All posts tagged: Launch Gloucester

Launch Gloucester Businesses Celebrate First Year With Celebrations, Specials

This time last year, a bakery and café, a pet boutique, a village blacksmith, a massage studio and a kitchen with a juice bar became the newest business residents along Main Street in the Gloucester Village thanks to the county’s most successful entrepreneur contest – Launch Gloucester.

Starting this weekend, those businesses will celebrate their first year of business with a series of events, promotions and giveaways.

Sweet Tooth Café & Bakery

6655 Main Street

Saturday, Sept. 24

  • First 50 customers will receive a free cupcake of their choice.
  • Cupcake coloring contest for children 10 and under. Winner will be selected Sept. 30. Their picture will hang in the café for one month and they will win a four-count box of cupcakes.
  • 10 a.m. to noon: balloon and face painting
  • 3 p.m.: pie-eating contest. The person who eats their first pie wins a four-count box of cupcakes.

Throughout the Week

  • For every $25 spent, customer name will go into a raffle for a chance to win a door prize. Winner will be selected Sept. 30.

The Nines Pet Boutique

6582 Main Street

Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25

  • Raffles for a leather collar and pet photography session.
  • Giveaways and celebration “birthday” cake for pet lover and pets themselves.
  • Sales, to include 50 percent off all bedding and carriers and 30 percent off remaining summer items.
  • Chance to win 10 to 30 percent off any item purchased.

Sept. 27-30

  • Sales, to include 20 percent off t-shirts and 20 percent off pet ice cream.

Good Life Kitchen

6558 Main Street

Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24

  • Healthy Party Foods Sample Party

Tuesday, Sept. 27

  • Bring a friend to lunch day and both will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate.

Throughout the Week

  • Stay tuned to Good Life Kitchen on Facebook for a contest to win a free cooking class in October.

The Village Blacksmith

6641 Gloucester Street

Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25

  • Tours of the blacksmith shop that include forging demos.

Heart Felt Touch Massage

7282 York Ave.

Throughout the Week

Schedule with four different practitioners and receive your fifth service free. The goal is to allow new clients to find the practitioner that’s right for them.

Sponsored by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Launch Gloucester awarded the winning businesses $95,000 in goods and services and start-up capital to open up on Main Street. It was one of three in the state as part of the Community Business Launch initiative administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and locally overseen by the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association. Additional funding, support and value of the program in Gloucester came thanks to regional business support, the Gloucester Board of Supervisors, the Gloucester Economic Development Authority and the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce.

As part of the terms of the competition, the businesses were required to open in September, thus the exciting flurry of new businesses cutting ribbons exactly one year ago this month.

User StephLaunch Gloucester Businesses Celebrate First Year With Celebrations, Specials

Oak ’N Barrel Would Be `Eating Well Done Easy’ For Christopher And Heather Morgan

Christopher and Heather Morgan envision opening a Main Street restaurant called “Oak ’n Barrel” featuring a regional cuisine with the slogan, “Eating well done easy.”

With dishes that range from traditional family Italian-American recipes, to seafood and steaks, the plan is for customers to eat well. And the “easy” part would be offering ready-made meals customers can pick up hot on their way home from work, or that they can heat up once they get home.

The Morgans, both teachers, are one of 10 prospective businesses in the running to be one of three proposals selected from a pool of local entrepreneurs to share a combined value of $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch a business on Main Street. The Launch Gloucester program is part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative and is locally overseen by Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association.

Christopher Morgan grew up in Utica, New York.

“The culture, the community I lived in, it was all about the food,” he says. “It’s been about the food for the last 100 years.”

His family has a background in the restaurant business, with his grandfather owning an Italian restaurant. But keeping it wasn’t in the cards, literally; Morgan says his grandfather lost the restaurant in a poker game.

Christopher Morgan has always kept his hands in the restaurant business, through college and into his adult years even though he’s been a teacher for more than 20 years.

For the past 10 to 12 years, Christopher Morgan has worked with friends Nancy Carter and Steve Brackbill, the owner and chef, respectively, at The Oaks Restaurant in Lively on the Northern Neck. The Oaks has a menu ranging from soft-shell crabs plucked right out of Chesapeake Bay, to bacon-wrapped barbecue shrimp, to crab and asparagus soup, to its signature ribeye steaks.

Over the years, Christopher Morgan hosted parties with friends and after trying his food, got asked to do some catering. He says he tries to keep to his Utica roots with Italian-American dishes, but envisions expanding to a regional cuisine with Oak ‘n Barrel.

Dishes the Morgans intend to offer include ones handed down through the family over the years such as “Greens,” which is greens topped with escarole, sweet cherry peppers, onion, garlic, prosciutto ham and mozzarella combined with steak, chicken or fish. Other dishes will be crab cakes and other seafood, chicken, beef, or even homestyle fare such as pork chops and mashed potatoes.

“We want to be seasonal,” Christopher Morgan says. “We want to meet the demands of the area. Oysters, for example. That’s a niche that may be needed to fill. My family recipes are unique to my upbringing that I want to try and promote down here.”

With the plans for offering meals on the go, Christopher Morgan also says he wants to explore offering a mobile service where customers can go online and select a meal, then pick it up say in Gloucester Point on the way home from work.

“The goal is to meet the needs of the Gloucester community the best way we can,” he says.

The Launch Gloucester experience has also been an amazing education for the Morgans. “It was just a wonderful, wonderful experience and I wish the best to all the classmates slash contestants,” Christopher Morgan says. “They deserve the best.”

User StephOak ’N Barrel Would Be `Eating Well Done Easy’ For Christopher And Heather Morgan

Karin Fary Catering to Pet Owners For Her Proposed Main Street Business

Karin Fary loves the idea of walking to work. Living just off of Main Street, Fary wants to open a business catering to pets and pet owners on the main thoroughfare in the village area of Gloucester.

Fary intends to open “The Nines Your Canine and Feline Boutique” to offer stylish clothing, accessories, collars and leashes for pets. The business will offer pet photography and several products such as grooming supplies, organic treats and cat and dog products.

“My main goal with the business is to enrich the human-animal bond by providing pet owners a specialty boutique to pamper their canine and feline companions, as well as create treasured memories through photography,” Fary says.

Fary is one of 11 prospective businesses in the running to be one of three proposals selected from a pool of local entrepreneurs to receive a combined value of $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch a business on Main Street. The Launch Gloucester program is part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative and is locally overseen by Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association.

With 24 years in the veterinary medical field, Fary has extensive experience with pets. She’s also a co-founder of the “Giving Garden Foundation,” which assists cancer patients in Gloucester and Mathews and has distributed $60,000 in assistance since it’s founding in 2008.

“I’m very into my community,” Fary said.

A resident of Gloucester since 1990 and a graduate of Christopher Newport University, she left Gloucester for a few years in the mid- to late-1990s but returned and now lives just off of Main Street with her family.

“We love Gloucester, the local shops and restaurants and what they do for our community and we really want to be a part of that,” Fary said.

Fary’s vision for her business is a place where pet lovers can treat their companions and find products locally rather than online. Some products will be catered to an upscale clientele, while other clients won’t be quite as upscale, she said.

Pet photography will be offered and within two to five years she plans to expand to pet grooming, training and wellness coaching.

She calls her proposed business retail for the pet lover, to include wall art, t-shirts, coffee mugs and a lot of things pet lovers want for themselves. “With these unique items, the public is going to have a place to go,” Fary said. “And it will bring a different clientele and increase revenue to other businesses.”

Whether or not Fary is one of the three winners of Launch Gloucester, she intends to open the business. “Win or lose, this has been a huge prize already,” Fary said. “This is a business I’m going to start and I’m going to start on Main Street. I just like the community feel and the hometown of it all. I really think we could attract more people into the courthouse based on the services in the area.”

The Launch Gloucester competitors have had a huge benefit from the training, classes and mentoring. “The instructor and all the different speakers have also opened their doors with all kinds of advice,” Fary said. “There’s so much from it that I have enjoyed.”

User StephKarin Fary Catering to Pet Owners For Her Proposed Main Street Business

Rachel Cuba Brings Her Dreams of Entrepreneurship to Gloucester Main Street

Young entrepreneur Rachel Cuba is combining her dreams of becoming a business owner with her desire to encourage patrons to live a healthier lifestyle by incorporating juice into their diets.

But not any ol’ juice.

Cuba is currently vying to be one of three prospective business owners selected from a pool of local entrepreneurs to share a combined value of $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch a business on Main Street. The Launch Gloucester program is part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative and is locally overseen by Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association.

If awarded the funds, Cuba plans to open “Gloucester Juice Bar,” where freshly squeezed juices and blended smoothies made from organic, local and seasonal fruits and veggies will be served.

Born and raised in Gloucester, Va., Cuba has always held a special place for her hometown.

“When I was little, I remember my mom taking us to Main Street and I would see the bigger cities in the newspapers and I always envisioned Gloucester being like that big city,” said Cuba. “Once I got older, I saw it wasn’t exactly a big time city, but I have just always loved Main Street and have good memories here. It would truly be an honor to open my business here on Main Street.”

Cuba graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. While attending college in Richmond, Va., Cuba juiced on and off for the five years she lived there. She frequented a natural foods market, Ellwood Thompson’s in Carytown, which also served juice bar juices. She began acquiring information on different recipes, juicers and juicing techniques.

However, all of her dreams were put on hold when she experienced four deaths within a year and half and found herself 80 pounds heavier. “I held onto all of the pain and trauma and didn’t really deal with it,” said Cuba.

She moved back to Gloucester in 2014 to be with her family and started a detailed health and fitness plan. She began juicing daily and taking advantage of the running trails that Gloucester and surrounding areas had to offer.

It was then that Cuba began researching the benefits of juicing. “Juicing is the extraction of vegetables and fruits into liquid form,” said Cuba. “I feel strongly about incorporating juicing because you are getting the maximum benefits of the nutrients from inside the vegetable or fruit. My goal is to make vegetables taste really, really good.”

After searching for a juice bar within the county and turning up no results, Cuba decided that she could be the one to open one up. And when she saw an opportunity for the Community Business Launch, she did just that.

“Being offered a spot has literally changed my world,” said Cuba. “I will never forget that night and I am so grateful to Jenny Crittenden for believing in me and seeing something inside of me that I really wanted to learn more about business.”

Cuba envisions the juice bar as a place for everyone. She will offer juices, infused water, smoothies, fruit cups, vegetable cups and made from scratch protein bars. Eventually she would like to add in sandwiches, salads and wraps.

In an effort to keep her juice as fresh as possible, she plans to partner with local farms, plantations and Indian reservations in West Point to bring local, fresh produce to her bar. “The more local, the better,” Cuba said.

Incorporating the roots of Gloucester County is among her top priorities. She has already developed a juice named the “Walter Reed.” “Gloucester has so much history and I’m fascinated by it because growing up I took it for granted,” said Cuba.   “Moving back has really enlightened my intelligence about its history.”

Cuba also plans to incorporate running meet-ups and biking meet-ups in her efforts to inspire people to be fit.

“This is an amazing opportunity the community has offered to us and I want to take full advantage of the possibilities that might be offered to me,” Cuba said.

User StephRachel Cuba Brings Her Dreams of Entrepreneurship to Gloucester Main Street

Food As Medicine, and Lorraine Walsh Has the Prescription

Hippocrates was onto something when he said, “Food is medicine.” At least in the eyes of Lorraine Walsh and a growing population of Americans.

Walsh has a dream of combining her love of food with her experience as a registered nurse, and she knows it takes just the right ingredients to make anything successful – whether its food, business concepts or healthy bodies.

Her business concept? “Gloucester’s Good Life Kitchen,” a business that would marry her passion for food and cooking with hospitality and healthy foods. Meaning, no pesticides, lots of organic and a real farm-to-table feel. Think, home-style foods, but redone. Guests could still order chicken and dumplings, but healthier. Order meatloaf, but better.

Walsh is vying to be one of three prospective business owners selected from a pool of local entrepreneurs to share a combined value of $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch a business on Main Street. The Launch Gloucester program is part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative and is locally overseen by Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association.

Walsh is a 1993 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and also earned her degree in Restaurant Management from SUNY Farmingdale in New York. She’s apprenticed and worked in kitchens all over the place, including New York City, Florence, Italy and France.

“I was motivated to participate in this competition because the assistance of the program, like marketing, business coaching and a location, is the perfect storm of all the right ingredients,” said Walsh. “These things, combined with a good idea, have the best chances for success.”

And it’s the sense of community, said Walsh, that makes Main Street feel so much like home and why it would be the perfect place to open a business.

“Even if my name isn’t called Tuesday night at the Announcement Party, I have a solid plan and people who are interested in seeing me succeed,” she said. “I’m thrilled I was chosen as a participant.”

User StephFood As Medicine, and Lorraine Walsh Has the Prescription

George Cramer wants to bring his metal and blacksmithing creations to Main Street

George Cramer has been working with metal since he was 14, when he began welding, cutting and metal fabrication at his father’s New Jersey refuse company.

As he worked and learned welding, fabrication, heavy diesel mechanics and machinery repair he got to thinking.

“I was welding one day and wondered where it all began,” Cramer said. “How did we get to this point in industry and who thinks of fusing metals together with an electric arc?”

His journey since then included studying under internationally recognized blacksmiths and blade smiths, blacksmithing for 12 years and creating a wide range of hand-crafted items. He also completed a stint in the Navy, where he honed his skills of welding, fabrication and metallurgy.

With his experience and passion for making hand-forged knives and crafting ornamental iron work and blacksmithing, Cramer has plans to open a shop in the Gloucester Village called “The Village Blacksmith.” His goal is to provide custom metal work, blacksmithing, bladesmithing, reproduction, restoration, repair, welding, fabrication training and consulting on low- to high-end custom metal work.

Cramer is vying to be one of three prospective business owners selected from a pool of local entrepreneurs to share a combined value of $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch a business on Main Street. The Launch Gloucester program is part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative and is locally overseen by Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association.

“I enjoy taking something seemingly unmovable and strong and bending and forming it to my will as if it were soft clay,” Cramer says. “The process of blacksmithing has not changed much for thousands of years and is a dying art. It is a durable art form and craft that lasts through the ages; not only ornamental it serves a mechanical function that is only limited by one’s necessity creativity and skill.”

Cramer’s creations take on many forms. These include hand-forged bottle openers and knives, to decorative metal cutouts — crabs, cartoon characters and even a society coat rack — to rose-shaped metal candle holders, to signs and repurposed nautical tables made out of portholes or a cabin door.

For Cramer, bringing The Village Blacksmith to Main Street would allow him to show a wider audience of residents and visitors his hand-crafted wares. It also would help him show how metal has a wide variety of uses and applications, from the practical to the decorative.

User StephGeorge Cramer wants to bring his metal and blacksmithing creations to Main Street

Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust to Reveal Winners of Launch Gloucester Entrepreneur Contest At Party May 19

The Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association are pleased to announce they will host a Launch Gloucester Winners Announcement Party Tuesday, May 19 at 6 p.m. at the Main Street Conference and Event Center (6894 Main Street).

The community is invited to attend to see which three businesses will win start up capital, marketing support and more to launch their businesses in Gloucester, helping create jobs and opportunity.

For the last eight weeks, Launch Gloucester participants have been vying for the chance to be one of three entrepreneurs to win a shared $95,000 prize package that would help them continue to launch and support their business endeavors.

The program was made possible thanks to a grant awarded to Gloucester as part of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s first ever Virginia Community Business Launch and the support of the community, led by the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association and including the Gloucester Board of Supervisors, Gloucester Economic Development Authority, Gloucester Chamber of Commerce, East River Marketing, Shop Talk with Margie Johnson and Consociate Media.

The contest included an eight-week business-training course, led by Margie Johnson, that prepared potential business owners to open a new business along Main Street in Gloucester Village.

The training led to a review of business plans by one panel of judges and culminated in a Pitch Night where another panel of judges heard the business concepts.

Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP to cblgloucester@gmail.com before May 18

Learn more about Launch Gloucester at www.LaunchGloucester.com.

User StephGloucester Main Street Preservation Trust to Reveal Winners of Launch Gloucester Entrepreneur Contest At Party May 19

Raphaella Teschner Finds Her Calling In Women’s Plus-Size Clothing Store

New store on Main Street would be a first in Gloucester

Raphaella Teschner has found her calling – helping women who wear plus-size clothing feel good about themselves and think – KNOW – the are beautiful.

Teschner’s business concept, the Beautiful Plus Boutique, will sell exclusively plus-size women’s clothing and fashion accessories on Main Street in the Gloucester Village. She also plans on offering a specialized, personal shopping experience to include in-store alterations.

“I want to help women find their own beauty and extend that to the outside,” Teschner said. “Even jeans and a t-shirt can look good. Having women feel good about themselves is my goal. When you feel beautiful you really do look beautiful because that aura extends around you.”

Teschner is specifically vying to be one of three prospective business owners selected from a pool of local entrepreneurs to receive a combined value of $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch a business on Main Street (the three winners will share the total value of the prize package). The Launch Gloucester program is part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative and is locally overseen by Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association.

As a plus-size woman herself, Teschner said she, too, has had trouble finding clothes that are fashionable, high quality and fit well.

“Just finding clothing that I could go work in and not look like my grandmother and that fit me well was very difficult,” Teschner said. “It really became a passion of mine (to create a store where) people could come and find something that they were confident in and makes them feel beautiful.”

Teschner envisions her store helping empower plus-size women on a deeper level. When she wears clothes she feels good about, it carries over to her identity, she said.

“I really want to help the women that walk into my store appreciate their own beauty and be more self-confident themselves. I’ve struggled with self-confidence. But now I feel I have more self-confidence than I have in a long time.”

Teschner’s mother, Yolanda Teschner, has a women’s clothing store on Main Street – Yolanda’s. Although it’s not always been full-time, Raphaella Teschner has worked for her mother doing the books and other “behind the scenes” duties that she said will help her open her own store and make it successful.

 

User StephRaphaella Teschner Finds Her Calling In Women’s Plus-Size Clothing Store

It’s PITCH Week

It’s finally here – Pitch Night week! The hard work our Launch Gloucester participants have been doing these last couple of months will all culminate this week as they pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. While the Pitch Night event is NOT open to the public, the community is encouraged to wish all of our Launch Gloucester participants good luck. A party that the community will be encouraged to attend will take place later this month where we will announce the winners. Stay tuned for details!

Pitch Night Participants

Crystal Burton – Sweet Tooth Parlor (expansion)

George Cramer – The Village Blacksmith (startup)

Rachel Cuba – Gloucester Juice Bar (startup)

Karin Fary – The Nines Pet Boutique (startup)

Wanda Fary – Pawsitive K9 Play Care & Training Center (startup)

Chris and Heather Morgan – Oak & Barrel Restaurant (startup)

Ginger Platsis & Jill Reece – Essential Wellness and Bodywork (expansion)

Raphaella Teschner – Beautiful Plus Boutique (startup)

Lorraine Walsh – Gloucester’s Good Life Kitchen (startup)

Nina Watkins – Twice as Nice Boutique (2nd location)

User StephIt’s PITCH Week

True Found Wellness & Heart Felt Touch ‘Heal From The Inside Out’

Jill Reece and Ginger Platsis like to say they touch lives from the inside out. Now they would like to touch more lives and attract new clients.

Reece, owner of True Found Wellness, and Platsis, owner of Heart Felt Touch, share office space in the DeHardit House off of Main Street. Reece’s True Found Wellness is a holistic wellness service that explores the client’s history, symptoms and health concerns to generate recommendations customized to meet their wellness goals.

With Heart Felt Touch, Platsis is a massage therapist, educator of infant massage, medical massage practitioner and compassionate touch practitioner. Their friendship dates back two years and they linked their businesses together in August 2014.

Reece and Platsis are hoping to expand their business and vying to be one of three prospective business owners selected from a pool of local entrepreneurs who will share a combined value of $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch a business on Main Street. The Launch Gloucester program is part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative and is locally overseen by Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association.

Platsis said she and Reece have learned a lot in the short amount of time they have been involved in the Launch Gloucester program and its eight weeks of classes.

Platsis “jumped into” owning Heart Felt Touch after working as a massage therapist at the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Wellness Center.

“I’ve got clients, I’m renting a room, I’ll make it happen,” Platsis said of her thinking before opening her own business. “We’re learning how to prepare beforehand to make it successful. The empowering thing was really learning how to do it successfully. We’re learning how to build a business in eight weeks.”

Reece came from a background in the health industry, specifically in nursing management. “I’ve always been making someone else’s dream come true with their money,” she said. “But I want to make my dream come true and impact the community.”

Platsis said she heard about the Launch Gloucester program through the Gloucester Main Street Association when she wanted to join the organization.

“Just the support we have felt through Launch Gloucester has been huge,” Reece said.

“We don’t feel we’re doing this alone,” Platsis said. “Their plan is to create success. It’s nice to have that net underneath us.”

User StephTrue Found Wellness & Heart Felt Touch ‘Heal From The Inside Out’