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Susan Peak, owner of Studio Blue Guitar of Durham, performs at The Buttonwood Tree in Middletown

Local businesswomen talk shop


Town Times recently gave a “hats off” to local businesswomen, all of whom exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit our country is known for. We dug a little deeper with three of them. We wanted to hear “the story behind the story.” When did they “get bitten by the business bug?”

Tammy Gullo is the owner of Wild Wisteria, a floral and gift boutique located in Durham at 354 Main St. Her passion took hold of her at the age of 10, when she was working in her parents’ garden shop.

“I’d go to work instead of watching television,” Gullo said. “I did fun childhood things, too, but I loved working at my parents’ shop because it was different. It was always changing with the seasons and the holidays, so I never got bored.”

She’s been in this business ever since, and her store, too, is always different and changing. Wild Wisteria offers a treasure trove of items for the home, the body, and the soul. Gullo does all the decorating and designs, and she makes sure the artificial flowers in her floral designs have a natural and real look to them.

“I worked for my mom at the garden shop when I was a kid,” Gullo said, “and now my daughter has joined me in my business. It’s really cool.”

Susan Peak, the owner of Studio Blue Guitar of Durham, teaches guitar and bass guitar out of her Durham home. She started playing guitar when she was about 14, trying to figure out how to play the songs she heard on the radio. “And then I informally took guitar lessons,” she said. ‘I went to school with a guy who was a brilliant musician, and he taught me everything he knew. He asked me to be in his bluegrass band.”

Peak also performs at events. She plays the guitar and the ukulele and sings songs that she wrote. She performs for all ages, but says writing songs for kids is her specialty. The shows for the youngsters are interactive, and for the older folks there’s always a healthy dose of humor.

“I absolutely love music,” she said. “It’s like breathing. I can’t live without it. I wake up with songs in my head, and they follow me around. I can’t not write them.”

Are you wondering about the “blue” in Studio Blue Guitar of Durham? Her main guitar is blue, and when she was in a duo, her partner called her “Susan of the blue guitar.” She also drew upon a poem called The Man with the Blue Guitar, in which the blue guitar represented imagination.

For more information, go to www.studioblueguitar.com.

Janet Morganti, the owner of Colors of the Wind (Artists’ Emporium & Consignments), located in Durham at 360 Main Street, Suite E, was having trouble coming up with a name for her business. And then one day while having coffee in her living room, she looked at the Talavera Sun hanging on her wall, and it hit her. “I look at it every day,” she said, “but that day it inspired me. It has all different colors, and the colors are changing, like the wind. So the ‘colors’ is about the art that comes in, but also I wanted people to get an image of beautiful things – whatever popped into their heads. The ‘wind’ represents the ever-changing nature of the store. Things come in and then move on. There’s a flow.”

Nearly everything in the store is on consignment, whether it is something new created by local artisans, or something old brought in by people.

Morganti sees a rising trend in our thirst for products made locally and nationally. “People are tired of inferior goods from overseas, which are often dangerous to our kids and our animals,” she said. “Whenever I buy outright, I get something made in America, as local as possible. The goal is to support people in our country and to bring manufacturing back. I also like the idea of recycling and reusing. A lot of our artisans make something new out of pieces of old furniture and jewelry.”



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