FOLLANSBEE - Area residents seeking a tan and teens preparing for their high school proms are invited to stop by Honey's Tanning Salon and Formal Dresses, said owner Helen "Honey" Hedmond.
Located at 817 Main St. (state Route 2), the business offers two tanning beds, a line of sunless tanning products and an assortment of prom and homecoming dresses sold on consignment.
"As sort of an experiment, I ran an ad seeking formal gowns," Hedmond said, adding she was surprised when the ad yielded 60 gowns in sizes ranging from 4 to 20.
VARIETY OF DRESSES — Helen “Honey” Hedmond holds one of the many used prom and homecoming dresses she sells on consignment at her new business, Honey’s Tanning Salon and Formal Dresses, at 817 Main St., Follansbee.
— Warren Scott
She noted prom and homecoming dresses often are worn just once, so the gowns are in very good condition.
Available for $25 and up, the dresses are an affordable alternative for families on tight budgets, and she is offering a discount through February and possibly longer, as prom season approaches.
Hedmond added there is a dressing room with mirrors where customers may try on the various dresses.
Hedmond said a large number of women and men have come to her business for the tanning beds. She believes many of them are missing the sunny days of summer.
Appointments may be made by calling (304) 527-7090, but walk-ins are welcome. Those interested in selling formal dresses on consignment also are encouraged to call Hedmond.
Honey's Tanning Salon and Formal Dresses currently is open from noon to 6 p.m. weekdays and noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays, but Hedmond has plans to expand the hours as spring nears.
The business is a new venture for a woman who has many years' experience in public service.
Hedmond operated a floral business, first from her home and later at two sites on Main Street, including her current location, for more than 20 years.
She began serving the public as a teen, working as a cashier at a soda fountain at the former People's Drugstore in town.
"Those were the good old days. That's where everybody met," Hedmond said.
She also was employed by two other former Follansbee businesses: DiMichele's Cleaners and Reiner's Department Store, where she worked on window displays.
She started the floral business with house parties, similar to those popularized by Tupperware, where she displayed arrangements, wreaths and other products featuring artificial flowers.
She gradually began working with real flowers in her own shop on Main Street.
Seven years ago she decided to retire from the floral business to travel with Jack, her husband of 50 years. The two made a cross-country trip to California, where she visited her father, a retired postmaster and World War II veteran.
Hedmond also became involved with A Child's Place Court-Appointed Special Advocates, a nonprofit group that trains volunteers to represent the interests of children involved in abuse and neglect cases in Brooke and Hancock counties.
She also has worked with other members of St. Anthony Catholic Church in providing backpacks filled with food to children in need at Jefferson Primary School.
She noted the church is among several that have started backpack programs at area schools.
"It's wonderful what these churches do through these programs but sad that they are needed," Hedmond said.
Despite the volunteer work, Hedmond missed interacting with the public on a daily basis, so she decided to go back into business but with something different.
"I like working with people, all kinds," she said.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)