, 14, 21, as high as 49). We have a 49 ringed geo-spiral on the property.

We say, “Don’t take our word for it, take a walk through the labyrinth. First set your intention for an answer to a question you have, walk the labyrinth and see what you come out with”.

Greatest Achievements?

Reverend William: 6 years of helping kids and adults has been a real experience for me. I am grateful for that.

Reverend Martha:

Bringing Breath-Body-Mind to the Southern Tier has been an achievement. It gives people a great resource to do their own healing, just by changing the rhythm of their breath.

Have there been any stumbling blocks?

Being able to clearly express who we are and what we are offering.

We were given a challenge to receive a building permit to build a structure in the place of worship. However, when you work through all your challenges and succeed, that is when you get rewarded. It is part of your life contract.

If you could have a do-over, what would that be?

Reverend Martha: Naming the not-for-profit different than the original business. I had to re-create my website in order for people to realize the property is a place of worship.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still here, welcoming people to come and find their own healing

Continuing to work with Dr. Brown and Dr. Gerbarg and teaching Breath-Body-Mind practices.


Organic Coffee and MORE on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Mindi Beheydt is the owner of Seneca Sunrise Coffee at 806 Decatur St. Apt.2., Watkins Glen, NY 14891. “This is an apartment that I took over and turned into a certified kitchen. My business is organic, mostly fair-trade coffee. There are a few coffees that I purchase single-origins directly from farmers through a third party.” She may be reached at (607) 228-7930. Her email address is and her website is Mindi is also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

My business has evolved to more than coffee. I thought that when I started the business I would just be roasting coffee. I wasn’t even planning on selling cups of coffee. Things evolved through customer demand as well as me learning about my community. As I learned more about all the wonderful things the Finger Lakes area has to offer, my store evolved. However, I am primarily a roaster. I roast for several restaurants here in Watkins Glen as well as Burdett and Ithaca. I have 3 wineries and a brewery now that have their own distinct blend. We are working with Fingerlakes Distilling to create a bourbon infused coffee with their MacKenzie Bourbon.

When you say the wineries have their own blend of coffee in bags, do you mean they serve it?

Some do. Lakewood Winery gets 5 pound bags to make coffee for their employees. This helps our business too because they refer people to us. They also serve it to the Designated Drivers at their events and tastings. Working with other businesses has meant huge growth for us.

Originally we were just going to roast single origin coffee. After the first year I began to experiment on my own blending different coffees to discover they really tasted good. Wake Up Watkins was my first blend and we still have that one in our offerings. It’s a Mocha/Java blend. The next blend for myself was a dark blend named Glen Obscura, which is what the 2 falls in the park were called in the 1920’s. They have renamed it since then, but we liked the name. It means 2 dark waters coming together so we blended 2 dark coffees. I love creating the blends.

How did this shop come about? What is the evolution of this business?

When I began this business I had no idea how to roast coffee. I just loved organic coffee. I had been following a local roaster for years. Their machine came up for sale and the owner wanted it to stay here rather than transport it out of town. This roaster came with an aluminum table and a coffee grinder.

I had just lost my job and had no money. A family member loaned us the money and our current location became available at the same time. There are 3 apartments in this building besides this one. The owner did not want to rent this space to individuals any more. It seemed to have high turnover. He gave us 3 months free if we agreed to clean it. (It took us 3 ½ weeks of scrubbing and then we painted with KILZ and color). This all happened within one week. It seemed destined to happen.

I called the New York Ag & Market department to have someone inspect the space. We passed immediately. The inspector handed me our certificate and we fired up the roaster immediately. I learned how to roast from YouTube. I read about it online. I worked with a coffee bean supplier of Home Roasters in California. There was no person locally to help me.

About 9 months into roasting we decided to start serving coffee. Everyone would come in and ask for a cup of coffee and I would just give them one. I did that as an effort to get our name out there in the community. Our customers began telling us we needed to charge for the coffee. I said, “OK”. We applied for our tax ID # from the state of NY and began generating quite a following of people coming in and wanting coffee.

How long have you been in business?

Seneca Sunrise Coffee has been in business a little over 2.5 years. July 28th will be our 3rd anniversary. Our business has grown from 2016 to2017 by 50%. January 2018 shows 50% growth from January of 2017.

This business is primarily just me. My husband works a full-time job in Ithaca. However, he is literally the muscles behind it. I tore my rotor cup when we received the first bean delivery. My husband is the marketer for the business. He writes everything that goes out on the internet. He did our web design. He writes up a description to the pictures I take of our lunches with all the hashtags and sends it back to me. I cut and paste into Instagram with automatic links to Facebook and Twitter. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.

I open up at 7:00am and close at 5:30pm. I am here roasting, making lunches, serving and preparing for the farmer’s markets on Sundays. We do special events, farmer’s markets, cheese festivals, night markets on the waterfront. Our summer is completely booked already.

What is your background that brought you the skills that your success with Seneca Sunrise Coffee?

I obtained an Associate business administration degree from Corning Community College when I was a single mom. I had various jobs through temp services. I got a job at the veterinary hospital here in Watkins Glen. I worked for Dr. Peters for many years as a receptionist and doing whatever needed to be done.

After about 3 ½ years a position became available at Coastal Lumber Company, now Wagner Company in Cayuta. I was the Timber Clerk. As the company ownership changed, my role there changed. I was doing Quickbook entries; wrote checks that could be in the millions. I learned how to run my own tiny business within a business there. I had to account for all the transactions to the boss, the accountants, the plant managers, and the owners so I had to know how to balance the books. No one showed me how to do this. I had some inkling since I had been to school and I read a lot online about Quickbooks which is pretty self-explanatory. I was there for about 5 years.

I returned to Dr. Peter’s office after leaving the lumber company. The new owner asked me to manage the business. I did that for about 2 ½ years. The work was physically taxing for me, I was working 80 hours/week for someone else and I decided to simplify my life. That brought me to Ithaca. I worked at a chain veterinary office that soon closed. They wanted me to move to Binghamton. I opted to stay in the area at another job which I stayed at for about 2 years. When that ended, all of this became available to me within a week.

When you were going through all this, were you thinking about this business in the back of your mind?

I wanted my own ‘something’. I didn’t know what it was. If I was going to work this hard, put this much energy into something, I wanted it to be my own. I have become very passionate about something I do. I want that business to succeed and grow. Why would I put that kind of energy into something that isn’t mine?

May I ask you if you are breaking even with this business?

I have not taken a paycheck yet in the 2 ½ years we have had the business. However, everything that is on my shelves is paid for. I do not owe anyone anything, including my investor. Everything here is from small producers. When they deliver, they get a check. That’s where my paycheck goes. I want to keep expanding what I have to offer and what I am doing. We started off with a coffee roaster, a stainless steel table and a coffee grinder. We now have counters, cupboards, an espresso machine, supplies, a Vitamixer, an icemaker, a beautiful antique stand that holds product, etc..

We became passionate about local and organic products. We have 18 different local suppliers. We sell their products here. We have organic pork, beef and cheese products from Nichols. We have grape juice from Burdett. We have soap from Spencer. We have sunflower and butternut squash seed oils from Geneva. We have BBQ sauces and rubs from Watkins Glen. We have honey from Cayuta. We have Wide Awake Bakery’s pasta. We are a pick-up location for the Crust Fund and a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) on Wednesdays. The vegetable CSA begins in June. The Crust Fund is basically a bread CSA. People come here on Wednesdays and pick up their bread made with all local grains. It’s not just about us here. We are not just about coffee now.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

Yes. People think we are just about coffee. People say they don’t drink coffee and I reply with “We are not just about coffee”. We have tea. We have local products and meats.

What are your greatest achievements?

Helping to support all these other small businesses. I believe I am helping to support all these other people and families. I am helping other businesses grow and be recognized. It’s about presenting what we have to offer in the area and representing as many people as I can.

Have you had any stumbling blocks?

Yes. Money. I want so much more here to offer people and our biggest holdback is money. I don’t want to go into debt and be that business that fails because we have a payment we cannot make in the winter time.

Space. We need to grow and expand.

If you could have a Do-Over, would you take one? What would that be?

I would not do a Do-Over. It is our growing pains and discoveries along the way that make us who we are. It makes us evolve into what we are and what we are going to become. It’s the struggles that makes things happen. You figure out a way.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Expansion. I see a processing room with a roaster and beans and workstation so we are not going back and forth from room to room. I see people sitting out here on the porch having coffee; eating food that I prepare with local ingredients. I see our retail place filled with everything local from salad greens to frozen corn – meats, cheeses, veggies, pastas, breads, oils, soap, shampoo, shrubs, apple cider vinegar, honeys, and anything else our area has to offer. I want to be able to sell it.

We are buying the building and expanding into the sideyard. The addition will be three stories high with an employee break room, office space, bathroom and storage. The 3 apartments will stay, because I want to be sure we have income paying the bills to get us through the winters.

In 5 years, I would like to have 3 full-time employees and 2 part-time. I would like to have a paycheck for me and my husband. He would help expand our wholesale business. We want to expand our website to offer non-perishable items and/or gift baskets.

I would like anyone in the US to have what we have here in the region.

Crystals on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Marjorie Wilson is the owner of Fossil Rock Acres at a new location – 5234 West Wolf Run Extension in Campbell, NY 14821. She sells crystals, fossils, figurines and military items. Marjorie has a Master’s degree in Metaphysical Science and gives classes at her new location on meditation, the crystals and crystal grids. She may be reached at (607) 769-2729, by email at The website is and she is also on Facebook.

How long have you been in business?

Fossil Rock Acres has been in business for 11 years. They opened for business the day after Thanksgiving in 2006.

How did you begin in this business? What has been the evolution?

I have always done some kind of craft. Years ago I did ceramics. I had over 400 molds and 2 kilns. I had classes on how to paint ceramics. Then I began to create beaded jewelry with the crystals. I went to craft shows and Native American Pow Wows. The weather is very unpredictable. I found it was much more relaxing and less stressful to have a store.

Were you a business owner before you had the ceramics and the beads?

No.  Ceramics was my first venture and I did that for about 10 years.

What did you do before that?

When I first came home from the Army, I sold advertising for the Bath Pennysaver. Then I worked at the VA. I was secretary for the Elmira/Corning Airport. Then I went to work for the Federal Government as an Administrative Maintenance Technician. After that I went to work for the Addison School District as the attendance/registration officer. My last 10 years there I was a teaching assistant.

I was very practiced in people skills but it also taught me how to deal with all the paperwork in owning a business – sales, inventory, cashflow, quarterly sales tax, etc..

Is there a specific software that you like to keep track of all this?

I do everything manually. I created a form using Microsoft WORD Tables that I use to keep track of things.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

There are a few people who would come in the store and say, “We are praying for you”. They would think I was a witch and worshiping satan because I had the crystals. I am neither a wicka nor a witch but people thought you were that just because you had the crystals and that is a satan sort of thing.

Crystals come from the earth and God created the earth. I appreciate prayers anytime.

However, there are still some people out there who look at it the other way.

What are your greatest achievements?

I have stayed in business for 11 years. I do no business online. I once had it set up for the jewelry online and sold 2 or 3 things. The cost of having that website was so much I took it down. I have been considering trying it again with my own website since there is so much online shopping now.

Are there any stumbling blocks?

If I were to mention anything it is the issue of being a single person owner. If you have to do something else, if there is a death in the family or you are sick (unexpected things), you have to close the store. Planned things you can let people know ahead of time that the store will be closed on a certain date. Most of my customers understand that. But there are a few who complain a bit.

Bringing on someone part-time as a backup person is not affordable. The cost of the compensation insurances and the salary and other expenses is not economically reasonable to do something like that.

If you could have a do-Over, what would that be?

I don’t usually play the “Shoulds, Woulda, Coulda” game. I am just grateful for what I have.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself retiring from her. I will sell this business. I will draw Social Security and travel.

Nutrition Response Testing on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Donna Burdick is the owner of Finger Lakes Nutrition. This is a business that offers Nutrition Response Testing as their primary modality for nutritional healing. She is also a classically trained, board certified, registered dietician with over 20 years’ experience in medical model nutrition.  Donna is located at 911 Pennsylvania Ave. in Elmira, NY  14903. She can be reached at (607) 229-6079 or by email at Her website is and she is on Facebook and LinkedIn.

 What is Medical Model Nutrition?

Medical Model is “after the fact”. It is not prescribing herbals; not looking for other answers. In my mind, I have been treating medical diagnoses with ineffective dietary prescription for the last 20 years.  Unfortunately, most people don’t understand how important nutrition is for overall well-being and disease prevention.  What I am seeing are patients that have become medical wreckage.  Which means people have several diagnoses and are being treated with too many medications that, in most cases, just mask the symptoms.  No real answers are provided as to why they are sick.  With my clinical background and my training in Nutrition Response Testing, I believe there is always something I can do to help a person feel better.  For example, I can help you relieve headaches, digestive issues and many other common symptoms of a poor diet.  I do that through teaching you what healthy foods are and planning menus so that you are eating more nutritious foods that will help your body heal.

Part of what I do, is to identify the underlying stressors that are making you NOT feel well.  These stressors may include heavy metals, chemicals, food sensitivities, immune challenges and scars.  With that information I then create an individualized nutrition and supplement program to implement at a pace you can live with.

How long have you been in business?

Finger Lakes Nutrition has been in business for about 6 years.

How did all this start for you?

It started with a chiropractor visit in Ithaca. I am a runner and I was experiencing pain while running. So, I went in to find out why it hurt to run. During the treatment visits I was muscle-tested for the first time ever. The doctor explained that what he was doing was muscle testing, Nutrition Response Testing. I left with helpful nutrition advice and a need to know more about Nutrition Response Testing.  Every time I went back, my chiropractor would tell me more and I would leave with my head spinning with excitement realizing this is what nutrition work is supposed to be.  That was February or March of 2010 and by August I was sitting in an introductory course on Nutrition Response Testing in Albany.

When I left that training, I realized I had found my purpose in my career. I didn’t know how I was going to make I happen but I could not rationalize how I would practice nutrition any other way.

What were you doing before that?

I had worked in food service for years; I worked as a nutrition clerk at a hospital in Oneonta while going to school in my late 20’s. This is where I got my introduction to food consistencies and practice talking with patients. While going to school, I volunteered at Upstate Home for Children and Adults and worked in the kitchen.

I currently practice as a Registered Dietician for NY State working with developmentally disabled individuals. I have 20 years of experience in this field and feel very fortunate to work with a clinical team that includes occupational therapists, speech pathologists, behavioral specialists, nurses, doctors and more.  Working with these disciplines over the years, I have learned to look at all of the influences in a person’s life and treat them as a whole person.

Where were you educated?

I have earned two Associates degrees from Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3).  My first degree was in business/accounting, followed by a degree in math/science which lead me to a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta. Following completion of my degree program I completed a 10-month internship at Wilson Hospital in Johnson City, NY and then took the exam to be a Registered Dietitian.

Shortly thereafter, I started my position with NYS and returned to school at Ithaca College to earn a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology.  I wanted to be able to safely prescribe exercise programs in addition to the nutrition piece.

I do believe that when you find your purpose and decide to move in that direction it is as if someone hands you the tickets to get there.  Divine intervention I believe.  That’s how life has felt for the last 20 years.

Where did you get your training for Nutrition Response Testing?

ULAN Nutritional Services in Clearwater, FL. That has been a 6-year process since I work full-time. To complete the training, I flew to Clearwater, FL 4-5 times a year. The training is thorough and very intense including both practice management courses and clinical courses.  Each clinical module, a total of 9, was composed of three full days of training.  Before moving on to the next module we had both written and practical testing to ensure our competency in all the previous teaching.  Exhausting, but so worth it.

I graduated in September 2016.  My goal is to retire this year from New York State and focus on Nutrition Response Testing full-time.  Working full-time in addition to my practice has definitely limited my success.  It is hard to move forward when you are being pulled in different directions.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

Communication is key in having patients understand what Nutrition Response Testing is.  My goal is to have patients understand that this is about lifestyle change and not a quick fix.  It is about getting at the root cause of illness or non-optimum health and not masking symptoms as with medication therapy.  There is no easy way out.  It takes time and commitment, often months or years to heal poor health.  There is hope.  The body will heal if given the right tools.

What are your greatest achievements?

Graduating the Nutrition Response Testing training and trusting the skills I have learned to help people.

After that, it’s all the success stories I have created with my patients. The healing is real

 Are there any stumbling blocks?

Me! I get in my own way. Not putting myself out there enough for fear I can’t handle it all physically and personally. I work full-time and there is some fear of letting go of secure income when you still have a child to help through college. However, when I do put the effort forth, the business does grow.

When I walk into this office after a day of stress, I become invigorated and clear minded almost immediately. So on-purpose. I just have to trust

If you could have a /do-Over, what would that be?

I would begin with Nutrition Response Testing 20 years ago.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Successful in healing with a steady patient flow.  Doing speaking events.  Expanding my practice to focus on detoxification which will help in the prevention and treatment of so many conditions including cancer and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Patients are an inspiration to me. Each patient, with their unique situation pushes me to learn more and to be more effective in helping others.


Sticking To New Year Resolutions Midday Makeover WENY TV

Helene Chaika Faulsold is the owner of Chaika Unlimited, a consulting business that works with businesses, organizations and individuals to help them implement their plan. Helene works especially for businesses and business owners who can relate to the idea of having a business plan written out. I have worked with organizations that have spent a lot of time with strategic planning. I see individuals map out a plan and map out goals for what they want to achieve in a short or long term timeframe. Helene is located at 6171 Camp Meeting Pt., Hector, NY  14841. She may be reached at (607) 351-8024. Her email address is and the website is She is also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

How long have you been in business?

Officially I have been doing this off and on for about 10 years in different ways doing workshops and consulting.

What has been the evolution of you as a business owner. How did you get from there to here?

I have a Master’s Degree in Human Development. I have worked in a variety of settings – research and academic settings working with organizations that support the development of children. In that time period I had also done some consulting with an emphasis in Strategic Planning. We have all been there where we have been in groups and spent a day or two or three mapping out a big strategic plan. A lot of time and effort goes in to ending up with a big document. What I found out was the steps in the document do not get effectively implemented. It dawned on me one day that it is not so much about the planning process but how it goes ahead to strategically implement the plan.

That led me to looking back at the topics I had focused on, particularly in the area of workshops on Establishing Your Vision, Leadership, Communication, Managing Change, Time Management and others. I realized that if everyone was paying attention to my list of 10 items perhaps they would be more able to successfully make their plan happen.

About 10 years ago and moving forward, I began writing individual white papers on each of the 10 items on my list. Once I developed this framework, it was always in the forefront of my mind. At the time, I was also working full-time at other jobs. I also volunteered and was on Boards of Directors. I knew people in the community who were developing businesses. I gained a lot of insight into what was working for people and organizations and what was not.

Some people were more receptive than others. You have to be open to input from other people. You have to observe. You have to listen.  Write it down. It does not mean someone is right or wrong, but take it a face value that someone else might have some insight. I have seen people taking a path with their business that breaks my heart. If they only did this, or changed that things would work out better.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

I struggle with what to call myself. I believe that if I use the word ‘consultant’ people get very turned off. I believe they think I am going to try to sell them something that is going to cost them a lot of money and not have successful results. I find that being involved in the community so people can get to know me better gives people the idea that I am not out to charge them large sums of money for consulting.

I want to help people. I want to work with people and offer them support. I want to offer them my point of view and hope it makes at least some difference.

Has that been working for you?

I find it has. It is better than going out to do the hard sell of everything from advertising or pitches or the other heavy duty marketing strategies. The networking is working best for me.

I’m hearing you work business to business. Do you work with individuals?

Many small businesses are run by individuals. In some cases it may be individuals who are struggling with what they want to do or how they might do it. For example, someone might want to start a jewelry business but are not sure how to incorporate the many skills and talents they have. Also, the line between a business owner and their personal lives is becoming blurred. They might work from home and balancing running a business with operating a household. That may factor into how I might help them.

What has been your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is getting my book wrapped up. I felt it always got put on the back burner. We moved a couple years ago into the family home. That involved downsizing our current home at the time as well as clearing out the current home we are in along with renovations. My husband also very recently retired. All of this comes with disruptions and distractions.

I am looking forward to this year. It is going to be exciting. Finishing this book during all of that was a great achievement.

If you could have a Do-over in anything, what would that be?

There are some things I would do differently. I would not try to do everything myself. One of the biggest things I did was to bring somebody on who helped me with the formatting of the book. That would have been technically challenging for me. I am not up to speed with what seems to be the ever-changing world of technology. Investing in somebody to help me take care of some of that has moved things forward in a much faster way that puts me here now.

I would not take things personally. When you are doing things that are creative and different, that someone has not done before, not everyone thinks it is a brilliant idea! Some people balk at the idea. They might say “Oh, someone already did that”. I would not take that information personally and I deliberately would not surround myself with those people anymore.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to see the book and the workbook (this will be a download) get some recognition. I would want to have the workbook published in a hardcover format. I would like to have something nice for people to write in. A nice touch would be some traveling related to the business, although I don’t foresee that now.

There is also the potential that this book will evolve in a way I cannot predict. That is why I felt the urgency to get this done. Unless you get it done, it is difficult to move on to the next step. I don’t know what part 2 could be at this point.

Medical Reiki Midday Makeover WENY TV

Annah Elizabeth recently completed her certification in Medical Reiki. Here is an update.

What is Medical Reiki™?

Medical Reiki is a modern-day approach to medical needs that incorporates the age-old energy therapy modality, Reiki. It is a program designed for Reiki Masters, one that prepares practitioners in how to safely support clients with Reiki during pre-and-post op procedures, in the operating room, during other medical procedures like chemotherapy and childbirth, and as assistance for the seriously ill or those under hospice care.

Dr. Mehmet Oz named Reiki “energy medicine” while a full-time surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC. Medical Reiki is considered a form of Integrative medicine that treats the body, mind, spirit, and lifestyle aspects.

What is the history of Medical Reiki™?

Raven Keyes first began her foray into the operating room in 2000, when one of her Reiki clients obtained permission from Dr. Mehmet Oz to have Raven accompany her during open heart surgery. Following 9/11, Raven spent eight-and-a-half months offering volunteer Reiki services to the emergency personnel and crews who worked tirelessly to find survivors, remains, and to rebuild the broken city. Keyes later began working with renowned breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Sheldon Mark Feldman who is the current Director of Breast Cancer Services at Montefiore and Einstein. Though many benefits of the energy therapy during surgery were noted, one standout is a plastic surgeon’s discussion on how the tissue remained warm during the hours-long breast cancer surgery, thus making his work much more effective and efficient. Raven and Dr. Feldman are pioneering a research study of how Reiki therapy helps surgeries run more smoothly and patients to recover more fully and quickly.

How did you come to do this work?

As a Healing Specialist™, my goal is to provide academic and alternative based programs and services that will allow me to meet the unique needs of each of my clients and I always have my eyes and ears open for fresh programs I can bring to our area. While volunteering as an Integrated energy Therapy practitioner at the 2017 Compassionate Friends conference in Orlando, I met Reiki Master volunteer, Carolyn Fowler. An instant bond was formed over dinner. When Carolyn began talking about this class that she was hosting in Sarasota, FL, I knew this would be a great service to bring to the Southern Tier.

What’s next for you?

I am in the process of introducing this new service to our regional medical institutions and support programs. There are so many areas where our program can be of value, from those who have fears of going to a dentist to providing support to anyone suffering anxiety over any medically-related procedure. I’m excited about the potential of collaborating with local surgeons, doctors and nurses to bring this cutting edge support practice to our area. As one of the program’s certified Medical Reiki Masters™, I may also have the opportunity to participate in the Feldman-Keyes research project, currently based in Manhattan, in various ways.

As we speak I’m working on my second book and hope to begin the submission process next spring. I will continue to offer personal coaching, Reiki and IET energy therapy sessions and training certificate classes, and am increasing the specialized workshops for individuals, community organizations and corporations who want to bring conflict and grief management services to their people. I have recently located to a larger office in the Strathmont building, which will allow me to better serve my clients. I am now in suite 416.

Annah Elizabeth may be reached at (607) 288-3483, through email at, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. You may also visit the website at


Five Facets of Healing Midday Makeover WENY TV

Posted on June 2, 2017 by admin

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, on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You may also visit the website at

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.