Tag Archives: Gloucester

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.

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!

Summer Nights Market

Mid-Week Summer Fun in Gloucester

Looking for a little mid-week fun? Summer Nights Market might be your answer.

 

Mix a farmers market and terrific food with arts, crafts and live entertainment, and Wednesday nights at the Gloucester Museum of History and Carriage Court feature fun for the whole family. Summer Nights Market runs from 4:30-7 p.m. rain or shine at the Carriage Court Lawn at 6539 Main Street in Gloucester. Upcoming dates include:

 

  • July 16 – Chamber Carnival Night: Sponsored by the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce, kids can enjoy bounce houses, games and snacks while adults can network with other Chamber businesses. Ashley Wenner and Brad Sindle, also known as Something Different Duo, will be on hand to play classics from the 1960s and 70s and hits from today’s stars.
  • July 23 – Mercy Creek, which has released seven independent albums, will bring its aggressive folk rock – a mix of modern folk, world beat, rock and hints of blues and bluegrass – to the market.
  • July 30 – In addition to the delicious food and farm-fresh produce, enjoy shagging at the market with shagging DJ Greg Howell.
American Flag

Fun for the Fourth

Travel over the Fourth of July weekend has increased four of the past five years, according to AAA – an estimated 41 million will hit the roads, rails and air this weekend, up 1.9 percent over last year.

 

If you’re staying close to home, there are plenty of ways to have fun for the Fourth right around the corner. A few festivities to consider:

 

  • Fireworks over the water highlight the Fourth at Gloucester Point Beach Park, where you can spend the day swimming, fishing or boating.
  • The Town of Irvington will celebrate the holiday with its annual “Hometown Parade” from 10-11 a.m. on July 4. More than 100 entries, including antique cars, The Kilmarnock & District Pipe Band and children on bikes, will wind down King Carter Drive and around Irvington Road. School board member Alexander Fleet is this year’s Grand Marshall.
  • Colonial Williamsburg has a daylong (10 a.m.-10 p.m.) celebration at Market Square North that includes a reading of the Declaration of Independence and performances by the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums and Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Fireworks begin at 9:20 p.m.
  • Historic Yorktown kicks off the Fourth with an 8K run and 5K walk at 8 a.m., and a parade on Water Street starts at 9 a.m. At night, a bell-ringing ceremony beings at 7, and the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command Band (Dixie Band) will entertain before fireworks over the York River begin at 9:15.
  • The Yorktown Victory Center (free for residents of York and James City counties and city of Williamsburg; otherwise $9.75 for adults, $5.50 children 6-12, free for children under 6) will host “Liberty Celebration” July 4-6 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. each day. Visitors can watch tactical and artillery drills, take part in military exercises and learn about our nation’s founders and the challenges they encountered.
Shop Local Teaser Graphic

9 Days Away – Shop Local Day

The excitement is building among our merchants and branches; our second Shop Local Day will take place on April 27, just 9 days away. All of the branches have been equipped with Shop Local bags, merchants have their decals in their windows and, now, we want to arm you with everything you could need to make the most out of Shop Local.

To date, we have over 100 merchants from Mathews, Williamsburg, Lancaster and Gloucester who are participating, offering shoppers incentives ranging from 10 – 25 percent off their orders to free gifts with purchase. Some merchants are rewarding shoppers just for stopping by, others, you have to know the secret word to get your goodies (learn more by reading the merchant lists below).

Spread the word and get a group together on Shop Local Day. “I would encourage you to talk to people about Shop Local Day on April 27 and shopping locally every day,” says Jeff Szyperski, president of Chesapeake Bank. “The next time you think you may need to go online or to the ‘big’ city for a purchase, think about your local businesses.  You may be surprised at the value they offer and the time and gas you will save because you bought locally.”

So, get out a pen and paper and start planning out your Shop Local Day. It is the perfect opportunity to shop for those last minute birthday, wedding shower and baby gifts. And don’t forget to get yourself something, too!

To view the current list of Mathew’s merchants and their incentives, click here.

To view the current list of Williamsburg’s merchants and their incentives, click here.

To view the current list of Lancasters’s merchants and their incentives, click here.

To view the current list of Gloucester’s merchants and their incentives, click here.

 

Photo – from top left to bottom right: Cattails Gifts (Mathews), Williamsburg Cupcakes, Car Wash Cafe (Lancaster), Angelwing Stationers (Gloucester)

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Shop Local Profile: Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, Gloucester

From now through our spring Shop Local event, 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.

If you’re not paying attention driving through Gloucester on Route 14, you may miss the blue sign directing you to the gardener’s mecca that is Brent & Becky’s Bulbs.  Established in 1900, Brent & Becky’s Bulbs has continued its flower bulb business through the generations.

Amsonia, Bellevalia, Corydalis, Daffodils/Narcissus, Tulips/Tulipa; you name it, Brent & Becky’s has it.  Do you know what you’re looking for?  Check out their online catalog.  Not sure what you’re looking for? Brent & Becky have a BulbFinder tool to aid your search.

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To learn more about Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, continue reading its profile below.

Business Name: Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, “Plant Bulbs and Harvest Smiles”

Owner: Brent & Rebecca Heath

Contact information: Web, Facebook, Twitter or by phone at 804-693-3966

Shop Local Day Deal: Come by on April 27 for great in-store deals

Store information: Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Brent & Becky’s Bulbs is located at 7900 Daffodil Lane, Gloucester.

Fun Fact: Martha Stewart is a fan of Brent and Becky’s, so much so, Brent took a trip out to Martha’s garden back in 2011.