ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Where a Roanoke businesswoman keeps her gun has launched another new business.
Eliane Coleman Niemann has owned The Health Shelf, a full service herbal wellness center, for 18 years.
Niemann told WDBJ-TV's Holly Pietrzak that she got a scare one day in 2009 as she was stocking shelves when she said two men came in her store screaming, one yelling that he had been shot 17 times.
She was scared and thought she was about to get robbed or maybe hurt.
“Then he told me, ‘I'm going to come back.’ My pistol is behind the counter -- and then I'm thinking it makes no sense for me to have a pistol behind the counter,” said Eliane Coleman Niemann.
Nothing happened, but an idea was born since Niemann has her concealed carry permit and now keeps a gun on her for protection.
“I didn't want my customers to come into a health store and be talking to me about their health, and I'm doing reflexology on their feet and then seeing a pistol on my side,” said Niemann. “I hate to have to pack every day, but you just never know when something is going to happen."
After no luck searching for something suitable, Niemann bought material and had an apron made.
“It has two layers for concealment here," she said "And then it has the pockets so that if you're right or left-handed you can put the pistol in.”
She calls it the Apron Gun Holster and has decided to sell the aprons nationwide. But her real purpose is to help small business owners and workers protect themselves.
Niemann said the contraption would be perfect for workers at gas stations, convenience stores, and hotels or motels. She also said they could also be useful at barber and beauty shops.
Another businesswoman and friend, Valerie Smith, said she plans to get her concealed carry permit and an apron.
“It's unfortunate that we live in an area that this is happening, but we also have to be wise. We can't be afraid, but we don't want to be hurt at the same time,” said Smith.