People of Yorkville Series
Penee with Penny Moss
Me: How long have you been in business?
PM: 17 years. I’ve been in this location (26 North Congress) a little over a year. I started out at 17 North Congress and I was there five or six years and then that building sold, so I had to move. I was going to build onto my house, and Ann over here at Hummingbird Florist heard I was leaving downtown, and she said, ‘You can have my building. I’ll give you the same rent. We don’t want you to leave downtown; you’re a big asset.’ So I moved from 17 down to 35, which is now Holley’s Beaded Dragon.
Penny goes on to explain that she then, through a series of events, ended up moving across the street to 26 North Congress, which is where her spa currently resides.
We’re having conversation about client base, where people come from…
PM: My type of business, these days people fist pump, they use hand sanitizer, they don’t like people touching them. They communicate through typing and text, you know; nobody really gets touched. Especially if you’re single. And so a destination like this, once you come to relax – and I won’t even just say Penee – a massage therapist, somebody you can connect with and that can also touch you and can pray over you….you remember that. It stays in your heart.
God called me to this. He gave me a vision. I was working in corporate America and I had a terrible day one day. And I went and got a massage. I went to Carmen and Carmen because I worked in downtown Charlotte. I went in and I was like – I need a massage, I need to relax. She said, ‘We don’t have any massage appointments available but we have a facial.’ I’d never had a facial before, but I took her word and went in. And sure enough, I was at one of those crossroads in life and I was laying there and I was in tune with the Spirit and He gave me a vision. He showed me doing what she was doing to me. And I thought, gosh, this is what I need to do! I researched it, went and took out my 401K, lived off my 401k, went to school, and opened up my business in December.
She went on to share about getting started and moving into her own space, the first space at 17 North Congress.
It has been like that. He (God) has opened doors. Every time.
Me: Memorable clients, moments, stand out poignant instances?
PM: I would say this is the one… The Lord put a specific calling on my life. He said you will make people happy and you will inspire a billion. And I didn’t know what “billion” meant. And then He sent me to the Pregnancy Crisis Center and I learned that one in three women have had an abortion. Well, I had an abortion in my early twenties and I knew God had forgiven me, but I didn’t realize I hadn’t forgiven myself. So I actually got healed from an abortion I had 20 years ago. It put me in dangerous situations with men, with life, I didn’t feel I was worthy, and I overdid myself trying to make up for that. And I got healed there. So, I am a career counselor there on Wednesday, and I counsel women that are in crisis situation. … Well, when I share my testimony here (Penee), and I don’t share it with just anybody, but when God lays it on my heart to share, I would say those instances are the ones I remember.
Penny goes on the share that when she shares her story at her spa, women will open up and share their stories with her. Women that have had their own abortions, their own traumas early in life and haven’t ever told their husbands. Women open up about burdens they’ve held on to from before ….. Before marriage, before kids, before ____.
PM: And it is such freedom to be able to speak it. And some of these women have never said it. And when they say it, it’s just a flow of tears, and the enemy can’t hold them anymore. It’s like Vegas in here. What is said in here, stays in here, and people know that. It’s a place to come out of the world, to just come in here and be gone for a little bit and just recharge.
What is a facial?
I have a 30 minute, 1 hour, and an hour and a half. If you’re a beginner, and you just want to feel it out, I recommend the 30 minute, but after, you’re usually like, Ohh, I need an hour at least! It like Starbucks – you got the tall, the grande, and the whatever.
There’s a double cleansing, an exfoliating mask, a peeling mask, I put it on and I have these cucumber eye patches and then I start the massage. I start with the decollete (the shoulder blade, chest area), and then I go to the shoulders, and the neck and down the arms and then I put a heated bag across your chest. Then I go down and I massage your feet. Our hands and our feet are all connected to our organs, so I use different massage techniques on your hands and feet. I put essential oils on your feet. I have a scanner I use on your hand so I know what oils to use, and I put a hot towel over their face, and then I ask if there’s something I can pray over them for, and then I take that hot towel and that last mask off. I then use a toner, a serum, and a thicker cream over dry spots and I put on an eye cream, and that’s about it.
Me: That is a facial?!? Laughter…SOOO much better than Walmart! (I joked about buying my facial scrub at Walmart because I am not typically a girly girl.) It does not even compare!
PM: (Laughs) It does not even compare!
Then she explains lots of other treatments she can do. Visit her website for dermabrasion, peels, make up, and more.
She goes on to discuss future plans and listening for God’s call. Penny has started a Facebook page called Heart Rebalanced for women that would like to reach out to her. Penny and I had a wonderfully uplifting conversation, and I highly recommend everyone go see Penny. She has such a positive and infectious, joyful spirit that any customer is sure to have a renewing and heart filled experience.
26 North Congress Street, York, SC 29745
I’m good at teaching, a gift I’ve confidently used for more than half my life. I’ve taught third grade, sixth grade, special education, preschool, homeschool, private school, music lessons… I can teach.
But playing teacher and being an actual student aren’t necessarily so familiar as merely different sides of a coin. I hadn’t taken a test without an answer key in twenty years, and the prospect of doing such a thing all over again seemed a bit overwhelming. Yet, there I was, sitting cross legged on the back row of a modern classroom, attempting to focus for stretches of time on just one subject.
Real Estate. Realtor. The act of helping others buy property, buy houses, businesses, large investments, buy homes. That’s the subject of the tests I willingly took.
And after class, and when my world seemed exhausting and when I needed to breath easily, I went to my own home. Home to my kids. Home to my dog.
Home to my particular spot on my particular couch. I just. went. Home.
An old fireplace with an intricately carved mantle surrounding old, faded, sooted brick. Antique apple crates stacked in such a pattern as to create the perfect desk base. My child’s portrait hanging on the foyer wall. A viola propped at attention. Books stacked carelessly, piled high about every room.
The dog, blonde and small, curled in his favorite chair, snoring quietly. Soft, worn rugs scattered about the house. An extra large bed, wrapped in flannel and down, warm lamps illuminating pale corners. Sudsy soap in the kitchen sink, last night’s dishes haphazardly soaking, the hum and slosh of the dishwasher running.
Children stomping through the hall, doors opening and closing loudly, hurried sounds of boys focused on the business of play. My mother’s ring resting in the pottery dish a child’s hand shaped years ago. Light streaming through the cool glass of a front window. Daylight indoors. Me, nestled beneath the coverlet, computer perched on a pillow, writing.
After a weekend of classes, it was these familiarities that fed me. Nourished me for another week. Wrapped me warmly, welcoming and restful.
When I visit my childhood abode, or I breathe Tennessee air or drink coffee on my porch in York – When I set bare feet upon damp, warm soil or I attend a Sunday service at an Episcopal Church or I sit in the balcony at Allison Creek Presbyterian – I experience home.
Months have passed since real estate school. The license firmly hangs at Keller Williams in Fort Mill. Marching forward, real estate offers new, surprising, fun opportunities. And still, at the end of the day, that particular couch in that particular house on that particular street calls on me.
The little blonde dog waits, curled and snoring. And I, well, I go home.
Last week I had the distinct opportunity to speak with Walter of Frank’s Jewelers in York. Walter’s wife runs the anchor store in Clover, while the branch store in downtown York sits settled right on Congress Street since 2003.
We did not engage in a formal interview, but instead spent a good hour talking casually about all sorts of things. I asked lots of questions for myself, personally needing to update and exchange a few pieces of jewelry myself, and we toured the shop at length, me admiring lots of gorgeous pieces. Having lived in York six years now, I am ashamed to say this was the first time I had been in Frank’s Jewelers, having wrongly assumed that it was a high end store out of my economical grasp.
In truth, the shop is perfect for our small downtown, offering a wide variety of intricate, simple, and exquisite jeweled items that are in fact, often affordable. I will most certainly become a quick regular and look forward to visiting Walter often in the future.
His store encompasses:
jewelry repair, watch repair, appraisals, engraving, special orders, interest-free layaway, gift certificates, precious metal recycling, trade in/ trade up, jewelry care
(Logo taken from Jen’s blog, https://lifeafterlemons.com)
How did you get started making candy?
JS: Back when I was twelve we went to a candy making party that one of my aunts or cousins was having and I really took a liking to it. My mom supported it and got me a starter kit and I just took off from there.
I took some time off from making candy when I was married because it wasn’t a big deal then. So I’ve started it up again since my divorce since it was a relaxing thing. But my mom is the one that got me started and supported me through all that. She’s the one that taught me my caramel recipe I use. She and I worked on that together. My caramel recipe is really well known around here and I’ve been asked to jar it.
I use local when I can so my apples and my strawberries are from Bush N’ Vine. That’s their mountain apples and their winter strawberries.
JS: Lack of communication with….pretty much with the city. Being a new owner there was not a lot, I feel like the city and the chamber should have a new business owner type packet to let you know what’s going on or to let them know what’s expected of them. Summerfest in August did not go well because of lack of communication. There were a few other things that did not go well because of lack of communication.
(Jen went on to explain that the positive part of this struggle is that the officials are willing to listen and that she has a meeting with the mayor to discuss solutions. She was pleased with her ability to have a voice and is actively working to help with solutions regarding communication between the city and downtown business owners.)
JS: My fear is being out on the street because I live upstairs too. I wake up in the mornings, get myself ready, and I’m down here.
The kids coming in. The kids that have never been here before, as soon as they walk through the door, I should really just have a video camera to capture the look on their faces. That makes it worth the struggle right there. Some of my regulars, their kids come over here (behind the counter) and they hug me before they leave. That’s what keeps me going.
What drew you to be downtown? To live and work in downtown?
JS: The idea I had in my head for a candy store, it was not going to work at a strip mall, anything like that, because it’s the old time feel. So I knew I needed a historical district. I have friend who lives down here, so when I was looking for a spot, she’s like come to York. I think it’s where you need to be. And even now, I walk outside and I’m amazed at the beauty of the town.
We talked about all sorts of things, her candies, her Oops! Bags, and we were winding down….
JS: …..I love what I do. Even though it’s stressful, it’s less stress than I had in the corporate world because it’s stress I can control.
Jen and I spent awhile together, talking both about candy and about writing, life in York, and all sorts of good bits of conversation. I mean, it’s a candy store, people! Go visit she shop and chat her up yourself or read more about her journey at lifeafterlemons.com
Biggest change in York?
When the Bi-Los came in, that was the biggest change, because my whole life, everything was about downtown York. You bought everything, your produce, your groceries, everything was downtown York. I grew up shopping at the drug stores. Everything downtown York. Then when the Bi-Los came in, the supermarkets – super centers, then everything started moving away from downtown York. Now everything’s on the outside of town. Downtown. Nobody comes there much anymore.
The biggest thing is the traffic, getting people back in to downtown York. That’s the biggest thing. That’s what we try to do. We try to bring people back to York. Because I’d like to see it like it was when I grew up. Like a little small town where every shop is filled with a necessity or something fun.
Walking out at night and standing on the street and looking down both ways and pretending I’m in Mayberry. Every night I do that and it’s just fun. The happiest part of my day is when I start to close up and I go to check the door and I walk out and look up and down and it’s just a small town and you see people, summertime, older folks walking up and down the street doing their exercises late at night, not worried about anybody attacking them or anything like that.
Visit Joe at the shop or online at https://downtownmusiclessons.com