Author Archives: Chesapeake Bank

Spotlight on Gloucester

Spotlight on Gloucester

It’s an exciting time to live in Gloucester. This month, Gloucester Village Main Street was one of three Virginia communities awarded with a $100,000 grant from the state to support small business development. The funding was a part of the Governor’s strategic vision for economic development and centers around an entrepreneur contest in each of the chosen communities called the Virginia Community Business Launch. The contest will begin in mid-January and boasts substantial prize packages for the top three winners to include startup capital, a marketing package, free business consultation, and abatement for rent and utilities. It will be a terrific asset to the great things already happening in the Gloucester Village Main Street community.


We recently had the chance to catch up with Jenny Crittenden, executive director of the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Ashley Gilmartin, executive director of the Gloucester Main Street Association to learn more about their organizations and what’s happening in Gloucester. Though representing separate organizations, Crittenden and Gilmartin work together for the benefit of the Main Street business community.


Chesapeake Bank: What is the history and purpose of the Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association?

Jenny Crittenden: It all started with the incredible vision and generosity of the late Edwin Joseph and his wife, Adrianne Ryder-Cook Joseph.  The Joseph’s, when looking at the old Gloucester Exchange  Shopping Center where the vacated property of the Ames store was located, saw an opportunity for Gloucester while others most likely saw a vacated run-down shopping center.  Mr. Joseph’s plan was to purchase the shopping center, rehabilitate the property, providing suitable space for a new public library for Gloucester and creating a vehicle that would produce income to be used to enhance and improve Gloucester Main Street.  He and his wife purchased the center in January 2003 and proceeded with the initial renovation and thus, Main Street Center was born.


Currently, Main Street Center is a thriving center of business housing the Gloucester County Public Library, United States Post Office, Gloucester County Health department, restaurants, offices, physicians and retail businesses.  The Main Street Preservation Trust office and event center is also located on the property.


As you can see, the Joseph’s provided two gifts to Gloucester – the first being the vision and funding to bring Main Street Center to life and the second, the gift of placing Main Street Center in a Trust that specifically states the profits from Main Street Center are to only benefit Gloucester Main Street through attracting new and additional business to Main Street, enhancing the economic and business environment, preserving historical landmarks in the Court House area, and promoting civic and cultural activities.  Their un-paralleled gifts rate as the greatest acts of philanthropy ever bestowed upon Gloucester County.


Ashley Gilmartin: The Gloucester Main Street Association is a group of Main Street business owners, residents, commercial and residential property owners and other individuals who have joined together to form a nonprofit organization with its goal being to promote Historic Gloucester Main Street, plan and implement events and attract additional businesses and residents. We want to make Gloucester Main Street beautiful, interesting and a great place to visit, live, invest and work.


Chesapeake Bank: What goals are the Trust and Association currently working on?

Jenny Crittenden: The Main Street Preservation Trust is currently working on these projects and initiatives:

  • We offer annual grants for improvements of facades and interiors for buildings located in the target area of Main Street.
  • We offer merchandising grants for businesses to access a professional for store design and merchandising.
  • We offer workshops, trainings and seminars as well as business one-on-one consultations with small business specialists.
  • We are in the early design process of a corridor enhancement project to beautify the Main Street corridor from the Walmart light (Route 17 & Main Street) to Newington Baptist Church (northern end of Main Street & 17).
  • We print more than 20,000 shop & dine brochures to be placed in the visitors centers across the state of Virginia.
  • We financially support the newly formed Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund.
  • We partner with Gloucester County Tourism on tourism efforts and marketing.
  • We provide financial support to the Gloucester Main Street Association.
  • We partner with Gloucester County on future planning and business growth strategies.
  • We partner with the Gloucester County EDA on business growth strategies and the promotion of Gloucester as a business destination.

Our goal is to foster an environment where entrepreneurs can grow. We strive to create a business ecosystem of support, mentorship and education.


Ashley Gilmartin:

  • Downtown marketing including newsletters, blogging, social media, etc.
  • Hold downtown events and promotions throughout the year
  • Developing cooperative advertising opportunities for Main Street businesses

Chesapeake Bank: What do you think the future is of Gloucester Main Street and Main Street USA in general?

Jenny Crittenden: The future of the Main Street in Gloucester is very bright. Unlike anywhere else in the nation, Gloucester Main Street businesses have the support of the Main Street Preservation Trust that has a perpetual funding stream due to the incredible generosity of Edwin & Adrianne Joseph in the form of developing Main Street Center and then gifting it into a trust to ensure that the Main Street businesses would have the opportunity to not only survive, but also grow and thrive. Most small communities, like Gloucester, are built on the backs of small business. It’s our small business owners who volunteer. It’s our small business owners who donate to local charities. It’s our small business owners who bring a personality to the street, an energy that only an entrepreneur can bring. They are a fiber in our community closely woven to all of us. Supporting them in their efforts means you are supporting your neighbor and what better way to spend your money than with friends?


Main Streets in general are seeing a rebirth with increased investment of funds being used to renovate and repurpose historic buildings, breathing life back into our cities and towns.  People are migrating back to a place where they can enjoy a walkable environment for shopping and dining, be a part of close knit community, and mesh with different ages and backgrounds.  Where the new town center style mixed use developments are becoming popular, the Main Street communities are authentic, not copied.  We can offer a sense of place that can’t be imitated because our “place”, in some communities, has developed over generations.  It’s important for our human character to feel a part of something, some place and Main Streets can offer this like no other.  Nationally, even the big box retailers are developing concepts that scale down the size of their models, recognizing that people are migrating back to a downtown style of living and wish for quick convenience and a human connection that a smaller store provides.  The future of the Gloucester Village Main Street…definitely bright.

Camden's Cause

Giving Back: ‘Camden’s Cause’

The season of giving is in full swing. For one member of our extended Chesapeake Bank family, the season of giving – and giving back – never ends.


Meet Camden Giroux, the 12-year-old grandson of Kathy Jarvis, a Commercial-Consumer Loan Associate in our loan processing center. For the past few years, Camden has made it his mission to assist the homeless in and around Richmond, not far from where we’ll be opening a retail branch in 2015.


“Camden’s Cause” has made an impact by donating backpacks full of items like snacks, canned food, warm clothes, toiletries, vitamins and a Bible to needy men and women. He and his family, including Kathy, have purchased or raised money for coats, sleeping bags and even a tent. Last January, he put $50 of his Christmas money – and $50 each from his mother and grandmother – toward purchasing pizzas and delivering them in needy areas.


A few dozen Chesapeake Bank employees have gotten in the spirit by purchasing T-shirts and donating supplies, and local churches and community groups also have donated supplies.


To find out more about Camden, who was featured by all three Richmond TV stations (including this WRIC feature), PBS’ Virginia Currents (22:45 mark) and the Mechanicsville Local, visit his Facebook page or fundraising page.


Photo via

2014 Best Banks to Work For Photo

Chesapeake Bank Named Best Banks to Work For

At Chesapeake Bank, we always strive to be the bank and employer of choice in each of the communities we serve. That’s why we were so excited to be named one of the Best Banks to Work For in 2014!


The program, initiated in 2013 to identify, recognize and honor the best banks to work for in the nation, is a project of American Banker and Best Companies Group. In all, 40 banks achieved “Best Bank” status this year with Chesapeake Bank at No. 11.


To be considered for participation, banks must fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have at least 50 employees working in the United States;
  • Be a Commercial Bank, Thrift, Mutual Association, Mutual Savings Bank, Savings and Loan Association or a Savings Bank

Determining the Best Banks to Work For involved a two-step process. The first step consisted of evaluating each participating bank’s workplace policies, practices and demographics. The second part consisted of employee surveys aimed at assessing the experiences and attitudes of individual employees with respect to their workplace. The combined scores determined the top banks and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process and also analyzed the data and used their expertise to determine the final ranking.


In all, 40 banks achieved “Best Bank” status in this second year for the program. The full Best Banks to Work For list is featured in the November issue of American Banker Magazine and is available online at

Go Local Holidays

Return of #GoLocalHolidays Twitter Chat

Chesapeake Bank again will take part in the Independent Community Bankers Association’s (@ICBA) #GoLocalHolidays Twitter chat.


The focus of the chat, which will take place Friday from 2-3 p.m., is “all things local” during the holiday season. We’re taking part as a panelist because it’s a natural fit to promote shopping locally in our community beyond Shop Local Day.


Community bankers, small businesses and consumers are encouraged to join in the conversation and share tips for shopping local or ask questions. Follow @ChesBank and the hashtag #GoLocalHolidays to interact – we’ll be joined by the American Independent Business Alliance (@TheAMIBA), Bank of Ann Arbor, Mich. (@BankofAnnArbor), Citizens Bank of Edmond, Okla. (@CitizensEdmond) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (@SBAgov).

Give Back

‘Tis the Season for Giving

As we enter the “season of giving,” we know we’re only as strong as the communities we serve.


Chesapeake Bank and our employees encourage you to join us in supporting area nonprofits and service organizations that play an essential role in the growth and well-being of our communities. Here are some of the organizations we’re supporting this holiday season:


  • Our Williamsburg branches and offices have adopted multiple families through the Salvation Army of Williamsburg’s Angel Tree program for Christmas.  Our branch at Williamsburg Landing is collecting scarves, hats and gloves for the United Way of Greater Williamsburg’s Community Resource Center.
  • Our Hayes branch is currently collecting food to help the Susanna Wesley United Methodist Church with their local food drive and sending holiday cards to soldiers at our local Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
  • Our Gloucester branches will be adopting a local family in need as identified by Bethel Elementary School for Christmas.
  • Our Mathews branch is collecting personal care items, such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, deodorant and toilet paper, for area Meals on Wheels recipients and the Mathews Department of Social Services Food Bank.
  • Our Northern Neck branches are collecting donations and food for the Food Bank’s BackPack Program to help ensure children in their community have plenty of food to eat while out of school on holiday break.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Chesapeake Bank!


SLD Thank You

Thank You for Another Successful Shop Local Day

Together, you, Chesapeake Bank and our area chambers have created a shop local movement that reinforces the very real connection between shopping locally and a stronger local economy.


By any measure, our fifth Shop Local Day was a resounding success. More than 335 businesses from the lower Northern Neck, Mathews County, Gloucester County and Greater Williamsburg actively participated by displaying “The Buck Stays Here” decal in shop windows and offering special discounts and other incentives to shoppers.


That’s pretty impressive, and you helped make that happen. Thank you.


Let’s keep the momentum going this holiday season and continue to spread the shop local message. Just download and print the “Ten Good Reasons to Shop Locally” flyer and share with customers, friends and family. When people understand the connection between shopping locally and a stronger local economy, they will think “Shop Local” first.


Best wishes for a happy and prosperous holiday season from your friends and Shop Local partners at Chesapeake Bank.


We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on Shop Local Day in the comments section, so please share!

Karen Riordan

Shop Local – Meet Karen Riordan

Meet Karen Riordan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance since January 2014.  With an extensive business and marketing background, including tourism marketing, Karen shares her perspective on the importance of shopping local.


Chesapeake Bank: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your role with the chamber.

Karen Riordan: I started in January and moved with my family in June 2014 from Leesburg, Va.  We lived in NoVA for more than eight years, as I had been transferred with my former company to be President of the Washington D.C. office of the firm.  I’m originally from New England, having grown up in Rhode Island and then lived outside Boston most of my adult life.


The Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance is a unique non-profit, in that we are a Chamber and the destination marketing organization (DMO) for tourism to our beautiful area.  Our mission is to be the voice of business in Greater Williamsburg.  We work to create an environment of economic vitality through advocacy, education and networking to help businesses develop, grow and prosper.  As the DMO, we promote the Greater Williamsburg region as a premier year-round travel destination.


Our goals are to support the business community, ensuring individual success and greater prosperity in the entire community.  Our committees are member volunteers working in the areas of Government Affairs, Economic Progress, Armed Forces support, Membership, Retention, Health, and Education.


As a new resident of the area, I am so impressed with the community’s hospitality and welcoming approach to visitors and new residents.  My family fell in love with the Williamsburg area as tourists ourselves over the last eight years. The advertising firm I worked with had a strong travel tourism practice that included hotels, cruise lines, Amtrak, and Colonial Williamsburg, so I had some professional familiarity with the area.


What many people don’t know is that I am married to a small business entrepreneur and also left a large corporate firm to run my own advertising agency in Virginia.  As a former small business leader myself, I completely understand the challenges the tough economy has presented these past six years.  I think that experience gives me a strong connection and appreciation for the resourcefulness and dedication it takes to be small business owner.


CB: The chamber has partnered with Chesapeake Bank since 2012 to promote Shop Local Day and generate more awareness and support for the locally-owned and operated businesses in our community.  Please share with us your perspective on this initiative.

KR: I have always personally and professionally supported Shop Local initiatives for a number of reasons.  It’s good business to support your neighbors and build a community in which others will support you right back.  I also love the ability to provide goods and services that are unique to an area – it makes them special as a gift-giver and more meaningful for the recipient.  And Shop Local initiatives are sprouting up all over the country for a reason: locally-owned and operated businesses are truly the backbone of every local economy.


Over the years, with jobs transferring overseas and more shoppers shopping online, towns of all sizes have continued to see an increase in vacant storefronts and strip malls.  Shop Local reminds citizens how important it is to keep the dollars here at work in our local economy and encourages talented residents and entrepreneurs to invest in a community willing to invest in them.


We should all feel fortunate to live in Williamsburg.  It is abundant with wonderful businesses of ALL sizes and types that give back and make our area a great place to both live and visit.  Studies show, however, that as much as $0.60 to $0.70 of every dollar spent at a locally-owned business stays at work in the community.  In addition, many of our local businesses are unique to this area, adding to its attractiveness as a place to visit.  Increasingly, travelers are looking for destinations with a diverse blend of shops and eateries they can’t find at home.


Bottom-line, when a community’s locally-owned businesses are doing well, the entire community thrives.


CB: Do you think Shop Local Day has helped generate more awareness and support for local businesses? 

KR: I absolutely believe that Shop Local has been a key resource that has grown more awareness and appreciation for local businesses.  Shop Local Day shines the spotlight and keeps our local businesses top of mind.  But Shop Local is way more than one day – it is a spirit that we want to keep year-round – certainly as we go into the prime holiday retail season, shopping local can have a positive impact for our businesses and on our economy.


CB: Do you see more local businesses working together and supporting each other? 

KR: The fact that we have over 100 businesses signed on to take part is just amazing.  Part of our goal is to promote this day so those businesses “feel the love” from our community and we all go out and take part.  I am excited to spend the day visiting many of the Shop Local participants; it will help make a major contribution to my early holiday shopping!


CB: What role does the chamber want to play in growing the business community for the benefit of everyone who works and lives in the Williamsburg area?

KR: Growing the business community by helping new businesses take off, as well as supporting existing businesses is at the heart of why we exist.  Shop Local is a perfect extension of that and we remain committed to grow awareness and participation by businesses and by the community.  This is a movement that we can hopefully grow stronger and stronger over time.


CB: Is there anything else you would to add?

KR: I hope we can count on the community to support our local businesses this Saturday and every day, so we keep our economy and our community strong.


Photo via

Artfully Yours

Shop Local Day Profile – Artfully Yours

Leading up to our next Shop Local Day event on Saturday, November 8, Chesapeake Bank wants to highlight some of the participating merchants throughout the region who are offering shoppers a little extra to come out and support their community businesses.


Artfully Yours is a dream come true to a mother & daughter duo in the Art District of Williamsburg. Open for less than a year, they highlight a great amount of local work and offer a number of services to the community – including yoga and art classes for kids. As you’ll read, they have big plans for the future, too! Learn more about the Artfully Yours in their profile below.


Business Name:  Artfully Yours
Contact: Chelsea White
Contact information: Website, Facebook or by phone at 757-253-6932.
Shop Local Day Deal: 10% off your entire purchase of merchandise or art classes!  (Doesn’t include birthday parties.) Also, if you download the new LOVEVA App and show us, we will have a free gift for you!
Store information:  Artfully Yours is located at 901 Richmond Road in Williamsburg. Visit Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Chesapeake Bank: Can you tell us more about the different services you offer to the community?

Chelsea White: At Artfully Yours we have a multi-faceted location! We sell work from local artists and craftsmen, we offer art and yoga classes for kids, birthday parties, adult classes etc. – and we are working on something really BIG that will be debuted close to Thanksgiving! We also go into the community during local events and offer free kids art projects and activities, as well as in the schools!


CB: What does shopping local mean to you?

CW: Shopping local means everything to me especially now that I own a small business. It doesn’t necessarily mean cutting off the rest of the world, it just means tending and encouraging the growth of locally-owned business, especially those who use local resources. It also means becoming more self-sufficient to your area, i.e. eating local seasonal crops, and depending less on imports. It helps the local economy, the environmental impact is less, customer service is better, and local businesses support more charities. Shopping local also helps to preserve our community’s character.


CB: You and your mom operate Artfully Yours together, right? What does it mean to you to be part of a family-run business?

CW: Family-run isn’t always easy, but it was the right choice for us. To us the uniqueness and soul of family ownership is to have a family (in our case mother and daughter) that is dedicated and passionate about the business. We truly care about keeping the quality of our classes and merchandise in order to please the Williamsburg community. We are also invested in the future of Artfully Yours and how it is perceived by the public.


CB: How did you get started in the industry you are in? We’d love to hear any details about your business story.

CW: Both my mother and I have an art and creative background as well as a business background. We constantly felt like there was need in Williamsburg for a location like Artfully Yours. We haven’t even touched the surface in implementing all of our “grand plans,” and it is truly a blessing to be able to use all of our talents in our own business. My mom and I have had years worth of “business” meetings throwing ideas around and trying to figure out the logistics of it all. Artfully Yours truly fell into place when it did.


CB: It looks like Artfully Yours works with a number of local artists. Can you tell us more about that?

CW: Currently we work with only local artists (we have about 125). Most of our artists call Hampton Roads home, however a few are from Richmond and other places around Virginia. Hampton Roads (and Virginia) houses some of the most talented artists and craftsmen.


CB: How do you stay involved/give back to your local community?

CW: We set up booths all over Williamsburg at a variety of events where we offer free kids art projects and activities, and many times we use recycled items. We are always accepting donations of recycled home goods for our “Re-Create” area upstairs where kids can come and create with recyclables. I teach my kids yoga classes in the schools, and someday we hope to bring our art into the schools as well.  We recently hosted a ‘Beyond Boobs’ fundraising event as well as a month-long raffle for them, and we always try to donate items when asked!

Rappahannock Art Leage

Shop Local Day Profile – Rappahannock Art League

Leading up to our next Shop Local Day event on Saturday, November 8, Chesapeake Bank wants to highlight some of the participating merchants throughout the region who are offering shoppers a little extra to come out and support their community businesses.


The Rappahannock Art League, founded in 1949, is the oldest and largest visual arts organization in the area. A not-for-profit organization, RAL’s home is a cooperative gallery run by volunteers. Many events take place in the gallery including monthly forums, workshops and receptions. Learn more about the Rappahannock Art League in their profile below.


Business Name:  Rappahannock Art League
Contact: Hope Towner
Contact information: Website, Facebook or by phone at 804-436-9309
Shop Local Day Deal: Enter a drawing to win a $100 Gift Certificate. May be applied to any purchase at the Studio Gallery!
Store information:  Rappahannock Art League is located at 19 North Main Street in Kilmarnock. Visit the studio Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Chesapeake Bank: It looks like RAL offers many great services to the community – from the gallery to exhibits to tours. Can you tell us more about your offerings?

Hope Towner: Rappahannock Art League Studio Gallery has many events. We produce a changing monthly show in our Exhibit Room, host monthly art forums and lectures, hold First Friday receptions, lead bus tours to nearby museums and galleries and teach adult workshops and summer workshops for kids. We welcome the general public to all of these events. In addition, the gallery provides a creative environment for our member artists to share ideas and techniques. RAL artist development groups meet regularly including the Life Drawing Group, Tuesday Painters (an informal painting group), the Photography Group and more.


CB: What does shopping local mean to you?

HT: Shopping local should be encouraged throughout our community. Supporting local businesses keeps our downtown vibrant. It is also a great way to learn about all the wonderful things our community has to offer.


CB: What service or product do people come to you most for?

HT: Everything in the Studio Gallery, including our monthly shows, is for sale. All the artwork is made by local artisans. There is so much talent in our midst!


CB: What is one of the biggest challenges you face in your business, and how are you dealing with it?

HT: As a non-profit organization, we rely heavily on our membership dues and other donations. We are constantly on the lookout for new grants and new ways to encourage contributions. The Amazing Raise has been a wonderful event to participate in (and many of our local businesses do!).


CB: How did you get started in the industry you are in? We’d love to hear any details on your business story.

HT: I got started in the non-profit business right after college. I started in the theater world. After several years in D.C., I decided to get my Masters degree at American University in the Arts Management program. Since then, I’ve worked in Tucson, San Jose and Berkeley, Calif. But I always spent my vacation time here in Kilmarnock. My parents have lived here for 30+ years, so when it was time to come home, I couldn’t think of a better fit for me than RAL. I’ve been learning a lot about the visual arts, maybe I’ll even dabble in the arts myself!


CB: You’re the only paid employee of RAL, right? Are you volunteer-run otherwise? Tell us about that.

HT: Yes, I am the only paid employee, albeit part-time. We are a cooperative, run by volunteers including our Officers and our Board of Directors. Every artist who has opted to display in the gallery is required to work three hours per month – but many members who aren’t exhibiting volunteer as well. Just as in any business, there are lots of jobs to be filled, and I’m grateful that we have such a wonderful group of dedicated members!

Paula Milsted

Our Director of Marketing, Paula Milsted, on Her Passion for Shopping Locally & Supporting “Charming Small Towns”

The blog post below is first in what will be a series of employee-written blog posts. This post is written by Paula Milsted, who serves as the director of marketing for Chesapeake Bank. She celebrated her 12th anniversary with Chesapeake Bank in April of this year. Paula lives in Warsaw with her family and works in Kilmarnock. Here, she talks about why shopping local is so important.


I grew up on a farm outside a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania not unlike the town in which I live now.  Growing up we were able to go town (meaning the small town) to get groceries, go to the drugstore, visit the dentist, shop for cards, party supplies and gifts, hang out at the local Pizza Pad and play the jukebox, rent videos next door and run to the ATM at the community bank across the street for more money to do all of those things.  We even had a movie theater in this little town.


As I grew older, the next larger town down the road started opening up Walmart, Home Depot, Giant Eagle (large grocery), Blockbuster, an AMC movie theater and more.  One by one each of the businesses mentioned above closed and have left main street looking like a scene from Stephen King’s The Stand.  Well, maybe not that bad, but you get my point.


This town had hidden charm that I hope will come back someday.  I don’t think the community fully understood the impact they were having on their town, until it became what it is today.  A community group has formed to bring this town back to the charming small PA town it once was.  I look forward to the resurgence of this little town.  It takes a lot more work to bring it back than it does to maintain.


And, that is why Shop Local Day is so important to us!!  We all live and work in charming ‘small’ towns (yes, even Williamsburg counts as a small town with all of its charm).  Shop Local Day is a way to raise awareness within our communities about the importance of preserving this charm and maintaining our livelihood, character, economic stability, product diversity and community’s well-being.


So, think about starting with your local shops when finding those groceries, that appliance part, the perfect gift, a gift certificate or a place to have lunch.  You will make a difference and can feel good about supporting your friend, neighbor, civic leader and charming community.