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September 2012

The Greater Raleigh Court Civic League

R a l e i g h C o u r t — A H i s t o r I C A L N E I G H B O R H OO D L OO K I N G F O R WA R D

Finding Calm, During the Storm by Stephanie Garst

It was a dark and stormy night…wait! No it wasn’t! Well, not at first! My daughter Savannah and I were enjoying some mother-daughter time at Sweet Frog at Towers that fateful Friday night in late June. It was nearing 9:00pm when my husband called – I was sure to remind me to get home at a reasonable time. “There is a crazy storm here. You need to figure out what you are going to do.” His voice was stern, emphatic even. Odd, I thought. We live in Glenvar, about 20+ minutes from the Towers area, but at Sweet Frog there was no sign of foul weather. No wind, no rain, no thunder, no lightening. Two minutes later, my husband called again. “You don’t understand. This is like nothing I have seen before. You need to figure out what you are going to do, and you need to be prepared to pull over.” OK. I can take a hint. Savannah and I hurriedly finished our treats and climbed in the vehicle to head home. “Let’s not go on the interstate,” I thought to myself. (I never want to get stuck on the interstate.) So we pulled out of

Inside This Issue President’s Message..................................................... 3 Things You Need To Know.......................................4-5 Finding Calm, During the Storm (continued)............. 6 Updates on Raleigh Court Happenings...................9-10 Meet the Merchants............................................11-13 Grandin Village Market Benefits Community............ 14

the back side of Towers, heading home by way of Brandon Avenue. At the first light just past Towers, we got delayed behind a stalled vehicle. It was just a brief delay – thirty seconds maybe – but I was starting to feel some anxiety. As I drove towards Grandin Avenue, I thought, “Why am I heading towards this crazy storm my husband described? Well, what else would I have done…stayed at Towers?! No turning back now!” And then it happened. Still no signs of a storm near us. Grandin Avenue intersection was within view ahead. But out of nowhere a tree fell in front of our car, maybe 5-10 feet in front of us, blocking all lanes of traffic. (I still shudder…had we not been delayed at the previous ... continued on page 6

Meeting Announcement Greater Raleigh Court Civic League Meeting to Feature Grandin Village Merchants

The Greater Raleigh Court Civic League kick-off potluck supper meeting will be held Thursday, September 13, at 6:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall of Christ Lutheran Church at the corner of Grandin and Brandon Avenue. Drinks and a chicken entree will be provided. Members are asked to bring a salad, vegetable or dessert dish to share. Our evening program, Meet the Merchants, will focus on three members of the Grandin Village Business Association talking about their day-to-day challenges of running a small business and the lessons learned . Linda Stedman of Too Many Books, Jenny Prickett of New To Me, and Andrea Wade of Reid’s Fine Furnishings comprise the panel. Come and meet other members of the Grandin Village Business Association who have been invited to attend.

Greater Raleigh Court Civic League Officers 2011-2012 OFFICERS

Jenny Prickitt

President: : Jake Gilmer

Immediate Past President:

Vice-President: Vacant Treasurer: Chad Braby – Interim Recording Secretary: Cassandra Van Hyning Corresponding Secretary: Vacant

Directors at Large: Parke Loesel Matt Pritts Martha Graves

Chad Braby

COMMITTEE CHAIRS: Membership: Martha Graves Adopt-a-Highway: Derek and Stacy Lam

Special Projects: Tony Stavola Greenways: Mike Urbanski Building Management: Carl Cress Grandin Road Merchants Liaison: Jenny Prickitt

Neighborhood Affairs Committee: Vacant

Web & Social Media: Blake Pogue

Program: Parke Loesel Newsletter: Jake Gilmer - Interim Project2

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The Court Reporter is published by the Greater Raleigh Court Civic League five times a year on or about the first week of September, November, January, March, 8/3/11 10:18 AM Page 1 and May.

From the President We’re glad to be back from our summer vacations and the Greater Raleigh Court Civic League is ready for another great year of “building community”. I am also excited to enter my first year as President of the Civic League and would like to personally thank Chad Braby, our Immediate Past President, for his dedication and leadership over the past two years. Chad has done a tremendous job and had many accomplishments, such as starting the Classroom Grant Program.

Also over this summer, the Board of the Civic League held its annual retreat to discuss opportunities for the upcoming year. We discussed our traditional services, such as the newsletter, co-sponsoring events in the Grandin Village Business Association, neighborhood meetings, and advocacy. These services will continue, but we would like to do more. Last year we began the Classroom Grant program for elementary schools in the neighborhood. This year we hope to continue providing the grants and expand the opportunity to Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Patrick Henry High School. Also this year, we would like to expand the number of social events in the community, such as the Grandin Chillage, Village After-Hours, and more time at the neighborhood meeting for neighbors to meet each other. Lastly, we believe that the Civic League will have a central role in advocating for appropriate upgrades to the Raleigh Court Library. Look for more information about these changes in early 2013.

Now, I would like to take a brief moment to tell you a little more about me. I moved to Roanoke 7 years ago from Asheville, NC and my wife and I were immediately convinced that Raleigh Court was where we wanted to live. I work as a Senior Planner at the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, where I help local governments plan and develop infrastructure. My wife, Jill is physician and we have two beautiful children, a 7-year old son that attends Grandin Court Elementary, and a 4-year old daughter.

See you at the neighborhood potluck on September 13th!

While the Court Reporter was sunning at the beach this summer, Raleigh Court was busy keeping the power on, literally. Almost all of us were affected in some way by the June dercho, whether it was downed trees, lost power, wasted food, or oppressive heat. But in the midst of this disaster, we saw endless signs of compassion and humanity. Neighbors knocked on doors, helped each other clear trees and branches, shared ice and air conditioning, and provided encouragement and support. With our televisions, computers, and phones of little use, we were left with the oldest form of communication and entertainment, we talked. We shared stories, cooked food together, and made plans. While the derecho was a major inconvenience for thousands in our region, it was a reminder of our common ties and the role of family and community. On the front cover of the newsletter, you will find a moving story of how one of our neighbors helped a family in need during the storm. page 3

Calendar September Membership Meeting and Potluck Thurs, Sept 6, 6:30 pm

Panamanian Steel Orchestra Sept. 9, 6:30pm

Grandin Chillage Sept. 28, 6pm

Star City Women’s 5k Sat, Oct 6, 9:00 am

Historical Walking Tour of Evergreen Cemetery Sun, Oct 14, 2:00pm

Grandin Theatre Soiree Sat, Oct 27

Civic League Membership Meeting Thurs, Nov 8, 7:00 pm

Grandin Children’s Holiday Parade Sat, Nov 17, 11:00 am

Things You Need to Know Panamanian Steel Orchestra

2:00 PM. This is a free event to the public and all are

Will be held on Sunday, Sept. 9th at 6:30pm at the

welcome to join us for an informal tour highlighting

outdoors amphitheater of Virginia Heights Baptist

famous and infamous individuals from our city’s past.

Church, corner of Grandin Road and Memorial Avenue,

Refreshments follow. Participants, including children,

SW. The event is free and concessions are being sold for

should wear comfortable walking shoes and meet at the

the benefit of the Congregations in Action organization.

cemetery office located at the corner of Summit Avenue

For more info, call 344-7748.

and Brighton Road in southwest Roanoke City. For the seventh year, Don Wilson will lead a fascinating,

Patrick Henry High School Football

walking tour of Evergreen Burial Park, Raleigh Court’s

PH home football dates this year are August 24,

largest green space. Evergreen is the resting place for

September 7, October 5, October 12, and November

more than 22,000 including a number of noteworthy

2. Come check out a fun Friday evening in the

persons including Governor J. Lindsay Almond,

neighborhood! All games start at 7 pm. Also look to

15 Roanoke City Mayors, 6 Norfolk and Western for other PH home sports events.

Presidents, a Virginia Poet Laureate, and numerous members of Roanoke’s founding families. The cemetery

Historical Walking Tour of Evergreen Cemetery Evergreen Burial Park will host its 7th annual historical walking tour Sunday October 14, 2012 beginning at

is also home to some spectacular trees, including the North America Champion Red Buckeye tree. ... continued on page 5

Historical Walking Tour of Evergreen Cemetery • October 14, 2012 • 2PM page 4

Women’s 5k in Raleigh Court

Grandin Children’s Holiday Parade

The annual Star City Women’s 5k will be held Saturday,

Will be held Saturday November 17 at 11 am. The

October 6th at 9:00 am. Race director Amy Rockhill is

event is organized by the Grandin Village Business

organizing the latest edition of the longest continual all-

Association and the Civic League assists with providing

female non-scholastic race in Virginia. The course starts

volunteers for traffic control at the closed cross streets.

near the Grandin Road Post Office and winds through

We need volunteers. It’s easy, you can watch the parade

the neighborhood, finishing in the Village. Proceeds

with your family while wearing a snazzy orange vest.

from the race benefit the Star City Strider’s and its

Contact Chad Braby at

charity partner, Children’s Trust. More info and online


sign-up available at

Community Markets Charge Into Autumn The Grandin Village Community Market will continue

Consignment Boutique

Furniture, Clothing, Art, & More

selling local produce and products every Saturday,

What was once Out is now back In!!! For the Latest Trends, Shop at

8am – 12 pm through October, at its location behind the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op. The West End

1322 Grandin Rd • 540-982-2022

Community Market will continue at its location at the corner of Patterson Ave and 13th St every Wednesday evening, 3-6 pm year round.

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... continued from page 1

intersection…) And after slamming my breaks to miss that tree, the storm hit. All street lights went out, and gale force winds ensued. What was this?! Gathering my wits, I realize that I could back up and get turned around. I turned on the first street into the residential area, Greenwood Road. As I drove precariously through the dark street (no one had power), I called everyone I knew in the immediate area hoping to seek safety with them... no answer. I was scared to be in the car in that storm, and poor Savannah was crying. I pulled over. No sense continuing to drive. If this was a tornado, we needed to get to somewhere much safer…but where?! I called my husband and told him, “I don’t know what else to do. I think we are going to just have to go to a random house.” I hung up, turned to Savannah and said, “We are going to be fine, but we need to get out of this car. So hop out quickly, stay close to me with your head down, and run to that house.” We ran to the closest house and banged on the door. The house was without power, but I could see the light of a cell phone guiding someone to the front door. “You don’t know us,” I cried desperately, “but a tree just fell in front of our car and we have nowhere to go.” And then truly a miracle happened…she opened the door. “Come in! Come in!” And as soon as the door closed behind us, Savannah broke down, “Thank you so much for letting us in,” she said repeatedly through tears.

Our guardian angels were Anne and Emily Culley – and their big beautiful dogs (a welcome distraction for Savannah). We waited out the storm with them, becoming acquainted over candles and flashlights. It didn’t last long, to our surprise… so we ventured out to survey the damage along the street. I was stunned by what I saw: large old trees ripped from their roots, mangled limbs in the street, yard decorations strewn to houses many doors down. But what struck me too was the neighbors. Everyone seemed to know one another, seemed concerned for one another. They knew who was out of town and who was just across town at a sister’s house. The Greenwood Road residents were so kind and helpful. Immediately, people were pulling out chainsaws, picking up debris. It was comforting after the chaos that Savannah and I had just experienced. At the same time, I realized that if the damage I was seeing was repeated on the neighboring streets, there was no way I could get home safely that night. There were still no streetlights. I was certain it would be fruitless, if not dangerous, to attempt to go home. “You can stay here tonight,” Anne said, “We have plenty of room.” So we stayed the night with our newfound friends, once strangers to us, even though they had no power. I know that what they say is true…there are WONDERFUL people in this world!! People willing to truly welcome a stranger and offer them shelter. I am so grateful to the generous women who took Savannah and me in during the crazy derecho storm. I hope to thank them appropriately… and definitely pay forward their kindness.

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Updates on Raleigh Court Happenings

destruction to our urban canopy from the derecho. And as this summer’s terrible heat and draught has dragged on, Hila has convinced neighbors to pitch in and deliver massive tubs of water to the drooping twins. While the trees may be

By Susan Koch

struggling to adapt to their new home, they look like they’re survivors, thanks to one persistent woman.

Grandin Road Tree Our May edition featured the story of Raleigh Court resident Hila Jahnesman and her persistence at getting a tree replaced

Huge Turnout for Raleigh Court Block Party

on Grandin Road. The Bradford pear, growing near the

Over 700 Raleigh

corner of Windsor and Grandin, had to be cut down by the

Court friends

city when a truck from Arthur’s Organics damaged it. Hila

and neighbors

successfully raised money from the Co-op, where the truck

gathered for the

had just made a delivery, and from Arthur’s Organics to

eighth annual

replace the tree.

Neighborhood Block Party in

The grower actually delivered two new trees, and Hila

late May. Kids

convinced the City to plant them in mid-May—at no charge.

jumped in the Moon Bounce

But Hila’s stewardship of Grandin Road’s Bradford pears

and lined up for

didn’t end when the roots were in the ground. She’s been

face painting by

watching over

Grandin Village

those two little

artist Katherine

trees like a

Devine. They

worried parent of

were entertained

twins. And she’s

by juggler Chris Taibi and magician Mark Fuller, and the kids

not shy about

twisted and shouted as they danced with hulu hoops.

enlisting help

The crowds enjoyed free Valleydale hot dogs cooked by Civic

when she thinks they’re not thriving. Thanks to Hila’s persistence, Roanoke’s Dan Henry and his urban forester crew watered the trees, just as the workers were facing

League grillers, cake made by the bakers at the Raleigh

the massive

Court Rehab Center and cookies baked by Civic League ... continued on page 10

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Thanks To The Sponsors Of The 2012 Grandin Village Block Party Jimmy Sardines Moon Bounce Valley Bank Face Painting Valleydale Hot Dogs

volunteer Ruth Babylon. And the line was out the door at Pop’s for free ice cream donated by Homestead Creamery. Everyone enjoyed the sounds of the bands—Woodrow

Reid’s Fine Furnishings Gretchen Coleman Commissioning Group Grace’s Place Pizzeria Raleigh Court Health & Rehabilitation Center

Wilson Middle School Band, The Paperboys and Welcome to Hoonah—recruited by neighbor, author and talented musician Ralph Berrier. The Bock Party is a joint production of the Grandin Village Business Association and the Greater Raleigh Court Civic

Salon Bella Sout to Sole The Yoga Center Roanoke Ballet F. Gepffrey LTD New To Me Stop-In Foods 7-Eleven Kessler Design Homestead Creamery Virginia Heights Baptist Church Corrugated Container Grandin Village Community Market Katherine Devine

League. In addition to the many generous sponsors listed in this edition’s ad, thanks goes to merchants Susan Stump, Katherine Devine, Jo Morse, Christa Stevens, and Karen Kessler who worked with Civic Leaguers Parke Loessel, Susan Koch, Ruth Babylon, Ralph Berrier, Betts Gillespie, and Shelley Braby to organize this fun event. page 10

Music Provided by: Woodrow Wilson Middle School Band The Paperboys Welcome to Hoonah

Meet the Merchants

sell, the owner can take it back or Jenny will donate it. The patient shopper can get some great bargains, but some items are so hot they barely touch the floor before

By Susan Koch

Ask Raleigh Court residents why they like our neighborhood, and Grandin Village with its eclectic mix of businesses usually tops the list. Indeed, Grandin Village is so attractive that the Roanoke is trying to replicate the “village center” around the city. We who live here know what a tough task that is be since Grandin Village is so dependent on the unique owners who pour their hearts and souls into their businesses. Three of Grandin Village’s most popular merchants will be at our September meeting. While each owner runs a one-of-a-kind store, you’ll quickly recognize some common characteristics. They’re all extremely friendly, customer oriented and each has a special eye for selecting just the right things to appeal to her customers. And each of them, when faced with a crossroads in her life, took a large leap of faith to start her own business. When many retail businesses don’t survive the first few years, each of these business owners has succeeded for almost a decade or more. Treasures on Grandin When you walk through the door of New To Me, it’s obvious that a creative hand is at work. The eclectic mix of merchandise, displayed in interesting vignettes, tempts the shopper and spurs the imagination. Proprietor Jenny Prickett began her business almost nine years ago after working in other retail shops. The consignment business is a natural for Jenny. One of seven kids, she says she learned to “shop thrifty” and could always stretch her back to school money farther than any of her brothers or sisters. At New To Me, she enjoys specializing in the “fun and funky” and has no problem in finding a wide range of unique furniture, clothes and accessories. Jenny takes consignments by appointment, and splits the profit with the owners. To keep her inventory fresh, she reduces the price over three months. If an item doesn’t

they’re gone, like a love seat Jenny recently sold within 30 minutes of unloading it. A new addition to the store is art from local artists, which Jenny changes out monthly. A Raleigh Court resident, Jenny says she loves being a part of a community, knowing her customers and enjoying the special neighborhood feel of Grandin Village. New To Me 1322 Grandin Road Mon – Fri 10-6, Sat 10-5, Sun 1-4 Taking a Chance on the Finer Things Reid’s Fine Furniture reflects owner Andrea Wade’s commitment to family, her fine aesthetic eye and sharp business sense. Named for her parents, the store opened in 1995 when the furniture business that employed Andrea closed. Out of a job, she took a big chance and bought a building in the heart of Grandin Village. She began with 2,500 square feet. ... continued on page 12

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After significant renovations and almost two successful decades, the store has expanded to 10,000 square feet with a 6,000 square warehouse behind.

Known as the only distributors of craftsman and classic style Stickley furniture in Southwest Virginia, Andrea and husband Bill Wade have greatly expanded the lines of furniture they carry in recent years. One of their most popular new lines is the amazingly comfortable Ekornes Stressless® chairs from Norway. There are also carrying furniture from the Keno brothers, popular Antiques Road Show stars. Andrea takes great pride in the fact that much of her merchandise is from American factories. Indeed, she says the manufacturers she represents account for over 4,000 American jobs. To promote that fact, she’s planning a Labor Day Extravaganza, and the store will pay the sales tax on merchandise from American manufacturers. Just like New to Me and Too Many Books, Reid’s draws shoppers from outside of Raleigh Court to our neighborhood. Andrea emphasizes how important it is to her to promote all the other businesses to her customers.

Reid’s Fine Furnishings 1330 Grandin Road Mon – Fri 10-6 Sat 10-5 “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” That Linda Stedman has chosen to hang this wonderful Louisa May Alcott quote in her bookstore is no accident. Not only does Linda enjoy a sense of humor, but she also contends you can never have Too Many Books. Surrounded by thousands of volumes, Linda seems to know and love each and every one of them. It appears there aren’t many books Linda’s unfamiliar with, and she’s always a great source of recommendations for readers. Tell her what you like, and she’ll be ticking off other great reads. Linda started her business career in 1993 when she and a partner opened their used bookstore near Towers. It was a leap of faith since she had been an English teacher and didn’t have any retail experience. But she’d always been a voracious reader. She quickly learned how to stock the right mix of books and how to value the antique books the shop handled. ... continued on page 13

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When her friend retired after about 4 ½ years, Linda was able to buy her out and move to greatly expanded quarters at Oak Grove Plaza. But then Raleigh Court residents began courting her to move to the Village. When Bill Wade, landlord and husband of Reid’s Fine Furnishing’s Andrea Wade, made her an offer she couldn’t refuse, she moved to the store on the corner of Westover and Grandin. The space had recently housed the Co-op.

each other. “I can’t imagine any other place I’d want to be in Roanoke,” she says. “There’s a buzz here.” Too Many Books 1504 Grandin Mon – Sat 10-5:30 Sun 1-5

1504 Grandin Road 1504 Grandin Road (next to the Pure Station) (next to the Pure Station)

Linda made one more move when the Wades needed the space to expand Reid’s. So Linda bought her own building a block up Grandin. With more than a little help from her many friends, she moved over 60,000 volumes to her current home. Now she’s a landlord herself, with several apartments and a retail space currently available for rent, in addition to the store. While the retail book business has become more challenging with the advent of Amazon and e-books, Linda appreciates the business she gets from the Raleigh Court neighborhood. She especially values the other Grandin Village merchants, and the support they give

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Grandin Village Market Benefits Community By Parke Loesel

End Community Market organized a few years ago by Cochran are thriving enterprises now under the leadership of T. Reynolds, Market Manager. Transitioning into other projects, Cochran, a friendly young man with natural talent and stamina hopes to make

On a bright, sunny, Saturday

the Grandin market more user

morning, the Grandin Village

friendly. He would like to raise

Community Market hums

funds to build a permanent

with excitement as customers

roof over the Grandin market

wander through the fifteen

and create new opportunities

vendor stalls searching for fresh

for the outdoor space.

local seasonal produce. The

Reminiscing, Cochran said he

steady flow of friendly banter

does not miss past experiences

among friends, neighbors and

of hauling tenting equipment

children is an integral part

at 4 am from the Roanoke

of this relaxed atmosphere.

Natural Foods Coop storage

Located in the parking lot behind Grandin Village on Westover Avenue and open on Saturday from 8 am to noon until the end of October, the market provides a colorful

building onto the parking lot deck. Currently, a shed on the property holds tenting equipment which is then packed up after each use. Used by the vendors, the tents provide much

arrangement of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, meats, fish,

needed shading during the hot summer months.

cheese, and baked goods. There are creative expressions of notecards, artwork, and fresh flowers for sale, too. Light

As a recent MBA graduate, and the Director of LEAP

instrumental music and singing by Erin and Monica adds

(Local Environmental AgricultureProject) , Cochran has

to the festive setting. Brent Cochran, the former Market

been instrumental in other community projects like the

Manager, mentioned musicians perform the first Saturday of

newly planned renovation and expansion of the West End

each month and a banner listed Valley Bank as sponsor. Betty

Community Market. Expanded space and a “certified”

Bailey, a recent speaker at our civic league’s meeting said she

commercial kitchen, a feature of the new plan, is expected

has been pleasantly surprised when customers recognized her

to enhance business opportunities and development. Other

Catawba Meadow Farm produce stand after reading about

projects include Cochran’s role as Managing Director of

her in our newsletter!

City Works, supervising the river rock climbing gym, a

The Grandin Village Community Market and the West

component of the River Rock Plan in Wasena.

1316 Grandin Rd. Roanoke VA 24015 Open Tuesday through Sunday

981-1340 Dine-In or carry out

Online ordering page 14

Behind Reid’s Furnishings Where quality and service still exist.

CommonSenseBanking FOR THE WAY YOU LIVE

OutrageousRewards FOR THE WAY YOU BANK

Owner Geoff Jennings (formerly with Frank L. Moose) With 39 years experience, offers exceptional quality and service

1919 Westover Avenue, SW 540-345-8881 Mon. by Appt.; Tues-Fri 10am-5:30pm; Sat. 10am-3:30pm

Member FDIC

Research all the benefits of MyLifestyle Checking by visiting our website

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Greater Raleigh Court Civic League P.O. Box 3092 Roanoke, VA 24015 Address Service Requested

Membership Form

q new member q renewing member

New members are welcome to join the Civic League at any time. Your mailing label shows when it’s time to renew your membership. You may pay your dues at the next membership meeting. Multiyear or life memberships are welcome! The Civic League is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Donations may be claimed as charitable deductions for tax purposes. Please mail your membership dues ($10 family, $15 business, or $100 life membership) or gifts to: GRCCL, P.O. Box 3092, Roanoke, VA 24015 Or go to and click on “JOIN US” to fill out a membership application online. Name Address

E-mail Address



Home Phone

Business Phone

Amount Enclosed I’d like to help out with:


Donation q in memory of q in honor of

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