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Stella’s Market Opens New Location in HandCraft Building

Stella’s Market is officially open for business in Scott’s Addition, right next door to Vasen Brewing Company in the Handcraft Building. The new grocery and café is not just bigger than its original location on Lafayette Street, it offers a little more.

We did a quick walk through and said hello to everyone on opening day (Thursday April 12, 2018). When walking in from Moore St. you’ll immediately see a coffee/espresso bar along with a small cooler of to-go salads in a cup. On the opposite side, a wall of coolers with different beverages, including milk – in case you just need to grab a quick half-gallon and don’t want to run to a big grocery store.

Like Lafayette St., there are also several coolers of prepared foods and salads; Everything from sandwiches and shish-kabobs to salmon and salads. All of it looks amazing making it hard to decide what to get.

I’m told there will soon be a hot bar, in case you want to eat your meal there. And there are plenty of seats both inside and out on the patio.

In addition, there are bottles of wine for sale near the Roseneath entrance, a candy station for kids and plenty of gifts. Whether you just need a card, or a knick-knack or even some Stella’s swag, there are several options to please any recipient.

And the hours they’ll be open are pretty awesome too. (Especially if you live or work in Scott’s Addition.) Visit Stella’s Monday-Wednesday 8am-9pm. Thursday-Saturday 8am-10pm and Sunday 8am-8pm.

ZZQ Sets Up Shop with Texas Craft Barbecue

As I walk around, I can almost smell the brisket and ribs. I’m still in a construction zone for sure and nothing is on the pit – but I have eaten a few plates of ZZQ, so I know what’s in store this March and I can hardly wait.

Alex Graf, co-owner of the soon-to-be-open Texas craft-barbecue restaurant, is giving me a tour of the new space she’s envisioned and constructed with her husband, Chris Fultz. The couple, both architects, have really watched this dream evolve from the ground up. The space, all 3200 square feet of it (plus 800sf smokehouse), is located on the corner of Highpoint Avenue and Moore Street in Scott’s Addition.

Graf tells me everything about how they got here has been organic. Just born out of a love for barbeque and Texas rock and roll – hence the name: ZZ Top + barbecue.

She is beaming with pride and excitement as we walk around.

If you’re a small business owner and you’ve opened a brick-and-mortar, you know this feeling in the days before opening. It’s a combination of Christmas and waiting for the stork to arrive. And it’s a feeling that only happens once as you start to see all your hard work come together.

It is apparent a lot of hard work and thought has gone into the new construction. It feels like I’m in Austin and that’s because Graf and Fultz have deliberately added many central Texas touches. Like cattle murals and rustic light fixtures, metal signage, woodwork and even newly planted trees that are nods to the Lone Star state. But perhaps the biggest import is Dave Sines, a Texas-based artist who specializes in metal sculpture, who has been living with the couple as he constructs large metal tables, the woodshed and ranch-style gateway for the outdoor patio.

If you tuned into ZZQ during its pop-up days at Ardent Craft Ales then you know the couple just had one smoker nicknamed Max. Now, the new outdoor smokehouse has three with the addition of Maevis and Mazzy (like Mazzy Star) and they are impressive pieces of art but will soon be impressive barbecue beasts that diners can eye as they sit in the outdoor gravel patio.

Inside, ZZQ will have a full bar serving specialty cocktails designed by Richmond bar master Derek Salerno and of course craft beer will be on tap with some good ole fashioned bottles of Lone Star.

If you’re there to eat – and you better be, you’ll get in the corral and order up at the counter. Brisket, ribs, pulled pork sausage and sometimes chicken will be up on the menu along with homemade sides. You’ll then grab one of the 170 seats to sit and dine or carry it out and head over to Ardent if you like, because the two old friends will still share an open fence line.

Graf says they want ZZQ to be eclectic but friendly and definitely a neighborhood destination. After all, the whole undertaking has involved other Scott’s Addition and Virginia businesses: Trent Corporation, Karnes Coffey, Sky Interiors, Daniel Rickey Furniture, Surface Architectural Supply, Polosko, Legacy Ironworks, Bruin Design, Eco Supply, Glen Glass, Nils Westergard and PB & J.

Eventually, bands will be invited to perform in the patio that’s already wired for musicians. But for right now – the focus is still on opening the doors. An announcement is expected to come this week on that grand opening date.

Once operating, ZZQ will be closed Monday and Tuesday. Open Wednesday and Thursday until 9:00pm.

Friday and Saturday until 10:00pm, Sunday from 11:00am-6:00pm.

A final message from Graf to the ZZQ fans, “Tell them we love them and can’t wait to feed them.”

Perch Bringing Unique New Flavors to Scott’s Addition

We got an update on the new restaurant going into the space that housed the old Joy Garden at 2918 W. Broad Street. Mike Ledesma’s restaurant, Perch, is set to open in February 2018.

Ledesma plans to serve up Pacific-inspired dishes and Virginia comfort foods big on southern hospitality.  Ledesma explains his restaurant will be a place where people can come and “perch” and not feel rushed to dine.

Ledesma’s Filipino heritage will serve as inspiration for the restaurant’s menu that will include flatbreads, whole-roasted fish prepared in a wood-burning oven, along with other traditional foods like lumpia and pork barbecue.

The building itself will be a combination of sleek and modern with 148-seats, a bar, a lounge, two private dining areas, an enclosed patio and a chef’s table that will have a pre-fixed tasting menu ranging from six to 12 courses. Guests can sit there by reservation only.

Ledesma has made a name for himself in the restaurant scene. His resume boasts work at Roy’s restaurants, West Virginia’s Greenbrier Resort, and Woodberry Kitchen. In Richmond, he opened The Hard Shell and Max’s on Broad and revamped the menu at Patina. He’s also served as corporate chef for the Richmond Restaurant Group, focusing on menus, development and training culinary teams.

Perch is Ledesma’s first solo restaurant opening.

Photo: Mike Ledesma. Credit: Jess Aicholtz

Rooftop Beer Garden Gives Unique Perspective of Scott’s Addition

If you haven’t taken part in Richmond’s rooftop bar scene, The Hof Garden in Scott’s Addition is a great place to start. I’ll admit, I was late to the launch of the new sky-high phenomenon, but The Hof was everything I was looking for and didn’t know I was missing.

Walk in off Broad Street and The Hof has this Bavarian slash modern vibe. Flags hang high. Down low, the bar and tables rest on rustic whimsy. There’s even a foosball table for your entertainment.

Overall, the downstairs pub is comfortable and the staff is eager and friendly to serve up a European lager, ale or even a glass of prosecco along with a U Boat filled with kraut, brats and soft-pretzels. If this was all there was to The Hof, I’d be happy and content here, but so much more is just an elevator ride away.

First, a history lesson: The 14,400 square foot building was originally constructed in 1928 by Herold R. Hofheimer and home to Hofheimer Fine Rug Cleaning & Storage Company. It’s the white Mediterranean style building you see on Broad Street, near 7-11 and across from Chanello’s Pizza, with the dome on top. It’s believed that tile from The Mosque, now known as the Altria Theater, was also used on the dome at The Hof. Back in the day the area that’s now the rooftop bar was used to air-dry rugs.

When I got to the rooftop, a group of B-Boys (break-dancers) were “cutting a rug” while DJ Skillz from the Art of Noise was serving up beats. Lines grew at the bar, while a diverse, eclectic crowd sat in the beer garden filled with picnic tables and chairs – many enjoying yard games, music, warm weather and friendship.

The Hof Garden, which opened in early 2017, is the brainchild of Carter and Annie Snipes of Snipes Properties.  They named the space after a biergarten in Munich. I asked them how this all came to be. Carter says it was all luck.

“I helped lease and manage the building for a couple of years. Annie and I always thought it was a cool building. So, when the owner decided to sell, I immediately made him an offer.”

The couple bought this iconic building, but like every small business owner, they worried the crowds wouldn’t come.

“At the time, it was a big risk, that block (of Broad Street) was pretty rough,” said Snipes, “We have been very humbled by the success of the building and by how much the area around us has really taken off.”

The building is more than just a couple of bars on the first floor and the roof. Annie and Carter restored the entire building with the help of historic tax credits and it opened in 2016 as an event space called The Loft, along with an office space on the second floor and the section that occupies Peter Chang’s restaurant.

Before starting Snipes Properties in 2005, the VCU grads both worked in New York: Carter for the online marketing department at the History Channel and Annie at Showtime Networks in their internal advertising agency. They moved back to Richmond to start their family and transitioned into real estate.

I asked them what’s been the best part of opening The Hofheimer building.

“Great support and patronage from area residents,” said Snipes. “We have gotten such flattering reviews and positive feedback from the neighborhood.”

The Hof Garden is open every Wednesday to Sunday from 4:00pm-11:00pm, with live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But mark your calendars now!

In October, The Hof Garden will launch a month long Oktoberfest celebration that you won’t want to want to miss. Then, in December, a Richmond favorite returns. Plan to ring in the New Year at The Hof. The Snipes tell me their New Year’s celebration will include the ball from the Byrd Theater and it will rise at midnight just like it did in Carytown.

In the meantime, follow The Hof Garden on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with weekly events and specials and if you’re looking for a spot for your party or reception, give them a call because The Hof and The Loft are available rentals for anything from receptions to bridal showers with catering available as well.

The Hofheimer building is located at 2818 W. Broad Street. Visit: thehofgarden.com or hofheimerbuilding.com Photos: The Hof Garden.

Helping Hands Veterinary Care Reduces Cost of Expensive Pet Procedures

If your dog or cat needs a high-priced surgery, a life-saving surgery or just some dental work, the folks at Helping Hands are eager and ready to help. Their sole mission is to not just give you high-quality care at an affordable price, but to get you back to your regular veterinarian. That’s right, they’re not trying to keep you as a long-term client. In fact, once the procedure is over, it’s up to you to go back to your vet to receive follow up care.

It’s a unique concept designed to keep surgery costs low, but it doesn’t mean the team here skips on quality.

The Helping Hands High Quality Affordable Veterinary Surgery & Dental Care (yes, that’s the whole name) is located in an old tobacco warehouse near Hardywood, and was an MCV call center before Helping Hands purchased it.

When I was asked to visit, I had this idea that I would walk in to a lobby of dogs and cats, and pet owners with clipboards waiting to get called back for their procedures. It’s not like that at all.

The ceilings are high and the walls are exposed brick. The lobby is visible and divided from the hall entrance by a glass partition.  It is really a place for pet owners to relax, nap, work remotely, watch television or even play video games. Or, even learn more about the city, because they’ve included a visitor center with complimentary pastries and guides on what to do around the city. That’s because procedures performed at Helping Hands can take hours and the Helping Hands team knows some pet owners want to stay with their animals, while others need to be distracted

Once past the lobby you’ll see a unique check-in system; A bar style corral (kinda like something you’d see at a bank) flanked by private rooms. Each designed to allow pet owners to sign in, while keeping cats away from dogs.

During my visit I got to “behind the curtain”, so to speak, and see animals receiving treatment while others were waiting for there’s. I honestly felt like I was in a hospital operating room for humans, not animals. No expense was spared back here. It is a well-oiled machine and designed with state of the art equipment and efficiency in mind. There is an area for dental procedures and separate rooms for soft-tissue and orthopedic surgeries. There are recovery areas, and prep areas for the animals and every doctor, nurse and staff member is moving like a dancer around me.

I only know that I am not in a hospital like say, VCU Medical because there are a few pets roaming in the lounge areas and all the medical scrubs the staff is wearing are black and pink (think Pink Ladies and Thunderbirds from Grease). In fact, the color remains a constant around the facility. I’m told it’s just a color scheme one of the owners really liked and championed.

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because this isn’t the first location for Helping Hands. Originally, Dr. Lori Pasternak and Jacqueline Morasco (aka Jackie of all Trades) worked together in a full service veterinary practice for years and saw animals go without care or saw families struggle between paying their mortgage or paying for a life-saving procedure.

The pair first opened a center in Carytown in February of 2010 and about the time the lease ended, they realized they also needed additional space and moved to the current location on Rhoadmiller in November of 2015.

What started out as a two-woman show, now has grown to 20 employees and they service about 30-35 patients a day, 5 days a week.

That’s right.

Pets do not stay here over the weekend. Once they have say an ACL repair or a tumor removed, maybe some teeth pulled, they are given medications and sent home or back to their primary veterinarian for follow ups, x-rays and care.

I’m told procedures don’t typically cost more than $1,000 with Helping Hands, because they don’t include the typical veterinary additions. And if you can’t afford that, you can set up a repayment plan or possibly qualify for a non-profit work-trade to pay off your bill. There’s a fund Helping Hands manages that allows for this, because the bottom line here is that no animal should have to go without a necessary procedure.

It is this kind of service that brings in patients from all over and it’s another reason why that lobby is set up more like a living room or den than a traditional waiting room. I’m told 50% of the patients who visit Helping Hands are from outside Richmond. Sometimes they’re repeat customers who drive in from a city like New York several times over their pet’s lifespan. And it’s why Helping Hands has been featured a time or two on network television.

The clinic has no plans of moving and is thrilled to be in the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association. They ask any local business owners to feel free to leave flyers, cards or event info in their client visitor center so their patients can learn more about the neighboring area.

Helping Hands is located at 1605 Rhoadmiller – and you can visit them online at helpinghandsvetva.com

Gather Brings New Coworking Option to Scott’s Addition

Have you been to Gather’s second location in Scott’s Addition? Today, I was fortunate enough to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the spacious building located at 2920 W. Broad Street.

Walking through the front doors, you’re immediately faced with a modern, yet invitingly cozy lobby / workspace / kitchen. It’s roomy and wide open and sectioned off into a reception area, kitchen-bar, phone booths and group workspaces along with a small sofa and den set up.

I had only been to Gather on one other occasion – for a group meeting. I knew the space was designed to be a work co-op but what I didn’t know is that several local and even national businesses and non-profits have set up shop inside Gather’s walls. Many on a long-term basis. UVA, Jimmy Johns, Red Hat and Unbound RVA were a few of the names I saw on the tour.

I was invited to Gather by Jessica Back, The Community Manager, who gave me an hour of her time to talk about Gather’s design and mission and show me the sweet, sweet two-story layout.

During my tour, I could tell this was something special.

It’s got that resourcefulness you feel when you go to a really great library, but it also has that state-of-the-art creative feeling you get when you walk into the Martin Agency or Capital One West Creek and the laid back feeling you get when you go to Urban Farmhouse or Starbucks.

You realize quickly, nothing is there by accident. It all has purpose to support your work needs.

Jessica agrees and says she hears similar comments from others who first visit the community workspace. But, she described it like this: “It’s an environment with less formalities and distractions, providing our community with more room for enjoyment and productivity.”

Honestly, it beats going to some random Starbucks or Panera to get your work done.

At Gather you can drop in for $20 a day and have access to wifi, phone booths for private phone calls, Black Hand coffee, water and of course — workspace from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday. 

This is perfect for say, someone who works from home but needs to just be around other people for a spark of creativity. Or, maybe, for someone who owns a small-business and doesn’t have the need for an office, yet. 

But membership literally has its privileges here. 

Depending on what level membership you participate in, you can access the building 24/7, have your own private office, list Gather as your business address and have your mail sent there and signed for, gain access to the Community Manager, conference room access (there are five conference areas in Scott’s Addition), kitchen access, copier/fax/scanner access, networking events and happy hour event access and depending on which location your at — you can use the gym and showers. 

Yes. The Scott’s Addition location has showers! 

They also provide you with furniture when you have an office there. You get to add your own unique flare. And, on Wednesdays cookies are baked fresh in the kitchen by Sugar and Twine. (I’m going back on Wednesday, for sure!)

So, what does all that cost? 

Well, it can range from $250-$350 a month, if you’re just doing something small. Or, for something more permanent, it can cost in the ballpark of $500 to $1,500 a month. And that’s all-inclusive. No need to worry about utility, maintenance and insurance bills like you would if you signed a lease on your own brick and mortar.

Jessica says Gather has about 83-private offices under its roofs and about 300 members. I said “roofs” because Gather has another location in downtown Richmond at 409 E. Main Street. That’s the flagship location that also has the gym. 

Jessica tells me right now Gather has a waitlist for membership office space, but that can change at any time. 

Gather was originally started by Polly and Doug White who operate Whitestone Partners Inc., a small-business consulting firm, the two teamed up with Andy Beach and Jeff Bunch of Urban Core Construction, and Duke Dodson of Dodson Property Management to form Gather in 2014. All saw a need for work collaboration. 

When the idea for a second location was born, James Crenshaw was added into the group as a Managing Partner. 

Mrs. White has an office in the Scott’s Addition location. I got to meet her while on the tour. She said having an office inside Gather has even transformed her productivity. She also shared with me some big plans in Gather’s future. But, I’ve been sworn to secrecy. 🙂

To find out more about Gather or to set up a tour email info@gatherrva.com

 Photo Credit: Kate Magee @katemagee

Getting Down to Business with Jackson & James

It’s getting down to business at Jackson & James, a new menswear store coming to Scott’s Addition. After months of waiting on construction to be completed and permits to be approved at the Symbol building on Rockbridge Road, the grand opening is finally right around the corner.

I met up with Rachel and Mike Anderson, the brother and sister team behind the retailer, who were still hard at work; Rachel in cleaning mode and Mike armed with a paintbrush touching up dressing rooms. Both looking excited, yet anxious and a little exhausted from the process of opening up your own small business.

“Yeah, we’re pretty much here every day now,” Rachel testified.

She showed me around the space that is a beautiful mix of sleek modern meets vintage eclectic. And, I’m just talking about the lighting and furniture; Not even talking about the cool carefully folded tops or, the button-down shirts and crisp denim hanging from the custom designed wood and metal racks or, the barware, belts, bags and apothecary purposefully placed on the antique tables and finds they hunted for at spots like Caravati’s or Class and Trash.

Shoppers at Jackson & James will soon be able to purchase hard-to-find, handcrafted men’s clothes from the east and west coast, along with unique items made just for the store via Virginia collaborations. Like denim spray made with maker Maven Made and custom belts from Lineage Goods. All of it is showcased alongside two dressing areas, a small den equipped with a flat-screen, a cash wrap as cool as a cash wrap can be, and a pair of laid-back siblings ready to get to know you, your personal style and your budget.

And speaking of budget… Jackson & James tees range from $30-$40, button-downs $68-$150 and denim $160-$280. Perhaps the jeans may seem like a splurge, but the Andersons are steadfast in the belief that a pair of well-made, handcrafted jeans that fit amazing and that you love to wear, will be worth every penny when you also realize you can dress them up or down, as often as you like.

Before going into retail, the Andersons were each commuting an hour to work and they knew they needed to make a change. Rachel had a career in marketing, Mike in banking. Their combination creates balance in business, their wellbeing, and their family dynamic. I asked Rachel how they decided on a men’s store. Her answer was simple, “It was a need not being met in Richmond”.

Like the resurgence of men’s barbershops, so comes the rebirth of men’s boutiques. In Richmond, men can find high-end custom clothing at spots like Ledbury, Alton Lane and Peter-Blair, to name a few, but when it comes to weekend wear – specifically makers denim, the pickings are slim with Shockoe Atelier and Need Supply Co. at top of mind.

Rachel tells me Mike really noticed the difference after relocating to Richmond from Charlotte. He was looking for a pair of shoes and couldn’t find an appropriate store, let alone the shoes themselves.

“Mike says he used to go into this store in North Carolina and the owner knew him so well, one time he called Mike and said, ‘I saw this jacket and bought it in your size, because I think you’re going to love it.’ And it’s that kind of customer service that we want to recreate here at Jackson & James.”

As for the name, Jackson & James, it is chosen from the two rivers where the Andersons each grew up. The siblings are 12-years apart so their childhoods were spent in different Virginia cities, Covington and Richmond. Rachel says she can’t think of a better person to open a business with or a better place in Richmond to launch their entrepreneurial endeavors.

“There’s a definite buzz going on in Scott’s Addition and we wanted to be part of that. We also felt the laid back atmosphere and the many locally owned businesses and breweries fit in well with us.”

Even though Jackson & James is a men’s store – the siblings have kept women in mind. “We recognize that women do a lot of the shopping for their partners, or simply point them in the right direction and there are a lot of items here that women will want to purchase for themselves as well.”

You can start shopping at Jackson & James this Saturday, May 20, or just drop in to say hello. It’s been the highlight of the Anderson’s small business story.

“We’re really lucky to meet so many wonderful, supportive, creative people who are super enthusiastic about what we’re doing,” said Rachel.

Jackson & James is located at 3200 Rockbridge St. Suite 102. Or, if you identify with landmarks – look for the large blue building at the back edge of the north end of the neighborhood. Store hours will be Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm. Follow the Jackson & James Instagram andFacebook pages to keep up with their upcoming events and seasonal inventory.

Funds Earmarked for Scott’s Addition Traffic Study, Green Space

Some good news for Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood. Craig Beiber, the legislative assistant for Councilwoman Kim Gray, confirms $60,000 will be in the City’s 2018 Capital Improvement Plan and completely earmarked for a traffic study of the neighborhood. And, Bieber says the administration has advised that it will cover any additional costs to fully cover the expense of the traffic study.

Residents and business owners in Scott’s Addition have expressed concern about the amount of one-way streets in the neighborhood that seem inconsistent and can create confusion for drivers unfamiliar with the area. Moreover, many of the main thoroughfares in Scott’s Addition are one-way roads, assigned when the neighborhood was heavily industrial, and perhaps not applicable given the current growth of the area.

Parking is also a growing concern. One section of Summit Ave. has the reverse-angle parking system in place but members of the community have asked if it should be adopted throughout the neighborhood to maximize space or if it should be removed all together.

The hope is the traffic study will address all of the concerns and offer clarity on how to improve access in and around the area that is bordered by Boulevard and Broad Streets.

In addition to funding for the traffic study, proceeds from the sale of the Richmond Horse Stables to Blue Bee Cider will also be in this year’s budget. As promised, $394,950 will be earmarked for green space in Scott’s Addition.

As mentioned, with the area once being primarily industrial, few if any properties have landscape. And with a growing residential population bringing in children and pets – the desire is to create a gathering area to help reinforce the community.

A VCU urban planning student recently assessed the need and possibilities for green space in her personal school study. She presented her findings at a recent Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association meeting and offered suggestions of perhaps buying or being gifted property specifically for a park, or even looking at repurposing land near the railroad track on the backside of the neighborhood near Carlton Street or Paton Avenue.

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