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In South County too, a good time for women in the workforce

By Rod Lee

There is no need to look beyond the environs of South County for proof of President Trump’s assertion in his State of the Union remarks on February 5th that “more women are in the workforce in America than ever before.”

Joanna Roush of The Gypsy Rose and Donna Healy of The Enchanted Loft, both of which are situated at 250 Main St. in Oxford, are just two examples of women making their mark in the marketplace.

Ms. Roush, the owner of her business and a master floral designer, is approaching a fourth anniversary at The Gypsy Rose. Ms. Healy previously worked in the nursing profession and is now a partner with Ms. Roush in The Enchanted Loft, an artisan co-op.

The Enchanted Loft—new to the scene—is located directly above The Gypsy Rose and draws from the strength of gifts handcrafted by twenty vendors, all but one of whom is a woman, Ms. Healy said.

“I’ve noticed over the last couple of years a lot of women-owned businesses popping up,” Ms. Healy said. “This (store) is my dream.”

Ms. Roush noted that “social media” is a powerful force in increasing the number of women achieving success in the workplace.

That the economy is ripe for women to come into the picture as entrepreneurs or simply to gain employment in a variety of settings is reflected too in the arrival of The Rose Room, a café and coffee shop located at 4 Main St. (at the corner of Prospect St.) in Webster.

The Rose Room, which is operated by Jessica Sabine, her husband Bill and Jessica’s mother Anna Stefanik, opened November 15th in a spot formerly occupied by Deb’s Place.

“We’re doing great,” Ms. Sabine said the morning of February 7th. “I have a background in coffee since 2008 and my husband in restaurants and bars. We were living in Portland, Maine and looking for a location when we found out about this (site).”

The Rose Room is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

It has been a whirlwind several months for the husband-and-wife team in getting The Rose Room up and running. The decision to forge ahead was made easier by Ms. Sabine having grown up in neighboring Dudley. “We were going to have a baby,” she said. “We signed a lease for this space, started renovations and had the baby.”

The couple did the remodeling on a DIY basis.

The Rose Room can seat up to thirty customers with “room for more” in the future, she said.

“We offer all local food sourced from local farms, specialty coffee menus and we make all our own sodas,” Ms. Sabine said. “We do community yoga and we host local events. We will be the official after-party spot for the (Webster) library’s concert series in the spring.”

Deb Horan, owner of Booklovers’ Gourmet at 55 E. Main St. in Webster, whose store will observe a 24th anniversary from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, said “I think women feel less intimidated about going out and doing something for themselves. In general I think it’s a more encouraging environment for women right now.”

Gayle Suzanne of Charlton, an author, cable TV host, workshop facilitator, life coach, speaker and member of the Webster Dudley Business Alliance, said by telephone while waiting to catch a flight at the airport, “I think for women, I have never experienced the discrimination” against which there is a current backlash that is inspiring women to assert themselves more forcefully in the business world. But, Ms. Suzanne said, “women, we just need to stand true to what we believe and persevere. As a woman you need to be confident because we have typically put ourselves last.”

“Women businesses are more respected and supported now than ever before,” said Susan LeBlanc of Charlton Furniture. “We are proud to say that Charlton Furniture is one of the many companies owned and operated by women. This is one of the reasons our business continues to grow.”

Women, Ms. LeBlanc said, are: “adaptable; great collaborators; able to emphasize; likely to value relationships over transactions; and willing to learn.”

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.