Business Briefs: September 2017

Wyant's Store in White Hall (Photo: Mike Marshall)
Wanda and Tim SanJule at Hummingbird Hill (Photo: Theresa Curry)

Going Native

At Hummingbird Hill, Tim and Wanda SanJule encourage local gardeners to look at their landscape a little differently, adopting the perspective of a bird, butterfly or bee. The beautiful lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood? A biological desert, they say. The golf course view you paid extra for? Just about useless for anything but golf.

Hummingbird Hill (Photo: Theresa Curry)

The SanJules are not campaigning for the end of all lawns or golf courses. Theirs is a gentler approach. They suggest adding plants to your garden or yard that adapt well to your conditions, attract pollinators, and are strong enough to withstand the occasional onset of local predators. It turns out that the best candidates to fulfill these requirements are the very plants that grew here before any human intervention.

The SanJules are uniquely qualified to educate and supply people with native plants. They both have backgrounds in agriculture and conservation, and have surrounded themselves with native plants for years. When their stock of thriving flora reached the point where the couple could consistently offer them for sale, they built a retail nursery with their new home off Blackwells Hollow Road. They’re also very happy to give advice to anyone starting out with native plants, or wondering if the flowering plant they love is a good choice for low maintenance and high sustainability. Tim had some advice for those wavering: “Remember that you’re not just growing plants. You’re growing bees and butterflies, moths and birds.”

The SanJules are often at local farmers markets, and sell plants from their nursery. They also welcome questions about the construction of their home, which collects its own solar power and water. Hummingbird Hill is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and by appointment.​There’s a great deal of information on the website about what’s available and how to care for it: visit, or call 434-964-1034.

Kim Dillon and Brian Sewell of Wayland’s Crossing Tavern (Photo: Theresa Curry)

Public West Closing; Wayland’s Crossing Tavern to Open

As transitions go, this was a happy one, said Brian Sewell, who served as executive chef at the popular Old Trail restaurant and will be the chef and co-owner (with Kim Dillon, who will serve as the general manager) of the new establishment. Sewell had been overseeing the kitchen for owner Daniel Kaufman, who also owns Public Fish & Oyster in Charlottesville.

“We were doing well, but the traveling back and forth was too much,” Sewell said. “Daniel was also very glad to give me the chance to do something on my own.” Sewell has an extensive restaurant background and lives close to the restaurant’s location on Heathercroft Circle. He’s already heard from people distressed by the absence of fresh raw oysters in Crozet. “I’m going to have them, as well as some other things people loved, like the fish and chips. We’re going to continue to be a neighborhood place, a fun place.” There will be changes, though. He wants the details to be a surprise for the grand opening the first or second week of October, but hinted that there will be an Irish tavern theme.

Bingham Jamison, Qaim Wealth Advisors (submitted photo)

Qaim Seeks to Help Crozet Clients

Bingham Jamison had the feeling something was missing in his work with large wealth advisory firms. “It’s true that families who are very wealthy need financial advice,” he said, “but on the other hand, if they make a mistake, it’s not going to sink them.” It’s a different story for families with fewer resources: “One bad mistake and the work of many years could be lost.”

For that reason, Jamison started Qaim Wealth Advisors. Many people have very complicated financial pictures, he said, but don’t have the wealth that would qualify them to be clients of large multi-family offices. Still, he said, these families need professional planning and investment help. He doesn’t set a net worth minimum for his clients, he said.

Besides many years of experience with firms serving high-net-worth clients, Jamison is an author, with work appearing in ​Forbes, Time and other national and regional publications. He served as a Marine in Iraq and named his business after Al Qaim, where he commanded intelligence teams. His writing is about his combat service as well as about financial issues. “I know I had difficulty returning to civilian life,” he said. To support other veterans, he founded and co-chairs the Warrior Healing Campaign and devotes a portion of his business proceeds to this work.

For information on Qaim, or the Warrior Healing Campaign, go to

Caitie Maharg of Blue Oregano (submitted photo)

​Blue Oregano

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows her that Caitie Maharg recently opened her own catering business on Waynesboro’s Main Street. Maharg told her family and friends when she was 10 years old that she was going to be a chef. Then she did it, studying at the American Culinary Institute, and filling positions of increasing responsibility, most recently at Waynesboro’s Iris Inn.

Blue Oregano desserts (submitted photo)

Her desire for a family posed a dilemma for the young chef: Restaurant hours just aren’t compatible with family life, so when she found a spot for a catering kitchen and dining area in the heart of town, she grabbed it. Maharg has found her own niche among Waynesboro caterers by offering food from local farms and orchards. “I want to show respect for food and where it comes from,” she said. She’s proud of her inclusion as the only Waynesboro caterer in the Shenandoah Valley trail of “Fields of Gold,” which supports local agri-tourism. Maharg is also distinguished by her several appearances on the Food Network, a lifetime dream, she said.

Her connection with her surroundings is reflected in the name she chose: “oregano” means “Joy of the Mountains” in Greek, and she added “blue” for the Blue Ridge. Blue Oregano is available for catering large and small events and monthly “pop-ups” are announced on the website at Her partner in the business and in life is Nathan Maharg.


Larry and John Wyant (Photo: Mike Marshall)

The Wyant’s Store We Knew Has Closed

Larry Wyant had operated Wyant’s Store in White Hall, a landmark local business and the home of the venerable Liar’s Club and a famous porch bench, since 1988. His great grandfather started the store in 1886. His grandfather worked in it, and Larry, at age 69, was ready to turn it over. He’s been getting in the store at 5:30 a.m. for more than 29 years. His son John took it over in August and began to plan a modernization. But lease terms broke down with other family members and John threw the towel in at the end of the month.

New kid-friendly outdoor space at Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery. (Photo: Theresa Curry)

Events, Large and Small

Other Crozet businesses have seen changes: Simply Flags and Gifts on 250 just east of Crozet has closed its doors; construction of Mechum’s Trestle on Rtes. 240 & 250 is progressing but as of press time is still without a restauranteur; the folks at Piedmont Place donated 10 percent of last Saturday’s proceeds to Texas hurricane victims.

A little something to entertain children is always good business. Pro Re Nata has added a petite “bounce house” for kids and is planning the addition of a playground structure, while the Batesville Market will host an event Sunday, September 10, at 1 (Ramblin’ Davey) just for kids.


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