Las Cavañas, Crozet’s authentic Mexican grocery and food store, has opened an ice cream stand across the road from its Rt. 250 location near the Interstate 64 interchange.
Store owner Maria Garcia said she undertook the project simply because “Crozet needs an ice cream store.” She has also opened a clothing store in the rear of the building that the ice cream stand is next to. The sign outside reads “western vaquero” and the stock includes items that she said her regular customers at the main market have been asking for, work clothes, boots, soccer jerseys of the most popular Mexican teams, and traditional Mexican items such as piñatas that are otherwise not available locally. Nearly all the products are Mexican–made.
Garcia’s husband, Ignacio Becerra, said they were interested in the location because it has good parking. He built the ice cream stand, painted in cheery, bright, sherbet-like colors, on a lowboy trailer that is parked next to small platform that brings customers up to the counter.
The stand also offers tacos, tortas and quesidillas, chips (Mexican brand names) and candy. Six flavors of ice cream are offered with five different toppings. A regular cone goes for $1.59. There is a small table and chair in the trailer to give the counter attendant a place to sit down, but the service is all take-away. Sales are cash only. The food is prepared at the main store and carried over to the stand. The set-up has county approval.
Becerra said they have taken a one-year lease on the location, with a renewal option, and will give the business that long to prove itself. “We want to make it nice for people,” said Becerra. “She started selling some of this at the store and people kept asking for more, so we opened this store. We’ll try it and see what happens.” It will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Garcia, with amazing dedication, is working those hours herself in the market across the road. She has two helpers.
The clothing store also includes street clothes, belts, T-shirts, soccer cleats, hats, a wide variety of baseball caps, and religious items such as Ninos Dios (dolls representing baby Jesus that are traditional in Mexican homes) and statues of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Garcia built the display cabinets herself. “She went to Lowes and got the stuff,” said Becerra. “It’s a little rough,” he acknowledged, but he too is impressed.
Becerra shrugged off the difference in spelling the names of the store (at the original store the sign reads ‘Las Cabanas’ and at the ice cream stand ‘Las Cavañas’). “When we say it, it sounds the same,” he explained, implying that the first sign may have included a mistake. The name refers to a small cabin, he said, typically a little retreat in the mountains, a dream of theirs to one day have.