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Business

Art and Beauty Meet at Six Eleven

11/3/11 | By Tony Russo

 WEST OCEAN CITY — The upside to the economic downturn is that it gives entrepreneurs not only the opportunity but also the means to strike out on their own in establishing a new business. It was, in fact, a primary motivator for Jill Ferger and her mother, Joan Ferger, in establishing the Six Eleven Salon and Gallery.

With more than a decade of makeup and manicure experience, Jill had gone as far as she was likely able to as an employee, but as an owner she recognized that the sky was the limit, providing she could find and appoint the right place to showcase her skills and the right staff to fulfill her vision.

She said both endeavors took a significant amount of courage and effort but in the end, she said it was worth it

“It think it’s important for my daughters to see it’s possible to be an independent woman,” Ferger said. “You keep going if you have the passion and the drive.”

The place she found — in the Trader Lee’s Shopping Center — presented a real challenge from the first. A former salon, the space had fallen into neglect after years of vacancy but this is where the economy worked to her advantage.

The space was affordable, provided she was willing to contribute hard work and creativity toward converting it into a showplace, which is literally what she did. The new shop is nearly unrecognizable when compared with the old. 

All the floors and walls have been redone and the furniture and accents work together to make the place striking without making it uninviting. The waiting room’s antique settee and chairs make an interesting counterpoint to the ultra modern stylist’s chairs where the work gets done.

This week, Charlene Race came on board as the primary full-time stylist. It was a bit of a coup to have such a popular and well-respected professional sign on to the startup but having worked together before, she and Ferger knew it would be a good match.

Another good match, right from the start, was adding Little Chico as resident artist for the accompanying gallery. The two did all of the construction work together, calling on friends as well, and as an up-and-coming artist, using some of the space to promote the arts was an easy decision for Little Chico.

“We wanted it to be an artsy salon,” Ferger said. “Beauty and art, I think, go hand in hand.”

The gallery in the Six Eleven Salon and Gallery joins nearby Punk Rock Fish as an alternative use of retail space to promote art. Ferger and Little Chico are friends with Punk Rock Fish owner Matt Dove and envision a future where more of the empty retail space in on Route 611 begins to allow for the expansion of the West Ocean City arts scene.

In order to begin to foster this transformation, Ferger said the Six Eleven Salon and Gallery will hold regular shows, inviting local artists to be featured. The grand opening show last month featured photographer Trevor Dunt. Their next art opening, slated for 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 will feature photographer Nick Denny.

By continuing to promote both the salon and the art it sponsors, Ferger is well positioned to be a significant part of a West Ocean City entrepreneurial growth. Her hope is to build both sides of the business slowly, relying on appealing to patrons’ finer tastes and higher expectations.

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