Piedmont women bring business back home
by Eddie Burkhalter
Jun 25, 2012 | 3699 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Studio 23 owner and artist Denina Crow instructs a class of young artists at her business in Piedmont. (Anniston Star photo by Eddie Burkhalter)
Studio 23 owner and artist Denina Crow instructs a class of young artists at her business in Piedmont. (Anniston Star photo by Eddie Burkhalter)
PIEDMONT — When Denina Crow and Debra Floyd opened their adjacent Piedmont shops last month, they hadn’t seen each other since graduating from Piedmont High School in the 1970s. Both women said the shops are the realization of lifelong dreams, and the Piedmont natives are glad to be able to bring more business back to their hometown.

Located at 108 South Centre Ave., Studio 23 sells original art by Crow, who owns the studio, and several other artists. Crow also holds art classes throughout the week, teaching people of all ages how to create their own original artworks. She said she hopes to have more teenagers come in with a desire to learn.

Crow spends each weekday working at Piedmont Health Care before leaving for her studio, where she spends the rest of the day lost in a world of paint and canvas.

An abstract painter, Crow said it was her grandmother who instilled in her a love for art. She’s been drawing and painting since childhood, having taken classes at Gadsden State Community College and from private art teachers.

“Every one of my paintings have a deep spiritual meaning,” Crow said, describing her work as abstract spiritualism.

A Cherokee Indian, Crow moved back to Piedmont in 2008 after living for 12 years on an Indian reservation in Cherokee, N.C.

While helping a table of young girls paint brightly colored butterflies in a class last Wednesday, Crow said that she doesn’t so much teach a person to paint but she “just kind of pulls it out of them.”

Studio 23 sells original artwork by other local artists Charles Bailey and J. Scott Hightower. Crow said she would like to fill her gallery with other local artists’ works.

The studio also sells painting canvases and supplies, and for locals — in Calhoun County and in Spring Garden — every artwork for sale in the studio is half-priced.

Studio 23 is open Mon-Fri., 3:30-7 p.m. and is closed on weekends. But Crow said she will teach private lessons on weekends if requested. Visit Studio 23 on Facebook by searching “Studio 23 Piedmont.” The studio can be reached at 256-453-0068.

Styles by Debra

Just next door, Debra Floyd said her salon is something she’s dreamed of for a very long time.

Floyd worked on a Honda assembly line for eight years when in 2009 she was offered a buyout. She left Honda and used the buyout money to attend Gadsden State Community College where she received her beautician’s license.

In order to learn the business side of the trade, after school Floyd managed the MasterCuts hair salon in Gadsden and later in Oxford.

That gave her the needed knowledge to open her own shop, and when it came time to decide where to locate it, Floyd said, she knew exactly where she wanted to be.

“This is home,” Floyd said. “We’re trying to bring business back into town.”

Styles by Debra offers the whole range of hair care for men, women and children, from perms and colors, to highlights and ethnic hair. Floyd and her co-worker Candie Ledbetter also offer manicures and pedicures and acrylic and shellac fingernail painting.

Since opening last month, Floyd said she’s been very pleased with the volume of business she’s seen. She attributes it to word of mouth and to quality work.

“If you do a good job people will come back,” Floyd said.

Styles by Debra is open Mon.-Sat., 8-6p.m., but the shop will take appointments for customers who cannot make it in by 6 p.m. Search for “Styles by Debra” on Facebook to see the weekly specials. They can be reached at 256-447-1257.

Star staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563 or on Twitter @burkhalter_star
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