Business Briefs: February 2021

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Igloos protect outside diners at Restoration from contagious patrons and cold weather. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Tips Honor Crozet Volunteer Fire Department

In what can only be called a dramatic accident, a truck ran over a propane tank at Lisa Henson’s home last year, quickly alighting the contents of the tank and setting the nearby residence on fire.

From a safe distance, Lisa Henson of Chiles Peach Orchard hands over a check to Captain Will Schmertzler of the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department. The check, totaling more than $4,000, was raised from donations made by customers of Chiles Peach Orchard. Photo: Theresa Curry.

It was a four-alarm fire and did a lot of damage, but the crew arrived quickly and most of the home was saved. “We had hoses there well into the next day,” said Fire Chief Will Schmertzler. He acknowledged the work of the department’s younger recruits, who were on the truck that arrived first at the fire.

Henson made a donation, but she knew the community’s joint support would help her raise a larger sum. She’s the store manager at Chiles Orchard, so she made a jar to receive tips and then watched the money pour in. “People were throwing in $5, $10, $20 bills, she said. “Some of them knew the story behind the collection, and some did not. But they all knew it was for the fire department.”

Donations mounted over the season to well over $4,000, and Schmertzler said it’s good timing: “We couldn’t have our regular fundraisers this year,” he said, “so gifts like this are essential.”

Pandemic Inspires Furniture Choices

Reluctant to travel, dine out or shop for clothes, what do homebound consumers spend their money on? Those who are fortunate enough to have stable incomes are re-thinking their homes, especially when it comes to making spaces work for multiple family members and functions.

Attractive desks that can fit into a variety of spaces have been big sellers at Under the Roof furniture store in Waynesboro. Submitted photo.

Jeffrey Grosfeld, manager of Under the Roof in Waynesboro, polled the salespeople at the Waynesboro furniture store and found that some of their customers have taken advantage of lower interest rates to downsize or to buy their first homes. Whether they’re furnishing a new home or rearranging their present dwelling, there are some common buying trends:

Families need multiple workspaces. Attractive desks are in demand, especially those that can find a home in any room in the house, store away clutter, and support an organized work or school day.

Furniture has continued to sell during the pandemic, including multifunctional pieces such as sleep sofas. Submitted photo.

Furniture has more than one job. Everyone stuck at home as well as those who have downsized are paying attention to the functionality of their furniture, choosing items that work in multiple spaces and have more than one purpose, such as sofas that double as sleepers. 

Comfort is key. Whether they’re essential workers showing up for work every day or working at home, family members want room to gather together on comfortable sofas and sectionals. People also look for comfortable chairs.

Home is important. People who stay at home most of the time take a fresh look at their surroundings, with an eye towards making them more hospitable and efficient. This new general scrutiny also drives furniture sales.

Biz Bits

• According to the Waynesboro Downtown Merchants Association, the Blue Ridge Tunnel has brought more than 30,000 visitors to the area since its opening in November. The Virginia Department of Transportation has released a short film with the history and renovation of the tunnel at youtu.be/9TllH8bjlHQ.

Headlamps are the must-have item of the day since the opening of the Blue Ridge Tunnel, here displayed by Rich Gibson of Rockfish Gap Outfitters in Waynesboro. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Fardowner’s manager Scotty Lynch said the powerful overhead heat lamps in the restaurant’s parking lot have more than paid for themselves since cold weather began. He said they’re especially effective during the day when the sun adds a little overhead heat as well. 

• At Restoration, giant igloos seat as many as six people, with heaters inside to keep diners warm as temperatures plummet. The igloos are cleaned after every seating with a wet fog machine. The mountainside restaurant has been offering an international menu during the winter, and has just released a five-course menu featuring lobster for Valentine’s week.

Pro Re Nata has benefitted from its huge fire pits, drawing clusters of brave patrons and happy dogs. The Crozet brewery offers outside service and has added “Za Spot’s” wonderful pizza. A couple of other new offerings will help get the popular gathering spot through the winter: There’s now drive-up breakfast and lunch service every weekday morning from 6 to 11:30 a.m. by Future Coffee, offering hot drinks, pastries and sandwiches, and a special Monday dinner service by Chef Mike. Find out what national cuisine the chef features each Monday on Pro Re Nata’s Facebook page.

• Alert Crozetians try to spread the word when they see the FARMacy food truck is parked at the Starr Hill tap room. For now, the popular truck is expected there Feb. 13 and 27. This might change, so be sure to check either the FARMacy or the Starr Hill Facebook pages. Also check frequently for the Raclette Man truck, usually at Starr Hill on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

• Other local businesses are working hard to make it through the pandemic and the winter. Crozet Pizza has opened on Wednesdays; Trey Wilkerson of Sam’s Hot Dogs, a trained chef as well as a frankfurter entrepreneur, is coming up with more homemade, homey options than ever. Some recent favorites have been meatloaf, homemade soup and lasagna, and Wilkerson continues to offer delivery. Morsel Compass has also excelled in the family meal department with homemade desserts, chicken enchiladas, vegetarian stuffed shells and chili in addition to their fresh, flavorful lunchtime options. Ivy Road House has done a brisk business in carry-out since its opening last month and has added family meals, with quantities that serve four. Choices presently are a vegetarian entree, a roast chicken meal and the Road House Sampler, all for $49.

• If you’re in need of entertainment after all that good food, take a peek at the series of fund-raisers offered in-person and at home by The Wayne Theatre. Musician Jimmy O presents three decades of music in three different events. He sang songs from the 1950s in January, will sing his way through the 1960s in February, and will tackle the 1970s in March. These fundraisers are “pay what you will.” The Wayne Theatre, on Main Street in Waynesboro, has arranged distance seating, and devised a floor plan that prevents passing too close to another patron when taking a seat. Find information on the live events as well as the live streaming at waynetheatre.org.  

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