Business

AntiquesSteve Sylvia traces his interest in the Civil War to his childhood, sparked by his brother’s help reading Shelby Foote’s Shiloh.


But it was a belt buckle that belonged to a long-forgotten Union soldier that may have been the catalyst for a life-long involvement in the history of this nation’s defining conflict, a career writing about Civil War relics, and even appearances on segments of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow.


Following graduation from the University of Maryland’s journalism program and a couple years performing and traveling with a rock and roll band, Sylvia found himself in search of opportunity.


“I had a gal singing for me in 1972. The band broke up. I’m running out of money and she says, ‘My boyfriend is looking for someone in public relations,’” Sylvia said.


“I walked into the interview with her boyfriend and I was wearing a U.S. buckle I had dug. His eyes were riveted on my buckle.”


Their common interest in the Civil War made them good friends and ultimately led to the opportunity for Sylvia to turn that interest into a life-long career.


“‘Did you dig that?’” the man inquired of the buckle.

“Yes, I did,” replied Sylvia. “I dug it at Chancellorsville.”
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Local EatsMembers of the county business community, government, and a bunch of hungry Fluvannans turned out on Thursday (Aug. 24) to celebrate the official opening of Local Eats on Joshua Lane in Palmyra.

Owner Amy Myers said she got the idea for the micro-restaurant and grocery after visiting The Store in Staunton last February. Opened in 2012 by John and Stella Matheny, the farm-to-table cafe/grocery has become a popular spot for Staunton foodies, and Myers soon found herself asking the Mathenys about the nuts and bolts of their business.

“Finally I decided, why not do it?” said Myers. “Sink or swim.”

Working with the support of the Fluvanna business development community and the Small Business Development Center, she got underway earlier this year in the space formerly occupied by the Christian Outreach Thrift Shop. Add a comment

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Matthew McDaniel and Ian McDanielTechnology is moving at a faster pace than most of us can conceive. In a recent conversation with Ian McDaniel of Gravity’s Edge, a local business specializing in computer repair, networking and data recovery, the question came up of what to do with our old computers, laptops and desktops and whether they can be upgraded with new versions of software, such as Windows 8 and 10. As most of us now know, Windows XP and Vista are no longer supported, and that leaves some of us wondering if our old computers are worth saving or can even be upgraded.

McDaniel thinks it is wiser to simply buy a new computer, since the cost of upgrading an older computer would not be worth it. For those who have McDaniel’s know-how and skill, the process could be as simple as hunting for all the necessary hardware, including four gigabytes (GB) of random-access memory (RAM) and installing it for $100 to $200.

Then there is the added cost of software. McDaniel said there are no downloadable freebies; you have to purchase the pricey software. And if you are not skilled and knowledgeable about computers and installation then someone like McDaniel would also have to be called in to complete the job at an added cost. He pointed out that for the cost of improving an old computer, you can purchase a new one with Windows 8 or 10 for anywhere from $150 and up depending upon your needs. Add a comment

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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

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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

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