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Business Beat

February 1, 2012

Local musician combines crystals, instruments in new shop

A local musician and former school teacher has combined her talents and interests into a business.

The Crystal Phoenix, a consignment shop at 2 Dietz St. in Oneonta, sells healing crystals, second-hand instruments and household items.

Owner Marilyn Roper said her business neighbor, Cindy Staffin, owner of Transitions Boutique consignment clothing store at 4 Dietz St., suggested opening a shop to sell crystals, which are stones used in healing arts.

The Crystal Phoenix sells items such as a 1956 mahogany dining room set, a piccolo and other gift items, and Roper said she is looking for more dishes and musical instruments to sell.

Roper was born and grew up in Oneonta. She graduated from Oneonta High School in 1967 and from Ithaca College as a music education major in 1971. She studied music in Germany and later worked there as a music teacher for 18 years.

In 1991, she returned to Oneonta and has since worked as a professional musician, including in Puff and Pluck and other ensembles, and she taught at St. Mary's School in Oneonta for 18 years. The school closed last year, and Roper said the name of her shop reflects her transition.

"I'm rising from a career I no longer have," she said.

Roper continues to play flute and recorder and is a member of the Mind Body Spirit Collective in Oneonta, a healing arts and wellness group.

The Crystal Phoenix opened Dec. 1, said Roper, who lives in Pindars Corners. The shop's telephone number is 432-4943, which is the number Roper had when she was growing up in Oneonta.

Farm Bureau, Nationwide form link

New York Farm Bureau Member Services and Nationwide Insurance recently announced a partnership described by both organizations as historic.

The partnership, which became effective Jan. 1, aims to provide greater benefits to members and maintain a high level of customer service, a media release from the Farm Bureau said. The Don Marsh Agency at 75 Chestnut St. in Oneonta is the local agent appointed by Nationwide to serve Farm Bureau members. The agency is "On Your Side Farm Certified," which means agents have attended training classes about farm and ranch operations, the Nationwide Agribusiness website says.

Bob Putnam Agency Inc., which has offices at 106 Chestnut St. in Cooperstown and elsewhere in the state, also is named on the website but not listed as specially certified.

In the release, New York Farm Bureau president Dean Norton said people may not be aware that Nationwide's origins lie in the Farm Bureau. The insurance company was started by the Ohio Farm Bureau to help provide insurance for its members, he said.

Nationwide Insurance is the No. 1 farm insurer and sixth-largest auto insurer in the United States, the release said, and as the endorsed insurance company for the New York Farm Bureau, Nationwide offers members-only savings on insurance.

"Nationwide's rich agricultural heritage makes it the perfect partner for our members," Norton said in the release. "Our farmers and agricultural business members are critical to the fabric of the state's overall economy."

Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Co., a part of Nationwide, also has relationships with Farm Bureaus in eight other states, including California, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

To suggest a business story, announce a new business or changes to an existing one, email details to or call Denise Richardson at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 213.

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