by Lisa Tome
As former president of Perryville's Chamber of Commerce, Matt Roath knows what the community needs.
He now practices what he has preached.
Now Roath, a Perryville native, has opened not one, but two new businesses on Route 40 in a former hair salon. Earlier in February, he opened The Roath Agency, at 5292 Pulaski Highway. That business is Allstate Insurance offering auto, home, business, and life insurance.
He has a connection to the location and spent time there as a child. Both Roath and his mother, Diane, were customers at the business which formerly occupied the building, The Head Shed and later, Pure Indulgence salon.
Roath brings a wealth of knowledge to the company. He formerly worked in investments and wealth management.
"I wanted to work locally so I switched directions," he said. So he brought in four licensed insurance agents including himself, three of whom are from Perryville. Roath, Dane Hall, Samantha Morter, and Brooke Janney are the agents.
Roath said during his time leading the chamber he learned that people wanted full service businesses back in Perryville.
"I see an amazing opportunity here. We (Perryville) were already home to some of the largest businesses in the county. I see an amazing opportunity here to make a living and impact the town where you grew up," he said.
The second business will be called Camdyn's Yards, in honor of Roath's 11-month-old daughter, Camdyn, and has Roath teaming up with Faith Addair from A&M Tent Events/A&M Elegant Affairs.
Addair, who has 18 years of experience with weddings, and who currently does about 30 per year, will serve as a wedding consultant for those who want to marry on the lawn of the property. The parcel of land is more than two acres and Roath believes lends itself to such events. The second floor of the insurance building was formerly a spa and will now serve as a preparation area for bridal parties. "There are not many venues in the county that the average new bride and and family can afford," Addair said.
She also said people are getting more wise with spending for weddings. She will serve as the consultant and offer ideas and vendor options to brides.
"My role is to help them," said Addair.
In addition to hosting weddings, Roath also plans to use the property for community events. He's pondering reviving Spring Fling and Autumn Fest in Perryville and having them at the business.
On May 19, in lieu of a ribbon cutting for the new business, Roath plans to open the building to the community so they can tour the insurance agency and the grounds. He also wants to host other events - car shows, a Wiffle Ball tournament, and hopes to be a stop on local poker runs. Addair is also planning a wedding show at the venue. "There's nothing wrong with having Perryville known as having fun events," said Roath.
"I want to show young entrepreneurship and how important it is to be involved in a small town," he added.