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Crystal Smith styles a customer's hair at Set N Trendz salon, which was damaged during a July 8 storm and recently reopened.
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BY JEFF BRANSCOME
Judi DuCote walked into Set N Trendz Salon in Spotsylvania County for the first time in six months and didn't notice a difference.
It had the same sleek, modern look that she remembered. And owner Crystal Smith had as much spunk as ever.
"As soon as I walked in, I said, we're home," said DuCote, who has been a loyal customer of Smith's for 14 years.
The salon reopened Jan. 2, nearly six months after a microburst destroyed much of the Fleming Center--a small strip mall off U.S. 1.
Two other businesses in the shopping center, Battery Charge and Virginia Mattress Direct & Wholesale Furniture, had to temporarily relocate until November. And Ginny's Seafood & Deli had to shut down completely for almost two months, among its busiest for crab sales.
Now everything appears to be back to normal.
In fact, sales at Ginny's have picked up since it reopened at the end of August, said owner Ginny Newman, 64, who started the business almost 20 years ago.
Old customers who hadn't been for awhile started coming again. And some of the workers hired to repair the Fleming Center have become regulars.
"As far as the disaster, I did not like that," Newman said. "But I've met a lot of new friends. My customers become my friends."
She initially thought her business had relatively minor water damage, so she reopened to sell crabs on the weekend after the disaster. But it ended up needing a new roof.
Newman said her husband tried to convince her to retire, but she would have none of it.
"I cannot sit around and do nothing," she said.
Battery Charge temporarily moved to a garage behind the Fleming Center, and Virginia Mattress Direct occupied a storefront at the end of the strip mall previously leased by Anytime Limousines.
For awhile, Ginny's was the only place with a working bathroom.
"I do not deny anyone bathroom privileges," said Newman, who added that construction workers would often buy food during restroom breaks.
Smith, the hair stylist, leased a 10-by-10 foot room at a salon in Massaponax and continued to serve DuCote and other regulars.