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Since 2003, Baker Tree Services has operated out of Lewistown, but they recently relocated to 147 Water Street in Thurmont and celebrated their grand re-opening at their new home.

“We were getting a little too big to operate out of our home in Lewistown,” said Carolyn Baker. “We also wanted to be able to separate our business and home life better.”

She and her husband, Glen “Eric” Baker, originally started as landscapers, but they started working exclusively with trees in 2003.

“It has more profit, and we liked the work better,” said Carolyn.

Baker Tree Services can do tree removal, tree pruning, stump grinding, and lot clearing. The work is done by trained experts. Eric is a Maryland Tree Expert, an ISA Certified Arborist, and holds the CTSP (Certified Tree Care Safety Professional) certification. Additional employees are licensed as well.

Carolyn says their employees are professionals who take pride in their work and do a great clean-up of their work sites. The crews follow American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards practices for proper pruning, which insures that only proper cuts will be made.

Baker Tree Services employs eighteen people and runs three to five crews, depending on the need. They work primarily in Frederick County but will also go into any of the surrounding counties if needed.

On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, the Town of Thurmont held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Baker Tree Services, Inc. to welcome Carolyn and Eric Baker to the Thurmont business community.

They can be reached at 800-383-4595 or Check out their advertisement on page 19.

The Town of Thurmont welcomes Baker Tree Services, Inc. to its new location on 147 Water Street in Thurmont with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 6, 2018. Owners, Carolyn and Eric Baker are pictured next to Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird (holding the certificate) to his left.

James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont’s business community put its best foot forward on Saturday, April 28, 2018, with its annual Thurmont Business Showcase. Forty local businesses and nonprofits set up tables in the Thurmont Ambulance Events Complex to introduce members of the community to what they each offer.

Brittney Rebert of Sabillasville said, “I like to come and look at new businesses I didn’t know about.”

She was one of the many attendees who steadily streamed into the event complex and wandered around the room, table to table. They could view veterinarians, artisans, restaurants, home businesses, and funeral homes.

This year was the first time that Michele Maze set up a table at the Showcase. She moved to Thurmont in 2016, and she supported the Showcase to be a part of the community. It also gave her the opportunity to show her business,  Seven Dragonflies Studio, to the community.

“I like to paint and personalize glassware,” Maze said. “I’ll paint anything. It’s a challenge.”

Many of the businesses were also handing out samples or swag, which the children enjoyed. The Thurmont Ambulance Company offered food and drink.

Pansy Stottlemyer of Sabillasville came to the show with her family. She particularly enjoyed looking at the samples from one of the jewelry vendors. “I love coming to this thing every year,” she said. “I like to see the businesses, but I also get to see people who I haven’t seen in a while.”

This is the Showcase’s second year at the Event Complex, and it is one of the oldest events that Thurmont Main Street sponsors. It was an event that helped Thurmont get its Main Street designation. The designation opens Thurmont up to getting help to improve its economy and the appearance of the business district.

For more information about Thurmont Main Street, visit

Seton Center, Inc.’s Outreach Office and Seton Family Store are scheduled to open their new facility at 226 East Lincoln Avenue in Emmitsburg on Monday, June 11, 2018. Founded in 1969, Seton Center was established in the former Mother Seton School by the Daughters of Charity at the request of the three mothers in the Emmitsburg area. These hard-working women faced a need for quality daycare, which could enable them to work and support their families while their children received safe, adequate care and developmental enrichment. In 1970, the licensed Seton Day Care was opened, followed by the addition of social and nationally-recognized educational services. The Thrift Store also opened in 1970, which is now called Seton Family Store.

The original building at 16840 South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg was constructed in 1956. It has long outlasted its predicted life span of ten years. Seton Center is excited to begin using its new facility, an environmentally- and user-friendly space from which it will continue to serve Northern Frederick County.

The Daughters of Charity and Seton Center are grateful for all the firms and trades who worked to complete construction of the new building in record time: Morgan-Keller Construction, CJL Engineering, Frederick, Seibert & Associates, Inc., MSB Architects of Hagerstown and their interior designer, Raquel Orsini. The project produced a new 13,000-square-foot building that will house the Outreach Office, Seton Family Store, and a large meeting room for presentations of all kinds. All those visiting Seton Center will enter through the main front entrance. Once inside the building, Outreach Office visitors will enter a door on the left. The interior entrance to the Seton Family Store will be straight ahead.

Today, Seton Center’s Outreach Office continues to offer hope to under-resourced neighbors by offering a wide range of services and programs, from short-term assistance with financial needs to life-changing programs for long-term success. Emergency material assistance, referrals, Build Your Resource workshops, and the Getting Ahead and DePaul Dental programs all offer temporary relief and substantial opportunities for systemic change. The Outreach Office hours will remain the same: Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., closing for lunch daily from noon-1:00 p.m.

Seton Family Store will also continue to offer a reputable place to donate pre-loved items that are then sold at low-cost to the community. Because the Daughters of Charity provide for the operational costs of Seton Center, 100 percent of Family Store sale proceeds directly fund the Outreach Office programs and services. In the new location, the Family Store will no longer be separated into multiple rooms, but will offer one bright, open and updated space to shop for bargains. The schedule for retail sales will remain the same as well, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Donations are no longer accepted at the South Seton Avenue location. Beginning June 12, the community is welcomed to bring donations of good, clean clothing, household goods, and collectibles to the 226 Lincoln Avenue site, Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. When coming to donate items, donors will enter the new driveway, bear right, then follow the signs along the driveway around to the left, to the back of the building. Donors will stop under a covered drop-off area and ring the doorbell for a staff person or volunteer to greet them and accept their items.

For more information or to support their mission, visit Seton Center’s website at, follow them on Facebook at Seton Family Store and Seton Center Outreach Office, send an e-mail to, or call 301-447-6102.

Elizabeth Swindells

Rhonda Brown grew up in a hair salon. Her mother is a retired hairdresser, so she and her sister spent a lot of time watching their mother do hair. After Rhonda graduated from beauty school and received her license, she assisted her mother in her salon.

Rhonda then moved around a bit, but after settling down in Maryland, she went back to school to become licensed in this state.

She worked at a few mom-and-pop salons and rented a booth at other salons, but she felt something was missing. Something was not right. She saw how others ran their salon, but with the precedent her mother set on how to best manage a salon, she decided she wanted to open her own. Rhonda’s focus for her salon is the “entire experience.”

“You don’t just go into the salon to get your hair done. You go into the salon…and sometimes we are the [client’s] therapist. We listen to them. We don’t talk over them. We are there to pamper them; this may be the only time that they have,” expressed Rhonda.

Rhonda loves what she does. She loves to make women feel pampered and beautiful. Her motto is “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good!” Her goal is to ensure the entire experience is enjoyable.

Images of U Hair Studio offers men’s and women’s hair cuts, hair color, nail care, perms, shaves, and so much more. Her shop is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Images of U Hair Studio is located at 224 N. Church Street in Thurmont. Check out her website at for more information and for specials. To make your salon appointment today for the “entire experience,” call 240- 288-1847.

The Town of Thurmont held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 27, 2018, to welcome new business, Images of U Hair Studio, to Thurmont.

Elizabeth Swindells

Danny Hanagan of Spike’s Auto Care & Tire is a Mt. Airy, Maryland native. He moved to Emmitsburg to be closer to the second Spike’s Auto Care location that he has recently opened on North Seton Avenue.

He purchased the current property about a year and a half ago and has been steadily working on it. Danny’s dad, Spike, owns the original Spike’s Auto Care in Mt. Airy. However, the original location is managed by Danny’s brother. Spike’s is a very close-knit, family-oriented business. One could say that auto maintenance and mechanics runs in the family.

Danny grew up working on vehicles, and quickly became an important part of “the family business.” Both locations offer air-conditioning repair; batteries; air filters; belts and hoses; brake repair; cooling system repair; driveline repair; electrical systems; engine diagnostics; fluid inspection; headlight restoration; lift kits; muffler repair; oil changes; preventative maintenance; suspension repair; tire balancing; installation; rotation and repair; transmission care; tune-ups; and windshield wiper blade installation. Spike’s is also a certified Maryland inspection site. They literally do it all!

Danny’s location currently consists of two bays, but he intends to expand in the future. As a local-oriented small-business owner, Danny is adamant about supporting local businesses and the community in which he serves. For the remainder of the year, Danny is offering $25.00 standard oil changes to Mount St. Mary’s students, with I.D. Walk-ins are always welcome.

Spike’s Auto Care & Tire is located at 17307 North Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg. Spike’s is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Saturday, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Spike’s is closed on Sundays.

Check out for additional information or give them a call at 301-447-4734.

Photo by Elizabeth Swindells

Elizabeth Swindells

Megan Purtell has been a business-savvy dog-lover since she started her own dog-walking business at just eight years old. As a dog lover, Megan started fostering dogs out of the Washington, D.C. area about five years ago. In that time, she has fostered over one hundred dogs!

After those dogs found their “forever homes,” the current owners would frequently ask Megan to look after the dogs when they went on vacation. They trusted Megan, and the dogs were familiar and comfortable with her. Word spread like wild fire that Megan was keeping dogs, and after two years, it became a full-time job, thus “Beagle Bed & Breakfast” was born.

Megan quit her full-time job as an executive assistant, and originally purchased property in Frederick to house all of the dogs, to provide doggie day-care services, as well as overnight boarding. After only a year in business at the Frederick location, she was already searching for another, larger property. At the beginning of April 2018, she relocated her business on 15.5 acres in Emmitsburg to accommodate her ever-growing “clientail.” The property has enough acreage, and then some, to house two large-gated dog runs—one for smaller dogs, and one for larger dogs. To accommodate her guests that live in Frederick and the surrounding areas, a shuttle goes out every morning to pick them up and take them back for a small fee. There are four pick-up and drop-off locations on weekdays. However, they will “go the extra mile” and pick up any dog, anywhere, for a small mileage fee all seven days a week.

Megan calls this new location “Freedom Farm” for a few reasons. First, because there are no kennels or crates. The dogs are FREE to roam wherever they wish—inside or out. The dogs are free to sleep wherever they get comfortable, whether that be a couch, a dog bed, a mattress, and so on.

“Freedom Farm” also represents a second chance and a fresh start for the dogs that she continues to foster. She works with a few great rescue organizations out of the D.C. area that pull dogs from kill shelters all around the tri-state area. Megan and Beagle Bed & Breakfast show no discrimination whatsoever when it comes to boarders. They are accepting of all breeds, ages, ailments, or disabilities. The only requirements to stay are up-to-date vaccines and a temperament test to assure that the boarder is not aggressive.

Megan and her staff of “dog wranglers” are dog first-aid and CPR certified. They have all had extensive training in dog safety and behavior management.

An average day at the Beagle Bed & Breakfast starts out with breakfast for overnight guests. All dogs are fed separately. Then they begin the day by greeting daycare dogs. The dogs have free time for a few hours between the backyard and indoor areas, depending on the weather. The dogs are able to play with staff, toys, pools, playhouse equipment, and each other. A snack or lunch is served to those who have brought their own. Dogs who are not participating in lunch continue to play. Beagle Bed & Breakfast requires guests to bring their own food, so as to not upset any tummies by switching food. After lunchtime, the dogs settle down for an afternoon nap. Following some quiet time, play continues while the daycare dogs begin to go home.

Dinner is then served for those guests staying the night and to the daycare dogs that brought their own dinner. Dinner is followed by some more play time and free time to do whatever it is they wish to do. There is one more potty break before bed time. Dogs are free to sleep wherever they wish. Then the day starts all over again!

Dog parents are able to view a live video stream and the staff at Beagle Bed & Breakfast take frequent pictures throughout the day to post on Facebook and Instagram. Those photos are uploaded into each individual dogs’ Facebook folder. Owners are able to access the folder and webcam footage to see what their “babies” have been up to throughout the day.

Beagle Bed & Breakfast is a great facility for dogs living in apartments, dogs with disabilities, dogs who have separation anxiety, dogs with ailments that require daily medication and supervision, dogs that have extensive energy, and dogs who otherwise would spend a long time at home alone. The dogs are always having a good time, and staff members genuinely love their jobs. All questions, contact information, and rates, as well as shuttle times and locations, can be found at or check out their advertisement on page 12.

Beagle Bed & Breakfast owner, Megan Purtell, enjoys some outside porch time with her beagle “buddies.”

Photo by Valyrie Ellis of The BaileyGroup Maryland Realty, LLC

For years, Cindy Zeller traveled to Frederick and Columbia to help provide quality healthcare to people in those communities. That all changed this year, when she opened Brighter Futures Pediatric and Lactation Services in Woodsboro.

“I wanted to provide pediatric care in the northern part of the county, because we don’t have pediatricians up here,” Zeller said.

Zeller is a licensed nurse practitioner, who found her calling in pediatric care. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with training in sick care, plus advanced training and education in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses.

“We have different credentials, but we can do pretty much everything doctors do,” Zeller said.

Indeed, some studies have shown that nurse practitioners can do about 80 percent of what doctors do.

Zeller became a nurse in 1983, and when she got a job in a Frederick pediatric practice, she realized that was what she wanted to specialize in. She became a nurse practitioner in 1994, working first in Frederick and then in Columbia, but she always wanted to provide pediatric care closer to her home. “I’d much rather come here to work, where the services are needed, than travel somewhere else.”

A big hold up was that Maryland used to require a nurse practitioner to have physician oversight in order to see patients. The state changed the law in 2015, allowing nurse practitioners to operate independently.

In her new practice, Zeller sees patients up to twenty-one years old. She offers primary care, prevention and wellness, school/sports physicals, immunizations, newborn exams, lactation consultations, and consultations on other medical conditions.

“I want to be able to give my patients more personal care,” expressed Zeller.

Zeller started work on creating her own practice last June. One of the time-consuming tasks was making sure she was credentialed to work with different insurance companies.

Brighter Futures offers walk-in hours for acutely sick patients, but everyone else should call for an appointment.

Brighter Futures Pediatrics and Lactation Services is located at 10200 Coppermine Road, Suite 101, Woodsboro, MD. For more information, call 301-304-9390 or visit

Examination room at Cindy Zeller’s new practice, Brighter Futures.

Courtesy Photo

Elizabeth Swindells

In honor of its 30th anniversary, we visited Total Vac in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Total Vac’s owner, Sam Long, shared some insight about how he got started and how he has continued to stay in business, despite the changing buying habits of customers.

Sam is a Waynesboro-native. Back in the seventies, he worked for Grove Cranes. When the recession hit in the early eighties, he was laid off from the crane company. In May of 1983, he answered a help wanted ad. It turned out to be a sales position for Kirby Vacuums. He described himself as a blue jean, t-shirt farm boy, who never dreamed of selling vacuums. However, out of necessity, he gave it a go. He went door-to-door selling Kirby Vacuums for five years prior to opening Total Vac. To date, he has a total of thirty-five years in the vacuum business.

When Walmart opened, many businesses closed. Small business owners were afraid that they would succumb to the retail giant. With Walmart and Lowes within walking distance of his shop, you know that there has to be something special that sets Sam apart from the big superstores. That something is the personalized experience. Sam genuinely cares about his customers. “You’ve just got to talk to people, like I’m talking to you. The biggest thing is you need to be honest about things. I never believed in the high pressure ‘you gotta sell it to sell it’ approach. I was raised that you just don’t cheat people and take advantage of them. If people like you and trust you, they will believe you and you will sell your product,” said Sam. “It’s not just about making a buck. I care about my people. That’s just how I run my business.”

Sam goes above and beyond to ensure his customers are not only satisfied, but happy with the product. He wants to make sure that they can use it and that the product is doing a good job. There is no such thing as a dumb question to Sam. He is happy to help, and expressed that he “has always believed in helping people.”

Total Vac carries a very large selection of vacuums from various manufactures, including Titan, Simplicity, Carpet Pros, Hoover, Eureka, Bissell, and Miele. Among those brands are more than fifty models from which to choose.

Total Vac repairs and services vacuums. In doing so, Sam houses an eclectic inventory of repair parts for different brands and models. Total Vac doesn’t just sell and service vacuums, they also sell carpet extractors, hand vacs, carpet cleaners, pet stain remover, and pet hair lifters. Carpet shampoo units are available for rental; central vacuum systems are sold, installed, and serviced by Total Vac.

In closing, we asked Sam what his most memorable encounter was. He couldn’t just pinpoint one single moment. To him, great moments happen daily. “What makes me happy, what makes me feel good, is helping people. I know I’m achieving my goal of taking care of people. That’s what makes the memorable experience. Any time a customer leaves happy and satisfied, it is a memorable experience for all parties involved.”

Total Vac is located at 11113 Buchanan Trail East in Waynesboro. Store hours are Mondays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. You can reach Total Vac at 717-765-4615.

Owner Sam Long, is shown in Total Vac, located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Swindells

Thurmont town officials were on hand on Saturday, January 20, 2018, for the official ribbon-cutting for the new business Nu-Way Master Dry Cleaners at 12 E. Main Street in Thurmont. Thurmont’s location is the sixth location opened by owner, Ascohi Kassabian. The successful, family-owned and operated business already has bustling locations in Waynesboro, Greencastle, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, as well as two convenient locations to service our military personnel, one is located inside Carlisle Barracks Military Base and the other is located with-in Fort Detrick. Nu-Way is so proud to serve those who serve us by ensuring that our servicemen always look their best in clean and pressed uniforms.

Ascohi has twenty-two years of experience, providing customers with quality services and a very friendly staff. In addition to dry-cleaning, Nu-Way offers a wash-and-fold laundry service, uniform cleaning, uniform tailoring, clothing alterations, clothing repairs, shoe repair, leather care, suede care, linens, garment weaving, wedding gown cleaning, and more! On one occasion, a woman brought in a gown that, over the course of forty years, had yellowed. Nu-Way staff members were able to restore the color and, in-turn, restore the gown’s former beauty! Do not forget to ask them about their preservation services. Also, for your convenience, Nu-way offers pick-up and drop-off services to both residential and commercial locations at no extra cost.

With competitive rates, an astoundingly quick turn-around time, and an attention-to-detail that goes unmatched, you would be right to trust your business with Nu-Way. Be sure to check out their website at, which offers details on locations, store hours, contact information, rates, and coupons.

In Thurmont, Nu-Way is open from 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. They are also open Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Nu-Way is closed on Sundays. Call the Thurmont location at 240-288-7163 with any questions.

Pictured are Makayla Eibert, Katy Bowers, Ascohi Kassabian, and Carol Manns.

In small towns, businesses sometimes come and go. Times change, people move. It’s a special thing when a business can set up shop and serve a community and its people for generations, which is why we are happy to announce that, after thirty-seven years of faithfully serving our community, Bonita Smith of J&B Real Estate is stepping down as owner/broker and passing the reigns into the very qualified hands of long-time local agent, Cindy Grimes.

J&B opened its doors in 1981, when Jim and Bonita Smith, who both had their real estate licenses in Howard County, moved back to their hometown of Thurmont. Bonita Feeser and Jim Smith, of the Hillside Turkey Farm Smiths, met in school and graduated from Thurmont High School. Noticing a lack of real estate options in the area, they decided to move back home. Now, after running a successful business for decades, Bonita, though not retiring, intends to free up some time for gardening, traveling, and taking care of her chickens.

You might recognize Cindy Grimes as a familiar face around the area. Cindy started as a salesperson with J&B in December of 2006, received her Associate Broker license in April 2017, and became a broker in December of 2017. This allowed the transition to be finalized, and Cindy took ownership on January 1, 2018. Bonita will continue to be a presence around the office, assuming the role of associate broker.

Having been a part of the industry and the area for so many years, Cindy has great respect for both the community and the people in it. She knows how valuable it is to build and maintain an honest, hardworking reputation as a local business, and is grateful to have had the opportunity to do so.

About the transition, she said, “Without the extraordinary support of the community, my family and friends, I would not be where I am today. I am so thankful for all of my clients—past, present, and future. Referrals are a large part of my business and that means the world to me. I look forward to continuing the standard of service everyone has come to expect from J&B Real Estate.”

Despite being a small-town agent, Cindy sold 15.2 million in real estate in 2017. That is an impressive total, especially when looking at it from the perspective that she is serving clients who live in, or are moving to, small towns or rural areas. She works hard for her clients. “I am vested in my clients and care about their real estate experience. I want to make sure they enjoy a smooth transaction.”

Regarding the future of the business, Cindy is optimistic. Currently, J&B is licensed in both Maryland and Pennsylvania, with six agents in the office. Cindy plans to expand the team, both by bringing in new agents, as well as growing the area in which they do business.

Cindy shared that there are some pending changes within the profession that will streamline things for realtors in the future. This will carry through to clients being more informed and enjoying an even easier real estate buying or selling experience. By staying in touch with modern trends, training, and information, Cindy hopes to make J&B an attractive option for realtors looking to grow and develop their own careers.

For more information about J&B or to contact them, visit their offices at 13 ½ Water Street in Thurmont, call 301-271-3487 x 24 or 301-788-5354, or visit

J&B Real Estate has been a long-standing advertiser in The Catoctin Banner. We greatly appreciate their support.

Cindy Grimes and Bonita Smith of J&B Real Estate.

Cindy Waynant (pictured right), proprietor of Salon Soleil at 1B East Main Street in Thurmont now offers spray tanning, in addition to traditional tanning bed tanning.

Cindy is happy to offer the spray tan alternative. She said, “I’ve used a tanning bed all of my adult life with no ill effects, but it’s important to offer the spray tan alternative with all of the negative publicity that tanning beds get.”

Tanning beds are still recommended for psoriasis and eczema by dermatologists. They are also handy to fight the winter blues with light therapy.

Spray tans need to be maintained and will last over a week. Cindy offers three levels of spray tans: light, dark, and darker. Wedding parties who need a consistent tanned look for a group often use the spray tan option for quick event prep.

Cindy plans to add a massage therapist and nail technicians to her salon. If you have interest, please inquire for more information. Salon hours are subject to change depending on the season. Fall hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

Email or call 301-271-4100 for more information.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

The girls of local Girl Scout Troop 81178 are excited to be the first to benefit from the sale of official Girl Scout Merchandise (GSM) in Thurmont. Hillary Rothrock, troop co-leader and owner of J. Rothrock Outfitters, has been granted a contract with GSM to sell uniform necessities, journeys, fun accessories, and other official Girl Scout gear.

“This is a big win for our community,” said Rothrock. She explains that up until now, local girls had to travel to the Girl Scout Shop in Germantown or order online. The time and cost involved was deterring families from joining, because unless a leader was willing to source the uniform for the girls, busy parents were finding it difficult to get on board. “This way we can offer a one-stop-shop for girls to get into scouting. We have many amazing local troops, led by active leaders, for girls of all ages and interests, and now they can come into the shop and speak with someone who has been in the organization for five years and buy exactly what they need.”

J. Rothrock Outfitters is so dedicated that they have created a Scout Room within their shop that caters to the specific needs of children in scouts and/or who enjoy the great outdoors with their families. They take consignment, in addition to carrying a selection of new gear, so you never quite know what you might find. “It’s exciting when someone walks in looking for that one special item and we have it in.” said Rothrock. “We enjoy the service we provide our community.”

Have a scout or are interested in getting your family involved? You can stop in to J. Rothrock Outfitters at 3 East Main Street in Thurmont, on Thursday through Monday until 6:00 p.m., or give them a call at 301- 842-7231. They can also be found on Facebook or visit their website at www.


Brownie Girl Scouts from Troop 81178 (from left)Nova Rothrock, Paige-Marie Woods, Ily Rothrock, Alice Harrison & Maria Perella enjoy the Scout Room at J. Rothrock Outfitters in Thurmont.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Sharon Edmondson (pictured right) became a certified hypnotherapist in 2001. Around that time, while visiting Dr. John Hagemann at the Center of Life Chiropractic Center, he shared his vision of The Center of Life Holistic Center that has since come to be. Sharon’s hypnotherapy office is now open in the Holistic Center, located at 103 Park Lane in Thurmont.

She currently has a clinical certification in trans-personal hypnotherapy, where she engages mind, body, and spirit. To prepare for a session, Sharon works with each client to develop a plan to achieve goals during the therapy.

Formerly a food and beverage manager, turned event planner, Sharon just received an advanced hypnotherapy certification and will complete her master’s certificate to allow for a broader range of therapies. Therapies range from relief from addiction, to past life regression, smoking addiction, weight loss, pain relief, stress relief, ending bad habits, and a relief from obsessive compulsive tendencies. “These are all learned behaviors,” she explained, “We aren’t born with these behaviors. Hypnosis helps us to allow a healthy behavior to replace the harmful behavior.”

When hypnotized, a person simply achieves a very deep level of relaxation with a focused intent. It is not a trance. You are always in control with hypnosis. You can always come out of the relaxed state. A hypnotherapist gives positive suggestions to implement the change. Sometimes it takes a few sessions to interrupt a behavior. You need to reinforce the suggestions to make them stick.

Sharon, herself, was a patient of hypnosis for her smoking addiction. It took about three sessions to change the behavior, but she never went back. Hypnosis didn’t change the situation, it changed the way she reacted to the situation. She has never needed more hypnosis sessions for smoking. She said, “Once it takes, you’re good.”

Sharon recommends a package of three sessions. During the first session, the client is usually nervous and focused on what the hypnotherapist is saying, therefore not relaxed yet. But the second time, the client is more relaxed and focused on fixing the behavior. In the third session, the client reinforces what has been learned.

Many people can’t identify a specific problem like an obvious addiction. Be assured, you don’t have to know what’s wrong, just your direction. Together with Sharon, you can achieve even the ambiguous by identifying the end goal. Your subconscious mind wants what’s best for you. Hypnosis talks to your subconscience mind while the logical mind is in an altered relaxed state.

In comparison to the group weight-loss or smoking cessation, hypnotherapists you may see advertised at local hotels for group sessions, Sharon said, “Nine out of ten people in a group setting don’t get it. That leaves ninety out of a hundred thinking hypnotherapy will not work, that it’s a circus act.”

For clients under a doctor’s care, hypnosis can help to compliment a doctor’s regimen. Pain in our bodies tells us that something isn’t right. So, a client may say to Sharon, “Here’s what my doctor said…” and share the diagnosis so she can specifically set goals for relief. A ten-year-old girl with irritable bowel syndrome was her most significant success so far in her career.

There are package discounts, new customer discounts, and referral discounts. If you currently see Dr. John, or any of the massage therapists at Center of Life, you will receive a discount. “I want this to be affordable to many,” she explained. “I just love the holistic avenues. We can help so many.”

To contact Milestones Hypnosis, reference the ad on page 8, visit, call 240-674-3071, or email

Hoping to get some relief from a pain or injury? What about improving your cardiovascular health and reducing stress and anxiety? Maybe a good night’s rest is what you are trying to find. Floating is an increasingly popular form of therapy that can help. And, it’s much more exciting than going to the doctor’s office or standing in the prescription line.

The Time Out Float Center will be located at 224 N. Church Street in the Thurmont Plaza. The projected opening is January, and with the holidays coming up, owner Michael Blevins, wants folks to be in the know because he’s offering a pre-opening member sign-up special: a FREE float session. It’s as simple visiting the website and signing up.

Blevins grew up in Thurmont. A dog trainer, steam fitter, and paint welder by trade, he has shifted his life’s goals, as a result of a spiritual awakening that took place for him about eighteen years ago. Now, he has clear direction to help other people and has attended the Monroe Institute in Virginia for training. He has also completed an apprenticeship at the Chrystal Waters Float Spa in Tolle, Utah.

By opening the float center, he is creating a facility where his clients can work to achieve desired results in many different areas of their lives. You can simply lie back in the magical waters of the float pod and receive the wonderful healing properties of the Epson salts.

In addition to float therapy, Time Out Float Center will provide light journeys by Lucia no3 and the Pandora star. Both are hypnogogic light machines, capable of inducing altered states of consciousness. A special type of audio guidance called Hemispherical Synchronization® (Hemi-Sync for short), engineered and patent by the Monroe institute in Virginia, can be used for your light journey or your floating experience. It’s like meditation on steroids.

When someone chooses to go inside and do some work on themselves, for whatever reason, it helps to have some tools in your backpack that you can use. Floating and the light journey, combined with the audio guidance called Hemispherical Synchronization®, gives the user a brand new set of tools that they might not know exist. At that point, the possibilities are endless!

Michael is the only light therapy service center in the state of Maryland. There are only thirty-five light therapy providers in the United States.

The Center’s space will be fully renovated, with six tank rooms that have showers. A restroom is located outside of the room. The float takes place in a highly concentrated Epson Salt bath, in a big fiberglass tank that has a lid.

When you enter the Time Out Float Center, a receptionist logs you in, walks you to the room, and explains what to do during the float. You shower before you enter the tank, so you don’t get oils in the tank, and you shower when you get out of the tank, so you don’t leave with salt residue on you.

A chemical injection pump cleans the tank water between clients. Shampoo, conditioner, soap dispensers, and towels are provided. When finished in the tank room, you exit the room after dressing to free it up for the next person. A styling room is the next stop, where you can do your hair, etc.

The benefits of these therapies are many, including relaxation, meditation, relief from pain, faster recovery from injury, improved sleep and mood.

Everyone is a potential customer at the Float Center. The customer just has to have the intent to stop feeling bad and start feeling healthy and happy. Anything is possible. Start the healing process and feel the layers of stress fall away. It’s up to you. It’s always been up to you.

For more information, view their ad on the back cover, visit, email, or call 240-549-4019.

Michael Blevins is shown in front of his Time Out Float vehicle, equipped to transport wheelchair-bound individuals to give them access to float therapy services.