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The Local v. Corporate Dilemma in Short Pump...

The state of the economy has hit Richmond on several ways.  Not only have many lost their jobs but so many small businesses have gone out of business.  The Downtown Short Pump and RichmondBizSense sites are really great ones for keeping up with the status of our small business community.

I have personally been on a mission to try to patron small businesses over corporate business in short pump.  After all, with most corporate businesses, we do get the benefit of jobs but most of the revenue leaves our local community.  By spending your valuable money with local business owners (whether it be a mom and pop, a larger locally owned business (ex. Ukrops) or even a national franchise owned by a local franchise owner, your money has a much higher likelihood of remaining within our community.

So, in theory, I am all for BUY LOCAL.  However, from a practical perspective, I often feel these conflicts because what if the corporate business serves your needs better or just makes you feel more comfortable?

In just the past few weeks, I have noticed a few examples.  For example, I like the desserts at Whole Foods Market better than the ones at Ukrops.  Or, when I needed to buy a tennis outfit, I stayed away from the local small business because I did not want the pressure felt in a local boutique store to buy something right away.  I prefer the non-pressure and anonymity of Dicks or using the Internet.

And then when it comes to locally owned restaurants in short pump, my husband and I are at a lost of where to eat because of the recent trend of many locally owned restaurants going out of business. One of the main factors for restaurants is to offer a regular experience to their customers but when local restaurants cannot afford the lease payments long enough to build this presence, the corporate restaurants win by default.  Their business model is based on providing a consistent and reliable experience time over time.

Despite these challenges, I do have a sincere interest in helping our local businesses to get more of our business.  I think the true answer is for consumers to try a little harder (we have this rule that when we eat out, 50% of the time it is with a local business) and for the small businesses to do a little more to address some of the reasons why people choose to go to the corporate outfits. One example is trying to communicate more with customers. . . whether it be through email lists, the Internet, or just sending out a customer loyalty discount every now and then (this is what Ann Taylor Loft does and it gets me to the store every time!).

Did Anyone Benefit from the Sales Tax-Free Weekend...

For the past few years, I have gone shopping for my kid’s school supplies, shoes and some fall clothes during the tax free holiday season.  And, every year, I have always wondered if I was really saving money over shopping on a non-tax holiday weekend. . . this is because even though I save on the tax, I always felt like the items were not reduced or on sale as much as they usually are on regular weeks.

But, I never really tested it until this year.  The other week, I purchased all the school supplies for my two kids (who are both in elementary school).  I also found some clothes on sale and bought a couple of pair of shoes.  Given the volume, the tax savings was worth dealing with some crowds – I was lucky enough to go on Friday as opposed to the weekend.

Anyways, the following week, I went back to those same stores and checked on the items I purchased and most of them were on sale for a price less than 5% of what they were during the tax free weekend.  So, I could have saved more money buy taking the 30+% discounts and paying the tax.

I do not know if this was the case for any one else, but I am definitely going to think twice next year.

Interesting Commentary about Short Pump Town Cente...

Kari Peiffer wrote this really interesting article that starts off with “I have a confession to make.  I hate Short Pump.”  Being a short pump resident and a person who really enjoys the area . . . when I first started reading her article, I was a little offended and thought that her commentary went a little too far.

But as I read her article, I totally understood where she was coming from.  I am a big believer in small business and in local business and it really upsets me every time a local business owner goes out of a business as a result of large corporate conglomerates coming in.

This sentiment really hit me when I saw the stories about Ukrops potentially selling to a national, non-local chain.  It really breaks my heart to think of Richmond without Ukrops and I am quite sure that this is being driven not only by the economy but by the influx of corporate chains coming into Richmond.

I urge you to read Kari’s article which goes into a recently launched project called the 3/50 Project.  We can make a big difference to the families and individuals that devote their business lives to our local community if we could each just focus a little more on patronizing our own neighbors and local entrepreneurs.

Here is a link to her article: The 3/50 Project

Or you can copy this link into your browser:

Saxon Shoes Stroller Stories- Short Pump Town Cent...

Recently, a visitor to the Short Pump Richmond site, posted this information as a Guest Post.  Sounds like fun events for the young ones!

Enjoy an entertaining storytime with your children as a celebrity reads their favorite storybook, appropriate for children ages 0-7.   Crafts, coloring, games, and giveaways accompany the reading to bring the story to life.
Saturday, June 13th  – NBC 12 newsanchor Sabrina Squire
Saturday, July 11th – Jonathan Austin, aka ”Jonathan the Juggler”
Saturday, August 8  – Susan Greenbaum and husband Chris Parker

Saxon Shoes Kids Department (downstairs) Short Pump Town Center
*Kids enter through the little door
Each child receives a coupon for a FREE lunch from Chick-fil-A

Visit or call Saxon Shoes at 804.285.3473 for details.
Please bring a gently used childrens book, appropriate for children ages 0-12, to donate to Read Aloud Virginia for distribution to deserving area children.

Sponsored by Lite 98, Q-94 and Read Aloud Virginia (

Henrico Redistricting Comment: The Power of the In...

I heard an interesting story over the weekend that I wanted to pass on to show how powerful the Internet is becoming as a community tool.  We all know about the massive success of Facebook and other sites, but the same social media and community technology also made a difference to a Short Pump neighborhood.

The neighborhoods on the other side of Nuckols Road (ones like Chappell Ridge and Wyndham Forest) currently are within the Deep Run High School district.  But changes to the maps that were put earlier this year had them going to the newer high school which was quite a bit further away (relatively speaking).

The families there were quite unhappy with that decision especially when they heard that the decision was made based on an assmption by a consultant to Henrico country that Nuckols Road was a major barrier line.  The consultant apparently never came out to see the area and based the decision from maps which showed Nuckols Road as a larger thoroughfare compared to the other streets.

Little did he or she understand that Nuckols Road was not a major “barrier” at all and in fact, several of the children in these neighborhoods still walked to Deep Run High School which is so close by.

In the latest round of comments, the neighbors in these communities organized through a Yahoo Group set up by them and it was through communicating through Yahoo Groups that they were able to organize enough to successfully present their positions and reasoning to the Henrico schoo redistricting communities.

Given all of our busy lives and inability to attend live meetings or even scheduled phone calls, the use of technology such as Yahoo Groups can be extremely effective to help neighbors organize and share their thoughts.

I thought this was a great example of how even busy communities like Short Pump can still find ways to gather a large support group to push forward important matters.

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Short Pump Development- West Broad Village Questio...

I recently read an article about West Broad Village which states that it will have “wetlands, forested areas and numerous parks.”  Notice, these words are plural.

I know that the development, relatively speaking, is on a large tract of land but I am having trouble envisioning enough space for wetlands, forests and parks. . . for those areas to really mean anything.

People search out those areas to get away or at least feel like they are away from developed or urban areas.  I think about Central Park in New York City or the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Plus, I lived in major city areas where the intended goal of having an area where people live, work, shop and play encompassed a defined neighborhood. But these neighborhoods spanned areas 5-10 times larger than the West Broad Village.

So, I must admit I am intrigued by the West Broad Village development as I feel like the area is really too small to do what it is trying to do.  Having said that, I am really hoping that the development is going to be successful because if it is not, there will be a major depressed development right in the middle of our Short Pump community. . . something no one desires.

I think that so far they have done a decent job of making you feel like you are in an urban area when you drive into as I did get a different feel when I recently ate at Kona Grill.  So, I am sure its restaurants will be successful but I just wonder if it will attract residents (especially home buying ones as opposed to renters) and I also am curious to see if businesses will be willing to pay the higher rental rates for that setting.

As the development completes it stages, I look forward to seeing the progress.

Short Pump Restaurant- Mexican Hole in the Wall...

My husband is an avid Mexican food fan and ever since we moved to Richmond, we have struggled with finding authentic Mexican food in or near the Short Pump area.

Well, a few months ago, he finally found a small restaurant with some really good and authentic Mexican food.

Now, it is not strategically located in the heart of Short Pump where all the nice and new nicely decorated restaurants are. In fact, it is located in a small strip mall off of Gayton road.  While I would not give the restaurant many stars for ambiance, it is clean inside.

However, if you are looking for real authentic Mexican food, you should try this place out.  We have been there over 5 times now and have tried most everything.  Their traditional fare of tacos (crunchy and soft), burritos and quesadillas have plenty of high quality meats and the freshest ingredients.

They also offer an array of other Mexican items- I really love the Gorditas which come in a variety of fillings. My favorite is the Picadillo con Papas ( ground beef with potatoes, onions and tomatoes).  The homemade guacamole is nothing short of amazing if you like guac!

The family that runs it is Mexican and they are all very hospitable and friendly. If you are like us and long for something a little more authentic than the Casa Grandes and Mexico Restaurants, try this one out.

Oh- I almost forgot the restaurant name. . . it is Los Primos Mexican Restaurant.  Located less than two miles away from the hear tof Short Pump.  12347 Gayton Road.

Short Pump Sports- UPWARD Basketball in the West E...

Well, my kids finished their basketball season today.  This year we joined the UPWARD basketball program.  It is run out of the Second Baptist Church on the corner of River Road and Gaskins.

While some of my neighbors think that the River Road area (on the other side of Patterson) is a little too far for Short Pump residents, it takes less than 15 minutes driving from around the Short Pump Mall area.

My husband and I were thrilled with this league.  Not only did the kids really learn solid basketball skills, but the league is based on simultaneously teaching sportsmanship, encouragement, and team skills.  I saw great improvements in every child- not just from a skills perspective.  They each learned about team spirit.  By the end of the season, even the youngest league of 1st and 2d graders were encouraging their teammates and congratulating them with high fives when they scored a basket.

Now UPWARD is not for everyone. It is a christian and religious based program so the children do listen to a bible story or learn about a religious based person during the games and at practice.  Also, the games start with a prayer every time.  When you are used to the YMCA, these additions did take a few weeks to get used to, but in the end, we enjoyed having your kids learn a little about the bible and a lot about learning to be better and loyal people as well as becoming more aware of the well being of others and of God.

Overall, I recommend the UPWARD league for sports.  I think it is a unique athletic program that really provides a lot of value to families in Short Pump and Richmond generally.

A Bad Case of the Flu Hits Short Pump Residents...

In the past two weeks, the flu has hit many short pump residents and families.  There is an increasing number of children absent from our schools and unable to go to work.

The interesting thing is that this strain is causing the average person to have a high fever (103-104) sometimes lasting as long as a week.  A week is a long time to have a temperature and be on fever reducing medication.  It is also highly contagious.  So some families are experiencing 3 and 4 week long episodes as the flu passes from one family member to another. I have even heard that his strain was supposed to be covered by the flu shots given earlier this year!

So, it is important that kids not go to school and adults not go to work if they are experiencing fevers.  Everyone should take extra pre-cautions when it comes to personal hygiene and preventing the spread. Hopefully, as we enter the warmer months, the flu will slow down, but it is interesting to see a virus spread so fast among a community.

Short Pump Breakfast- Boychik’s Deli...

Boychik’s is actually in Innsbrook which is one neighborhood away from the Short Pump area but this place really has a great breakfast menu and given my inability to find a diner style breakfast joint directly in Short Pump thus far- I had to give this place a thumbs up.

If you want something closer to home made and less processed than the franchise places like IHOP, Silver Diner and Cracker Barrel, you have to check this place out.

They have every kind of breakfast food from straight egg dishes to omeletes. . . pancakes, waffles and french toast to all the breakfast meats you may want.  They even have a FAT BUSTERS meal where there are low fat and lower calorie options.

The atmosphere is pure diner down to the small but comfy booths and the lively (and busy) but down to business waitresses who make sure your glass is always filled and your food comes fast. Another really neat thing is that their walls are covered with advertisements from local small businesses in Richmond. I saw sign shops, real estate agents, title companies, car shops, even CPA firms.

Their prices are also very attractive. I ordered the waffles with 2 eggs for less than $6.  Everything was tasty.  My friends ordered the French toast, omelets, and home fries- all very good!  I recommend Boychiks Deli in Innsbrook for breakfast any day of the week.

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