by Barbara Sherf

Is Chestnut Hill ready for a Drag Show?

The franchise owner of AR Workshop at the top of the hill is offering a “Galentine’s Day Wood Workshop and Drag Show” on Saturday, Feb. 15, 6 to 9 p.m., with female impersonators that she is hoping area residents will come check out.

AR stands for the last names (Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff), two graphic designers who started the company in 2016 that has now grown to 145 locations in 31 states. Anders and Ruff were complete strangers who began a DIY blog and online party styling business together on a whim in 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and six years later they opened their flagship brick and mortar store in Pineville, South Carolina.

The concept is a variety of hands-on classes for creating customized home décor items from raw materials such as wood and framed signs, canvas pillows, lazy susans, centerpiece boxes, tote bags and more for group outings, celebrations, fundraisers, etc.

According to the AR Workshop website, “The vision (of Anders and Ruff) was to create an inspiring and charming boutique workshop that not only offers classes but sells unique and beautiful retail items that Maureen and Adria use in their styling jobs and photoshoots for magazines and celebrities!”

Anders said in an online interview, “I am constantly brainstorming … tweaks we can make to improve and new opportunities to try. You have to have thick skin, be able to handle copycats, naysayers and risk. It takes a lot of risk, but without risk there is no reward. I tend to jump in (or dive in!) before others might. You won’t know it unless you try it.”

Rikki-Quinn is the Chestnut Hill franchise owner who opened the AR Workshop at 8607 Germantown Ave., where Metropolitan Bakery was previously located, in March of 2019. Quinn, who also works in a corporate organization, is a first-time business owner who grew up in Germantown. She is taking a chance that the Drag Show idea will fly in Chestnut Hill.

“The Drag Show is a form of entertainment that will bring an even more memorable experience to the existing workshop,” said Rikki-Quinn, who now resides in Montgomery County. “The environment at a workshop is loud with music and laughs and talking, as well as the noise of nail guns, blow dryers and drills with BYOB and food brought in by the guests. Incorporating a drag show is just another way to hang out with friends, family, co-workers and your partner by doing something creative while enjoying a show”.

Quinn said the performers will be milling around and halfway through the workshop will then perform a show. Besides the regular scheduled workshops, in March they will be having a special St. Patrick’s Day workshop featuring green DIY projects, and they are already getting registrations for summer camp.

According to Rikki-Quinn, working for a female-owned corporation with other like-minded businesswomen provides “a very warm and collaborative setting. Everyone is helpful and wants to see others succeed. There is a yearly retreat that brings together all of the franchise owners across America where we bond and learn more about how to be successful in our businesses.”

On the AR Workshop Facebook page, many women talk about getting off social media and turning off the TV in an effort to start connecting with others face to face. “I think it’s important for everyone to find an outlet to unplug from what’s going on in our country and the world. AR Workshop Chestnut Hill is a great way to do that,” said Rikki-Quinn. To reserve a spot for Saturday, call 215-514-1116 or register at arworkshop.com/chestnuthill.

Barbara Sherf, of Flourtown, writes the stories of businesses and individuals and can be reached CommunicationsPro.com.

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