Business Briefs: December 2018

Shawn and Atieno Bird, with their children Silas and Samia, in front of Rosie. Photo: Mike Marshall.

Crozet Trolley Rolls out for Polar Express

Those at Crozet’s Christmas tree lighting last month got a preview of the Crozet Trolley, a colorful old-time vehicle owned by Shawn and Atieno Bird. The Birds plan to operate the trolley in the spring for tours of Crozet wineries and other points of interest, Shawn Bird said.

Rosie, the first of the Crozet Trolley fleet. Submitted photo.

In the meantime, they’ve scheduled some trips to the North Pole at King Family Vineyard for children’s games, hot chocolate, cookies, gifts and to meet Santa. The Polar Express will leave December 21, 22 and 23 from downtown Crozet.  The trolleys will also be available for charter by large groups for weddings, corporate events, family reunions and UVA activities.

For information on schedules and fees for the Polar Express; or to charter the Trolley, call 202-779-0259 or email [email protected].

Local Clinic Offers Convenience and Care

Feeling flu-ish? We’ve all had this dilemma: Our regular doctor’s not available, we’re sick (or injured) enough to be worried, but don’t think there’s a dire emergency on our hands. For more than six years, the Convenient Care Clinic operated by Augusta Health has treated those with sniffles and itches, burns, bites and bruises, and has provided immunizations, health screenings and sports physicals. 

Gabrielle Murphy at Crozet Convenient Care. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Gabrielle (“Gabby”) Murphy is a nurse practitioner who often works at the clinic. Her presence there—and at the other four Augusta Health walk-in clinics––did not come about by chance. She chose this kind of work, Murphy said, preferring the variety of illnesses and the interaction with many different kinds of people to a more restricted focus on one particular specialty. “Every day is different,” she said. The Crozet location stands apart from the others in that there are no radiology services offered, so those suspecting a broken bone or torn ligament should choose the Waynesboro, Stuarts Draft or Weyers Cave locations, or go on to the emergency room. 

Like the other nurse practitioners who come to Crozet, Murphy spends time there calling patients who have been tested for specific infections. She finds these phone conversations as important as her face-to-face counseling. “They have a lot of questions,” she said, “and sometimes it’s bad news, but our job is to help them form a plan for what to do next.” She’s already seen a bit of seasonal flu, “but we’re not in the full season, yet.” She advises those in the early stages of what appears to be influenza to check with the clinic sooner rather than later. For a flu intervention to work, it should be administered within the first couple of days. “It’s not a cure,” she said, “but it may shorten the time you’re sick.” Those with multiple medications should bring a list to the clinic, together with a history of past diagnoses. 

Other advice for Crozet patrons is to go straight to the emergency room with any sign of heart disease or stroke. “Severe stomach pains are also a real emergency,” she said, although the clinic sees its share of minor gastro-intestinal ailments. And for those needing a physical for a job or a sports team, she advises not to wait until the last minute. “We may need to refer you to a specialist for a specific screening,” she said, “and it may not all be done by the time you need it.”

Crozet Convenient Care Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends from 9 to 5.

Batesville Market Hosts Artisan Bazaar

The Batesville Market’s Annual Holiday Artisan Bazaar will be Sunday, December 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with local artisans selling gorgeous creations of all types, including pottery, jewelry, art, books, cards, printed fabrics, wood, wool, and felted items. Shoppers will find other gifts from the permanent stock there: hand-blown glass perfume bottles, turned-wood jewelry boxes, Chickapig games, Batesville map-etched wine glasses and insulated mugs. The market also offers catering through the season and plenty of edible gifts.

Blue Ridge Bucha Thriving in Waynesboro

By the time Ethan and Katie Zuckerman moved their kombucha operation from its rural beginnings in Afton to the bottom of the mountain in Waynesboro, they’d already established a successful business. In fact, said Katie, they’d outgrown their space, and its isolated nature was also an issue. “It was hard for any large vehicles to make their way to us,” she said. Ethan came across a former produce market on the east side of Waynesboro, a facility that had also recently served as the home for an artisanal ice cream business. Best of all, it was right on Waynesboro’s Main Street, had ample parking, and was in a part of town where businesses are growing.

Taproom Manager Ronan Christman and Owner Kate Zuckerman in the Blue Ridge Bucha Taproom. Submitted photo.

It had the space as well as the sanitation requirements needed for the kombucha business, so the move began. The Zuckermans had created some ingenious buildings for refrigeration and storage. They set them up on the new property and added others.

Kombucha is a cold, naturally carbonated beverage fermented from black and green tea. Ethan saw it as a natural addition to the choices available to those seeking locally made beverages. Without the caffeine of coffee or the alcohol of beer, wine or whiskey, kombucha appeals to those seeking a healthy, low-calorie, low-sugar drink, he said. Adding to its appeal is the presence of probiotics, the health-promoting live microorganisms necessary for maintaining health and preventing disease. 

Blue Ridge Bucha now has a retail outlet in Waynesboro.

It’s unusual for a kombucha brewer to have a taproom, and Blue Ridge Bucha has become somewhat of a community center, with regular customers dropping by to use the free wi-fi, have a glass of kombucha and perhaps pick up some of the other carefully selected local artisanal products offered: honey, tortillas, fermented vegetables, coffee, granola, chocolate, tea and mushroom elixirs as well as locally made body care products. In nice weather, the outside courtyard provides a shady place for visiting people and dogs. Through-hikers (those hiking the Appalachian Trail) get a free glass of the house bucha, and the dynamic enterprise does everything it can to be sustainable, from using refillable growlers to carefully coordinating its deliveries in conjunction with other local products. In the winter, the Zuckermans will begin a series of workshops on subjects of concern to cottage-industry entrepreneurs.

Find out more about the workshops, the kinds of kombucha currently on tap and the taproom at Blue Ridge Bucha hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 to 6.

Little Explorers Opens at Crozet Baptist

Little Explorers Discovery School, a play-based preschool and after-school program, opens in January in the children’s wing of Crozet Baptist Church. Half-day and full-day preschool classes are available for children ages 2 to 5, said Christi Gillette, the school’s director. The after-school program will serve students from Crozet Elementary School. To find out more, visit

Business Bits

The former SWAY restaurant remains without a tenant at press time, according to Crozet Partners, the management company, and respective landlords say the same about Mechum’s Trestle and Mountainside Grill.  Down the road from SWAY, the well-curated consignment shop, Claudius Consign and Design, will close its doors January 10.  Meanwhile, owner Sheila Trunzo and manager Toni White said the store would continue to accept quality Christmas-themed decorations and gifts as well as offering the current inventory of more than 100 consigners until Christmas Eve. Beginning Dec. 26, the store will be open only for consignors for pick up, and all remaining inventory will be donated to charity after January 10. Trunzo and White said they thanked all their enthusiastic customers. For more information, visit 

A new menu has been rolled out at Restoration after much consultation with customers, said the new restaurant manager, Dale Farthing. Farthing said they’re trying to balance the needs of those wanting a quick bite, those interested in fine dining, and those who prefer healthy options. Some new items are the surf and turf chili, the roasted cauliflower entree and the Sunday brunch buffet, he said. Don’t see anything you like? Just make a request, Farthing said. Coming up this month is breakfast with Santa and a gingerbread house workshop. Visit for details. 

Management, sound engineers and industry consultants continue to struggle with containing the noise at R.A. Yancey Lumber Corporation, whose special-order muffler failed to sufficiently stifle the noise coming from the newly refurbished boiler. Yancey has been operating with just the pilot light at night, but late last month said that some neighbors were still hearing the noise at night: Others report unacceptable daytime noise levels. In hopes of returning to full operation, Yancey said it has special-ordered another muffler, to be delivered in about a month. There’s a website where the long-time Crozet business keeps the community updated: 

George Huckstep stirs apple butter at the White Hall Ruritans’ apple butter and cider festival in late October. The proceeds from the many gallons of cider and pints of apple butter go to community projects, including the Ruritans’ scholarship program.


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