Vendors and shoppers at the Williamsburg Farmers Market in Merchants Square via ©Sgoodwin4813

Destination: Williamsburg

Spring has sprung in Williamsburg, and we’re getting ready for a busy end of the month with plenty of options for community fun. Here are some of the places you’ll find us over the next couple of weeks.

  • The third annual Hike for Hospice will take place on April 25 at 1:45 p.m. (on-site registration opens at 12:15 p.m.) at Park East in Governor’s Land located at 2700 Two Rivers Road. We’re a presenting sponsor of the event and will have a team for the 2-mile walk that’s followed by a celebration of life to benefit Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg.
  • The Williamsburg Craft Beer Festival is April 26 from 1-5 p.m. on the lawn across the street from the Williamsburg Community Building (401 N. Boundary Street) and features 28 craft beers from 14 breweries, great food and music from the Jesse Chong Band. Last year’s event raised more than $11,000 for local nonprofits. Tickets are on sale now and expected to sell out. Stay tuned to the festival’s Facebook page for updates.
  • Also on April 26 is Art on the Square, one of the Junior Woman’s Club of Williamsburg’s main fundraisers. The event, now in its 52nd year, is free and boasts creative works from more than 170 artists. Check it out from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Duke of Gloucester and North Boundary Street in Merchants Square. For any questions, contact
  • The Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance is hosting Iron Chef Meets Taste of Williamsburg on April 29 from 6-9 p.m. at Colonial Heritage. Guests get the chance to sample dishes from some of Williamsburg’s finest eateries and vote in the People’s Choice Award. In addition, three teams of top area chefs will compete in an Iron Chef-style competition. Tickets are $65 starting April 15.
  • The Williamsburg Farmers Market is in full swing and will be open April 18 and 25 from 8 a.m.-noon. This Saturday features a special program on gardening with children. Come out to enjoy live music and a morning of fun.


Gloria Williams Photo

Meet Gloria Mazzella Williams, Executive Director of the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce

Gloria Mazzella Williams took over as executive director of the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce in January. She took time to answer our questions about her first few months and goals for the Chamber.

Chesapeake Bank: Congratulations on your new position. How have the first couple of months gone?

Gloria Mazzella Williams: Thank you very much. I am honored to be chatting with you today. I have received the warmest of welcomes, and my questions have been answered with care. I am amazed at the drive, creativity and hard work that our members put into their organizations. Since coming on board in January, I have enjoyed attending recent chamber events, and meeting with many community members and partners. Their passions truly motivate me! I love hearing what we, as the Chamber, are doing well, and appreciate input on what we can do better. The Gloucester County Chamber has been the voice of business since 1968 (47 years!). The Chamber strives to bolster our member businesses and local economy in ways that have real value. I love people, and I love business. I love entrepreneurs, and I love future thinkers. I am very excited about my new role in the Chamber.

Chesapeake Bank: What are some of your goals for the Chamber for 2015 and beyond?

Gloria Mazzella Williams: This is a great question, and I have so many! I would like the Chamber to remain a supportive presence for our existing local businesses; to provide relevant education and connections; and to support new businesses coming on the scene. I wish to engage young entrepreneurs and professionals and grow their presence in the Chamber. I intend to increase collaboration with local schools and colleges. I aim for the Chamber to be a champion and sounding board for future business leaders, employees and innovators. I want the Chamber to remain innovative; utilizing social media such as our “Chamber Buzz” weekly E-Blast newsletter and our new, interactive webpage to keep our community aware of all Chamber happenings and events. Last, but certainly not least, we hope to play an active role in creating strong Gloucester partnerships for the betterment of the business community and the county at large.

Chesapeake Bank: You’ve lived all over the world. What made you choose Gloucester as your home seven years ago? 

Gloria Mazzella Williams: Living abroad enabled me to learn a lot about who I am. It gave me confidence to start from scratch, several times over, from country to country. From the majestic mountain town of Ronda, Spain to the vibrant and fast-paced Sydney, Australia; I learned two things early on; One, you can live anywhere; no matter how homesick you are, as long as you have good friends. And two, you can learn something new from every person you encounter. Having grown up along the Eastern Seaboard, Gloucester felt like the right fit from the beginning. Access to beautiful waters, close proximity to mountains, strong sense of community, unique businesses and excellent restaurants (seafood!), all quickly endeared us to the area. We are proud to raise our family here. We love the dedication to support local business! We feel very lucky to call Gloucester home.

Chesapeake Bank: How does your experience in the nonprofit world help you in your new role?

Gloria Mazzella Williams: I think my background in the nonprofit world gives me a unique vantage point on how commerce and community are interwoven. I have seen firsthand what a stable job with good pay can do for a family’s confidence. On the flipside have seen what happens to a family as a result of a job loss, or other negative life change. As a business owner, I know the struggles of balancing good values, with profitability; while finding a healthy work-life balance. I understand the impact, in real terms, when a sign goes up in a window that says, “Now hiring”… priceless!

Chesapeake Bank: What does “Shop Local” mean to you?

Gloria Mazzella Williams: Anne Lappe said it best, when she said, “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” I could not agree more! By spending one’s hard-earned dollars in a local business, more tax revenue stays in our community. We invest in the overall well-being of our town, the health of our school system; all the while supporting the passions of our neighbors. Local shops have unique knowledge, and are best equipped to handle the needs and interests of its local customers.  We are proud to partner with Chesapeake Bank in the “Shop Local” campaign. This and other initiatives are fueling a growing awareness of the importance of shopping locally. It is a win-win situation, and we are so thankful to be a part of it!

Chesapeake Bank: Complete the sentence: Gloucester is…

Gloria Mazzella Williams: Extraordinary. From the 500 miles of shoreline, to the beautiful parks and green space, from the York River, to Main Street and all surrounding areas, Gloucester is truly “The Land of the Life Worth Living.”


It's All About Community Mural

Westhampton Mural Unveiling

Yesterday, in Richmond, we held our first community event with the unveiling of the “It’s All About Community” Westhampton mural. The 24-panel mural installation was painted by Richmond muralist and VCU graduate Emily Herr of HerrSuite and features some of the community’s favorite spots in the Westhampton neighborhood.


Sunny skies overlooked crisp morning air, friendly faces and warm refreshments from local Westhampton businesses, including Westhampton Bakery and Boyer’s Ice Cream and Coffee.


We’re so excited to have the beautiful artwork sprucing up our construction site. It’s our hope that the murals brighten up the days of those driving, walking, running and biking down Patterson Avenue. We’re looking forward to finding the murals a permanent home when the Richmond Chesapeake Bank location opens.


Take a look at some photos from the event below. Tell us about your favorite local Westhampton shop in the comments section for a chance to win a pack of Westhampton notecards.

Westhampton Mural Event

What’s Happening in Richmond

We’ll be opening our first Richmond location late this summer. In addition to working hard on our new home away from home, we’ve been meeting with our neighbors and business and community leaders to learn as much as we can about Richmond and where Chesapeake Bank can get involved and make a positive impact.


We’re excited about our first community event in Richmond, the unveiling of the “It’s All About Community” Westhampton mural on March 18 at 9 a.m. at 5501 Patterson Avenue in Richmond. We’ll have coffee and hot chocolate from Boyer’s Ice Cream and Coffee and a variety of treats from Westhampton Bakery, two of our neighbors, and guests can register to win a gift basket filled with Richmond favorites from RVA to Go. Please RSVP here if interested in attending.


The mural was painted by Richmond muralist and VCU graduate Emily Herr. It will spruce up the fencing on our construction site while our building is being completed, and we hope to find a permanent home for the mural when construction is completed.


Check back next week on the blog for a recap of the event and a look at the mural.

Food Pantry Volunteers

Shopping for a Cause

Once a month, several members of Chesapeake Bank get together for a special day of shopping. At the end of their trip, they leave empty-handed, but with full hearts.


Through the United Way of Greater Williamsburg’s Community Resource Center and the Peninsula Food Bank, five to eight of our associates volunteer to help feed needy families in the Williamsburg community. Each month, between 100 and 150 “shoppers” arrive at the Mobile Food Pantry to pick up essential grocery items for their families. Our team helps with check-in, grabs a cart and shops with the visitors for things like frozen meats, fresh fruit and vegetables and crackers.


“Literally, they have to do nothing but check in, and we do everything else,” said Tucker Edmonds, assistant vice president and a mortgage lender at Chesapeake Bank.


Edmonds has served as chair of several committees during his many years on the United Way board.


“They asked if we would put this together and help pull it off,” he said, adding that Chesapeake Bank, a big supporter of United Way, has been helping with this program for a little more than a year.”


Added Jennifer Harris, a senior merchant support technician at Chesapeake Payment Systems, “Volunteering has always been important to me and given me a sense of purpose.  We can strengthen our communities by giving back and helping others.”


For more information about the United Way of Greater Williamsburg, visit

Winter Blues Jazz Fest

Winter Blues Jazz Fest Brings Music, Art, Food & Film

Jazz will be in the air next weekend.


The Winter Blues Jazz Fest kicks off Thursday, Jan. 15 and features a fusion of music, art, food, drink and film over four days in Williamsburg. Jennifer Raines, the owner of Quirks of Art, and Steve Rose, president of Eco Discovery Park and owner of Williamsburg Event Rentals, created the event to celebrate jazz and those who appreciate the music and heritage. David Everett, chef and co-owner of Blue Talon Bistro, The Trellis Restaurant and DoG Street Pub, is assisting as culinary partner and consultant.


Chesapeake Bank is proud to serve as the signature sponsor of the festival, which starts with the Art of Jazz at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, where Good Shot Judy’s jazz will accompany the museum’s artwork (Tickets: $30). Other highlights include:


  • Jazz Jam takes place on Friday night (6:30-10 p.m.) in a heated tent on Duke of Gloucester Street – The DOG Street Rhythm Kings, The Harris Simon Trio and Holly Hunt and Limelight will entertain. Tickets: $15.
  • On Saturday, the #3BF The Big Bold Beer Fest (VIP session 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; open session from 1-4 p.m.) features rare and aged beers and gourmet food from David Everett to go along with two stages of music. Herbie D and the Dangermen and The Mike Lucci Band, with special appearances from Bobby “BlackHat” Walters and Logan and Cole Layman from In Layman Terms, will entertain. Tickets: $50 for VIP session, $30 for open session.
  • Mixology & Music takes place Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Williamsburg Lodge. The area’s top bartenders will prepare cocktails, and Michael Bellar & the AS-IS Ensemble will entertain. Tickets: $60 apiece, two for $100.
  • Five area restaurants will host Jazz Brunch at 11 a.m. on Sunday: The Trellis, Le Yaca French Restaurant, Opus 9 Steakhouse, Waypoint Seafood & Grill and Blue Talon Bistro. Various groups will entertain for two hours at each of the locations. Tickets: $35.
  • A free Community Concert with the William & Mary Jazz Ensemble will be held from 2-5 p.m. on Sunday. How does a heated tent and free hot chocolate sound?
  • Jazz Movies at the Kimball Theatre will be shown for free on Saturday and Sunday. Bird is featured at 4 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and The Cotton Club will run at 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Check out the Winter Blues Jazz Fest website for more details, including festival passes or individual tickets.

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

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!