Business Briefs: September 2018

Gina and Farrah Sipe. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Ice Cream Truck Spotted in Crozet

Musical and mobile, the colorful “Farrah’s Sugar Rush” truck has been roaming the streets of Crozet by night, supplying neighborhood children with frozen treats. Gina and Kevin Sipe are the owners, and they named the truck after their daughter, Farrah, who loves ice cream.

Farrah’s Sugar Rush delivers evening treats. Photo: Theresa Curry.

The truck plays calliope-style music and is beautifully adorned with blue and white checks and white stars against a pink background. The Sipes, who both work full time, conceived of the truck as a seasonal part-time project that would also be a family activity and, so far, have found it fun and uplifting. Neighborhoods can schedule the truck by contacting Farrah’s Sugar Rush through Facebook, or at 540-241-5299.

Kevin Sipe. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Wyant’s Store Commemorates Great White Hall Fire

Like San Francisco’s great fire of 1851, the White Hall fire of 1918 wiped out nearly three-fourths of the local structures. It’s true that in White Hall’s case there were only a handful of buildings burned as opposed to thousands in San Francisco: the blacksmith’s shop, the blacksmith’s house, Wyant’s store and a house across the street. Dave Wyant said that the fire stopped short of the adjacent doctor’s home because of a sturdy wall. In both cases, the flames spread because of high winds, but no one knows the exact cause of either fire.

Dave Wyant with T-shirts commemorating the great white Hall Fire. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Wyant said his family’s store building was completely destroyed, and the new building built on its footprint. His grandfather and great-grandfather––the proprietors in 1918 when the tragedy occurred––rebuilt only one story of the building, which had previously supported a dance hall on the second floor.

Wyant said he almost let the 100th anniversary on August 25 slip by, but community members reminded him in time for the store to print T-shirts for the occasion and gather supplies for extra hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecue. It’s fitting, he said, to preserve and remember the past at the store, since it’s believed that the business is the oldest Albemarle county store continuously operated by the same family. He remembers the days when Gleason’s delivered hog, cow and horse feed to the part of the first floor that served as a grain warehouse.

Wyant’s Store artifacts. Photo: Theresa Curry.

A cat door remains today, part of the long-ago strategy for keeping mice from the feed. Today, the wall between the old grocery and grain stores has been taken down, and the area features tables and chairs, a comfortable spot for community patrons to exchange insults, catch up on news and remember years past.

Plans Taking Shape for Indoor Sports Complex

If you can’t stay fit in Crozet, surrounded by walkers, bikers, hikers, studios and fitness centers, it’s hard to imagine where you could. But Justin and Jessica Byrd, a couple with a passion for health, athletics and young people, identified a gap. There’s a lack of space for team sports, indoor practice areas and resources for health education.  They’ve released preliminary plans for Crozet Sports, an ambitious facility that would fill the gap and also serve as a center for the fitness community.

Justin and Jessica Byrd, founders of Crozet Sports. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Between them, the Byrds, parents of two young athletes, have years of experience in coaching, mentoring, teaching and health education. Although they first introduced their idea to the community in late July, they’ve been actively considering it for several years. Their long-time careful planning is evident when you read the details of their vision.

“We haven’t arrived at this alone,” Justin Byrd said. “We’ve sought help and advice from everyone we can think of.” They’ve included Roy Wheeler Realtors and R.E. Lee construction in their search for a suitable space; and educators, coaches, teachers, parents, athletes and health professionals in formulating what the ideal offerings of such a space would be.

So far, they know they want plenty of indoor turf for lacrosse, soccer, football and field hockey, as well as hard-floor courts versatile enough to accommodate sports like basketball, volleyball, wrestling and martial arts. Exciting, less common features would serve as specialized training areas: indoor cages, pitching tunnels and other focused training for baseball and softball, and functional fitness studios.

Besides the active athletic areas, the planners intend to build generous locker rooms, student-athlete classrooms, and a sports lounge and viewing gallery. Professionals will provide health-promoting and health-restoring education as well as specific rehabilitation. Less tangible lessons in discipline, character, team building and loyalty would be built into every program.

“We want to be sure that the layout would allow us to be a center for Crozet’s active community, and we especially want that,” Jessica Byrd said. 

As detailed as their planning has been, the Byrds know that they may have not thought of everything. That’s why they’re asking everyone in the Western Albemarle area to visit their website and take the survey, register for updates and communicate directly. All can be done by visiting

Business Bits

Crozet Market now offers “Click and Collect” service for those wanting to shop from home. The store, formerly Crozet GreatValu, has a flat charge of $5, which includes selecting the groceries, packing them, and loading them into your car. Harris Teeter offers a similar “Express Lane” service at no extra charge. Details for both are on their websites. 

Camille Phillips of Green House Coffee said she’s completed work on an additional prep kitchen behind the Green House that will allow her to offer faster service for carry out orders.

Last month, Crozet Blue Ridge Dental invited those in the community who were experiencing pain and could not afford dental care to come to the Crozet office for a day of free services. Dr. Nick Minutella, who organized the event, said that a team of five dentists was able to provide pain relief to all of the 70 people who applied. “Most of what we did were extractions,” Dr. Minutella said, “although in some cases cleaning was needed for relief.” Dr. Minutella was joined by Drs. John Schoeb, Justin Feehan, Carlos Ibanez and Nick Hill. Dr. Minutella said the event would be repeated. 


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