Shop Talk

Relaxing at The Center for Qi Gong

Since last spring, The Center for Qi Gong in Kentlands Downtown has offered a deep relaxation alternative to spas and salons. The nonprofit center for meditation and holistic healing, located at 422 Main Street, provides Qi-Gong meditation classes as well as private holistic healing sessions.

Qi Gong owner and operator Beatrice Ollier is a certified psychotherapist who worked in Kentlands nine years ago and also had a practice in Rockville. In October 2011, Ollier closed her Rockville practice after several years of contemplating a career-shift.

“I had been thinking about this for maybe three years. [But] I was scared of leaving the skills I was respected for,” she said, “and I knew nothing about nonprofits!”

However, Ollier, who described her skill for teaching Qi-Gong, as “just coming naturally with my daily practice,” has quickly made her center a place where area residents can reach deep relaxation.

“The purpose of Qi-Gong,” she said, “is to quiet the mind and relax the body. The goal is a stillness of the mind.”

Ollier believes everyone can benefit from a formal Qi-Gong class once a week, but she emphasized that home meditation is a key aspect to having that sense of relaxation and well being last throughout the rest of the week.

During a typical class at the center, Ollier leads practitioners through a series of mental images, as well as physical movements (the class is done mostly standing) that take the Qi (pronounced “Chi”), which is the Chinese word for energy, and move it in and around the body. Participants are asked to visualize the Qi as a ball of light so they can move it around with purpose, ease and awareness.

“[Through the practice of Qi-Gong,] you become energized as well as relaxed. Which is almost paradoxical,” she said.

Ollier knew she wanted the center to be a nonprofit because she wanted to reach out and serve the community, including low-income individuals. “My goal is for everyone to have access to Qi-Gong and holistic healing,” she said.

The center will hold a free open house on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. that will include food and drink, discounts on booking first sessions, and raffle prizes, such as free services and coupons from other Main Street businesses. Ollier’s Chinese Qi-Gong master will also provide demonstrations at the top over every hour that will last approximately 15 minutes.

For more information on The Center for Qi Gong, visit

Ludwick Opens New Salon

In October 2012, Ira Ludwick, a five-year resident of the Kentlands and Lakelands communities, opened the Ira Ludwick Salon in Bethesda, Md. The salon, which opened in October 2012, is the second for Ludwick, who started Progressions salon in Rockville in 1984. His new salon is located at 10400 Old Georgetown Road in Georgetown Square Shopping Center.

Ludwick, who currently lives on Placid Mews in Lakelands, broke into the Washington, D.C.-area salon business in 1974. The owner of Progressions from 1984 – 2012, he sold the salon when he decided to open one bearing his own name.

The Ira Ludwick Salon belongs to Intercoiffure, an international membership association that includes many prestigious salons and hairdressers. Part of what makes his new salon great, said Ludwick, is that “it’s where we celebrate the art of hairdressing, [with] great service by highly trained professionals.” Of his staff, Ludwick says they are “an truly artistic tribe.”

Ludwick wants his customers to be thrilled not just with the outcome of their services at the salon, but also with the ambiance and décor. “My salon was designed and built by the Streetsense [company],” said Ludwick. “It’s a modern gallery feel and just a great space with wonderful lighting.”

The Ira Ludwick Salon offers an assortment of services including hair cutting, styling and color, as well as skincare, waxing and makeup. For more information, visit or call 301.530.3250.

Fleet Feet Named One of the Best

Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg, located at 255 Kentlands Blvd., was recently named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America by the Competitor Group, a national media and event entertainment company “dedicated to the endurance sports industry of running, cycling and triathlon.”
Fleet Feet owners Chris and Robyn Gault said the key to their success was the support of the local community, as well as their other customers and hardworking staff. “It makes us so happy that our customers have supported and helped us,” said Chris Gault. The Gaults received a plaque from the Competitor Group that is now on display in the store.

Fleet Feet is known by many in the community for both its running clubs and events and its philanthropy. The store hosts many charitable events and contributes to numerous causes; in addition, the Gaults often spring for free beer and pizza after the free Thursday night “fun runs,” which meet at the store at 6:30 p.m. After the Jan. 3 fun run, Fleet Feet offered a champagne toast to ring in the new year.

Competitor started with a pool of 1,000+ stores from across the United States, which were then narrowed to the best 128 stores based on customer voting and feedback. Finally, to select the top 50, the Competitor Group sent secret shoppers to each of the 128 stores. The secret shoppers critiqued and reported on the entire shopping experience at each store, including friendliness, speed and helpfulness. Finally, the organization contacted the vendors who supplied each store in order to examine the quality of their relationship.

“We are excited and proud,” said Chris. “I mean, [before we opened Fleet Feet over seven years ago,] we had office jobs. We were accountants! So this is really fun.”

On Feb. 8, Fleet Feet will hold its annual Diva Night, an evening that includes refreshments, makeovers, massages, fittings and other activities, as well as gift bags. Admission is $15; all proceeds from the event will be used to purchase shoes for Girls on the Run of Montgomery County. Space is limited. RSVP to 301.926.6442 or

For more information, visit