Business Briefs: October 2019

Circle time at Ivy School House

Ivy School House Expands

The Ivy School House, opened by Nicholas and Sara Clark five years ago as a preschool, is now accepting babies and toddlers at an additional location in Old Trail Village Center. Sara and Nic founded Ivy School House in the summer of 2013 as a day camp for children entering kindergarten. The camp became a home-based, after-school program and then a preschool, serving children 2 to 5 years old.

Care for the next generation is a life-long mission for the Clarks. Sara has worked in teaching and child care all her life, and is presently the Head of School at Renaissance School. Nic has a great deal of management experience in companies large and small, and grew up in a household where his mother ran a successful infant care business for 25 years. He oversees the daily activities and programs of the Ivy School House, and the couple works together to provide a program that is meaningful for every student of every age. The Ivy School House is known for its emphasis on the outdoors, its Spanish immersion program, and its philosophy of hands-on learning. The expansion allows parents of babies and children under 2 to also have reliable child care close to home. 

The school is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. year-round except for major holidays. To enroll your child, call 434-823-4060 or inquire at [email protected].

Cooperative Work Space in Crozet

For entrepreneurs and telecommuters who find their homes too crowded, noisy, lonely or distracting to do their best work, there’s another option opening now in Old Trail in the new “Old Trail Heights” complex, adjacent to the Village Center. Arin Sime, the CEO and founder of, often finds himself working out of makeshift offices and coffee houses all over the world.

Arin Sime at new co-working space in Old Trail. Photo: Theresa Curry.

“We don’t have a central office, so all my employees work from home as well,” he said. When he found himself in need of a “real” office, he decided to share it with the community. He’s offering 15-20 people a pleasant space, with no fixed desks, cubicles or assigned seats. There will be couches, conference rooms, phone booths, high-speed internet and a designated printer. Office hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the $150 monthly fee will include unlimited use as well. To rent a space, reach Sime at [email protected] or call 434-226-0878.

Co-op work space has sofas, conference rooms and telephone booths. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Crozet YMCA Welcomes New Leaders

Last month, the Piedmont Family YMCA welcomed three new staff members to leadership roles at the Crozet location. Dave Hennessey is the operations director, Bridget Burkot is the aquatics and CYAC lead coach, and Christa Huffman is the director of youth and family programs.

Hennessey has many years of experience in the YMCA, starting as the family life director at a YMCA in Ohio, then served as the child care and camp director at the YMCA of Greater Richmond, a position that included an array of camps for different age groups, from 2009 to 2015. Most recently, he was the executive director at a YMCA in New York, where he led the aquatics, fitness and family recreation programs. Hennessey said he looks forward to helping the YMCA grow in a way that serves the Crozet community. With decades of experience in summer camps, he’s also interested in summer programs for Crozet’s young people. He’s looking forward to meeting the public at the Y’s Fall Festival, which includes a costume fun run, a floating pumpkin patch, and “Trunk or Treat,” from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 26.

Dave Hennessey, new director of operations at the Crozet YMCA. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Christa Huffman has been at the Crozet Y’s Early Learning Center. She also has experience as a teacher with the Staunton and Augusta County Schools, and was the after-school and camp director at the Staunton and Augusta YMCA. She will be primarily responsible for after school, camp and “stay and play” programs.

Bridget Burkot will work to strengthen the learn-to-swim and swim lesson programs as well as the swim team programs. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a full swimming scholarship, she put in more than three decades of experience coaching swimming, most recently coaching for Poseidon Swimming. She serves as an officer of the Virginia Swimming Board of Directors. She was the age group coach for Olympian Ian Crocker and has consistently developed state and zone champions, state record holders, nationally ranked swimmers, and national qualifiers.

Crozet Second Saturdays Oct. 12

Performance are and even artisanal food, as well as the fall “Art in the Park” event, are added to the Crozet “Second Saturday” lineup in October. The October Guest Artist at Crozet Artisan Depot is Elizabeth Herlevsen of Red Mud Hen Pottery. She’ll be at the Artisan Depot for the reception Oct. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the former Crozet train depot, 5791Three Notch’d Road.

Herlevsen is a functional potter, making useful and beautiful things as she balances art and family in her home in Crozet. She’s also on the visual arts faculty at St. Anne’s Belfield School. For her show at The Depot, she’ll bring a variety of tableware including mugs, vases, and platters.

Over the Moon shows paintings by the BozArt Collective in October. Submitted photo.

At Creative Framing & The Art Box, “A Mind of Seasons,” paintings by local artist Linda Verdery are on display for the month of October. The “Meet the Artist” reception is from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Crozet Fall Arts & Crafts Festival comes to Claudius Crozet Park, with more than 120 juried arts and crafts exhibitors, live music, entertainment, a children’s area and food and drink. Find times (it’s on Sunday, too) and admission prices at Volunteers are needed and receive free admission.

The Hamner Theater in Crozet Arts offers an improvisation workshop and performance by the Hamner Improv Troupe. The workshop is from 3 to 4 p.m., with the performance at 4 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend both.

Over the Moon Bookstore in Piedmont Place is showing the BozArt Fine Art Collective, a group show featuring paintings and photography by Carol Barber, Randy Baskerville, Joan Dreicer, Brita Lineburger, and Andy Stafford. The reception will include a free wine tasting by Blue Ridge Bottle Shop from 2 to 4 p.m.

Chèvre by Clover Top Creamery at the Barnswallow

The Barn Swallow Gallery features Clover Top Creamery, with artisanal cheese made from local goat’s milk. Learn about goat farming and cheese making, and taste an assortment of artisan chevre produced locally. Meet the Clover Top artists from 2 to 4 p.m.

With the exception of the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival, which runs all weekend, all events are on Saturday, Oct. 12; and all are free.

A complete schedule and map can be found at

All Quiet at Yancey

After nearly a year of struggling with various solutions to the noise produced by a boiler fan heating the R.A. Yancey lumber kilns, the mill’s owners believe they’ve won the battle. In the spring, they commissioned a British engineering firm with a specialty in making fan modifications to reduce tonal noise, the mysterious hum that came and went in the community and persisted despite the installation of several new fans and mufflers, a new stack and new pipes, and the substantial lowering of the heat in the kilns at night.  The engineering firm designed a custom solution for the fan, which was installed in late summer and has been successful in reducing the offending tone.

Donnie Rose, President of R.A. Yancey Lumber, acknowledged that the noise stemming from one of the boiler fans was not a simple problem to solve because of its source, the size of the equipment, and the custom parts that had to be manufactured. “We apologize and appreciate the community’s patience and willingness to communicate directly with us during the months when we were identifying the problem and testing various solutions,” he said. “We are happy to have this one resolved.”

Area Businesses Celebrate Octoberfest

Up at Restoration, manager Dale Farthing is overseeing the installation of a fire pit, and has commissioned a beer truck to park for the month to the left of the outdoor patio area with locally-made and internationally top-rated craft beers on tap, along with root beer floats, ice cream and popcorn for the kids. To give it a beer-garden, family atmosphere, there will also be outdoor games, including corn hole and lawn darts. The beer garden will be officially introduced Oct. 5, but thirsty diners may be able to help christen it a little earlier. Pro Re Nata is expanding its taproom, scheduling special events, now serving wine and cider as well as beer, and putting a little extra celebration into its always packed schedule of beer and fun during October, including live music. Popular local musician Jimmy O plays there Oct. 19. On a more serious note, local author Thomas Kapsidelis discusses his book, After Virginia Tech: Guns, Safety, and Healing in the Era of Mass Shootings, in the WMRA “Books and Brews” series at the brewery at 7 p.m. Oct. 9.

At Blue Mountain Brewery, there’s everything from sausage tasting to keg tossing to celebrate October, including oompah bands and kegs of their special 13.five Oktoberfest beer.

Business Bits

There’s some activity, but nothing is moving very fast in terms of new businesses opening at Clover Lawn. The Mexican Cantina in the former Otto’s space looks ready to open but we haven’t heard of an official date, and the former Mountainside Grill site is still under construction.

At Piedmont Place, Elemental: holistic hair, body and living will open in early October in the former Smojo’s space. Owner Wynne Sisk said she’d be carefully curating products with ingredients safe for your home and body and kind to the earth. A long-time hair designer, she’ll also offer hair services with much reduced waste and healthy alternatives to the traditional chemicals used in the beauty industry. Sisk began her search when she had health problems of her own and realized she had been surrounded by toxic products, including those that were labeled “organic,” she said. Based on her research, she’s assembled an inventory of tools for cleaner living, including essential oils, household cleaners, hair and body products and supplements. Elemental is scheduled to open Oct. 7.

Over in Nelson County, Nelly’s Wok has been reborn with some adjustment and a change in ownership. The Nellysford Restaurant has regular dinner hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and is open for lunch as well as dinner on Friday and Saturday. 

At Piedmont Place, the Blue Ridge Bottle Shop is now serving cupcakes by Cakes by Rachel and small pies and pie slices from the Pie Chest. 


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