October - National Women's Small Business Month - with a tribute to our amazing female entrepreneurs


Dr. Eileen Whelan and McKenzie Whelan

Meet Dr. Eileen Whelan and McKenzie Whelan, a powerful mother-daughter duo, passionate about bringing the principles of vibrant health and longevity to the world. Dr. Eileen brings her 32 years of Chiropractic expertise to the table and McKenzie, as a Functional Health Coach, provides a holistic approach to expanding health and wellbeing.


We believe healthy, happy, vibrant people are essential to creating a healthy, happy, vibrant world. This is the world we choose to live in and we invite you, babies and beyond, to join us in our mission!


Dr. Eileen Whelan

CHIROPRACTOR, Orange Chiropractic & Family Fitness

I am a graduate of West Virginia University (1985) BA and Life University (1989) Doctor of Chiropractic. Since 1989, I have had the privilege of serving the greater Orange County and surrounding areas. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a trusted source for people in our community who are seeking drug free choices to increase their health and vitality as they discover their full health potential. My passion is working with my patients to create transformation in their health, strength, happiness, and longevity.


McKenzie Whelan

Orange Chiropractic & Family Fitness

McKenzie is a Certified Soft Wave Therapist, Functional Nutrition Coach and is pursuing her Health Coach certification. We are thrilled she is partnering with us here at Orange Chiropractic and Family Fitness. Through her own health journey, McKenzie has developed a passion for helping others experience the joy of optimum health. She believes everyone, given the right support and tools, has the power to live life to their full potential and make their health goals a reality.


 

Dr. Dena Jennings

Dr. Dena Jennings, physician and artist, was born in Akron, Ohio, during the booming years of ingenuity as the rubber capital of the world. Her father was an executive at Goodyear International; her mother was a banker at a hometown savings and loan.

Culturally, she was raised the 5th generation of Appalachian descendants tracing her mother's family to enslaved Black and free Scottish people of the Cumberland Gap, and the descendant of Black Virginian and East Indian ancestors on her father's side.

Twenty years after establishing her medical practice and a nonprofit organization for conflict transformation and human rights advocacy, Dr. Jennings moved to Ontario, Canada, where she entered a 4-year arts apprenticeship and learned to hand carve modern instruments made from gourds and other natural fibers in the style of traditional instruments from around the world. Following her apprenticeship, she opened a studio and retail music store in a small town in Central Ontario. The human rights advocacy group she started in 1996 now is a consultant to the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs.


Upon meeting her husband, who had developed an herb farm and retreat center in Central Virginia, Dr. Jennings relocated her business to that farm where she could grow her own gourds and mill her own wood. She then re-opened her medical practice and human rights nonprofit in Orange. Today, the waiting room is a gallery for her sculpted instruments and a listening room for Appalachian and Black American roots music.


In 2017, Dr. Jennings became an associate co-op member of the McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville. She was called by Governor Northam in 2019 to serve on the Virginia Commission for the Arts where she is the chair of Budget and Policy. Currently, Dr. Jennings sculpts from her farm studio, conducts instrument building workshops and conflict transformation retreats, performs Appalachian and folk Indian music on gourd instruments, and hosts the Affrolachian On-Time Music Gathering at the farm. It is an annual retreat and concert featuring Black American string band musicians from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Dr. Jennings endeavors to build the Beloved Community through her devotion to music, culture, wellness, and social justice.


 

Leslie Gregg is the creative force behind The Market at Grelen. She has had a love of design for as long as she can remember. Although trained as an MBA, creativity is her passion and creativity has always driven her business decisions.

Leslie's background in advertising and retail has prepared her well for her role at Grelen. She started her marketing career at Lettuce Entertain You and then Leo Burnett in Chicago, before moving to Virginia to marry Dan Gregg, who founded Grelen Nursery 30 years ago.

After graduate school and a brief stint at the UVA Medical Center as a Consultant, Leslie started a baby business called Rattle & Roll which she owned for 9 year before selling it. She then went on to help expand Grelen and the rest is history.


Leslie enjoys the many facets of the business including buying, merchandising, customer service, marketing, event planning, renovation and design. She and Dan have been involved in ODA over the years, most recently envisioning and spurring the "reboot" of the Main Street program. Leslie is thrilled to see the town of Orange and Orange County embracing tourism and the growth of businesses like Grelen. She is committed to assisting in the continued success of both. Leslie and Dan have three wonderful children Ali (24), Hank (22) and Carter (20).


 


Gale Danos

Some could say that Gale is a "Connecticut Yankee in the court of Orange and Central Virginia," to paraphrase. Many will find her early interests in things "old, and with intriguing stories" a fascinating portendere of things to come.

Born and raised in Cheshire, CT, Gale graduated with a BS degree in Human Development and Family Studies, with a concentration in Gerontology.

She then attended Quinnipiac University to pursue a Master's degree in Nursing Home Administration. It was during that time that she took a position working for a local oriental rug dealer. Before she knew it, a passion for antique rugs was born. And, it was then that she decided to leave school and devote her time to the oriental rug trade.


Entrepreneurial by nature, Gale opened her first shop in Washington Depot, CT, in 1988; another soon followed in nearby Woodbury in 1991. After meeting her late husband, Joseph, a Louisiana native, they moved to Orange in 2001, and established Melrose Antiques and Interiors on the corner of Madison and Main. Specializing in 18th- and 19th-century English and American furniture and accessories, and, of course, fine antique oriental carpets, Melrose has been an Orange landmark ever since.


Gale is a great proponent of the Main Street movement, and was the very first business to join ODA in promoting "LOVE downtown Orange!" We'll gladly keep this "Connecticut Yankee" in the court of Orange and Central Virginia, and help her spread the LOVE!


 

Faye Gish is president and owner of Faye’s Office Supply, Inc. in Orange VA. Her company have been in business since 1994 with the slogan “Service & Competitive Pricing is our way of doing business. And, Faye is true to her word -- "Our slogan sums up what we do for our customers. We do our best to negotiate great prices by going through buying groups. We check and make sure our pricing is very competitive in the office supply business."

But, Faye's has more than office supplies. They design, sell, assemble and install office furniture, have a large selection of technology products -- anywhere from cartridges and toners to office equipment, such as All-in-One Printers and Fax Machines. And, check them out for cleaning and breakroom supplies. Faye also reminds her customers that should they need custom printing and stamps, Faye's Office Supply has them -- business cards, letterhead, forms, checks and self-inking stamps, name plates and much more. Her company also has educational supplies for schools, teachers, students and parents. And, her company offers promotional items to help you get your name out there. Faye's Office Supply is a downtown Orange institution!


 

Annette Barrett Halls

Annette Barrett Halls is the owner of Lacy’s Florist & Gift Shop. Born in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, she grew up in Stafford, Virginia. Annette has raised five children and now has 10 beautiful grandchildren. Clearly, this is a gal who has mastered multi-tasking! In 2012, Annette purchased Lacy’s Florist, and since then, she has devoted her love of flowers to serving the Orange community.

Lacy’s Florist is an Orange institution, having been in the town for over 70 years and at the 120 West Main Street location for over 30 years. Annette inspires the distinctive artistry of her floral designers who often are called upon to craft unique and custom arrangements for special occasions. She always has had an entrepreneurial spirit, and over the past eight years she has established four successful business lines within her Main Street shop:

Fresh Flowers and Silk Arrangements: The mainstay of the business is Lacy's artisan-designed floral arrangements that they deliver on a daily basis.

Gifts: Since its introduction, the gift store has grown tremendously, and Lacy's continues to bring new, tasteful offerings that anyone would enjoy giving or as a treat for themselves. The Virginia Aromatics brand of soaps and candles has become so popular that Lacy's added them to their website.


Formal Wear Rentals: Lacy’s Florist has been renting tuxedos and suits for over 15 years. Although this year has been an exception, they normally rent over 200 suits during prom and wedding season. They are partnered with Jim’s Formal Wear and are proud to offer the largest selection in the nation.

Wedding Florals: Lacy's is proud to have helped foster a successful wedding industry in Orange County, and feel fortunate to have seen their wedding volume double, if not triple, in the last 5 years.

With the solid success of Lacy’s, Annette took another leap in faith in 2015 by purchasing The Flower Cottage in Locust Grove. Juggling the demands of two shops certainly keeps her busy, but she’s thrilled to provide trusted expertise and valued products to the expanding Orange County communities. “I am truly blessed to have the job I love and to be surrounding by such wonderful staff,” says Annette. “I’m proud to be part of the Main Street community, and we hope to see you soon at Lacy’s Florist.”


 

Denise Thompson

When Denise Thompson was growing up in Gordonsville, she watched her mother create a popular in-home business -- selling delicious dinners out of her house to friends, family and those who worked in nearby factories and had heard of her mother's reputation for creating "the best fried chicken ever!"


Earlier, during the war years, her mother and grandmother would meet soldiers at the train depot -- those heading off, or returning from, their service assignments -- with platters full of steaming hot fried chicken.


So it was no surprise that this entrepreneurial spirit would inspire Denise, who spent her formative years alongside her mother, aunts and grandmother, to take the lessons learned from this long line of cooking matriarchs and create her own business!


Enter 2021, and Denise is at the helm of doing what she loves best -- creating authentic Southern "comfort food!." As the owner of Cooper's Cookin' and Catering, one of Orange's newest restaurants, her approach is to provide delicious, traditional fried chicken, collards, scratch pound cake (and much, much more) from recipes handed down to her from those family matriarchs. Paying homage to her #1 matriarch, Denise has dedicated this new enterprise to her mother, Mildred Cooper, and in addition to the sit down and take out service, the business also includes a catering operation that can support events large and small. Along with her husband, George, and two sons, Melvin and Malik, Denise has brought a new and popular dining experience to Orange. Can you say "Splendid Southern Cook?"


 

Kathy Judge

Kathy Judge. When I moved to downtown Orange in 2017, I kept busy nesting in my beautiful old house. But a gal can only paint and move furniture around for so long! In the fall of 2018 I began to think about opening a bookshop, which led to the opening of Books Bound2please (B2plz) here in January 2019.


The bookshop was thriving until pandemic restrictions caused us to change venues in June 2020. B2plz came home with me and continues exclusively online. I donated a good portion of the shop's inventory to other indie bookshops owned by women, and still managed to bring home several hundred books! With the help of a Bounce Back Orange grant I was able to hire a locally woman-owned website design business, Petite Taway, to build a B2plz ecommerce website. Deb, the owner of Petite Taway, has been so helpful and patient. The last few weeks I've been immersed in learning the software and https://www.Booksbound2please.com has been launched onto the internet highway!

Books Bound2please is now stocking many more New Release titles than the shop ever did and of course some "like new" books as well. The inventory continues to change weekly. I hope everyone will remember to shop early and shop local in the months ahead.


 

Denise Hudson

The north end of Orange is becoming a hub of health and wellness, and one of its stars is Denise Hudson -- mother, medical missionary, Naturopathic Doctor, and a plant-based cook extraordinaire!


Alongside her husband, Denise operates Eve’s Cupboard Market, a total plant-based health food store and vegan cafe nestled in the historic Silk Mill. Seamlessly fusing her island heritage with her zest for culinary creativity, she and her dedicated team of foodies and health aficionados are consistently delivering mouth watering vegan delicacies and desserts that transform even the most staunch carnivores into loyal patrons!


As a matter of fact, the only thing that overshadows Denise’s love for inventing new and exhilarating vegan dishes that are guaranteed to stimulate even the most critical taste buds, is her love for God and her love for people. Which is why Denise has adopted

3 John 2 from the Bible as the motto for Eve’s Cupboard Market. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

LOVEOrangeVirginia? Denise Hudson, you've nailed it!


 

Kathleen Ayers

Some people are just born with a sense of how to put things together in the best possible way. Kathleen Ayers is one of those people. Hailing from upstate NY, Kathleen and her husband, Troy, operated Chestnut Hill as a bed and breakfast and wedding venue from 2009 until 2018. The property was awarded Best B&B in the U.S. and Most Romantic B&B in the U.S. from Bedandbreakfast.com, now a part of Vrbo Prior to meeting Troy, Kathleen was a legal secretary at a large law firm in Washington D.C. for 15 plus years. Her interests in business, and especially business transactions, spurred her to seek her real estate license (Florida) and her auctioneer's license (in both Florida and Virginia). These experiences paved the way for her latest enterprise, Unique To Chic Galleria, which opened 2 years ago after the fire at Chestnut Hill.

The business is a liquidation store offering everything from flooring and tile to wedding dresses and lingerie. Only an innovative "matchmaker" like Kathleen could create such an exciting, successful enterprise featuring furniture, tools, DJ equipment, wholesale pallets of merchandise, auto sales...and offer UHaul rentals, too! It's like the best of national chains Costco, Big Lots, Marshalls and Best Buy all rolled in to one! In 2016, she was appointed as a Marriage Commissioner and travels all over Central Virginia to perform marriage ceremonies. "This, by far, is the favorite chapter of my life," boasts Kathleen. LOVE! For such an innovative matchmaker, it only seems fitting!


 

Barbara Barbour

If there's an embodiment of LOVE to be found, it's Barbara. Born and raised in nearby Culpeper, Barbara loves nothing more than to "cook delicious food that warms the soul." Which is why she started her business Barbara’s Soul Food On Wheels, a mobile food truck and catering business, seven years ago.

A day doesn't go by that Barbara's warm engaging smile, and fabulous food bring throngs of customers to her N. Madison Road location. As one of Orange's leading minority business owners, Barbara gives far more than she takes, cementing her reputation for being a great asset to our community. In addition to serving home cooked meals and providing catering services, each year she hosts two important events that give back to the community she so deeply loves and serves.

One event feeds the less fortunate. Last year, Barbara served over 900 meals to local residents during the holiday season. The other is a customer appreciation day. Last year she gave 150 meals back to her customers.

Loving from the heart, Loving from the soul. Barbara IS LOVEOrangeVirginia.


 

Kim Adamson

When Kim Adamson was a young girl, she had a dream of opening a bakery. Fast forward the years, and she has made her dream come true! As the creator and owner of Missy Moodie's Sweet Treats, Kim brings to Orange a new and refreshing approach to "the neighborhood bakery" concept by focusing on desserts.


Cupcakes, cookies and double-rich brownies are her specialty, but this super-creative single mom also creates jaw-dropping customized cakes. Orange's food world just got sweeter!






 

Emily Van Santvoord

I grew up in Orange County and went to Grymes Memorial School from Pre-K through 8th Grade, followed by OCHS and then Virginia Tech. Having "grown up" in a restaurant, The Firehouse Cafe, that my mom and her partner owned for 10 years, and waitressed at a few different restaurants in college, so food is in my blood! After graduating college, I came back to the area and worked at Beggars Banquet Catering and Rentals for 6 years (owned by my mother Marty Van Santvoord and her business partner.) I started out serving and bartending for catering jobs and ended up being one of the kitchen managers. In 2009, I attended the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan for an intensive six-week course. When the owners of the building at 110 East Main Street (where The Light Well is located) approached my mother in 2010 about opening up another restaurant in town, she felt that she wasn't quite up to the challenge again.


However, I expressed my excitement about always wanting to own a restaurant and the ball kept on rolling from there. With the help of other founders (also mostly Orange County natives) we opened up The Light Well restaurant in 6 months! In the first year of The Light Well, I was the back of house/kitchen manager. After a shift in management, I moved to the front of the house as General Manager. At the same time, Dave Ganoe (now my husband) came on board and took over management of the kitchen. The Light Well will be celebrating its 10th birthday this December and I couldn't be more thankful for the continued support we have received from locals and tourists alike. I'm also so proud of everyone that has been a part of The Light Well family and all they have done to help us succeed.


 

Grayson Butterfield

As a full-time mother, part-time property manager, and all-the-time cheerleader for everything good going on in the community, Grayson Butterfield knows what it means to be connected to her community. She grew up just outside Orange as a faculty child at the local boarding school. She left to see the world, but came back when it came time to raise her own family.


A former teacher with two daughters, she’s highly involved in the community, with a wide variety of interests. She is active on the board of the Arts Center and the St. Thomas Community Pre-school, teaches knitting (she’s a “fiber fanatic,” by her own admission) at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, and founded/operates a knitting group called “Sit & Stitch.” She knows everyone in the LOVEOrangeVirginia alliance of businesses, and helps out with all their projects to make the downtown area more vibrant.


“I feel hopeful about the future of Orange,” she says. “I feel hopeful about the future of Orange,” she says. “Because it’s a small town and a rural county -- one high school, one football team and just a few grocery stores -- you see the same people all the time. It’s an opportunity to really know your neighbors and care about them - not just the few people who are part of your ‘bubble,’ but everyone. Living in small town Orange humanizes people and makes it possible to close the gaps between diverse groups.”


Grayson believes the new energy behind the LOVEOrangeVirginia alliance of businesses will help bring all the stakeholders together and break through old ways of doing things. New ideas, new methods of reaching out to customers, new initiatives to eliminate factions and work together.


“I see organizations finding ways to be more inclusive,” she says. “I see people adjusting their traditional volunteer groups so working women can participate. I see people appreciating the benefits of small-town life, taking advantage of all the great things it has to offer. As a diverse community, it’s important for us to have common goals and work together to achieve them.”


Reflecting and connecting -- I believe Grayson is on to something!


 

Marty Van Santvoord

Marty Van Santvoord has started and operated five small woman-owned businesses in the past 42 years. Her depth of experience forged the success of Eastern Sun Burritos, a mobile food truck in downeast Maine, in 1978. Twelve years later, her business acumen led to the opening of Firehouse Café in Orange. Deeply experienced in the food and beverage industry, Marty opened Beggars Banquet Catering a decade later, then founded The Light Well in 2010, where she still serves as president of the LLC. In 2015, she shifted gears and reimagined her catering operation into Beggars Banquet Rentals. A champion of women-owned businesses, Marty shared the success of her first three enterprises with another women entrepreneurs. Throughout her extensive food and beverage career, Marty has remained committed to a focus on the beautiful presentation of wholesome, homemade food. And, she is fervently supports preservation-based economic development, as evidenced in her selection of several of Orange’s historic buildings in which to operate her businesses. A resident of Orange since 1988, Marty has raised her three children in our wonderful community, and remains an important fixture of the Main Street approach in Orange along with her husband, Buzz.


 

Jess Cifazzari grew up in Orange with fond memories of the Town, but a remembrance of having limited options for entertainment and creative learning. Following college, she returned to Orange in 2014 with her family to live and work in the Central Virginia area.

Since then, Jess has been involved with various community organizations and projects as giving back to the community is an important part of her belief system. “Orange gave me so much, I didn’t realize it until I was out in the world, now I want to give back to this sweet town.”



Enter Paint it Orange! – a “one-woman ceramic and painting studio” located in the former Hilltop Restaurant.

“I created Paint It Orange! because I wanted to bring something fun and creative to town,” says Jess. “I wanted to find a way to help make art accessible for everyone, not matter their skill level, and I wanted to create a fun spot in downtown.”

Jess loves trying new things and knows her own children often change their mind about what they like, so her business model offers a wide variety of things to try once, offering the flexibility to move on or come back again and do more of it.

“I’m inspired by nature and the landscapes here in Orange,” notes Jess. “Seeing the mountains from my back porch is an endless source of inspiration and happiness for me. This inspiration fuels my creativity and helps me realize things I wouldn’t have been able to put into words. I’m hoping that I can help inspire and nurture that creative spark in other people -- helping them find things that they enjoy that they might not have otherwise tried.”


Paint it Orange! is located at 137 Caroline Street next to the James Madison Museum of Orange County Heritage and offers a variety of paintable options, including ceramics, canvases, wine glasses, collage, glass blocks and more. The studio also features a small, curated gift shop with jewelry, custom pens and a variety of other art items created by local artists.


 

They say, “do what you love,” and Tammy Collins-Lohr takes that to heart. After 30 years of working in the legal and administrative sectors, Tammy decided she needed to pursue a more rewarding and creative pathway. She never dreamed she would own her own business, always thinking it was for a special kind of person. However, she began to consider an entrepreneurial spirit during her tenure at Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which afforded her the insight and knowledge to become an entrepreneur.

In 2016, she founded Executive Innovations, LLC, offering executive administrative coaching and services. Although this was a side gig, she believed she could make a positive impact by mentoring administrations on effective policies that would provide a more cohesive and productive workplace. While she enjoyed providing these services, it wasn’t enough.

Her love of crafting led her to a part-time venture creating wreaths and home decor, with rookie success on Etsy and at local craft markets. She created her new brand, Palmetto Posh Designs, in 2019. Palmetto Posh Designs incorporates the fondness of her home state of South Carolina -- the Palmetto State --and her signature color, Sassy Green.

Wanting to make a niche in the crafting market, she began incorporating upcycled goods into her products. This opened her eyes to the growing market for reselling. Tammy always has had a passion for thrifting -- way before it was a trend --and embraced that passion to take her to the next level. Early this year, Palmetto Posh Designs grew into reselling vintage, antique and home good items on eBay and Etsy, along with a Facebook page and an antique booth at MinuteMan Mini Mall in Culpeper, Virginia.

To Tammy’s surprise, this “side hustle” quickly turned into a full-time gig, and it was evident that she could take this passion and make it her new career. After lots of research and hours pouring over reselling insight, she took the leap and became a full-time reseller in late June.

With a thriving online reselling business, it has been extremely challenging balancing her existing commitments with the demands of preparing to open a shop. However, Tammy’s mantra is “make it happen.” Despite the hard work, sacrifice and dedication, seeing her vision come to fruition is rewarding enough to make it all worthwhile. Palmetto Posh Variety Shop is opening its doors on October 28 and will offer quality, name brand home goods, décor, cookware, apparel, and gifts, including unique vintage and antique finds. The shop also offers a “wish list” – a service that seeks out items you may be looking for but haven’t found.

With the slogan, “Not your mama’s thrift store,” Tammy is creating a niche in the thrift market by providing unique perks and services. Palmetto Posh Variety Shop, located at 113 E. Main Street, also offers a website for online shopping with both shipping and local pickup options.


 

LOVEOrangeVirginia Salutes October - National Women's Small Business Month - with a tribute to our amazing female entrepreneurs!

And what better way to celebrate our HowlOween event AND salute our savvy women entrepreneurs than by introducing Spelled Ink -- Two word-witches who love coffee, cats, and cocktails!


Heather Griffin is an Army veteran, who lived all over the world before coming back home to Virginia. Cindy Johnston-Pagan is an Orange County native who got her degree in Information Systems Technology at Germanna.


Both Heather and Cindy balance their business and writing with homeschooling their children. They founded the Lucky Charms 4H group in Orange, and served as volunteers for the first 3 years.


During the pandemic last year, their LOVE for books got them brewing up a business idea (see where I'm going with this...witches, brewing) and Spelled Ink -- featuring books, baubles, and bubbles -- was born! Now, they're bringing their unique concept to downtown Orange as a "pop-up" shop for the holidays. You can find them at 132 W. Main next to Orange Pharmacy. Opening date is Friday, November 5, just in time for the Montpelier Hunt Races! But, today you'll get a sneak peek -- they're going to be a part of our HowlOween fun!