Two new business owners in downtown Hagerstown celebrated a grand opening Wednesday afternoon and said they are excited about doing business in the city even though other business owners have expressed concerns about the future of downtown.
Vickie Hrabal, owner of Oak Hill Interior Design, and Mark Wishnow, owner of Wish Kitchens & Baths, cut ribbons to signal their new ventures during a 4:30 p.m. ceremony at their shared location at 114 North Potomac St.
Wishnow said he and Hrabal had worked together at another kitchen business. Hrabal said she was laid off in 2009 when the economy started struggling and decided to open her own business, which specializes in kitchen and bath design, custom furniture, flooring, lighting and plumbing fixtures and window and wall treatments.
Wish Kitchens & Baths offers cabinetry and granite and marble products.
Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts and other city officials attended the ceremony and Gysberts said it is important to recognize businesses who invest in the city.
Hrabal said she and her husband Craig moved from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to Hagerstown about six years ago when her husband was transferred here because of his job with the federal government.
Hrabal said she and her husband liked the architecture of downtown buildings and she initially ran her business out of her home before it outgrew the space.
Hrabal said her business has been operating out of the North Potomac Street location for a year and Wishnow’s business started in the building about seven months ago. Wishnow said one reason the grand opening was not held until Wednesday is because it took some time to get displays set up and other work finished in his business.
When talk of a stadium for downtown began fading, some business owners went before Hagerstown City Council and said they were concerned about the viability of downtown. A spokesman for a downtown insurance company said his business might have to seriously consider its future in the city and one speaker described downtown as “toxic.”
Hrabal said she could understand why some businesses would be concerned about the stadium project. But Hrabal said a lot of her business comes from her website and referrals.
“I am very busy,” Hrabal said.
Wishnow said a lot of his business comes from the Internet, too, and although a stadium would be “nice to have,” he said it’s not going to affect his business one way or another.