The Elephantz TrunkNina Monroe’s goal is to support the local economy and encourage Fluvanna residents to buy local. It’s not that easy when surrounded by massive brick and mortar stores in nearby Charlottesville and Richmond and online giants like Amazon. But Monroe is not deterred and has a unique boutique, The Elephantz Trunk, that she hopes will do well.

Located in a former motel renovated by Chris Fairchild several years ago, the refurbished brick building with the green awnings can be spotted at the crossroads of Dixie, where Routes 6 and 15 meet. Walking into her boutique is a different experience reminiscent of visiting a Gordonsville shop. Her boutique features handmade jewelry she designed, as well as a variety of manufactured pieces and sterling silver. All pieces are one-of-a-kind and bold.

“The statement pieces of fashion jewelry are purchased in limited quantities like four or five pieces,” said Monroe. “This ensures that you don’t have everyone walking around with the same piece of jewelry which begs the question, ‘Where did you get that?’”

She also sells homemade bath and body products using natural ingredients like Dead Sea salt, Epsom salts, shea and cocoa butters, coconut and essential oils, local honey, beeswax and more. “We have our local honey for sale too. The hives started out in my backyard at home, but have been relocated just down the street a few yards,” she said. Add a comment


Business appreciation receptionLaunches free business tip lunches

Representatives from more than 100 businesses gathered June 5 at Cunningham Creek Winery for a relaxed evening of good food, drink and companionship.

The whole idea was to show appreciation for business owners in the county, said Jason Smith, community and economic development director.

“Although May is recognized as small business appreciation month across the country, by the time we had finalized other events, it just worked out best for all planning partners to host this year’s event in June,” Smith said.

Realtors, insurance agents, pharmacy technicians, restaurant owners, computer technicians, website designers, lawyers and more attended.

Fluvanna’s first micro-brewery, Antioch Brewing Company, was on hand to give attendees a chance to try their beer. Add a comment


Aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses in Fluvanna County have an ally in the local branch of the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CVSBDC).

Funded by the Small Business Administration and a network of public and private partners, the CVSBDC offers free, confidential counseling and a host of free and low-cost training and development resources. 

“You’re their counselor, you’re their cheerleader, and sometimes, you’re their mother,” said local business counselor Diane Arnold.

Arnold retired to Lake Monticello last year after a 10-year stint as director of the Longwood Small Business Development Center in Danville and a long career in teaching, marketing, and government procurement. Not long after her arrival, she was asked by CVSBDC Director Betty Hoge to help out. 

Now she provides one-on-one counseling and advice around the Center’s five-county service area. In Fluvanna, she holds counseling sessions on the second Tuesday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce on Main Street. She currently works with three to four Fluvanna businesses owners per month.

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Sue LibermanAfter spending most of her life in health and human services, Lake Monticello resident Sue Liberman is putting her considerable experience to work by helping local seniors age safely in place.

Senior Solutions, Liberman’s business, focuses on helping older folks – and their families, who are often far away – feel confident that their homes are safe and they have the resources they need close at hand.

“There’s a significant population of grossly underserved older folks not just in Fluvanna but in Louisa and Orange too,” Liberman said. “My goal is to make sure they get care and services, have their needs met, and help the families of these wonderful people make healthy decisions.”

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Rhon Williams, Frost BitesIn two weeks, local business owner Rhon Williams will either pack up the contents of Frost Bites, Fluvanna’s frozen yogurt shop, or sport a pair of swim trunks and sit in a pool of frozen yogurt so hometown heroes can turn him into a human sundae.

Williams says he will wear his “sundae best” if he can raise $50,000 through an independent fundraiser set up to spare Frost Bites from having to close. “I see this as the opportunity to say, ‘Yes, we appreciate businesses that are in our community and we are going to step in and do what it takes to keep them,’” he said.

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