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Downtown welcomes new businesses

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Above, Petra Joy is an artist, which is immediately evident when one steps into her new store, Joys, located at 619 Franklin St. The store features artwork, soaps, candles, jewelry, engravings and printed hats and T-shirts created by Joy, and wooden pens crafted by her husband David. (Photo by Lauren Wood / The Natchez Democrat)

By Mollie Beth Wallace

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — With hopes of adding their taste and flair to the Natchez downtown area, two new businesses opened their doors to the spring air on Franklin Street.

On shelves in Joys at 619 Franklin St. shoppers will find designer perfumes, hand-blown glass bottles from Egypt, handmade candles, soap and jewelry and more.

“I keep on piddling (with new crafts),” said Petra Joy, owner of the shop.

Rachel Knapp, left, and Erica Long decided they wanted to open up a 'one-stop-shop' for women in Natchez. At the beginning of May, they opened B. Beautiful, a clothing boutique and hair salon. (Photo by Lauren Wood / The Natchez Democrat)

Originally from Germany, Petra met her husband, David Joy, in an Armed Forces office in Mannheim, Germany. The couple married and moved to Colorado, then later relocated to Natchez.

When David came home one day and gave Petra materials to make jewelry, she said she discovered a new passion.

“I told him I’m going to quit my job (at the bank) at the end of the month,” Petra said.

Excited by the opportunity to work in a creative environment, Petra began making plans for her store, which opened in April.

“I’m one of those people, I don’t take things too seriously,” she said. “I just like people to come in and have fun in this store.

“There’s a lot of joy in here.”

Her store offers a wide assortment of items, both handmade and imported.

Even her husband contributes to the inventory with handcrafted pens carved from wood blocks, she said.

The walls display Petra’s paintings, her latest featuring a façade of Longwood. In addition to those gifts, Joys also offers custom engraving and vinyl lettering.

Joys is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Further down Franklin Street, another new business beckons to women passing by.

Erica Long and Rachel Knapp opened B. Beautiful hair salon and clothing boutique on Franklin Street at the beginning of May. (Photo by Lauren Wood / The Natchez Democrat)

Situated on the corner of Pearl and Franklin streets, B. Beautiful Boutique and Hair Salon opened at the beginning of May.

Erica Long, who owns the boutique, said she’s always been interested in fashion design, so when she finally had the opportunity to open her own business she jumped at the chance.

“If you want to get something to go out in, or if you just want to be comfortable in something to go around town, we have a variety of everything,” Long said.

When she was previously renting space in the Fry Building, Long said she found herself with more room than she needed.

So, she asked her friend and hairdresser Rachel Knapp if she would be interested in opening a salon in the room behind her boutique under the same name.

Long said this decision supports her long-term goal of expanding her boutique to include a tanning salon, a makeup artist and more.

“I just want a one-stop shop for women,” Long said. “I want to bring something different to Natchez.”

Knapp, formerly a stylist at Rami’s Beauty Salon in Ferriday, said opening the salon was a dream come true.

“I’ve always wanted to be in downtown Natchez,” she said. “It’s such a central location for my clients.”

Knapp said her goal as a hairstylist is to inspire self-confidence in her clients.

“The way I make people feel (about themselves) when they come out of here is just priceless,” she said. “I have a true passion for what I do.”

Knapp’s salon is a certified Paul Mitchell Focus Salon, meaning she is trained to give expert advice on Paul Mitchell products.

Her services include color, cut, waxing and Paul Mitchell keratin treatments, which restore damaged hair to its natural healthy condition.

To make an appointment, call B. Beautiful at 601-897-0209, or call Knapp directly at 601-807-9083.

B. Beautiful Boutique is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and the salon is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

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