Business Briefs: December 2020

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There’s a new name and a new power-assisted cargo bike for Brad Diggans of Crozet Delivery. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

New Name for NorCro

What began as Brad Diggans’ pandemic solution for the loss of his temporary fencing business has become a sustainable long-term option. “We have a real base, and it has stayed with us,” Diggans said. The hastily chosen name, “NorCro,” was a play on “north Crozet,” but not everyone understood it, confusing it with the names of out-of-town businesses, including a major pharmaceutical firm. 

Once Diggans determined he was in the local delivery business for the long haul, the next step was to find a permanent name. “We decided to keep it simple,” he said, “and just call it Crozet Delivery.”  The name is simple, all the rebranding a little more complicated, and he’s been working to tie everything together with a new logo. 

Bicycle power is an important part of his plan. He’s invested in an electric assist cargo bike and will be offering advertising space on the cargo area. “Obviously, we’ll need to use other vehicles if we deliver in Ivy or White Hall,” he said. “But it’s important to me to do our local deliveries by bike.” Diggans considers himself an advocate for increased bicycle and walking infrastructure in Crozet. “We’re small enough and dense enough for it to work,” he said.

Diggans, a fairly recent Crozet resident, said he enjoys his new career as well as his new home. “We’ve lived all over,” he said, “but this is where we want to put down roots.” He hopes to find other small businesses that need a delivery service and expand in a thoughtful way. 

Diggans has learned a lot about himself as well as the area. It’s not only the public service and the physical exercise that appeal to him, he said. “I’ve met many of the people who live here and heard a lot of their stories since I’ve been doing this. We’ve built much deeper relationships.” 

Christmas Trees Now on Sale

The Boy Scouts began their yearly tree sales at Crozet Market Nov. 27 and will be open every day until the supply runs out. During weekdays, the lot will be staffed 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday hours are normally 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays 12 to 6 p.m. 

Boy Scouts Nathan Scott and Mason Covey prepare a Christmas tree for a customer. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Trees are also available at the Rockfish Valley Community Center through December 23. The sale of the Fraser firs is a fundraiser for the Center. They may be ordered in advance through the website at rockfish.org, through the Treasure Chest thrift shop, or on Saturday mornings in the lot outside the Center.

Blue Ridge Family Practice Expands

Blue Ridge Family Practice, the direct primary care practice founded by Dr. Maura McLaughlin in 2016, has grown to include Maura’s husband, Tim McLaughlin, also a family practice physician, and Michelle Huggins, Tim McLaughlin’s long-time nurse. 

The “direct primary care model” introduced to Crozet by the Blue Ridge Family Practice is a subscription service. It’s a model that allows patients to pay monthly rather than “fee for service” for office, phone and video visits without additional co-pays. This model also offers discounted lab pricing for blood work.

Dr. Tim McLaughlin and nurse Michelle Huggins have joined Dr. Maura McLaughlin (center) at Blue Ridge Family Practice. Photo: Liam McLaughlin.

Maura said this model appealed to her because it allows her to spend more time with each patient. Her idea was well received and within two years, she’d filled her practice and started a waiting list, making it possible for Tim to join the practice. 

The McLaughlins first met as family medicine residents at UVA more than 17 years ago. Before joining the Blue Ridge Family Practice, Tim worked at UVA Family Practice in Stuarts Draft and then Crozet.

Some of her friends think she’s crazy to work with her husband, Maura said, “but honestly, it’s been great.” Tim agrees. They have similar styles and both appreciate the amount of time with each patient allowed by the direct care model. Tim said that getting to know each patient as a person helps him provide the best care. 

At the end of October, nurse Michelle Huggins, who had worked closely with Tim at UVA Family Medicine in Crozet, also joined the practice to help them as the practice grows.

Tim McLaughlin is currently accepting new patients. Find more information about Blue Ridge Family Practice at the website www.blueridgefamilypractice.org, or by calling 434-478-0787.

Vacancies in County-owned Spaces

The loss of tenants in the Crozet Artisan Depot and the bottom floor of the Crozet Library have left vacancies in buildings owned by Albemarle County. The Charlottesville and Albemarle County Convention and Visitors Bureau had formerly occupied 456.3 square feet of a total of 2665 square feet in the Depot, said Emily Kilroy, speaking for Albemarle County. 

With the departure of the Charlottesville and Albemarle County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, 456.3 square feet of the total of 2665 in the building remains vacant. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Karen Yonovitz of the Crozet Artisans Depot (which leases the rest of the space) said that the two entities had separate leases, so the departure of the bureau won’t affect the Depot’s rent. Kilroy said thcounty has not yet advertised the space there, nor the space at the Crozet Library. That space, vacated by Crozet Running, is 1,697 square feet. Kilroy said the county has received three inquiries, and will begin the legal process required for the county to enter into a lease agreement. That process begins with a formal application and includes a public hearing before the Board of Supervisors. Kilroy said the cost of leasing the two spaces would depend on the outcome of that process.

Yonovitz said the Artisans Depot has applied for temporary use of the adjacent vacated space during the holiday season. 

Commercial Vacancies

A number of vacancies left by restaurants hard-hit by the pandemic in commercially-owned buildings remain, including the former Pap & Zan’s in Clover Lawn and the former Wayland’s Crossing in Old Trail. Although there are rumors that the Old Trail property is soon to have a new tenant, Allen Billyk of Old Trail said it’s too early to reveal any details. Benton Downer, the landlord at Clover Lawn, did not respond to inquiries, nor did Stuart Rifkin, the realtor and part owner of the long-delayed Ivy Road House. 

Crozet Bank Customers Respond to Closing

With the Bank of America branch at 214 Crozet Avenue closing January 12, former customers are opening accounts at the Crozet branch of the UVa Community Credit Union. The influx has driven a noticeable increase, not only in the number of clients banking there, but in the number and type of business and personal accounts. “We’re seeing new relationships being established and also people with existing relationships expanding them,” said Janine Williams, the Credit Union’s vice president for marketing. “Of course, we’re thrilled.” 

At Truist (formerly BB&T) which has a branch in the Harris Teeter shopping center, Amber Odom of the bank’s corporate communications said she could not comment specifically on the Crozet branch. Once the Bank of America branch closes in Crozet, the nearest Bank of America is at 180 McCormick Road in Charlottesville.

Holiday Shopping Direct from Farmer, Artist, Artisan

Those who wish to make holiday gifts of local products should have no trouble finding them. At the Crozet Artisans Depot, the traditional holiday open house, normally held the first or second weekend of December, has been canceled because of the rising number of COVID cases. “We decided not to encourage any gatherings,” said Karen Yonovitz of the Artisans Depot. However, she said. “We are definitely open seven days a week for holiday shopping.” 

Local artists and artisans stock the Crozet Artisans Depot with gift items for the holiday season. Submitted photo.

The Depot will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m., with strict protocols in place, masks required, and number of people in the store at one time limited to 25, half the Depot’s capacity.

The Depot represents more than 80 artisans, and offers handmade, regional arts and crafts and specialty Christmas items, as well as artisan chocolates, jams and jellies.

In Afton, the Rockfish Valley Community Center holds its winter market outside in the gravel lot on Saturday, Dec. 5, and has changed the time to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to take advantage of the warmest part of the day. There will be 13 vendors this year.

Virginia First Lady tours Wildrock

Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring toured Wildrock early this month. Both women also hiked the property. Northam’s concern for children deprived of nature has inspired much of her work as First Lady and prompted her visit to the Crozet non-profit, which was founded to address those concerns.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Bettina Ring and First Lady Pamela Northam visit Wildrock in early November. Submitted photo.

Wildrock’s Sarah Harris said hours have been expanded through December. To find out about virtual programs, and to donate or volunteer, visit wildrock.org.

Renovations Underway at Modern Barber Shop, Whistlestop Grill

The slight miscalculation of a moving truck as it turned onto Crozet Avenue in October caused major damage, inside and out, to the Modern Barber Shop and Whistlestop Grill, said Lisa Miller of the barber shop (see story here). “Rebuilding will take a while and will probably be in three phases.” The first phase is to replace the wall that supported the uprights for the porch, and the community should see progress soon on that, Miller said. The next step will be to replace the wooden structures and later, to repair interior damage caused when parts of the roof collapsed.

The Modern Barber Shop photographed in June 2020, before the porch was damaged. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

 

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