Optimistic businesses buck the odds

Despite a bad economy, local shops open or expand in '09
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Against all odds, some bold entrepreneurs have opted to open or expand a local business in 2009. Maddison Bell, 24, opened Minx Salon and Spa in October. The beauty salon is located in the old Doc Barnes building on Horseshoe Bar Road. “I’ve been stimulating the economy. I’ve been buying things for the salon,” Bell said. Bell has Loomis ties that go back two generations. Her grandmother Lorna Festersen (nee Matteson), who lives in Granite Bay, graduated from Del Oro High School in 1967 and was a songleader and homecoming queen. Bell said that five years ago she moved to Loomis from the San Francisco Bay Area and rented a home on Laird Road. “I fell in love with Loomis,” she said. “I knew I either wanted to live here or have a business here.” Bell said the salon she’d worked at and managed in Rocklin closed, so she decided to open her own. She said she wanted to have her salon in a Victorian-era type structure and had been looking around when she found the Doc Barnes building. According to Bell, a year and a half ago her industry was hit hard with the flagging economy. She said haircut services were spared because “most people can’t cut their own hair.” Customer Janice Ferrante gives rave reviews about Bell. “She does the best color I’ve had,” Ferrante said. Bell said she was voted favorite hairdresser for two years in a row for Loomis and Rocklin in Gold Country Media’s Best of the Best contest. “I think it’s a good time to open your own business. In a lot of places rent is cheaper. You can get work done for less now,” she said. Black Bear Outdoors on Taylor Road opened in February. Dan Abdon and his sons Tate and Blaire pooled their talents to fulfill a dream to have a family business. Tate Abdon handles the sales at the shop and said, “Things are going really well for us.” He also sees a lot of advantages to opening a business in a slumped economy. “The economy has worked to our advantage. Prices on foreign-made stuff jumped 20 to 25% this year. American product prices became better. So, our products are American-made with better prices and quality,” he said. He said the down economy also enabled them to make smaller minimum orders on products. “We’ve been able to bring in products now we couldn’t have gotten at any other time,” Abdon said. According to Abdon, they are so diversified that they’ve filled a lot of niches for people. He said they are the only local store for fishing, bikes, paintball, disc golf and ski and snowboard repair. “Our customers love that they don’t have to travel far. We basically have the same prices as the big stores,” he said. In November, Black Bear Outdoors became the first recipient of a business loan from the Town of Loomis. Abdon said they used the $50,000 loan to purchase inventory at reduced winter prices. He said they will be able to pass the discounts on to customers. “We’ll be able to go into summer with a full store,” he said. High-Hand Nursery is another business unafraid of expanding during a tough economy. Owner Scott Paris has opened a flower market that sells fresh flower arrangements and affordable potted plants and gift items. Paris also recently completed a new parking lot for his successful Conservatory restaurant. In fall, The Tin Thimble, previously located in Newcastle, moved into High-Hand’s packing shed. The shop specializes in vintage and new sewing items, hand-dyed wool, hand-sewn items and classes on sewing, embroidery and felting.