Local attorney, two businesses on TV

Posted: February 9, 2013

The Winchester Star

Mellie Stanley
Attorney Christopher E. Collins looks over the Bonnie Blue Southern Market and Bakery in Winchester, which is featured in “Gypsy Sisters.” Collins is representing Mellie Stanley on a misdemeanor assault and battery appeal stemming from a July 3 incident in the city. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — The community just got a little bit wilder.

A local attorney and a couple of businesses can be seen on a new reality television series called “Gypsy Sisters,” set to premiere at 9 p.m. Sunday on TLC.

According to the show’s website, the six-episode series centers on wild child Mellie Stanley — best known for her stripping and violent temper on “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” — who returns with her “meddling sister Nettie, cousin Kayla, and loveable Laura for a raucous look at life as a gypsy in the wilds of West Virginia.”

Christopher E. Collins — of Inger & Collins PC in Winchester (and a Frederick County supervisor) — is representing Mellie Stanley on a misdemeanor assault and battery appeal stemming from a July 3 incident.

According to court documents, Stanley hit a Piccadilly’s Public House manager twice in the face after being asked to leave.

Stanley — who was tried and found guilty of the charge in Winchester General District Court — is appealing the charge in Winchester Circuit Court.

She was set to appear in the court Friday, but the case was continued until 9 a.m. Feb. 26.

Collins said Thursday that he was not hired with the expectation that he would be on the show, but was later asked if he would mind filming some of his and Stanley’s interactions for the show.

“It was unique, very interesting,” he said of his experience during filming for the show. “It’s kind of neat to have the opportunity to show up on a national cable network.”

Collins said he and Stanley were filmed at different locations talking about her court case.

“They brought in two camera crews,” he said, adding that nearly a dozen people were in his office at one point.

No camera crews were allowed in court, however.

Collins called the show’s crew and characters “very nice people” and said he had a lot of fun during the filming.

One of the locations was the Bonnie Blue Southern Market and Bakery.

Christian P. Schweiger, a partner at the business, called the experience interesting. “We’ve only been open a couple months, so it was exciting to be featured on a national TV show.”

He added that he was glad they chose Bonnie Blue’s because the building is historic — built in 1920 at 334 W. Boscawen St. — and he thinks it “really says Winchester.”

“It did shine a light on us and we were happy for that,” Schweiger said.

And perhaps a backdrop that viewers may see more often is the Blue Fox Billiards Bar and Grill at 1160 Millwood Pike (U.S. 50) east Winchester.

Owner Conrad Coffman said three production segments were filmed at the establishment.

He said crew members had visited the bar, had a great time and recommended it to the director.

“It’s an aesthetically pleasing place,” he said.

One of the scenes was shot in the bar area, where one of the show’s characters was on a date, Coffman said, and another scene took place in the pool room, where entertainment for the group was provided.

Coffman said a “much more drama-filled” scene was shot at the bar.

He said he hopes to gain more patrons after the show airs, but that just being spotlighted in the show was special.

“It makes you feel good, makes you feel proud, not only of the place you built but of the staff,” Coffman said.

Nicole Bamber, a publicist for TLC, said the series filmed extensively in the Winchester area. “Every Sunday night, there’s an opportunity to see Winchester.”

Bamber said Collins can be seen on the first episode this weekend.

Coffman said the Blue Fox date scenes are expected to be on episode two — which also premieres Sunday.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com