Business Briefs: September 2023

The new mixed-use complex in Old Trail is nearing completion.

New Mixed-Use Building Nearing Completion in Old Trail

The fast-rising new construction at the Old Trail Village Center is months away from providing 31 luxury apartments. There may be as many as 10 retail and office spaces, with two of the spaces fitted for restaurant and entertainment, although the sales team won’t reveal who has expressed interest. The massive project is being built by Breeden Construction.

David Brockman, executive vice president of development for Old Trail, said he had hopes of completing the project sooner, but universal construction challenges have presented a number of delays. When the builders complete the project, the plaza across from Grit Coffee and Coconut Thai will reopen, allowing Old Trail to hold community events there.

New building in Old Trail includes apartments as well as retail and office space. Submitted photo.

Crozet realtor Denise Ramey is managing the leasing process for the apartments, and, in a news release, said initial interest has been very high. The release said units have an open floor plan, sound-proof walls and floors, and an abundance of natural light through plentiful windows.

Interest has also been high from potential tenants of the commercial first floor, currently being leased by John Pritzlaff and Jenny Stoner of Thalhimer, who were quoted as saying they are currently in negotiation with many prospective tenants. Stoner, who’s a vice president at Thalhimer, said they can’t disclose any information about the commercial tenants until all the details are ironed out. Those interested can follow as new commercial tenants are announced at the Old Trail Village website and Facebook page.

Fiesta Azteca to Occupy Former Ivy Road House

The owners of Enigma-Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, presently located at the Clover Lawn Shopping Center, have leased the space vacated by Ivy Road House at the junction of Rt. 250 and 240 at Mechums River. 

Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Chris Ocegueda, one of the owners, said they’ll upgrade the parking lot and expand the patio for outdoor seating before opening the restaurant, with hopes to be in there by December. They’re changing their name in the move and will leave their existing space. “We don’t think there’s a need in Crozet for more than two Mexican restaurants,” he said. Ocegueda acknowledged that the space didn’t work out well for previous tenants. “Luckily,” he said, “we already have a real following.”

Setting the Stage for Community Connection

Boomie Pedersen, veteran teacher, actor and co-founder of the Hamner Theatre, sees the creative arts, particularly those that require collaboration, as a way to find connection. She’s offering an additional three adult classes in Crozet, beginning this month. She said coming together in person is an especially important goal as we become aware of the ravages of despair, loneliness, and isolation, trends that have been growing for years, especially during the pandemic.

Improv theatre is alive and well in Crozet and has been for many years. Three new classes add to the opportunities for adult drama.

It’s a problem that has implications for physical as well as mental health: An extensive study of thousands of Americans published in Nature found that social isolation increased the risk of early death by 32%, and loneliness increased it by 14%. Some experts warn that loneliness is more deadly than smoking.

Pedersen has seen the benefits of creative collaboration firsthand. She’s the force behind hundreds of community-based theatre projects, including the improv group at Crozet Arts, a talented group of fun-loving adults who’ve employed humor, quick thinking and wit in their craft for more than 15 years. 

After splitting her time between Crozet Arts and the Center in Charlottesville, she’s leaving the Center to add to the creative dramatic opportunities for adults in Crozet. She’ll teach “Story Telling” and “The Joy of Acting” on Mondays; “Speaking Shakespeare” on Tuesdays. The improv group meets twice weekly, on Saturdays and Mondays. The classes begin Sept. 11, and they can also be joined once in progress, Pedersen said. They will most likely culminate in a public performance.

Find more information and register at;; or email Pedersen.boomie@thehamner

Cindy Liebel and Lee Nixon are September Guest Artists at Artisan Depot

Crozet Artisan Depot welcomes jeweler Cindy Liebel of Fredericksburg and painter Lee Nixon of Orange as guest artists for September.

Liebel’s show is called “Simply Stated Elegance.” She designs and creates fine, subtle, expressive jewelry inspired by contemporary architecture and abstract line art. Her jewelry incorporates geometric lines, soft angles and refined textures using Argentium and sterling silver, gold, and other precious metals.

Lee Nixon’s beautiful landscapes are on display at the Crozet Artisan Depot through September.

“With sophistication and comfort in mind, I love to create a variety of jewelry that is easy and carefree to add to and complement your style,” Leibel said.

Nixon has named her exhibit “Views of Serenity.” Her contemporary Impressionist paintings reflect the serenity of the earth and the artist’s desire to share it with the viewer through color, pattern and textures. Nixon often experiments with light through numerous glazes and the use of structural impasto acrylics.

“I am fascinated by the beauty of intricate patterns and exhilarating colors abounding on our home, the earth,” Nixon said.

Their shows will run through September at the historic Crozet train depot, 5791 Three Notch’d Rd. There will be a “Meet the Artists” event on Saturday, September 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Biz Bits

Smoked Kitchen and Tap reopened August 9, to the delight of Crozet’s meat lovers. With the exception of Blue Ridge Bottle Shop, which is expanding to include some  of the former common area, shops affected by the Christmas Day water leak at Piedmont Place are back in business, although a couple are with new owners. 

Bluebird & Company has leased the space at the bottom of its retail store, with the intention of making it a business incubator, a kind of trial space for those who aren’t sure they’re ready for a permanent home.

Happ Coffee Roasters is the newest business to open in the former Virginia Metalcrafters plant in Waynesboro. The coffee house and cafe is the creation of the owners of the former Farmhaus on Main. Since its opening August 19, the modern, sunny space has been serving sandwiches and pastries, as well as coffee, to enthusiastic crowds. The grand opening and ribbon cutting is scheduled for Sept. 12. Meanwhile, Patina Italian Restaurant, Common-wealth Crush, and the Foundry, an extension of Basic City Beer, are drawing their share of customers to the long-abandoned industrial landmark. 

The former Farmhaus space at 908 West Main in Waynesboro has been taken over by Crack O’ Dawn Bakery and Bistro, an establishment planning to bake and serve only gluten-free breads and pastries. Crack O’ Dawn is aiming for a mid-September opening.  


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