Marketplace Spotlight

By Sara Hodon

Essence of Health

750 S. 25th St.  |  Easton, PA   |  610-252-7707  |

Essence of Health is a full-scale market that sells a variety of natural items. Their philosophy is simple: “We want people to look at our store as a ‘destination store’—a place where they can come and get  friendly, informed service and have a lot of choices as far as product at competitive prices,” according to store owner Larry Bittner.

Essence of Health stocks a variety of products for men, women, and children, including food, multivitamins, homeopathic and herbal remedies (popular during cold and flu season), and mineral supplements. The store also offers a wide selection of wheat- and gluten-free products. They also sell a number of digestive enzymes, and probiotic products that help strengthen the body’s immune system.

Bittner says that the store is seeing an increase in business from customers who are taking a stronger interest in their health, both younger people who want to maintain their good health and older folks who want to get healthy the natural way.  He says that his staff strives to create a pleasant shopping atmosphere for customers. “Business has grown a lot by referral so we want to give people a good experience,” he says. “We have a lot of customers whose friends or family shop here. We want people to come in and we work hard at creating a good atmosphere. We usually have music playing, and we want people have a peaceful environment to shop in.”

Eyecare of the Valley

1045 Chestnut St.  |  Emmaus, PA  |  610-965-9900  |

Looking good is one thing—seeing well is another, but the team at Eyecare of the Valley wants their patients do both. Since September 2002, Eyecare of the Valley’s specialists have provided comprehensive eye care for the whole family. With  two offices to better serve their clients—their primary office in Pennsburg, which opened in 2002 following a merger of Geryville Eye Associates and the Eye Shoppe, and the second location in Emmaus which opened in 2008— the team is ready to assist with all  eye care needs.

Care is provided by Drs. Steven Eiss, Sara Pike, Huygen Dang, Lindsey Welch and Kirti Patel. The team specializes in difficult contact lens fittings and also provides a number of other exams, including glaucoma and cataract screenings, diabetic eye exams, and post-op testing for both cataract and Lasik surgery.

Eyecare of the Valley has a wide selection of some of the top brands of eyeglass and sunglass frames available, and cuts most of the lenses on-site in their in-office laboratory.  The office also provides sports goggle fittings for student athletes.

Both offices have onsite dispensaries which  provide the convenience of getting your prescription and glasses in the same place.  Eyecare of the Valley offers a wide variety of brand name frames such as Vera Bradley, Coach, John Varvatos, Juicy Couture, Betsy Johnson, Nike, Disney, Harley Davidson and Ed Hardy. Both offices also have frames available for customers who may be on a budget and  accept most insurances.

Piece ’a Cake

18 E. Main St. |  Macungie, PA 18062  |  610-421-8482  |

Nothing makes an occasion more special than a beautiful cake that tastes good, too. That’s the goal of Colleen Laky and her bakery, Piece ’a Cake.

Laky has been in the cake business for over 25 years. She attended the Institute for Culinary Education in New York City and returned to the Lehigh Valley, where she owned and operated a few bakeries before launching Piece ’a Cake in 2009. As the name suggests, Laky and her team strictly make cakes. “We do wedding, carved, and cupcakes,” she says. “Occasionally we’ll throw in some cookies for wedding favors or for something special.”

Laky says that the popularity of cake shows on TV have created higher expectations from her customers. “They know what they want. They know the difference between gum paste and fondant. We have to know a huge amount to satisfy what the customer wants. They have a high expectation, which is great, because it pushes the cake decorator to do different things.”  Laky and her team like creative challenges. Piece ’a Cake won three awards at the 2010 Let Them Eat Cake competition in Philadelphia, earning the titles of Best-Tasting Cake, Best Themed Cake, and Best of Show. The team also won first place in the Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s “Growing Up Artfully” competition.

People are fascinated with cake, Laky says. “It’s such a good medium. There’s the artistic end, but at the end of the night, you can cut it and eat it, so there’s a double ‘wow’ factor.”

All of Laky’s creations are custom-made. She offers 34 different flavor combinations, and meets with clients by appointment only.

Northampton Coin & Jewelry

1918 Center St.  |  Northampton, PA  |  610-262-0759  |

At Northampton Coin and Jewelry, you’ll likely find a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry for that special someone or a rare coin for the collector in your life.

Owner Sarah Schaffer’s late father, Dave Howell, was passionate about coin collecting. He opened the store in 1980 as a way to connect with fellow collectors and educate others about the finer points of coinage. Now, over 30 years later, Schaffer says that coins are still a big part of the business. “We are the only coin shop in the Valley who caters to collectors,” she says. There is still a strong interest in collecting, especially among young people who want to complete their set of state quarters or dollar coins. “They’re really affordable things that people can buy,” Schaffer says.

On the jewelry side, the store specializes in engagement rings and does purchase gold. “I love diamonds,” Schaffer says. When she took over operation of the store nine years ago, Schaffer became a certified gemologist. The store has an impressive collection of estate jewelry for sale, with pieces that can’t be found anywhere else. “Because we’re not a chain jewelry store, we can buy from whomever we choose and have some very unique pieces,” she says. “We choose the best of the best from what we buy from people, and have some cases dedicated just to estate jewelry.” Northampton Coin and Jewelry accepts custom orders, and works with a designer who can take an existing piece, such as a treasured ring or other family heirloom, and create something brand-new from it.

Qi Spa

429 Front St.  |  Catasauqua, PA 18032  |  610-443-1746  |

As a practitioner of acupuncture for over 20 years, Ming Ming Molony has treated patients whose health ailments have run the gamut from infertility to sinus problems and seizures. Feeling good on the inside can only help you feel better on the outside; this is the  philosophy Molony shares with her team at Qi Spa.

Acupuncture is an ancient practice in which long, thin needles are inserted into certain key areas of the body and has been a fixture in Chinese medicine for centuries. “Acupuncture can help the body regulate itself,” Molony explains. “The body has blockages and cannot function; acupuncture regulates the body so the blood can flow and oxygen gets to the brain.” While Molony keeps busy with her acupuncture clients on one side of her storefront, the other side is home to Qi Spa, a full-service day spa that offers a range of services that promote relaxation, and overall well-being. Among their services are a variety of massages (including Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, prenatal, and sports), facials, natural nail care, body wraps, acupressure, paraffin waxing (a hot wax treatment that helps improve circulation in the body’s extremities), anti-aging facial treatments, a Vitamin D tanning bed, and a sauna.

Molony and her four-person staff  try to give their customers a healthy dose of “qi” (“energy or life force”) during their time at the spa, which is how she chose that name for her business. “People want to be beautiful and healthy, and we want to bring good health and life with the beauty so people feel good from the inside out.”

Cosmetic and Natural Dentistry (formerly Beata Carlson, DDS, PC)

2600 Newburg Road  |  Easton, PA   |  610-252-1454  |

Your smile says a lot about you, and the team at Cosmetic and Natural Dentistry want to make sure you’re delivering the right message with your pearly whites.

Dr. Beata Carlson opened her dental practice in 1998; in fall 2011 the office expanded with the addition of Dr. William Barron and the practice’s name changed to Cosmetic and Natural Dentistry.

According to office manager Heather Webber, the staff’s philosophy is to treat their patients as they treat their family, using only the best materials available for patients’ health. “We believe good nutrition is the key to good dental health. Your mouth is the gateway to your health, from the foods we eat to the way our smiles look. A beautiful smile can help you in all aspects of your life,” she says.

Cosmetic and Natural Dentistry is a holistic practice that uses biocompatible materials, meaning they are healthier for the body. Just some of the services offered include one-hour in-office whitening, veneers, cosmetic whitening, invisible braces, clear correct, and non-surgical periodontal treatments. Dr. Barron also does standard dental procedures like extractions and root canals. Good oral health is important, and the team at Cosmetic and Natural Dentistry want to help their patients be a healthy as possible.

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