Woman opens self-defense store in Hanes Mall

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — This summer what so many women fear became a reality for Starla Osborne.

“I’m sitting here in my car yelling for help, but not one person did anything,” said Osborne, who was attacked in the parking of a retail store on North Point Boulevard this past summer. “I was finally able to get away.”

Osborne’s alleged attacker, Terry Shawn Seibert, 30, was arrested in early August and is awaiting a court date.

“It’s something every single woman thinks about every day of their life,” said Syvella Coomer, who remembers a moment when that worry became a reality. “I had worked late and I was approached at my vehicle by a man and I had no way to protect myself.”

After nearly 20 years in the restaurant business, Coomer, a mom and grandmother, left her job to help women defend themselves.

“If I can protect my own children, I can possible help protect other women,” Coomer said.

She now runs Safe N Sound Female Defense Devices at Hanes Mall.

Coomer sells items like key-chain alarms, defense rings, pepper spray and a stun device that looks like a cell phone.

“If you showed that, that’s something that’s going to scare someone away,” Coomer said.

Paul Jones, a student at Winston-Salem State, has helped defend his sister.

“I was there with her,” Jones said.

He stopped at Coomer’s store to buy his sister a stun device.

“In case I’m not there with her, I want to make sure she’s protected,” Jones said.

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