Business Briefs: May 2023

The former home of Sam’s Hot Dogs is now a destination for athletic recovery and healing. Two of its owners are Chloe Watkins and Chelsea Powers. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Reset: Athletic Recovery, Wellness Collective

Despite the sickness, isolation and fear, Covid inspired some good ideas. Elliott Watkins, who’d always been an athlete, was disturbed by the lingering symptoms he experienced after two weeks of dealing with the active disease. “I’d feel great one day, and then the next week or so I’d feel like I had just run a marathon,” Watkins said. Even before that, he noted that he wasn’t bouncing back from his long-established running practice as fast as he used to. Watkins is one of the owners of Reset, opening May 16 at the former Sam’s Hot Dog space.

“We’re not 18 anymore, and I get that,” he said. Eager to resume his workouts, he sought out some non-medical therapies that he credits for his total recovery from what was starting to look like long Covid. Watkins spent several sessions a week in a sauna, followed by a cold plunge. He also used compression therapy. All of these are designed to calm inflammation and hasten healing.

How can the use of the simple elements of intense heat and cold––both situations we tend to avoid––be of any benefit for recovery, whether it be from athletic performance, pain or disease? Watkins explained that the sauna boosts circulation by increasing heart rate and artery dilation, flushing out inflammation. “This means your body can recover from strenuous activity, or life in general, faster,” he said.

A 30-minute sauna session mimics a light to moderate cardiovascular workout, improving heart health without straining joints or muscles. As he followed his own path to recovery, Watkins found an improvement in overall mood as well as his health, as the infrared light triggered the release of white blood cells. The cold plunge (1 to 8 minutes) has much the same effect. Compression therapy, which uses devices to gently stimulate legs and arms, also turns circulation to your advantage, aiding recovery for serious athletes, but also a huge help to those with circulation problems, venous insufficiency or pain.

Chelsea Powers, one of Reset’s owners, displays one of the two infra-red saunas. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

“Obviously, these treatments have too hefty a price tag for us to have them in our own homes,” Watkins said. With his wife, Chloe, one of the founders of Santosha Yoga; Chelsea Powers, entrepreneur and part owner of Bluebird & Co; and personal trainer Julie Spence, Watkins began looking for a way to make these cutting-edge healing methods available in Crozet.

“We knew we wanted to be right in the heart of Crozet,” Watkins said, “so when this space became available, we took it.” Serious athletes are sure to take advantage of the tools for shortening recovery time; but Reset’s owners also wanted an array of traditional and innovative wellness practices, another aid in recovery for athletes, but also for their less athletic patrons, and the assorted practitioners who live in the area but have no dedicated space to work with clients. Massage therapy, Reiki (see below), health counseling and other ways of supporting the community’s health will be available from individual professionals, as will some cosmetic services like facials and spray tanning.

Reset will welcome clients May 16, with a grand opening May 18. To find out more, make an appointment, reserve a service, or ask questions, go to

New Crozet Practice Built on Individual Needs, Healing Touch

There’s no doubt that Emily Fenger has plenty of energy. She’s the mother of a three-year-old, the marketing program manager at Nest Realty, and the owner of a unique business that combines Reiki, breath work, meditation, a mindfulness writing group, and a variety of group and individual healing practices for women.

Although Fenger does have the “energy” that we ascribe to people who are disciplined, active and able to keep going with enthusiasm and focus, her work involves a different kind of energy. Fenger works with this valuable life force day after day, helping her clients arrive at the kind of awareness and relaxation that she found when she first came to Reiki and then to the other practices that have now become part of her life, and part of the array of services she offers.

Reiki practioner Emily Fenger

“Everyone is different,” Fenger said, “and needs a different approach.” The end goal is the same: With gentle touch as well as prompts, discussion, mindfulness writing and encouraging space for vulnerability, she helps clients rest in their parasympathetic nervous system. That’s the place––not to be confused with the sympathetic nervous system––where we experience a natural peace and calm. Working together, she helps women overcome the “fight or flight” reflex that can become a sticking place even when there’s no threat. She also serves women as a doula for pregnancy and grief.

“I’m not a doctor,” she said, “but these practices make space for healing apart from medical intervention.” Because her introduction to Reiki and other healing modalities greatly helped her with hormonal imbalance before the birth of her daughter, she was led to improve the lives of other women who struggle with a variety of challenges when she lived in Colorado, and continued to do so after moving to Crozet a few years ago. She’s a Reiki Master, which means she’s moved through several levels of this Japanese form of energy healing. Although the practice is hands on, it’s not physical manipulation like massage or chiropractic.

“Sometimes, people ask me if I’m giving my energy to them,” she said. “I want everyone to know that they have everything they need to heal inside them already.”

Fenger sees clients and groups at Santosha Yoga, but will move to Reset Athletic Recovery and Wellness Collective after its opening May 16.

For more information, or to schedule a meeting, go to

Where the Dust Never Settles

Working from a tiny shed beside his home in Orchard Acres, Vu Nguyen makes beautiful and durable handmade culinary tools. Although running his own backyard business, The Dustworks, is far from where he expected to be, his various occupations have prepared him in ways he couldn’t have foreseen. He’s been a chef and owner of two restaurants––Zinc Bistro and Moto Pho in Charlottesville––an architectural draftsman, and, most recently, the manager of Blanc Creatives (a hand crafted culinary tools workshop) in Waynesboro. All set the stage for him to appreciate fine kitchen tools and to learn the craftsmanship involved in small-scale production.

A tiny shed serves as a workshop for Vu Nguyen’s Dustworks. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Chef’s lives are notoriously stressful, physically demanding and often unpredictable. Nguyen found out the hard way, with the economic pressures of a decade ago also playing a part. He moved away, worked in computer-assisted drafting (CAD), moved back, and assumed the job at Blanc Creatives. Meanwhile, he found a home in Crozet and couldn’t be happier. He likes the town, his neighbors, and the ability to walk a few steps to his workplace. Yes, it’s tiny, but it works for now, he said.

Vu Nguyen markets his handmade culinary tools at crafts shows and small retail outlets. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Despite the pressures of owning his own business, Nguyen has found more peace in his year-old venture than ever before. He does his own bookkeeping, marketing and ordering as well as the hands-on creation of fine tools. “I don’t think I want to manage people ever again,” he said. That holds true even if he finds it necessary to grow a little. “I’ll stay with just myself as an employee. The trade-off in expansion––more staff, more investment, more salaries––just isn’t worth it for me.” The simplicity of his life, where he keeps flexible hours but maintains a steadfast creative discipline, aligns with his interest on stoic philosophy, and you’ll find quotes by Marcus Aurelius at appropriate places on his site. 

Nguyen sells his tools at pop-ups, directly from his shop, from his web site and at festivals like the Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival. To see his creations, stop by the festival or go to his website, 

Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival Set for Mother’s Day Weekend

Mothers can make their own bouquet and sip a little wine at the 2023 Spring Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival, now in its 43rd year. Of course, everyone can join them to support the Festival, May 13-14 at Crozet Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It shouldn’t be hard to pick out a gift for Mom, or for yourself: more than 125 vendors will be on hand with the finest examples of their art, whether it’s clay, graphics, mixed media, jewelry, painting, fiber, leather, photography, glass, metal, wood, or the culinary arts. 

The Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival is set for Mother’s Day Weekend.

Every year, the food trucks assembled at Claudius Crozet Park become more varied and interesting. This year, there’s pizza and seafood, kettle corn and shaved ice, a coffee roaster, plus several options for a complete lunch of comfort food. Live music is offered all day, both days, with the weekend finishing up with local superstars Koda and Maria from Chamomile and Whiskey and The Judy Chops. In between, you’ll hear Celtic songs, acoustic favorites, mountain music and folk-inspired pop, and get an infusion of high energy from the Skyline Country Cloggers. 

Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival Director Ewa Harr.

For a couple of hours each day, wine tasting will be offered, courtesy of Grace Estate Winery, Knight’s Gambit Vineyard and Hazy Mountain Vineyards and Brewery. The make-your-own bouquet station is offered by Dogwood Tree Florist and Gifts. 

As always, the festival benefits and supports Claudius Crozet Park. Find detailed information at

Crozet Artisan Depot Welcomes Stuart Howe and Mae Stoll as May’s Guest Artists

Crozet Artisan Depot features Stuart Howe of Charlottesville and Mae Stoll of Staunton as guest artists for May. The shows will run from May 1 to 31 in the Crozet train depot, 5791 Three Notch’d Rd.

Howe will have a “Meet the Artist” event Saturday, May 13, from 1 to 4 p.m.; Stoll will have a pop-up event on Saturday, May 6 from 11a.m. to 4 p.m.

Works by Staunton artist Mae Stoll are at the Crozet Artisan Depot through May. Submitted.

Howe’s show is titled “Full Bloom.” He’s a full-time studio potter who strives to make beautiful, handmade pots for everyday use by everyday people. His work features vibrant floral motifs atop multiple clays. “I have long loved the dual purpose of functional ceramics,” he said. “Both utilitarian and celebratory, bringing richness and depth to everyday moments.”

Mae Stoll’s show is “Meanderings, Exploration in Acrylics and Pastels.” She is a self-taught artist who continues to create and explore different styles, techniques, colors, and textures. 

Stuart Howe’s Pottery will featured through May at Crozet Artisan Center

“Whether moving its wetness around with a brush or being seduced by its powdery subtlety in soft pastels, it’s essentially color, with its myriad of possibilities, that continues to excite my soul,” she said.

Biz Bits

Piedmont Place owner Andrew Baldwin predicts the hotel suites there will open May 15, then all the retail establishments a few weeks later. The Crozet Creamery is serving ice cream to go every day. Watch for changes in the businesses from where they were before the Christmas flood.

Don’t forget to stop by the Crozet Farmers Market May 6, opening day. It’s in the grassy area behind the Blue Goose building. 


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