Business Briefs: April 2023

Marketa Johnson will open Praha Bohemian Bakery and Cafe April 10. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

April Opening for Praha Bakery

It’s been a lengthier process than she thought, Marketa Johnson said, but she’s close to opening Praha Bohemian Bakery & Cafe. The Czechoslovakian bakery will carry the Eastern European (Praha is “Prague” in Czechoslovakian) specialties she learned growing up, and will also feature breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads. Johnson has made the bold decision to make her own bagels for the sandwiches. “Bagels are associated with New York,” she said, “but they actually originated in Europe and came here with the immigrants. 

“We’re aiming for April 10,” Johnson said, and any delay or changes in her plans will be posted on the Crozet Gazette website (Update 4/11/23: Marketa is not quite ready to open. We will let you know as soon as she knows what day!). Praha, on Three Notched Road in the former Crozet Tack and Saddle building, will be open every week day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on weekends from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The shop will serve coffee from local coffee roaster Crucible, and all items will be available for take-out or to eat in the shop’s dining area. 

Crozet Creamery is open every day from noon until 7 p.m. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Changes at Piedmont Place

To the delight of children and ice cream lovers of all ages, Crozet Creamery is now open daily from noon to 7 p.m. Owner Andrew Baldwin predicts a late-May or early June opening for the entire building. Sadly, Morsel Compass will not be returning unless owner Jennifer Ballard can sell the business and train a new owner before she moves away. 

Ryan Berklund plans to open a small plates cafe and bar this summer at Piedmont Place. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Upstairs, Ryan Beckland will open an evening bar and small-plates cafe in the space that began as Rooftop Restaurant. She’ll start with limited hours a few days a week, with the intention of gauging Crozet’s interest in more hours. Beckland owns the immensely popular “Botanical Fare” on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, where Baldwin is a regular diner. “I wasn’t looking to expand so soon,” she said, “but I love this space.” The immediate success of her Charlottesville property allowed her to branch out near her home in Crozet, where she has a large garden that inspires her fresh, healthy menu. She’ll also serve wine, beer and cocktails. She hopes to be open in July.

Local Help for New Moms

When it comes to what’s best for your newborn, everyone has an opinion, and of course the Internet has millions of them. Ashley Fore’s new business, Flow Lactation, is designed to bring worried young mothers strategies and hands-on advice for breast feeding that’s solidly based on evidence.

Ashley Fore of Flow Lactation offers reassurance and training to breast-feeding mothers. Submitted photo.

Fore has worked for years as an RN, and she recognized early in her training at U.Va. that she had a special love for working with women, babies, and their families. “When I did my obstetrics rotation, I was hooked,” she said. She also observed that mothers of newborns were at high risk for depression and anxiety, and some of those feelings centered around the worry that they were doing something wrong in feeding their children. She’s a board-certified lactation consultant and wants to help remove some of the pressure and helplessness mothers feel when faced with the 8 to 12 feedings a day required for newborns.

“Expectant mothers learn everything they can about labor and childbirth,” she said, “but often don’t think through the logistics of breastfeeding. Childbirth is kind of a sprint, where feeding your child is more like a marathon.”

For that reason, Fore finds that a visit before the birth is helpful, where all involved in the baby’s care can discuss a practical feeding plan. “That helps new parents give some thought to what their life will be like before it comes up,” she said. Once the baby comes home, she makes an early visit, and then her families call her for a variety of reasons. Some of the main concerns, she said, are pain on the mother’s part, inability of a newborn to maintain enough suction, baby’s unexpected reactions during or after feeding, alternative plans for when the mother must be away, and eventually weaning a child. 

After years of working with young mothers, Fore identified two things that she’d like them to know. “Feeding your child should not be painful,” she said. “I’ll work with you to make sure you’re both comfortable with the position.” And despite what you may hear from others, there’s not only one way to make sure your child is healthy and happy. She’s glad to coach families on the variety of options available for feeding, including supplementing with formula, help in picking out a pump, and strategies for storing milk. Fore is associated with Aetna Insurance, so her visits are included for Aetna members. Other insurance plans may reimburse after the fact. 

Because there are bound to be times when mothers feel alone and isolated, Fore facilitates a meet-up, “Flow and Friends,” that meets weekly at Musicology on Ivy Road. Find out more about the meetings, register for Flow Lactation visits, or ask questions at

Guiding Arrow Plans Family Gathering

Megan and Jayson Smith know from experience how important nature can be for children with a variety of neurological and emotional challenges. They have two children on the autism spectrum in their blended family of six, and often wished there was a place where their sons could go without feeling judged, a place where they could just relax and be themselves. One of the children benefited very much from finding a connection with nature and animals. “It sometimes seems to people unfamiliar with these children that they just want to be off by themselves in a quiet corner with their earphones and electronics,” Megan said. “But it’s often because they’re worn out with being judged and need relief from it.”

Megan and Jayson Smith invite everyone to find out about Guiding Arrow Nature Camps April 29 at Mint Springs Park. Submitted photo.

Children of all ages, learning styles, and preferences need a community, she said, and a community centered on an appreciation for nature and outdoor activities is a good place to forge important friendships. Her vision is to provide outdoor experiences for children in a way that’s comfortable for them, with professional staff committed to helping them connect with each other and their surroundings. “This is a way of gently pulling them out of the virtual world,” she said. She wants to give families the gift of connection, too, since often parents feel the sting of judgement and criticism from other parents and the world at large. 

Megan has many years of experience, not only from her family life, but as part of a Charlottesville wellness clinic founded by Dr. Zach Bush. In her 10 years on staff, Megan worked with families to identify and help children and adults needing emotional and behavioral coaching. She’s a certified Emotion Code Practitioner, author of two books on healing, and a reiki healer. Jayson’s an outdoor lover, a handyman and a musician.

The couple is well aware that sometimes children on the spectrum or with other diagnoses fail to learn the practical life skills needed to thrive. “What will the world look like if they are never given the opportunity to develop skills that will help them be confident, productive members of the community?” She said one in each group of 59 children is on the spectrum, and all of them deserve a chance to find a community attuned to their learning styles and emotional differences. They’ve formed a non-profit, Guiding Arrow, and plan to offer camps where children learn through outdoor activities, cooking and other practical daily skills, minor repairs, music, crafts, woodworking and art, plus night-time campfires where everyone comes together.

This is the basic concept, but instead of drawing up all the plans and inviting families to enroll their children, the Smiths want parents and kids to weigh in on what they need before the camps begin. They’ve organized a Family Nature Day at Mint Springs April 29, and invite families to join them in the planning stages of Guiding Arrow, with the idea of reflecting authentic community needs when the camps begin next year. Besides the round table discussion, there will be a family nature walk, a chance to make a musical instrument out of natural materials, and a music lesson.

Family Nature Day begins at 2 p.m. April 29 at Shelter 1 in Mint Springs Park. For more information, go to

Pressed Flowers, Jewelry at Crozet Artisans Depot

Karly Murphy and Michelle Nevarr are the guest artists for April at the historic Crozet train depot, with a “Meet the Artists” event Saturday, April 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. 

Flowers pressed and preserved in glass by Karly Murphy will be at Crozet Artisan Depot through April. Submitted photo.

Karly Murphy of Barboursville is a botanical artist, working with pressed flowers and plants to preserve their fleeting beauty. Murphy uses flowers she grows herself and homemade flower presses to capture each one at its peak. “I love to create glass frames and ornaments so the flowers can float on a wall or in a tabletop bouquet, and I also create lifelike printed artwork and cards to share these delicate pieces in a practical way,” Murphy said. 

Jewelry by Crozet’s Michelle Nevarr is featured at the Artisans Depot through April. Submitted photo.

Crozet resident Michelle Nevarr’s show is titled “Gypsy Soul Jewels.” Nevarr uses sterling silver and aluminum as metals, with glass beads, natural stones, and elements including turquoise, quartz, amethyst, moonstone, sapphire, tiger iron, aventurine, bloodstone, angelite, seashell, and bone. “Inspired by light and the play of shadow and illumination in nature, I seek to share the feeling evoked by moments of solitude in the beautiful mountains that surround my home,” Nevarr said.

The shows run through April. 

Stone Soup Hosts Author Event at Riverfest

The Crozet Gazette’s Lynn Coffey will be part of an author panel assembled by Stone Soup Books at Riverfest, scheduled for April 29 this year, the year of the river otter. Waynesboro’s Riverfest is a free annual event, designed to highlight the many benefits of the city’s South River. Activities start at 10 at Constitution Park South. Kids and adults can find out about reptiles, explore streams, paddle canoes, work on art projects, and find out why rivers are important. 

The Stone Soup panel begins at 10:15 a.m. and features authors knowledgeable about the wildlife, history and economic importance of the river. Coffey, the author of magazines and books about rural life, and a Crozet Gazette staff member, will talk about her work with the mountain people at 2:30. 

For a full schedule of events and times, go to

Biz Bits

The deli expansion at Crozet Market has opened up the formerly cramped space to make room for an extensive salad bar. Owner Raphael Strumlauf said salads have become a popular lunch item, and he’ll be adding other “grab and go” lunches and sandwiches in the new space. The remodeling has allowed the sushi chef to be visible to customers, and that, along with the public’s ability to ask for special orders, has resulted in greatly increased sushi sales. 

Crozet Market’s expansion has allowed room for a salad bar and created more space for the deli cases. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

A trio of women entrepreneurs are converting the original Sam’s Hot Dog’s space into a state-of-the art spa, with two infra-red saunas, a space for massages, and a small retail component. Watch for more as the opening gets closer.

Fire-fighters are among our greatest heroes, and kids still want to grow up to be one. Make sure to bring your children to Bluebird & Company every last Saturday of the month for story time, followed by all the questions they can think of!  Each month will be a different firefighter from Station 5. For times, and all the other events going on at Bluebird, go to 


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