Click HERE to read the latest GET CENTERED newsletter. We feature news on the Town of Ashland, businesses, non-profits, Randolph-Macon College and our Arts & Culture district. In this issue, Ashland Musical Variety Show co-director and Theater Camp founder Lorie Foley is our featured artist. Our featured business is Chiffarobe Fine Antiques and Gifts.
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(Photo: Suzanne Hemmingway, owner of Tiny Tim’s TOYS displaying one of many fun items in her awesome store! )
Tiny Tim’s TOYS – Trains and SO MUCH MORE!!!
Ashland Main Street Association was excited to interview Suzanne Hemmingway – owner of Tiny Tim’s TOYS which had a ‘soft opening’ on May 3rd at the Ashland Chalk Walk. Alvaro and Caroline Coronado’s grandson, Santiago was her first official customer! Suzanne shared with us the following story on how her store came to the Center of the Universe:It is hard to say goodbye to friends but sometimes therein lies opportunity. Jim Donlon had run Train Town Toy and Hobby for many years and fostered a great sense of community at the November Ashland Train Day Event. One family invited to join and share their display of LEGO trains was the Hemingway’s. It was obvious that Suzanne (a certified LEGO maniac) had engendered the same creativity in her children. Each year the display was bigger, bigger and bigger now reaching a 12 x 12 feet. It was a family effort by Suzanne and her sons Ian and Colin. But, the credit for design, drive and creative genius lies with son Ian Hemingway who was featured in Style Weekly before his first train show at a SMV Wings and Rails event in 2009 at age 13. Ian named the city Rickbrick.
Suzanne retired from a career in pharmacy having worked in hospital pharmacy, research, lecturing at the university level and retail pharmacy where teaching was a part of everyday practice. Now she would have more time to teach. Dyslexia, autism and learning delays have occurred among the grandchildren in the Hemingway family as with many other families. Sue wanted to work with these children and adults to share her love of science. And LEGO is scientific. If the bricks are not interlocked the structure is not stable. And if you forget the science, LEGO fosters imagination, coordination and community. Sue began to develop a business plan use LEGO to bring learning through play for any child.
Then came February 2014. Suzanne stopped to see Jim Donlon at Train Town. He was packing up and preparing to move his business to Somerville, South Carolina. How would the rail clubs get the track and cars they needed? Where would the train under the tree come from? How could we have train day without a train store on the tracks? That was when Suzanne’s business plan was instantly rewritten. It was because of the strong friendships that she had developed with fellow model train enthusiasts, Suzanne saw that she could bring some continuity to the special relationship Ashland has with trains. Sue hired long time train town employee Bob Owen to be her assistant manager and Model Train Specialist. That enabled Suzanne to research educational games that are fun and meet learning criteria. After much renovation and updating the 100 plus year old storefront at 104 South Railroad Avenue is home to a marvelous mix of models, mind games and a little mayhem (fart pens) called Tiny Tim’s Toys.
It is the hope of the Hemingway Family that you will not just buy a toy and leave but, stay and play LEGO with Ian, learn poetry, puppets and character play with Colin, build your grandfathers layout bigger with Bob, and reminisce with Sue. That would make all the hard work worthwhile. Don’t walk by stop in, see something new and tell them about your favorite thing to play.
Welder/Sculptor & Ice Cream Cart Creator!
Tommy Thomasson is a familiar face around Ashland. Originally from Montpelier, the Thomasson family has been in the area for generations. Over the years, Tommy has built everything from monster trucks to hotrods to roller coasters at Kings Dominion. Tommy grew up in a large family with four sisters and an older brother, Billy, who he worked with for many years in construction. Above all else, Tommy adores his family and when his daughter, Courtney, began an art company, New Season Creations, repurposing wood fences and furniture into fun new signs and art pieces, Tommy joined in. Using old farm implements and tools from his large collection, Tommy welds pieces together into yard sculptures, with everything from ducks to crickets to crocodiles being pieced together with old pitchforks and allen wrenches. You can find Tommy’s artwork in town at RefunkIt and Courtney’s work at Thrill of the Hunt, and “New Season Creations” has a Facebook page as well. Tommy is married to Kathi Thomasson, the Executive Director at Kiddie Kingdom. Ashland Main Street Association is grateful to Tommy for creating our Main Street Ice Cream Cart (see below) by repurposing materials found in his garage! We also would like to thank Countney for making our Ice-Cream sign!
We had a wonderful day for Chalk Walk 2014. Pictures will be posted soon! Many thanks to our generous sponsors.
The Annual Ashland Chalk Walk is Saturday, May 3, 2014, from 9am to 3pm at the Ashland Library Plaza Open to artists of all ages and skill levels!
A 6×6 square will be reserved for the first 20 people who register and submit $10 per block. A 3×3 square will by reserved for the first 40 people who register and submit $5 per block.There are only 60 squares available, so grab your squares early! Register online here (use your Paypal account or make a one-time credit card payment).
REGISTER ONLINEBECOME A SPONSOR
The four new businesses on England St., just around the corner from Railroad Ave. have dramatically come to life as “The Shops on England Street”. Those four businesses – Wave Hair Studio, b.whimsy gifts, James River Air Conditioning, and the Home Energy Store – have brought a vibrant variety in extending the small town pedestrian activity of the heart of our Downtown. They not only have created new businesses here, but have activated a long dormant section of England St. with signs, plants, seats, sculptures, and so on – a true transformation that is making the historic Downtown grow in surprising ways.
Because of this transforming work, the Ashland Main Street Association is pleased to recognize them with our “You’ve Been Noticed” award. Main Street is proud of all of them and sees them as part of the growing energy and variety in Ashland’s historic and lively Downtown.
The four shops in this revitalized location are:
- Waves Hair Studio, which has the mission to not only to provide an upscale service at an affordable price, but to also provide its customers with a relaxing experience in their beach-themed environment. The owners – Shante Lee and Stacey Cole – are not just the stylists: they are artistically trained to provide those customers with the relaxation and style they need. This is a full service salon that caters to men, women and children. Please visit their website to “meet the owners” and see all of their services, pricing, and testimonials. Also, see their website at www.waveshairstudiova.com, or call them at 804 798-2200.
- b.whimsy, with its whimsical name, sells lovely casual women and girls’ clothes, bathing suits, great costume jewelry, handbags, a terrific variety of gifts for all kinds of people – including men and children. See also their wonderful collection of specialty foods. In a small and intimate setting they provide an amazing array of stylish things in a beautiful and friendly manner. Talk to Julie Whittington, the owner, or her helpful staff, about presents for your friends and for yourself. See their website for more details,www.bwhimsygifts.com, or call them at 804-496-6490
- James River Air Conditioning has provided Ashland with an office that is currently manned by appointment, and also serves as a private office for the owner, Hugh Joyce – a Hanover resident and owner also of Gallery Flux. While all main operations take place in the Richmond facility, James River Air Conditioning provides our Ashland area with services – cooling, heating, plumbing, electrical, solar, energy controls, lighting – involved in residential, commercial and renovation work. (They note that both the Richmond and Ashland office have 10-15 percent of their power generated by PV solar panels.) Note also the great sign and solar panel awning as you drive by! And, see their website www.jamesriverair.com or call them at 804-358-9333.
- Home Energy Store: This shop has an amazing mix of products and services, all of which serve to make your home and our world more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. The store specializes in energy saving, earth friendly, conservation product that help with practical ways of saving money. For example, DIY insulation foam kits, rain barrels for rainwater collection, sustainable gardening and composting products, birding and recycled art and home décor in the shop. Visit the website for more information, at www.homeenergystores.com, or call 804-368-0140 and talk to Tracie or Thomas.
All of these businesses are only a short walk from the main sidewalks of Downtown – just around the corner from Cross Bros Grocery. They also share parking with the nearby Railroad Avenue businesses. So, they are in a remarkably convenient location – a location that has in the past seemed quiet and dormant, but now has come to life.
Hanover High School IB Graduate & VCU Art Student
Carson McNamara graduated from Hanover High School in 2013′ and now attends Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Art and Journalism. We saw her talents in action last year where she was sponsored as an artist for Chalk Walk. Featured above is a project she completed at VCU this fall.
Ashland Main Street Association is excited to recognize and reward talented artists in our community. Additional students will be sponsored this Saturday, May 3rd at the 5th Annual Chalk Walk. Come see what they will create on our concrete canvas.
We look forward to seeing more of Carson’s work in a Gallery someday along with other talented Hanover County students! Many thanks to all the art teachers that have inspired these young people.
The Pool family from South Carolina & Washington DC trained to meet in Ashland for a family reunion Fri-Sun April 25-27. They stopped by the Ashland Main Street Tent and emailed us to share their experience:
“We did some research on-line and thought Ashland was a great midpoint for meeting up with our family from DC and we love train travel. We love festivals and read that Ashland had the Green Fair and Wine Festival. We enjoyed both events! We rented a car to explore and discovered James River Winery & the COTU brewery where we enjoyed great music too. We stayed at the Henry Clay Inn which was fun- very friendly staff. We really enjoyed our time in Ashland. Everybody we met was so pleasant and fun to talk with. Really like the creativity of “re.funk.it”. We hope to come back again for our next reunion.”
Steve Pool & Family
Marion, SC 29571
Pool family from S.C. picked Ashland as a family reunion destination!
“Visit Downtown!” exclaim the two new Virginia Main Street signs at the east and west Rt. 54 entrances to the Center of the Universe. The signs were installed in mid-April, and their double-sides communicate to visitors both coming and going that Ashland is indeed an important, historic place. They are gifts from the Virginia Main Street program in recognition of Ashland’s official VMS designation in June 2013. Congratulations once again, Ashland! We welcome more visitors!
The Ashland Main Street Association, in conjunction with the Town of Ashland and Coldwell Banker Dew Realty will host a presentation on using historic tax credits to revitalize historic Ashland properties. The program will be held Thursday, May 15th from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Ashland Town Council Chambers and is open to the public.
There are significant economic returns to be realized from preserving and re-using historic properties. “Virginia has been a national leader in historic preservation for many years. One of the many areas where this is reflected is in the use of historic tax credits in the Commonwealth.”, said Preservation Virginia in their recently published report, “Economic Impact of Historic Rehabilitation”.
On the economic side, a very positive picture of financial activity and increased tax revenues has emerged.. But historic preservation brings many additional social and psychological benefits as well…preservation connects citizens to our rich cultural and architectural heritage and adds the very real aesthetic plus of attractive, well-kept places bringing new residents, businesses and tourists to town.
During its 17 years of operation ( data up to 2012), the State program has had a “profound impact” on private investment in historic rehabilitation. By allowing owners and developers to invest almost $1 billion in historic rehabilitation in lieu of taxes, it has stimulated additional private investment of almost $3 billion to the state economy—-and jobs.
Sonja Ingram from Preservation Virginia will speak on the basics of qualifying for historic credits: the process and requirements for both homeowners and commercial developers.. Bob Adams from Virginia Community Capital will address the structuring of commercial credit-based transactions and how tax credits are used to generate equity in a project.
Please come and learn how preservation can mean profit!
Take a look at this transformation!