Gallery, Tea Room a successful combination

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

PROCTORVILLE — At the Finishing Touch Gallery in Proctorville, 10 rooms are filled with furniture and decorative accessories - unique pieces both contemporary and primitive.

A person could spend hours perusing the eclectic mix of home d/cor including carved chess sets, clocks and a huge collection of picture frames and art.

“I’ve always been interested in home d/cor,” said Carolyn Manns, gallery owner and former schoolteacher. “I was always helping family and friends with d/cor.”

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In 1997, she decided to open the gallery. She and one employee, Debbie Jones, were doing all of it and opened a Tea Room in the gallery, decorated with many of her gallery accessories and furniture.

“It got too big for us to handle,” she said. “So, Janet McCormick now owns the Tea Room and does a wonderful job with it.”

McCormick has owned the Tea Room about five years.

“I make everything on the spot fresh every day, “ McCormick said. “We do wedding showers and baby showers booked in advance, of course. I do outside catering for business offices of 10 or more and quantity discounts are available.”

Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, the Tea Room Caf/ serves a gourmet lunch with everything homemade — such as, chicken salad on croissant, cheddar broccoli soup, ham and pineapple panini, a caf/ salad and McCormick’s special bread pudding.

On Sept. 8, the Tea Room will be open on Saturdays also.

Although the main Tea Room is upstairs, there is an area downstairs set aside for handicapped visitors who can’t climb the stairs.

“I enjoy serving and making sure that everyone’s needs are met,” McCormick said. “We have a lot of diabetic women who come in and can’t eat a lot of dessert so I’ll make up something special for them, a chocolate mousse that doesn’t have sugar in it.”

A new business will be moving into one of the downstairs rooms of the gallery, Red Red, owned by artist Angie Underwood.

“I know that our clientele is going to find it very, very interesting,” Manns said. “A lot of her work is from trash to treasure. She refurbishes all things and makes beautiful pieces out of them and she’s an artist. I think that she will be quite an asset to this facility.”

Red Red will open on September 4. Underwood named her business from a book her grandmother used to read to her when she was young.

“This is her first endeavor,” Manns said. “I’ve been trying to get her to start her own business for a long time because she is so talented.

A new complex is being planned on the land where the gallery is located. It will include an off-river marina, yacht club, condominiums overlooking the marina and the river, boat storage, office spaces, retail shops and a hotel and convention center.

“We are building the ground up road level,” she said. “My building will eventually come down but I will go into a new facility.”

The off-river marina will have large slips and will handle many boats, she said.

Also, across the road from the gallery, senior cottages and nursing facilities are planned.

“We are hoping to break ground next May,” Manns said.