NEWPORT NEWS-Tawana Randolph and her daughter, Chelsea Haskins, owners of Say Cheezz! Selfie Studio, the Peninsula’s first selfie studio, were officially welcomed to their new storefront in the DW Shopping Center on Friday, April 8. The City of Newport News Vice Mayor Saundra Cherry and Elizabeth McCoury, Redevelopment Manager with Newport News Economic Development’s office, were in attendance in addition to retail merchant representatives.
The mother-daughter team officially opened their doors to the public with a soft opening on Thursday, February 3, taking over the former Cash Converters storefront, which is located a few doors down from the old Burlington Coat Factory at the intersection of Denbigh and Warwick boulevards. Since the studio’s soft opening, the business has quickly garnered a robust and diverse customer base.
It was important for Randolph to create a business that catered to people of all ages, but she especially wanted to target young people who were in need of constructive environments to spend their free time. A single parent, Randolph was familiar with the never-ending quest of brainstorming ideas for suitable entertainment outlets while her children were growing up.
“My daughter, Chelsea, and my son, Javelle, were latchkey kids while they were growing up, and I was always looking for safe and affordable entertainment options for them,” said Randolph.
Haskins had the opportunity to engage in modeling during her high school years and became versed in photography.
“My daughter has always been very creative and taking pictures has always been an important outlet for her,” said Randolph. The two came up with the idea of opening a selfie studio on the Peninsula after seeing one in Virginia Beach. They were confident they could put their own unique spin on a local studio.
Their studio offers 32 selfie stations with eye-catching and themed backgrounds. There are options that depict scenes such as sitting in a plane, hair salon chair, and in the middle of a Rubik’s Cube. The carefree atmosphere isn’t just for kids. In addition to the selfie-stations, Say Cheezz! Selfie Studio has two rooms dedicated to parties.
“We had our first adult function about three weeks ago,” said Randolph. “It was for a young lady who was hosting a sipping selfie party.”
The customer invited a group of ladies to an evening of wine and cheese photoshoots. “She had cheese and crackers, personalized wine glasses, and they just went around for an hour taking photos with their friends.”
It’s important to Randolph and her family that they connect with the community they work in. “We partner with Cam Bertrand, who works with youth in his Violence Intervention & Prevention organization,” said Randolph. “We’re holding an Easter egg hunt this Saturday and sponsoring ten of his children to come out and take pictures with the Easter bunny. We’re going to have games, prizes, and giveaways as well.”
The Easter egg hunt will be held from 1pm to 2:30pm on Saturday, April 16. A D.J. will be on site to lend a party atmosphere and children are admitted free with a paying adult. Customers are asked to register online prior to the event.
Current hours of operation for Say Cheezz! Selfie Studio are from 4pm to 9pm on Mondays, 4pm to 11pm on Fridays, noon to 11pm on Saturdays, and noon to 9pm on Sundays. The studio is closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Randolph said hours of operation are likely to change in May. She expects the studio to be open seven days a week once schools begin their summer vacations.
Tickets cost $25 for adults, $15 for children ages 4 to 10; and three and under are free of charge. A $4 charge is added for customers who would like to add a 360 experience to their package.
The studio is located at 14346 Warwick Blvd, Unit 111, in Newport News next to Tomorrow’s Image Barber. For more information about Say Cheezz! Selfie Studio, visit its website, Facebook page, or call 757-527-2592.