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JK Moving & Storage

As you know by now, I like highlighting local Virginia businesses who are making a difference by their commitment to a greener, more sustainable way of operating.

JK Moving & Storage recently sent me their Commitment To Sustainability.

They're doing things like offering free used packing materials to their customers to reduce waste. They help with recycling your electronics. These visible efforts impacting their customers are great, but maybe more important are the things going on that you might never see.

They train staff on the importance of sustainability and how individuals can contribute at work and at home. Their vehicles use ultra low sulfur diesel to reduce emissions. They recycle batteries and anti-freeze. And, my favorite, they launched ReUse DC. It's a site where individuals and corporations can trade, sell and give away their unwanted furniture, household items and office equipment.

JK Moving & Storage had already turned me into a fan because of how they treat my customers. I'm an even bigger fan now!

If you'd like more information, check out their website or e-mail Clarke Mahek at cmahek@jkmoving.com or call him at 703-930-7275.

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Poplar Springs Inn & Spa

I'm always interested in highlighting local businesses that are doing good things on the green front. And recently I had the opportunity to sit down with two staff members from Poplar Springs Inn & Spa.

Anita Carshult, Director of Special Events and Sarah Stanton, Inn & Spa Manager, were kind enough to take some time to tell me about some of the exciting initiatives under way at Poplar Springs.

First of all, I'm very excited by their efforts to incorporate more local food into their menus. Local farms are providing seasonal produce, beef, poultry, cheese and eggs. Lavendar froma local farm is being used in both the restaurant and spa. Local game is served in the restaurant during the fall and winter. Work is under way on an herb garden on the property. The herbs would be used in both the restaurant and spa. And plans are in the works for a vineyard on the property!

The restaurant currently features many local Virginia wines. And they have recently added biodynamic wines as well as some organic vodkas.

The spa is also incorporating local grape skins in some of their products. And their signature treatments are all handmade on site.

On the energy front, they've installed a geothermal system for heating and cooling. LED candles are beiong used in the spa and restaurant.

They are working on reducing water usage by reducing the amount of linens used in the spa.

And I'm also happy to report that they're working to encourage local people to spend more time with them. They've added a new light fare menu available in the lounge Thursday through Sunday from 3:30 to closing. No jackets are required, no 5 course meals, just a menu of light, delicious foods a great selection of adult beverages and the chance to unwind in beautiful surroundings.

They're also added dinner on Sundays from 5:30 to 8:30. Many of you may already have tried their wonderful Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

And, they've been doing Date Nights this summer. For a discounted price you get a three course dinner, bottle of wine and an outdoor movie projected on the barn. The cost is $55 on Friday nights and $65 on Saturdays.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about their plans for green initiatives and hope to see many of you in the lounge one evening, relaxing after work!

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Local Development

Am I the only one who thinks that there's a problem with the vast majority of new business coming into Culpeper and Fauquier counties being retail?

Where are the businesses that will employ people who could actually afford to live here, buy homes here?

Why the focus on minimum wage employers?

How about some businesses that could employ locals and save them from commuting into Northern Virginia or DC?

Maybe there are secret negotiations going on to do just this. Or, maybe our elected officials have tried and failed. Or, maybe this is the normal pattern of growth and retail always comes before commercial/industrial jobs.

But I need to be convinced that there's a sensible plan here!

Any of you know something I don't?

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Local Artisan

Date: Feb. 21, 2007
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Occasionally I try to focus on a local business in this space. And last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Lance Huber from The Tool Box. He's local here in Rappahannock County and he does some amazing work.

The Tool Box is primarily a handyman service. And every homeowner knows how hard it can be to find a good, reliable, reasonably priced handyman! Lance fits the bill on all counts. Whether it's drywall repair, doors that need adjusting or minor electrical and plumbing jobs, he's done it all.

Now all of that is pretty impressive because it's so rare to be able to find someone who even shows up when they say they will! But I'm even more impressed with the woodworking that Lance does.

The above photograph illustrates some of the more formal furnishings that Lance has done. But that's not all he's produced.


Pieces like this garden bench are more whimsical. I love this piece!

And this "rooster chalet" is a remarkable, totally unique work of art!

His work has been featured and sold all over the world. And it's wonderful to have such a treasure right here in Rappahannock County!

If you'd like to contact Lance either for his handyman services or to purchase some of his woodworking skills you can give him a call at 540-937-3332.


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Feeding Your Neighbors

Date: Feb. 2, 2007
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One of the things I love about real estate is that I'm working to fulfill a basic human need - shelter. It's something I feel good about! About the only more basic human need I can think of is food. And I've recently had a chance to get more involved with an organization that's working on that.

Fauquier County Food Distribution Coalition is an organization working to feed their hungry neighbors. It is truly amazing what they do using almost entirely volunteer labor and donated food and monies.

In the month of December, 2006 they served almost 200 families. I'm guessing there are an awful lot of people in the county who didn't even know there were 200 hungry families here. And they're sure they're not even reaching everyone who needs their services.

The food is distributed once a month on the third Saturday. Volunteers not only provide almost all the food, but also man the operation. They set up tables, sort food, fill boxes and help the families with getting the food to their cars. Considering it's only once a month it's not all that much food. Most of us wouldn't want to try and live on it! But you'll see people waiting for hours for this.

I believe we are our brother's keeper and let's face it, most of us have so much more than we need in terms of material goods. If you can spare time or money or food, there's a way for you to help feed your neighbors. And I'll bet it's hard to think of something that feels better than that!

You can find out more at their web site: http://www.fauquierfood.org

Or contact them directly at info@fauquierfood.org

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Cuban Food Comes to Warrenton

Date: Nov. 21, 2006
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Mojitos and Tapas is an exciting new restaurant in Warrenton. As a big fan of Cuban food, I've been eagerly awaiting this opening and I was there with bells on for lunch on its first day.

There was a crowd there to try out the newest spot in town. It's so nice to have something new that's not a chain!

While the wind was cold and blustery outside, you feel warm as soon as you step in the doors. The decor immediately tells you you're in a warmer climate than the outside thermometer indicates! The bold red behind the bar immediately grabs your attention!

The menu is extensive, with much of it made up of tapas, small savory bites meant to be shared. Bring your friends and try a few of these. Tapas originated in Spain and seem to now have made their way to almost every corner of the world. The tapas I tried were terrific and I especially enjoyed my garlic fix! Enjoy your tapas with Cuban bread and a glass of wine, beer or sangria. Or, of course, you can try their signature drink, a mojito, from Cuba. They've got a larger variety of mojitos than I've ever seen and I lived in Miami for 13 years!

The service is warm and friendly. And there were surprisingly few first day glitches for a new restaurant.

You can find more information on their web site http://www.mojitosandtapas.com

I definitely recommend the food and will be going back soon with friends!

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