Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 21, 2017

Couple operates his-and-her businesses at NewBo City Market

By Deborah Neyens, The Gazette | Oct 31, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS — Some couples have “his and hers” towels. Brian and Vicki Norris have his and hers shops.

Their new businesses, which share a space at NewBo City Market, opened in September.

His shop is Laser Squared, which features laser-engraved vinyl records that he has transformed into clocks and artwork.

Her shop is the Tumbled Stone, which sells more than 125 different varieties of tumbled stones — polished rocks and minerals — as well as crystals, pendulums and other metaphysical gift items.

While the couple’s shops are new, neither husband or wife is new to owning a business or to NewBo City Market.

Vicki, a licensed massage therapist and reiki master, had been a guest vendor for holistic health services at the market since it opened in 2012.

“I used to call my business Reiki by Vicki,” she said. “I brought massage tables in and sold products as a temporary vendor.”

Over time, she began using healing stones in her reiki and massage practice.

“I started out getting 36 different stones as an easy way to incorporate natural healing into my practice,” she said. “People would ask about stones that were good for a particular ailment, and I would research and find more stones that I didn’t already have. My collection kept growing.

With a mounting inventory of stones, Vicki said she thought about seeking a permanent space at the market to sell them but couldn’t commit to being there the four days-a week the market was open.

“I also work part time as an accountant,” she said. “I didn’t want to take on 34 more hours every week.”

That’s where Laser Squared comes in.

Brian, who works full-time as a sales representative for an information technology company and also owns a storage business, said he took up laser engraving as a creative outlet.

“I did some research and came across laser cutting and etching,” he said. “It appealed to me because it combines computer skills and artistry.”

After purchasing a laser etcher in January, he started coming to the market on the weekends to sell his creations while Vicki sold her stones.

“When we made $1,000 in one day as temporary vendors, I knew we needed to make a permanent place for ourselves,” Brian recalled.

With Brian to share staffing duties, Vicki was on board with the plan, and they applied for a permanent space in April. One became available last month, and the couple set up shops in the shared location.

“It’s a fantastic environment for businesses to grow,” Brian said.

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