Gift shop, hair salon open in Morenci 2013.12.12

Rex Vernier always carried memories of working at Rick’s Family Food Center in Morenci from when he was in high school and college. When a “for sale” sign appeared on the vacant building a couple of years ago, he started making plans to buy the property.

His wife, Brigell Bovee-Vernier was no stumbling block. 

“I have been married to him for 21 years and he has never made a bad financial decision yet,” she said, “so I toldhim  let’s buy it.”

Two new businesses are opening in the building and there’s more coming in the future. WingShot Gifts, operated by April Shaffer, opened last week and Leonie Leahy’s Hair Trigger Salon will open this weekend.

“Those are two amazing girls that we have working there,” Brigell said. “I’m so impressed with their talent and how they care about what they do.”

Renovating the property proved to be a big challenge for the Verniers.

“In the past two years we have discovered who our true friends are, who we can trust and count one,” Brigell said. “We love Morenci and are proud to call it our home town. We want the best for the town and we know that when the community meets our new tenants and see what they have to offer, they will be very pleased.”

Plans are underway for a restaurant to open sometime in the future and another venture is still being weighed. 

GIFTS—April Shaffer was looking for space to refinish and sell furniture and asked the Verniers about renting an area of the building. 

“Their idea was for a gift shop so we worked together on that,” Shaffer said. 

WingShot Gifts offers a wide variety of items, with about a third of the merchandise made in the area. 

She carries items from the Swan Creek Candle Company in Swanton, plus goat milk soap and lotions created by a woman from Delta.

The boutique sells handbags, jewelry, aprons, hats, scarves, gift baskets, some Christmas decorations—even some painted porcelain pieces from the late Polly Link.

It’s a small space, Shaffer said, but includes a good variety of gifts.

Additional details are available on the store’s Facebook page. Shaffer will balance open hours around her other job as a Morenci school bus driver.

HAIR—Leonie Leahy will open Hair Trigger Dec. 14, but she's already making appointments for the new shop. 

Leahy has 14 years experience as a stylist and she received training through Aveda. She does hair coloring and corrective coloring in addition to cutting. The business will be a Signature Paul Mitchell salon.

Leahy won't be working alone. Whitney Allen will serve as a second stylist while Amber Wright will work as the salon's nail technician and April Mossing will work as the esthetician (skin care specialist), offering facials and specialty wraps.

Leahy will offer event packages for wedding parties, proms and family events.

In the future she will add spray-on tan services. Technology has improved greatly for a healthy "fake bake," she said, and it's a good way to achieve a tan without any concerns about tanning beds.

Look for Hair Trigger's ad in the Observer's Business Directory for details about a facial special during December.