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RETURN TO BUSINESS: Groves celebrates Bella Ink Studios, 1st ribbon cutting since pandemic began

GROVES — The city of Groves celebrated its first ribbon cutting for a new business since the beginning of the pandemic.

On a sunny day Wednesday morning, Rashauna Gay cut the ribbon in front of her business, Bella Ink Studios.

“It felt really good,” Gay said. “I am really proud of myself. I’ve been doing photography for 12 years, but the permanent makeup, I have offered since December.”

For some at the event, the ribbon cutting matched the symbolism for Texas governor Gregg Abbott’s declaration earlier this week to open the state during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gay offers indoor and outdoor photography, micro blading and permanent eyebrows.

“I am also about to start offering eyeliner and lips and some other beauty services,” she said. “That should be within the month. I am doing my training right now to get my certifications.”

Ronnie Boneau, executive director of the Groves Chamber of Commerce, said it is always great to see new businesses get started.

“Except this time, it is even more,” he said. “Although we have had some new members join since the first of the year, this is the first ribbon cutting we have had. Last year, we had just a minimal amount of people joining and secondly, I don’t think we had a ribbon cutting last year. I think the last one we had was at the end of 2019. This is really exciting to have a real ribbon cutting and to have the number of people that showed up.”

More than two dozen people attended this week’s ribbon cutting.

Boneau hopes the governor’s announcement to roll back business restrictions and mask requirements helps the local economy.

“This is the first step for the business community,” he said. “The business community has been beat up so bad. We are tickled that she chose to put her business here, and we have had two more businesses come to the chamber since then. That is amazing in itself. Now that Abbott has made his ruling, it will even get better. This means a lot for all of us. I am really excited about it.”

Beverly Herford, Groves chamber president, said the event signified another nudge towards normalcy.

“We are thrilled to do this,” she said. “We are on board and so excited. This business is really a good thing right here. To have it out here and to offer all of this in a good location is great.”

Bella Ink Studios is located at 5531 East Parkway.