Business Briefs: September 2019

Connie Hicks and Patsy Wallenborn of Greenwood Gardens. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Greenwood Gardens Opens in Crozet

After years of helping customers with gardens and planters, two Crozet professionals who have been friends since childhood have opened their own shop. Connie Hicks and Patsy Wallenborn have converted the old Route 250 fruit stand just west of town to a four-season specialty store. “We often wondered why Crozet didn’t have its own garden center,” Hicks said, “so we decided to go into the retail business.” The partners have carefully restored the fruit market into a place that should appeal to anyone, gardener or not.

“There are not many choices if you’re looking for a gift in Crozet,” Hicks said. “In fact, there are few places to shop at all.” The interior of Greenwood Gardens holds hundreds of options, from planters and pots, small housewares, soaps and lotions, pillows, candles, shortbread, even baby clothes displayed artfully in the rustic cabin next door. They’ll have cakes and pies made by Myra Keys, the Western Albemarle teaching assistant and baker, shortbread by Willa and pies and cakes from Albemarle Baking Company.  In the open-air part of the market, you will find plants and trees, flowering shrubs, bulbs and seeds. Once open, they’ll have plenty of pumpkins as well as fall design elements and annuals. When the Christmas holidays come, they’ll have garlands and wreaths, swags and centerpieces.

Wallenborn, the proprietor of “I Dig Dirt,” said she found she had to drive some distance for the types of perennials and annuals she needed for her business creating seasonal pots and plantings, and figured that local people with garden and design projects would have the same concerns. “Now they can just stop in on their way back and forth around Crozet,” she said.

Hicks grew up on a farm, the fifth generation of her family to raise hogs and cattle. “I guess it’s just in our blood,” she said.

The business, which opens Sept. 7, will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Help for Babies, Moms in Crozet

“Breastfeeding Blues & Bliss” now serves families in the Crozet area, thanks to a couple of experienced health professionals with a passion for helping new mothers and babies have the best possible start. They’re Ashley Fore and Lou Lamb, two nurses and certified lactation consultants who’ve expanded the business to include Crozet-area house calls. The business also makes house calls in the Charlottesville and Palmyra areas and offers a free weekly support group at Bend Yoga in Charlottesville. 

Kimberly Mendyka with baby Caroline and Ashley Fore of Breastfeeding Blues & Bliss. Submitted photo.

Even though 81 percent of Virginia mothers start out exclusively breast-feeding, they feel alone, said Fore. Some are not near their own mothers and families, some experience pain and anxiety at the start, and even experienced mothers find that each child has a different temperament. Fore said that statistics show that fewer than half of new Virginia mothers are still breastfeeding exclusively at three months. Experts like the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a longer period, at least six months. 

“By coming to their home, we make it much easier for the families, who are likely to be tired and busy, to get the support they need,” Fore said. The service is encouraged by favorable insurance, including Aetna, which insures many U.Va. employees.

One major way the service supports mothers is by allowing them to set their own goals. “We listen, we’re nonjudgmental, and we’re there to help rather than lecture,” Fore said. If a woman is concerned that her baby is not getting enough food because of wakefulness and crying, the consultant can weigh the child before and after a feeding rather than dismissing her fears as somehow silly. Even mothers who have successfully breastfed several children have worries, since they may observe sleep and feeding patterns that vary wildly. “Each child is different,” Fore said. 

This is true, confirmed former Crozet resident Kimberley Mendyka. She’s an experienced mom, having successfully breastfed twins, now 5. An over-abundant milk supply was great when she was feeding two boys, not so much for little Caroline, now four months, who choked and gagged and was otherwise unable to cope with the sheer volume. “Ashley came to my house, sat with me, and gave me several pointers on how to position myself and the baby so she was more comfortable,” she said. After a couple of visits the problem was solved, and a weight check confirmed that Caroline was growing and thriving. 

Ashley Fore and Lou Lamb of Breastfeeding Blues & Bliss. Submitted photo.

“If I had worries, I am sure first-time mothers have even more,” Mendyka said. She said that new mothers are often exhausted, have other children, and simply lack the confidence in their ability to feed their children. “It helped that she came here, sat right next to me where I usually sit to feed Caroline, and observed the situation.” She said she wanted to share her experience so she could encourage other mothers to persevere in their effort to provide the very best nourishment for their babies. “It was important to me,” she said, “and I know it is to many families. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of support from a professional you trust.”

Fabric Art, Paintings, and Pots Highlight Second Saturdays

The collaborative celebration of art at Crozet area galleries and shops continues into the fall, thanks to the partnership of local artists with the Downtown Crozet Initiative. This month’s “Second Saturdays” is on September 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. A complete schedule and map can be found at

The Crozet Artisan Depot will feature felted wearable art by Karen Shapcott, with the “meet the artist” reception at 2 p.m. Across the street at Piedmont Pace, Over the Moon Bookstore will display the oil paintings of Randy Baskerville, who will be at a reception that includes wine tasting, courtesy of the bookstore’s neighbor, Blue Ridge Bottle Shop, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunset Farm Studio, at 50326 Jones Mill Road, will feature garments handmade by Sarah Tremaine from 1 to 4 p.m. Those who attend the “eco printed sachet” workshop at 3 p.m. can come away with some fabric art of their own.

The whimsical world of Laney Greer is reflected in her paintings, now at Tabor Presbyterian Church, open for Second Saturdays. Submitted.

The graceful interior of Tabor Presbyterian Church displays paintings and drawings by Laney Greer from 1 to 4 p.m., when the artist will be on hand.

More fabric art can be found at the Barn Swallow Gallery at 796 Gillum’s Ridge Road, this time in the form of crocheted jewelry by Edie Ashman, who will greet visitors from 1 to 3 p.m.

Potter Roslyn Nuesch will be in her studio and at her wheel demonstrating at Two Owls Pottery at 5135 Halcyon Drive from 1 to 4 p.m.  All the events for Second Saturdays are free.

Business Bits

The Clover Lawn location of the U.Va. Community Credit Union closed at the end of August. Director of Marketing Linda Skelly said the closing was not part of the plan when the downtown Crozet branch was built later, but “Once we saw how clients were responding to the new place, we made our decision.” Skelly said all the employees at the Clover Lawn Branch were offered positions within the company, with a couple of veterans choosing to be full-time “floaters,” rotating among branches. “Clients seem especially happy with the drive- through and the open lobby at the new branch,” Skelly said. Remaining at the Clover Lawn location will be the ATM, which will be converted from a solely cash-dispensing machine to a full-service ATM.

As of September 1, Blue Ridge Building Supply, which established its flagship Crozet store in 1987, has merged with MWP Building Supply, a family-owned Madison County operation that also owns Madison Wood Preservers. Diana Stalnaker, who works in marketing for the Crozet branch of Blue Ridge Building Supply, said no immediate changes are expected. MWP has 25 years of experience as a supplier of building materials at its Madison location.

Across the road at Clover Lawn, Jalisco’s (in the former Mountainside Grill space) is set to open any day, with Pap and Zan’s (in the former Otto’s) to open later this month, said landlord Benton Downer, while Long and Foster Realtor Denise Ramey is taking over the former U.Va. Credit Union space.

Naborforce, a Richmond-based resource for independent older adults, expanded recently into the Charlottesville and Crozet area. The company provides light support, transportation and social engagement by tapping into a network of compassionate community members called “Nabors.” Holly Grimm of the company said it will not offer medical services, but will help people who need a friendly hand from time to time, with the kind of general assistance that a family member or neighbor might provide. The company offers its service in hourly components, thoroughly vets local employees, does not require a contract, and is also recruiting qualified local people as helpers. For more information, visit

Client Jerry Boehling poses at Wegman’s lunch and shopping outing courtesy of Naborforce. Submitted.

At the Rockfish Valley Community Center, Rockfish Gallery owner Cathy Bonham has created a separate room for those wanting to hear music by local artists or read books by local artists.

The Crozet Creamery is dishing out the last of its summer ice cream created from Henley and Chiles peaches, as well as its popular Arnold Palmer sorbet. 


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