Category Archives: Community

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!


Karen Podd - The Poddery

Shop Local Day Profile – The Poddery

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


Chances are you’ve seen the work of the Podds, whether it be at a local restaurant, a neighbor’s house, an art gallery or strolling the grounds at Monticello. Their handmade pottery – Karen and Robert Podd are owners of The Poddery in Mathews County – has a way of standing out.


For more than 40 years, the Podds have been offering unique pottery pieces out of their home/studio. A couple pieces – a cylinder-shaped dish that has proven versatile (customers have been known to bake foods, place candles, plant bulbs or pot plants in it) and a chip-and-dip platter – have been big hits: “We’ve sold thousands of them,” Karen Podd said. But the one-of-a-kind pieces, says Karen, are the cream of the crop. “As an artist, I just have to do them.”


Learn more about The Poddery in the profile below.


Business Name: The Poddery
Contacts: Karen or Robert Podd
Contact information: Website or by phone at 804.725.5956.
Shop Local Day Deal: Mention Shop Local Day and receive 10 percent off all purchases.

Store information: The Poddery is located at State Route 660, Foster, VA, 23056 (a quarter mile past the Foster post office). Visit the studio from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week.


Chesapeake Bank: What does shopping local mean to you?

Karen Podd: It means keeping the money in the county…The domino theory: If we can keep the money in the county, it can give someone a job and promote the business and help them spend money. Considering the gas prices today, it really is more economical to shop in the county instead of getting in your car and going somewhere.


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

KP: One of the biggest challenges is just to get people here. We’re not in downtown Mathews. Just getting people to come and see what we do. Once we get them here, they usually buy something. Because we’re high-quality crafts, we’ve been known in the Tidewater area for the past 45 years. We’re part of Made in Mathews, 12 artists who joined together and open their studios. We also have our work in the Bay School in town and a small display of our work in the information center in town.


CB: What has been the greatest success in your business?

KP: Disney World has some of our work at their convention center in Orlando. Our garden pots are in the garden at Monticello. Berret’s restaurant in Williamsburg has numerous pieces of ours, including a 24-foot piece behind their bar. Just a general statement, nobody does what we do; nobody does the designs that we do, really unique takes on regular stuff, like fireplace fronts, kitchens and mosaic walls. That’s what we’re known for.


CB: How did you get your start?

KP: We got started because clay ceramics was one of my classes, part of my curriculum at Northern Illinois University. Robert was in the Navy at that time. The Navy brought us to the area, and I became an art teacher for the Mathews Public School System. We lived in Norfolk for about five years, and I became more and more proficient with my clay work and started entering local shows. Robert got out of the Navy, and we decided to stay in the area. By that time, studios had started to carry my work…We kept looking and looking and looking and found this old place here. I was teaching at Granby High School and teaching a lot of Granby wrestlers, who came up here on weekends and helped us gut our house and build our studio [in 1972]. We started doing art shows along the East Coast, and our work was featured in galleries in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Richmond. The rest is history: Now people come to us.


CB: How many art shows do you think you’ve done over the years?

KP: Oh, lord. I would say easily over 500.


CB: What made you take the entrepreneurial plunge?

KP: There was passion there, but we were outdoors people. We were always going to what was called at that time Seashore State Park. Most of my designs, I was really interested in nature… [Starting the business] it just seemed like the right thing to do. We always felt that if it didn’t work out, we could go back to the city and get our jobs back. And we had the support of our families. It was the right move at the right time.


CB: Do you have a favorite piece?

KP: I’m proud of a lot of the one-of-a-kind pieces that I’ve done. The ones that have given me the biggest thrill were Disney World buying a piece and doing work for Monticello. It’s a thrill when you’re looking at a garden magazine and see a picture with our pots from Monticello.


CB: How do you stay involved or give back to the community?

KP: We have always donated work for any group, the fire department, silent auction for PTAs. Also, we have donated reproduction tiles at Tompkins Cottage in the style of the 1800s. We’ve demonstrated at local events. We’ve talked to women’s groups and garden groups. We’ve always been involved with our community.

Anne Paparella

Shop Local – Meet Anne Paparella

Anne Paparella has been serving as the executive director of the Lancaster by the Bay Chamber since the spring of 2014. A previous small business owner who participated in Shop Local Day as a merchant, Paparella has a great perspective on the importance of shopping local.


Chesapeake Bank: What is your role with the Chamber? How long have you been there and are there any facts about the Lancaster Chamber you would like to share?

Paparella: I am the executive director of the Lancaster by the Bay Chamber of Commerce. I started working for the Lancaster Chamber this spring. I have lived and raised four children in this county for the last 22 years. The Lancaster by the Bay Chamber has about 245 members and is growing. We have several events we put on each year from RiverRide, a bicycling event, to Taste by the Bay, a food, wine, craft beer and artisan event at the Tides Inn, and The Parade of Homes, showcasing our local builders. We host Kandy for Kids, a trick or treating event, and the Lighted Christmas Parade is in its 36th year. It is a very active chamber of commerce!



Chesapeake Bank: From your experience in small business as well as your current work with the Chamber, I’m sure you have some perspective on the impact shopping locally has on businesses and the overall community. Why do you think shopping local is important?

Paparella: I have worked in retail most of my working career. I co-owned a gift shop call The Box Boutique in White Stone. We called ourselves a hardware store for women with all kinds of girly gifts including lingerie, pajamas, and purses. If it was fun and funky, you could find it at The Box. We also specialized in affordable gifts. I loved every bit of it, from the buying to the display. I especially loved the interaction with our customers. Often, our customers would just stop by to have a conversation or tell us something that was exciting or sad in their lives. We were a gathering place for people. Most of my customers became my good friends.


I definitely understand the impact of shopping local. The summer months, in this area especially, are filled with visitors and river guests, but the spring and winters can be very quiet. I think the Shop Local campaign reminds people how important it is to shop local businesses first before you go out of town. Being a small business owner is challenging. It is not enough to have cute things or great food, you had to have great displays and great customer service. Quite often one person has to do it all for their business. The Shop Local campaign helps you to realize you are not in it alone.



Chesapeake Bank: What kind of impact has the Shop Local initiative had in the Lancaster community and on the Chamber? Do you think it has helped generate more awareness and support for local businesses? Do you see more local businesses working together and supporting each other? 

Paparella: I definitely think you have the merchants working together. Often the merchants will direct their customers to other businesses to help them find what they are looking for. I have, as chamber director and a business owner, been part of discussions with other merchants to generate ideas on how to create excitement and bring more business to the area.


I love that my job allows me to promote businesses in this area. The more unusual shops we have the more attractive the area becomes for visitors. We have such a unique shopping and dining culture here; adorable boutiques and gourmet restaurants. There is something for everyone in this small area. I am grateful that Chesapeake Bank has promoted this shop local campaign. I think it shows the businesses that they are not alone. We are fortunate to have local banks that are so invested and care so much about this area.


The Velvet Rocker

Shop Local Day Profile – The Velvet Rocker

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


The Velvet Rocker, a home goods store that focuses on re-imagined home décor, is a dream turned reality for Williamsburg Shop Owner Laura Tayman.


With a background that includes nearly 30 years as a criminal prosecutor, her day-to-day is much different now that she spends her time interacting with clients and helping them update their homes. Tayman has turned a creative hobby into a vibrant local business. Learn more about The Velvet Rocker in the profile below.


Business Name:  The Velvet Rocker
Contact: Laura Tayman
Contact information: Website, Facebook or by phone at 757-208-0300.
Shop Local Day Deal: Mention Shop Local Day and receive a 20% discount on a Paint Workshop or home decor item of your choice. Paint demonstrations and refreshments will be available throughout the day!
Store information: The Velvet Rocker is located at 5525 Olde Towne Road in Williamsburg, Va. Visit the shop Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Monday and Sunday by appointment.


Chesapeake Bank: What does shopping local mean to you?

Tayman: Before opening The Velvet Rocker, I enjoyed shopping at locally-owned shops because of the warm atmosphere, the chance to enjoy unique and original inventory and to visit with shop owners that had become friends. It was always a pleasure to enter a shop and be welcomed by the owners, who often made the effort to remember my name.


Since opening The Velvet Rocker, shopping local means all of the above and more. I am now the shop owner that has the joy of getting to know her clients and update their homes while getting in touch with their creative side. I love welcoming clients into the shop and helping them select paint and finishing products to update their home décor.


Ensuring that local revenue stays local plays an important role in building a strong financial community. It is a way of investing in our local economy and helping to keep the local community strong. I hope people understand that supporting local businesses allows local residents to engage in a business they feel passionate about. It really is about helping local residents to achieve their dreams.


Chesapeake Bank: What is one of the biggest challenges you face, and how are you dealing with it?

Tayman: Because The Velvet Rocker is so different from a typical retail store, one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is finding a way to communicate to local residents what we offer. We’ve tried to develop a website and Facebook page that can explain our unique products and services. We’ve also begun advertising, but it is challenging to explain in a short advertisement the unique properties of our two paint lines, opportunities for creative paint workshops, and our unique home décor.


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

Tayman: My first career as a federal criminal prosecutor could not have been more different from my second career with The Velvet Rocker. The concept for The Velvet Rocker was born out of an attorney’s desire to turn a creative hobby that she was passionate about into a vibrant local business. I’ve painted and refinished furniture for years as a hobby.


Chesapeake Bank: It looks like there are some great things offered at The Velvet Rocker that might not be available at other places. Can you tell us about them? 

Tayman: At The Velvet Rocker we carry American Paint Company’s all natural clay/chalk paints and finishing products that allow clients to paint furniture and home décor without any sanding or priming. We also carry the award-winning General Finishes milk paints and finishing products. All of our paints require no sanding or priming, and can be used over existing wood finishes, but also on laminate, metal, plastic, glass, and fabric. The paints that we carry are not available anywhere else in the Greater Williamsburg community. We’ve also made the effort to bring in other unique home décor items. For example, we are thrilled to carry a line of high quality aromatherapy candles that are hand-poured in Ohio.


Chesapeake Bank: We see you do upcycling. Can you explain that to us?

Tayman: The process of restoring furniture is often called “upcycling.” It’s a concept that is taking root in larger communities and slowly spreading. Much of the older furniture here in Williamsburg is good quality, solid wood furniture. It is a shame for this furniture to land in landfills because it is dated. Painted furniture is the new style; often referred to as ‘Pottery Barn inspired.’ Because the paints are so easy to use, they are a great alternative to stripping and sanding old furniture. Plus, the furniture can be painted in your favorite current color so it blends with your personal style and complements your existing décor. It is a great way to update and freshen up, hence our slogan, “re-imagined home décor.”


Chesapeake Bank: How do you stay involved/give bank to your local community?

Tayman: One of the things I enjoy most about being a new locally-owned business is giving back to the community. We are engaged with Habitat for Humanity, Hospice House and Housing Partnerships, Inc. Williamsburg’s thriving philanthropic community was one of the things that motivated us to open a small business. We know Williamsburg is a place where people understand the importance of supporting the local economy.


[Photo credit: Jim Goodridge of JPG Portraits]

Gloucester Chamber of Commerce

Shop Local – Meet Makalia Records

Makalia Records, who has served as executive director of the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce for nearly five years, weighs in on shopping locally.


Chesapeake Bank: Why do you think shopping local is important?

Records: I can think of a handful of reasons:

  • Locally owned businesses build strong communities by working together towards a common goal. Relationships are built and these members contribute to local causes.
  • Keeping dollars in the local economy recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy. Local businesses are more likely to purchase from other local businesses. This impact results in the local tax base growing.
  • Entrepreneurship ignites Americans’ economic innovation and prosperity while helping the middle class into better paying jobs.
  • Business owners select products based on their own interests and the needs of local customers and create more choices for local customers. They offer unique options because they provide products and services from local artisans and craftsmen.
  • Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live, work and play within their own community.
  • Creates local jobs, cutting back on commuting times and benefits the families. You don’t have to shop local all the time to make an impact in your community. Just remember getting in the mindset of shopping and doing business locally will improve your community two-fold.

Chesapeake Bank: What kind of impact has the Shop Local initiative had in the Gloucester community?
Records: The impact has been measurable. We know when “The Buck Stays Here” initiative was introduced with the first Shop Local Day event in September 2012, 45 businesses in Gloucester participated; double that amount are participating now.


Chesapeake Bank: Do you think it has helped generate more awareness and support for local businesses?

Records: It has definitely created awareness for local patrons and business owners. As a Chamber, we know it has directly impacted the community. As Chesapeake Bank has gained new customers, we have gained new members. We believe 100 percent that achievements can be made in a partnership far easier than going at a project alone. We are so gracious to Chesapeake Bank for allowing us to work with them and local business owners in making the importance of “shopping local” a priority!

Virginia Oyster Trail

Virginia is for Oysters

Did you know that Virginia is the largest producer of oysters in the United States? The word is about to get out…in a big way.


In August, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the creation of the Virginia Oyster Trail, a tourism development project to connect visitors with Virginia’s love of oysters – the trail highlights seven regions in the Chesapeake Bay that contribute to a harvest of more than 500,000 bushels. McAuliffe recognized Virginia as the “Oyster Capital of the East Coast” and tabbed November as Virginia Oyster Month.


“The Virginia Oyster Trail’s genesis came out of our own Visions Economic Development Committee,” said Jeffrey M. Szyperski, president and CEO of Chesapeake Bank. “With some strong work by several local individuals, this idea was pitched to the State, which loved it and took the ball and ran with it.”


“As the development of the Trail occurs over the next 12 months, there will be tremendous potential for our region to benefit economically from this great natural resource that we have. This initiative will touch harvesting, retail, workforce development and tourism and hospitality. It is a great long-term play for our community.”


Virginia’s love for the oyster dates to Jamestown, and we still love to celebrate the oyster – nearly two dozen local and statewide oyster tasting events and festivals fill the calendar before the end of the year. Next up on the calendar, Berret’s Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse Grill, in Merchants Square Williamsburg, will host its 4th Annual Virginia Oyster, Wine & Beer Tasting Sept. 27 from 5-7 p.m.


A Seafood Kind of Weekend

Thirty-five years ago, the YMCA sued the Village People for libel for their song of the same name. Kramer vs. Kramer and The Muppet Movie were among the highest-grossing movies. And All in the Family’s TV run came to an end.


That same year, one of our favorite traditions was born.


The Williamsburg Kiwanis Shrimp Feast celebrates its 35th year Saturday from 4-7 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center on the James River. It’s one of two great events this weekend as the 24th annual Bay Seafood Festival takes place Friday from 4:30-10 p.m. at Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster.


The Shrimp Feast is an all-you-can-eat-and-drink celebration with hot and fresh-cooked shrimp, hot dogs, hush puppies and more, including music from The Hark. It also serves as a fundraiser for Bacon Street, Friends of the Erase the Need Center and the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center. Tickets are $30 through Friday and $35 at the door on Saturday. Stop by and celebrate with Chesapeake Bank and Chesapeake Investment Group (sponsors and volunteers) for a fun-filled afternoon for the whole family.


The Bay Seafood Festival is sold out for the 24th straight year. It must be the oysters, soft-shelled crabs, crab cakes, steamed and fried shrimp to go along with all kinds of adult beverages that will attract a gathering of more than 2,000. The band Trademark will entertain at the event (adults only) organized by the KIWS Rotary Club, with proceeds helping local organizations like the Red Cross, CASA, the Boy Scouts and Jacob’s Ladder.



Chesapeake Bank at Mathews Market Days

Out and About: Mathews Market Days Festival

Not quite ready to let go of summer?


Join us at the 40th Annual Mathews Market Days Festival, which takes place Friday, Sept. 5 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Saturday, Sept. 6 (9 a.m.-5 p.m., with the Saturday Night Street Dance from 8-11 p.m.) at the historic Court Green in downtown Mathews. Chesapeake Bank is a sponsor of the free event, and we’ll have terrific giveaways to promote our upcoming November 8th Shop Local Day at our Market Days Festival booth. 


Besides coming to see us – and about 12,000 other friends – there’s a bevy of fun things to enjoy, ranging from a 5k run/walk to benefit the Mathews YMCA and annual pet parade to the Show ‘N Shine Car Show and continuous live music. Kids can enjoy bounce houses and pony rides, and their parents can visit dozens of arts and crafts vendors. And there will be plenty of food – including fried donuts – games and contests for the whole family.