New Shop to Support Creative Crozet Women
The outside is painted a lovely blue, the inside is renovated and brightened up with several coats of a soft neutral, and two Crozet entrepreneurs are looking forward to the opening of Bluebird & Co. in the space next to Crozet Pizza where Countryside Pet Grooming used to be. (For those who follow the downtown Crozet shuffle, Countryside moved into the space that formerly housed the Art Box, which moved into spacious new quarters on Tabor St.)
It’s a joint venture by Flannery Buchanan and Chelsea Powers, two women who formerly had a couple of pop-up businesses and, in Buchanan’s case, a mobile site as well. Buchanan’s a book seller and Powers curates a collection of comfortable, wearable items that you’re not likely to see in a chain store. They’re also the organizers behind a number of markets featuring local small vendors with unusual, handmade offerings.
Their own small businesses taught them a lot about the importance of community connection. While putting together the markets, they learned there are dozens of women in Crozet and nearby with wonderful creative skills and products. “Many women are limited in reaching the public because of lives filled with responsibilities for children and in many cases, full-time jobs,” Buchanan said.
They’ve saved plenty of space in the shop for those women and the handmade soap, candles, prints, pottery, baked goods and rugs they make. Bluebird & Co. will offer festive events featuring fresh flowers, cookies, bagels and wine, all with a local connection.
“We also realized how lonely it can be to work in isolation,” Powers said. With a full-time job in marketing and a new baby, she understands the situation on a personal level. With both these thoughts in mind, the women agreed the shop would have an area where people could gather, whether relaxing while their sons and daughters enjoy the spacious children’s book alcove, or attending a wine-tasting, a pop-up bagel Saturday, an art class or an author event.
They plan to include other downtown businesses, inviting some venerable Crozet shopkeepers and familiar public servants to do readings for story hour.
“There will be more events, too,” Buchanan said. “And we hope that people will feel free to gather here.” They promise comfortable couches and good company.
If you’re there to buy something, they want you to have an enjoyable experience. “In the case of the clothes, if there’s not something here you like, talk to me and I’ll find what you want,” Powers said. “But whatever you’re looking for, our mission is to help you leave with something you absolutely love.”
Bluebird & Co. officially opens Saturday, May 14, at 10 a.m. and will remain open until 4 p.m. Those present for the opening will be able to munch on Stella’s Bagels and choose from the locally grown flowers of “Fawn Over Flora,” a local flower studio. Find more details, plus a list of current vendors, on the webpage, bluebirdcrozet.com, or on the store’s Facebook page.
Young Entrepreneurs Offer Recycling in Crozet
Every couple of weeks, Jackson Douvas loads up with paper, boxes, cans and plastic and heads out for one of a couple of recycling centers. He’s not just hauling the leftover stuff from his own Western Ridge home: He has a business, picking up recyclables from Crozet and western Albemarle households. He’s a senior at WAHS and he was inspired, he said, by visiting a Virginia landfill as big as a small town.
Douvas believes that living in a beautiful place like Crozet makes people blind to the world-wide trash problem. “It’s pretty easy to forget that the stuff we dispose of in the trash doesn’t magically disappear, but rather ends up in one of these huge landfills,” Douvas said. He’s convinced that the difficulties looming due to the global environmental crisis will be difficult to solve, but that’s not a reason to give up.
“Not acting because we think our personal actions are too insignificant is a key limiter in creating change,” he said. He hopes if he does his part, he’ll also inspire others.
Here’s how it works: customers get in touch through his website and arrange for his twice-monthly services. He accepts payment ($20 per pickup) in a variety of ways, and makes sure that each category of recycling goes to the place most likely to ensure its future life in another form, rather than ending up in a landfill or in the ocean.
Douvas has taken pains to make it as easy as possible. Customers can cancel at any time or skip a pick-up without penalty. He’s also taken pains to make sure that recycling is really the end product of his work. Find more details and order a pick-up at www.walbemarlerecycling.com.
Bodhi Rose, the “Dude of Hazard,” has carved out a niche recycling market. The 14-year-old Old Trail resident has spent hours researching the best disposal possibilities for those items you can’t safely put in the regular trash or the recycling bin. Like Douvas, he offers porch pick-up and a very reasonable fee. He charges $10 per large item, box or bag. If you’re unsure of whether your hazardous item is truly recyclable, check with him in advance.
You can find Bodhi Rose @DUDEOFHAZARD on Facebook, or text 434-459-1523.
Crozet Farmers Market Opens
The Crozet Farmers Market opens Saturday, May 7, in the grassy field behind the Blue Goose Building on Crozet Avenue.
Market hours are 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday from May 7 through mid-October. Market master Al Minutolo said shoppers in the May market can expect bread, herbs, plants, cut flowers, maple syrup, honey, crafts, lotions and cupcakes, with more produce on the way as we head into the summer harvest season. He expects all the former vendors to return.
The Crozet Market has strict guidelines, requiring every item to be locally grown, crafted or baked. As in past years, the vendors will return a portion of their earnings to the Crozet United Methodist Church Food Pantry, a long-time community resource that’s able to turn every dollar donated into 8-12 pounds of food. If you’re a gardener yourself, take advantage of the 2nd and 4th Saturdays, when the Piedmont Master Gardeners are there to answer your questions about gardening and sustainability.
Prospective vendors can reach Minutolo at 434 823-1092 to discuss products, space availability and market rules.
Sal’s Pizza, shut down for inside dining for more than a year because of the pandemic, used the time for extensive remodeling and reopened its dining room earlier this year. Mike Sever, a former Hershey Chocolate executive who started Wild Blue Chocolate at his Crozet home, has been named the plant manager for Hershey’s Chocolate plant in Stuarts Draft. The plant, which recently celebrated its 40th birthday, has been in the news recently because of a failed employees’ attempt to unionize. Sever will oversee a force of about 1,500 workers. Bryan Yeagle, who was serving as the interim site manager for Crozet Park Aquatics and Fitness Center, is now the site manager.
Enjoy Art at Local Exhibits
Spring brings forth a new bloom of artwork, all free to enjoy, but consider buying a piece of local art or fine craft to keep creativity alive and well in Crozet.
The BozArt Fine Art Collective has been brightening the walls of the second floor hallway at Piedmont Place for a couple of years. The current exhibit, which runs through June, is “A Little Bit of This and That,” with etchings by Ellen Moore-Osborne, watercolors by Juliette Swenson, acrylics by Matalie Deane, oils by Richard Bednar, acrylics and stencils by Theodore Drake, and oils by Julia Kindred.
The magical photography of Erin Harrigan of Staunton will be the featured exhibit at the Crozet Artisan Depot through May. Harrigan’s “Shots from the Shenandoah” includes Shenandoah-Valley-based landscapes and nature shots. A “Meet the Artist” event will be held on Saturday, May 13, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Harrigan especially loves to shoot the night sky and landscapes using a variety of lenses and techniques, avoiding adding special effects, but making full use of a variety of lenses. Because of her continuous experimenting with perspective, many of her images have a unique look.
The Crozet Artisan Depot is in the historic Crozet train depot, 5791 Three Notch’d Road. To see more of its collection and details about open hours and days, go to www.crozetartisandepot.com.