Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Business

May 6, 2012

Tim Preston: Wings, wines, princesses and punks: 5/6/12

ASHLAND — I always get into trouble when I start asking about who has “the best” of any particular thing to eat.

Bud Matheny of Greenup, however, writes he loves to go out for wings and prefers the type that are lightly breaded.

“I have been back in this area for a little over three years and haven’t been able to find a place serving these,” Matheny wrote, asking if anyone can point him toward that version, or simply where to find “the best wings in the area.”

I also enjoy a big plate of wings with a cold beverage, and lean toward the extra-hot end of the flavor scale. I definitely have a personal favorite restaurant in this category, and I’ll be using its wings as the standard for comparison in my upcoming and ongoing personal research. I’ve always said anyone’s opinion about food is just as valid as mine, so let me know where you get your wing action going and I’ll be glad to pass it along in the weeks ahead. And while we’re at it, let me know what you consider to be the best beverage to pair with the dish.

Vineyard at sunset

Someday, I will get to take John and Sue Bond up on their invitations to join the small crowds making their way to Rocksprings Winery in Carter County for their weekend dinner events. It’s a beautiful place and I know my wife would especially enjoy an evening out there sipping a little wine and watching the sunset.

“Dinner at the winery last Friday was a lot of fun. We had good food, music, wine and friends. It was great seeing all the familiar faces and also the new faces as well,” Sue wrote last week, reminding me they will be having dinners the first and third Friday of every month, as well as a “cook your own steak” gathering on the second Saturday of each month.

“However, reservations are still required ...” she added before also reminding me they will have music in the barn at the winery on Saturday. “What a great prelude to Mother’s Day. Come out and enjoy the fun,” she said, advising anyone interested in joining them to call (606) 923-9085.

Downtown punks

Life seems to have been an adventure for new business owner Joe Waugh, who has practically done the impossible at his downtown shop Banshees. I think it’s safe to say parking hasn’t been a problem on a Sunday evening in downtown Ashland for many years, although the ongoing series of Sunday evening  punk/goth/metal concerts at the boutique has an interesting crowd hiking in from blocks away during the first few weeks of business.

Banshees specializes in things like hardcore rock apparel and related items including black leather, spiked stuff and a few things I’m honestly afraid to ask about. It is not the type of business you’d expect to find in downtown Ashland, although the shop is already bringing new attention to the city and adds an excellent dimension of diversity to that particular block of 16th Street.

“Banshees is a niche shop catering to punks, goths, rivetheads and other members of the disenfranchised ... clothing, accessories, hard-to-find CDs and vinyls. Stickers, posters, pins and classic punk flyers are collected with care,” according to it marketing materials. Waugh has also involved the local underground art scene with a monthly exhibit of original works titled “The Back Room” during Ashland Main Street’s First Friday art walk and Downtown Live series.

The shop is next to Premier Duty Gear (the old Army/Navy store) and is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (concert events on Sunday evenings are announced in advance). For more information, call (606) 327-1111.

For the princesses

I found myself truly out of my element last week with a visit to the new location of Melanie’s Custom Bows and More, across from Hometown Carpet at 2440 Winchester Ave. I walked in, looked around and realized I did not have a single semi-intelligent question to ask. Owner and custom bow-maker Melanie Tierney, however, took a few minutes to educate me about her business and her customers, and I have to admit I really enjoyed the conversation.

Tierney, who describes herself as a “tomboy” while growing up, explained she got into the bow business nearly a decade ago when she became frustrated seeking special things for her daughter, Hailee Guffey. The secret to her success in the field of making great hairbows, she said, “is practice, practice, practice,” coupled with motivation to meet the expectations of “really particular customers ... that made me better.”

Along with her own one-of-a-kind bows, Tierney’s shop features outfits sewn by experienced seamstress Shirley Morgan. Describing the level of workmanship in Morgan’s clothing, she said, “You can’t tell her stuff from my boutique stuff. That’s how good she is.”

The shop also carries the Mud Pie brand, which Tierney said has a built-in market of loyal fans.

With such a specialized market, I told Tierney I was impressed she has been able to sustain her business for so many years, and she let me in on the real secret to her success.

“I’m affordable. I think that is what has kept me in business so long,” she said, noting she offers higher quality and lower prices than one will find at a mall.

“And now there’s a lot of little girls who want to be princesses,” she said.

Melanie’s Custom Bows and More is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, find the shop on Facebook or call (606) 369-1091.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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