26 Nov KentJewelers1

Post written by Karen Quina Doyle

“Here’s to the crazy ones….The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire.”

I’m sure I’m not the only one to come across this time-honored toast in recent weeks. What I wasn’t expecting was for it to come to mind as I was trying to figure out how to start writing this blog. And while I would be hard-pressed to go so far as to call her crazy, the rest of the Apple®-inspired tribute seems an apt way to describe Marla Kemsey, the creative powerhouse/owner behind Kent Jewelers.

Kemsey has elevated the whole experience of buying fine jewelry to an art form, redefining the way business is done in the process. “Our goal is to create a social atmosphere where you can buy jewelry in a way that enhances the aesthetics and economy of Downtown Blacksburg,” the attractive, fit visionary with characteristic composure and focus, provides. “I intentionally bucked the consultant’s advice to stick to a more traditional, formulaic layout in favor of a more personalized, boutique approach that’s not as serious about the way the merchandise is displayed. By design,” she is careful to distinguish, “I didn’t want the shop to look or feel like other jewelry stores.”

She succeeded. From the unconventional arrangement of the display cases to the hand-picked original art pieces gracing the shop walls, the resulting effect feels more gallery-like than category retail, sans the stultifying air that can sometimes make its way around such high-end transactions. By contrast, there’s an energizing vibe that emanates from the store and its ebullient manager Bailey Workman, a long-time employee and 2010 grad with a Management degree from Tech. It’s why you’ll find unlikely customers, like the camouflage-suspendered Roy C. Jones, gushing her praises for replacing a band on the watch she sold him on an earlier visit just as enthusiastically as a lady who is looking to purchase a diamond pendant.

Workman is as much a part of the draw as the singularly spectacular gems, each of which is individually chosen in careful collaboration between her and Kemsey as a process of this ring or this ring or this ring. “We decide on the front end what to sell and then merchandise it,” says Kemsey. “We may carry only one sapphire ring and one tourmaline ring and one ruby pendant that we specifically chose, each as a unique piece, as opposed to merchandising in multiples.”

Fifteen years after launching her first business venture, Chantilly Lace, which originated from a business plan she wrote as a Design major at Radford, the mother of three was ready for something new. “I love Blacksburg, and I wanted to continue to contribute to this economy rather than having to expand the other three or more hours away. My goal was to stay downtown, and I liked the idea of being right on Main Street. Blacksburg has an amazing amount of potential,” she endorses.

A Passion for Jewelry as Art
Not long after opening as Kent Square’s first anchor eight years ago, she acquired the shop’s first permanent art installment, a piece entitled The Grand Master Staircase by the Brazilian surrealist painter, Ferjo. “The painting was purchased at a gallery in Reno when I was supposed to be buying jewelry,” she confides. “It set the stage for the aesthetics of the store. Jewelry is beautiful. Art is stunning. I’m a huge fan of Picasso. The number of masterpieces portrayed in the contemporary context of this one collection is fascinating. I see something new every time I look at it.”

The contemporary but elegant feel of her most recent addition, a painting by Hugo Rivera that gives human form to a traditional subject, reflects the contemporary, eclectic feel she envisions for the store.

The day we met, she happened to be wearing something special, the very first piece of jewelry she got at market, a Cabachon lariat of garnet beads and freshwater pearls, even though she hadn’t worn it in three years.

Pretty in Pink
The daughter of a breast cancer survivor, Kemsey channeled her passion for the cause into Blacksburg’s annual Pretty in Pink fund/awareness-raising gala in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October. After hearing a radio report of another town’s success with a similar event, she knew Blacksburg could do the same based on its track record with, among others, Stepping Out; and she saw it as a way to give back to the community where women could come together around a social event. Now in its 4th year, the soiree has evolved into a good event that unifies downtown as more and more businesses like Gourmet Pantry, the Farmers’ Market, and Matrix Gallery, which was able to make a contribution to the Susan G. Komen Foundation with this year’s proceeds, have joined forces. Her hope is that it will continue to grow into the kind of event that is copied and used as a model for other small towns.

Holiday Get-Togethers
Kent Jewelers is set to host a number of other special events throughout the holidays. The first, Ladies’ Night, a social gathering organized around cocktail hour to give clients the chance to catch up with each other and the store’s latest offerings, is set for December 1. Kemsey and Workman have been known to give away thousand dollar diamond rings, in addition to the gift bags and wish lists everyone receives.

The guys will have their turn December 15 with Blackjack and poker chips that double as discounts on merchandise. It’s all part of their philosophy to bring people together in a fun social setting where they can feel comfortable and involved.

What’s on Your Holiday Wish List?
Have your eye on something special from Kent Jewelers? Write it down in the comment section below, and we’ll try to get word to Santa!

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Winter Events- mark your calendars!

14 Nov winterlights

NRV Roller Girls present:Drag Queen Bingo
2nd annual fundraiser on Nov 16th, at Awful Arthur’s after the Comedy Club
$15 for 15 rounds of Bingo, performances by the Drag Queens and a goody bag!
NRV Roller Girls

Creekmore Law Firm Open House
Thursday, December 1 from 6:00 to 9:00. Food, music, and a toy drive for United Way. Wear Victorian apparel for an extra bit of vintage Christmas spirit!

Ladies Night at Kent Jewelers
December 1 – Join us for a night of fun! Make a Christmas wish list, enjoy Hors d’oeuvres, and have your jewelry cleaned. Free Gift Bags to all attendees!

SILENT NIGHT silent auction at XYZ Gallery
December 2, 2011 6:00-10:00pm
Tickets: $2 in advance, $3 at the door
Bid on students artwork and enjoy light refreshments and live music.

Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. & Town of Blacksburg present:
Winter Lights Festival with TubaChristmas and Holiday Parade
Friday, December 2, 2011. 4:00pm-7:00pm
4:00- 5:30pm Pictures with Santa at The Lyric (bring your own camera) Santa will leave at 5:30pm promptly to attend to other duties so don’t be late!
4:00-7:00pm Holiday Gift Market in Market Square Park
5:30pm Tree lighting by Mayor Ron Rordam and Santa, with music from the Blacksburg Children’s Master Chorale
6:00pm TubaChristmas co-sponsored by Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. and the Department of Music at Virginia Tech in Market Square Park.
7:00pm Holiday Parade co-sponsored by Blacksburg Parks& Recreation Department & Virginia Tech Chapter of Circle K
Deo Gloria will be wandering the streets singing Christmas carols.

All ages and ability levels!
TubaChristmas is coming back to Blacksburg to join the Winter Lights Festival. TubaChristmas will make this the best holiday celebration ever! Bring your tubas, euphoniums and all of your friends to downtown Blacksburg on Friday, December 2nd , 2011.
Participants, please RSVP to

Holiday Craft Fair, Friday Dec 2
130 Jackson
Get into the holiday spirit by stopping by the Holiday Craft Fair at 130 Jackson for unique handmade gifts for all ages.

Tech Bookstore presents: “The Untold Civil War” Book Signing with James “Bud” Robertson, Jr.
Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 10:00am
“The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War,” focuses on little known details in the lives of soldiers and leaders and offers a humanizing portrait of this time in history.
The book features 132 new stories and 475 rare illustrations, making it a perfect gift for history enthusiasts or those curious to study a new perspective on the Civil War.
Copies of the newest book will be on sale at the Tech Bookstore along with other titles by Dr. Robertson.

Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. presents a FREE movie- “Elf”
Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. and the Lyric Theatre present our holiday gift to the Blacksburg Community
December 3- 10:00am in the Lyric.
Please come and enjoy a free showing of the movie “Elf” on the big screen in your favorite theatre!
Santa and Buddy the Elf will be available for pictures following the movie in the lobby.
Don’t be a ” cotton-headed ninny-muggins”…….bring your family, bring your friends!

Late Night at the Lyric presents
December 2& 3- Sing-along-Grease. Doors open at 11:30pm, show starts at midnight. All tickets $5
Also showing at 3:00pm  on Saturday December 3. Tickets $5

Gillie’s Tea Party!
Come and have tea at Gillie’s featuring 5 types of delicious tea to taste, fancy hors d’oeuvres , prizes and a very civilized afternoon of fun!
Sunday December 4, 4:00-6:00pm
Tickets: $10

HaeBo Productions present:
“Ten Minutes ’til Christmas” and “A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas” at GLE on Sat, Dec 3 at 2 and 7 and Sun, Dec 4 at 2pm. Admission is free.

Ladies & Gents Shopping Night in Downtown Blacksburg
Ladies Night- Dec 8
Gents Night- Dec 15
Featuring 4-8pm, late night shopping, personalized shopping assistance, free gift wrap, snacks and beverages, and holiday specials in participating stores.

Gourmet Pantry presents Holiday Cooking Classes
November 30- EDIBLE GIFTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS at 6:00pm $55 fee
December 7- International Holiday Cookies, the gourmet way. 6:00pm. $55 fee
December 10- “Taste of Virginia” great holiday gifts.- FREE
December 15- Gents Night Out at 6:00pm. FREE

New River Stage presents: The Society of Sidekicks
Saturday, December 10 · 11:00am – 12:00pm at The Lyric Theatre
Humanity is in deep trouble, menaced by the mighty power of the evil Bookworm! With earth perched on the brink of destruction, it’s time to call upon the heroes of the world to fight back. Unfortunately, almost all of them have been taken hostage by Bookworm. The last hope is the sidekicks, who are not quite sure they’re up to the job.

This delightful and entertaining original play is presented by New River Stage, showcasing the talents of its Dramatic Mondays class, a 12-week workshop for kids. The show will be presented on December 10, 2011 at 11 AM at The Lyric.
The show is free, and donations are very much appreciated.

HONK! is the musical journey of the ugly duckling, combining witty humor with a familiar story to create an entertaining experience for all ages. The sizable cast will include all ages from 6 through adults. The performance will be the first two weekends in March and the auditions are December 2-4. See for details.

Steve Jacobs O.D. Local Charity Fundraiser
Thank you to all of the Blacksburg merchants who’ve contributed items for our Best of Blacksburg Raffle. We have over 30 items on display with a total retail value of approximately $800. The Raffle will continue until the week before Christmas when we’ll pick our lucky winners. Winner #1 gets his/her choice of 10 items, #2 the next 10, etc… All funds rasied will go to NRV Cares and VICCC.

Hahn Horticulture Garden
Wednesday Garden Walks & Talks – Free!
Learn at lunchtime! All run 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. – meet at the Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion. No registration required. Parking passes available at Pavilion for Visitors only. F/S must park in designated F/S spaces.
These fun and informative walks and talks all start at the Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion. Did we mention they are FREE?
November 16 12:00-1:00 p.m. Art in the Gardens of New Zealand with Dr. Diane Relf
In a country as beautiful as New Zealand, art is integral to every aspect of life, from driftwood art galleries on the beaches to one of the finest botanic gardens in the world. Backyard hobby gardens and spectacular private estates are opened to the public to share the art of gardening and the art in the garden. Art shows are held in gardens to bring together nature and art.
Dr. Diane Relf, who winters with her husband Dave Angle at their home in Southland, New Zealand will share with you the country, the people, the gardens and the art. In conjunction with the presentation, there will be a show of New Zealand artists in the Hahn Pavilion from Nov 16 to Nov 30.
Call Stephanie at 540-231-5970 to register by phone or email

Blacksburg Newcomers Club
General Meetings start at 9:00am on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, September – May, at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church (600 Prices Fork Rd.)
Our organization is open to all residents of the New River Valley, whether you are new to the area or not. Making new friends and becoming part of the community is what we are all about. Please be our guest at our monthly meeting to learn more about this great organization.

Blacksburg Contra Dance Group
Blacksburg Contradances
Dances are on the third Saturday night of the month from 8pm to 11pm with a lesson at 7:30pm and in the YMCA Dance Room unless otherwise noted. Admission $8 (after 10pm, free) Children 10 and under get in for half price.
BlacksburgContraDance Here

Johns Camera Corner /Gentry Studio has expanded its Horizon.
.. We now sell vinyl records…..Camera repair…. 49cc motor scooters….., and a rental darkroom almost ready. Come and see us at our new location 213 Draper rd. Downtown.

Southwest Virginia Social Dance Society (SVSDS)
Every Friday – free dance lesson from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dancing follows at 8:30 p.m. First dance session free, and then $3.00 for members and $5.00 for non-members. Held at the YMCA Event Room.

SEEDS Nature Center Activities
SEEDS Come Visit!
November and December at the SEEDS – Blacksburg Nature Center:
Camouflage and how living things adapt to the change of seasons.
Tues 10:00am-1:00pm
Thurs 2:00pm-5:00pm
Fri 9:30am-11:30am
Sat 9:00am-1:00pm
Come explore, learn, and have fun!
Rain or shine…Nature discovery right downtown.
It’s a museum and more for children and the young at heart!

Blacksburg Farmers Market
Blacksburg Farmers Market hours for Nov and Dec are
Wednesdays from 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Saturdays from 9:00 am – 2:00pm

Next Door Bake Shop Happy Hour
“5pm to 6.30pm” $1 coffee in a mug. Monday to Friday!!!


9 Nov

Post written by Lauryn Tamburello

310 Rosemont is one of my favorite reasons to walk around downtown Blacksburg. Everytime I see the boutique I have to walk in, even if I was in there the day before! Something about the hard wood floor and vintage décor give you a warm feeling as you enter. My personal go-tos at 310 are the classic Longchamp bags, which last a lifetime and can even be washed down with soap and water (just be careful of the leather straps and accents!), as well as Jack Rogers Sandals. Between purchasing them for my mother and myself, I believe we’ve acquired at least 4 pair from 310 Rosemont. They always have an amazing selection and are willing to help in anyway.

You are greeted in the beginning of your shopping experience with, “Hi! How are you, can I get you water or coffee?” It is always nice how the staff want you to feel comfortable and take your time looking around.  Another thing I always look forward to is the candy jar! They keep it filled with an assortment at the cash register for your enjoyment.

One of the unique aspects of this boutique is how it equally caters to women as well as men. Past the women’s purses and shoes you are led to an endless array of bow ties, ties, polos, button downs, pants and jeans for men.  There’s also a place for the men (as well as boyfriends) to hang out and watch the sports game or play a round of pool.

Julie, a Virginia Tech Graduate in Fashion Design and Merchandising has recently taken on the new role of managing Blacksburg and Roanoke’s 310 Rosemont Boutiques.

One of the reasons Julie has taken on this challenge is that she loves the fact that 31o Rosemont offers  unique items including Jewelry (their top seller for women) and high-end brands such as Free People, BP Dakota, Uggs and plenty more.

310’s new seasonal items are Uggs (of which there is quite a variety including boots and slippers in an assortment of colors), fur vests, chunky sweaters and fall jackets.

A big seller to make 310 stand out from competitors as well as online shopping is the 10% discount they offer to VT students. When students go home and they see a pair of Uggs, Jack Rogers, a Longchamp bag, etc they know they can come back to this adorable boutique on Main Street, in downtown Blacksburg and get it for less.

310 Rosemont is also heavily involved in giving back to the community through Virginia Tech sororities. The Greek Life knows when they are trying to lend a hand to charities they can host a fundraiser at 310 Rosemont, whom will happily give a percentage of sales during a proposed time frame.

The store hours are Monday-Saturday 11-6 and Sundays 12-4 and are open all year round. Also, don’t forget to head over on Black Friday, November 26, to find huge savings!

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You can follow 310 on Twitter, Like them on Facebook and check out their website (which is currently under construction).

Let’s Get Physical!

6 Nov

Post Written by Lauryn Tamburello and Laureen Blakemore

UPDATE: 1/12/12- We are sad to announce that New Tech Fitness closed its doors in December 2011

Walking through the front doors of New Tech Fitness, (which is conveniently located across from Next Door Bake Shop and boasts ample parking onsite) I am immediately struck by a friendly, clean, welcoming, healthy environment. The gym smells and looks clean and bright- a side effect of the massive wall of windows surrounding the entire space. Great to work out in natural light and if you don’t care to watch the televisions it is refreshing to enjoy the beautiful view of the not too distant Blue Ridge Mountains while feeling the burn!

I am delighted to meet Jennifer Miller, “the Fitness Instructor Machine”. Jennifer is the Group Fitness Supervisor of New Tech Fitness, and brings quite a bit of credibility to not only Blacksburg, but across the U.S. Jennifer moved from Knoxville, TN where “I worked for Bally initially and was in the right place at the right time to become a supervisor and now am teaching other teachers across the country.”

Jennifer has been certified for 15 years with the American Aerobics Association International/International Sports Medicine Association (AAAIISMA), which is based out of Pennsylvania. With this certification she is sent throughout the states when needed to teach new classes and workshops. She is also the co-owner of Plain Jane Fitness, which teaches current fitness instructors unique, more specialized techniques such as different workouts you can do with the “bosu ball.”

With this intensive resume, it’s no surprise one of the main attractions to New Tech Fitness are the group fitness classes, and note some days there are up to 15 different class options! Astounding to pick up the schedule and be spoiled for choice- Should I opt for the Healthy Backs Class, which is the only one in town taught by a certified Personal Trainer, New Tech Fitness Manager, Jocy Surface? Or should I try Zumba, Body Pump, Body Flow or that crazy fun indoor cycling workout for cardiovascular conditioning, fat burning, and sculpted legs? I think I need to “sculpt my legs” but the fat burning, hip churning latin-inspired dance moves of Zumba sort of captures my interest…..   Other attractions include a low crowds, no wait for equipment, space in classes (because the classroom is huge!), and the variety of equipment meets all fitness levels. Apparently I could even try out the Aquatic Program which is great for arthritis and joint training and takes place at the heated indoor pool at Hawthorne Suites.

Such variety of equipment, however, can be intimidating, but not for long as most of the employees of New Tech are fitness professionals and trainers with advanced degrees in Physiology and Kinesiology.  Having this experience leads New Tech to being on the cutting edge of fitness but always suggesting safe exercise options.

Last year you might’ve seen the New Tech’s float in the Christmas parade, I don’t think you could miss two spin instructors on bikes advertising the ever-popular spin class. You will also find them at Summer Solstice Fest, teaching Zumba to the crowds, Gobblerfest and involved in VCOM events. New Tech even sponsored a “Biggest Loser” type event in 2010 working with many community partners to make fitness fun for everyone.

As for parents on the fence about going to the gym because they can’t leave their children, New Tech offers Childwatch, which is available to members for a small fee. College students staff this service and use the time constructively by playing and doing activities instead of propping your child in front of the TV. Childwatch hours vary daily which can be found here on their websiteNew Tech Fitness even offers Toddler Time several times a week. Toddler Time offers fun and games for the NTF Childwatch kids in the small fitness studio and is a big hit with the tiny participants!

New Tech Fitness is about more than the obligatory “workout to look good”, New Tech Fitness strives to take your health and fitness goals personally. They give the support and encouragement that is needed to help you achieve the results you desire and deserve. They offer the whole body fitness and wellness approach including the newly opened “Blacksburg Nutrition Store” onsite which is the ONLY nutrition store in Blacksburg. The store is owned and operated by Brian Jardine, a Tech graduate. At New Tech Fitness you get the whole package-personal training, nutrition and fitness advice, a family friendly environment for ALL ages and the best massage therapist in town! Licensed Massage Therapist Dorrie Ditton’s massage therapy studio is an oasis of calm in the center of a busy fitness center that offers convenience without sacrificing privacy.

During our interview on Tuesday, Jennifer invited me to attend her H.E.A.T group fitness class that evening. H.E.A.T. is a High Energy Athletic Training class which is “intense cardiovascular exercise using plyometrics, calisthenics, and kickboxing with intervals of muscle-building strength. Fast paced and challenging”. Each week the classes are different, so you never get used to the workout or know what’s coming. In this particular class it was set up circuit-style; we did a couple minutes of group cardio then partnered up for a weight training or plyometric station and repeated the process 9 times- it kicked my butt! Two days later I’m still feeling it in my calves and abs and that’s when you know you’ve gotten a great workout:)

New Tech Fitness Announcements:

Every month, New Tech offers one free class and in November it will be Power Yoga on Tuesday the 15th from 6:45-8pm.

Saturday, November 19th there will be a 2 hour stationary bike class called Tour de Tech and it will be led by a team of instructors!

Community Discounts

VT Student Discount Memberships (including semester long memberships), Corporate Discounts (which includes VT Faculty) and Blacksburg High School athletes are offered a discounted rate of $15/month accompanied by a coach’s note.

Classes and hours are announced on their Facebook page and website. You can follow New Tech on Twitter.

New Tech Fitness also offers a FREE Member Advantage Card rewarding members with special incentives and discounts at a variety of participating businesses including Awful Arthur’s, Tuck Chiropractic and Next Door Bake Shop.

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Hello Laser, Goodbye Hair

4 Nov

Got too much body hair?  Don’t pay for another painful wax when you can get permanent results at The Laser Clinic of Blacksburg.  Located at712 North Main Streetjust off the new roundabout, Mary Babcock opened The Laser Clinic about 7 years ago.

Excess hair on the face, arms, back, chest, legs and even the bikini area can be permanently removed over a series of treatments.  The length of treatment is different for each person and body area, but can range from as few as 4 months to as long as a year.  Some clients opt to remove excess hair on their entire body.  (Payment plans are available in those cases.)

And it’s not just for women!  The most popular target areas for men are the back and neck.  Mary has also treated men who have heavy facial hair to help thin out beards or remedy ingrown hairs.

Is it painful?  Well it’s certainly not as bad as a wax.  (Brazilian bikini wax anyone? Yikes!)  The laser machine blows cold air on the skin before, during, and after treatment to counteract the heat from the laser.  The sensation is similar to the snap of a rubber band on the skin.

Hair removal via laser is faster than with electrolysis and is effective with all skin types, though darker hair is easier to treat than lighter hair.  Mary can also remove spider veins and red moles.

Laser treatments are available by appointment only and Mary offers very flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate customer’s schedules.  When you come in, the Clinic’s official greeter is Xena, Mary’s blue-eyed dog.  (Mary has extra treats in case you forget to bring one.)

The Laser Clinic also sells vintage Steppin’ Out t-shirts.  Just $5 each or 2 for $8.

Contact Mary at 552.1111 or at to start battling your excess hair today!  Mention this post and you’ll get 10% off your first treatment.

Post written by Peg Warren.

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Look Up the Best Tailgate Party in Downtown Blacksburg

3 Nov Kent_sq9

Post written by Karen Quina Doyle

Look Up the Best Tailgate Party in Downtown Blacksburg

No, really!  Look. Up.  The best tailgate party in Downtown Blacksburg is on the Kent Square Parking Garage Roof!  Game day spots are GUARANTEED with advance reservation, and according to Site Supervisor Stephanie Pascoe, space is still available for the Carolina game on the 17th.  “We’re as close to the stadium as most of the ones on campus,” lends Pascoe, “but twice as much fun.”

Specific spots can be reserved with Season Parking Passes at the start of the season for the discounted rate of $26/game versus a non-package rate of $35/game.  Non-reserved spaces in the garage’s four lower levels are just $25/game, but tailgating is limited to the rooftop for the open air nature of grilling, etc. You can also purchase lower level spaces in advance for $20 per game versus $25 on Gameday.

Tailgating is to fall as Up on the Roof! is to summer. 

On the last Thursday of every month from March through September, creative professionals, locals, and grad students gather on the Kent Square Rooftop to enjoy each other’s company as well as food, beer, and vodka mixers for a measly five bucks that goes directly into the non-profit coffers of Downtown Events, Inc.  Joining “Up on the Roof! Blacksburg’s Premier Creative Professionals Mixer” Facebook Group now will practically ensure that you’ll be in the loop to be on the roof with the rest of Downtown Blacksburg next summer.

More than just fun and games.

But the Kent Square Parking Garage is more than just fun and games.  It’s open 24/7 for more serious pursuits like finding the closest spot in the shortest amount of time (so you’ll have more to spend on what really matters, like shopping and eating) or making that meeting without worrying about having enough change to feed the meter or being greeted with the dreaded “TIME EXPIRED” ticket when you return.

Life’s simply too short to waste it wondering and worrying, so here are the

 Top 10 Reasons to Park Your Car in the

Kent Square Parking Garage!


You’ll enjoy the serenity and satisfaction of 24/7 closed-circuit protection for your vehicle


No bird poop on your windshield!


The first 14 minutes are FREE!


The repo man won’t find it!


You’ll NEVER spend more than $4/day on parking in Downtown Blacksburg!

15-45min: $1

45min-1.5hr: $2

1.5-2.25hr: $3

2.25-24hr: $4  $5 on weekends

$5 daily maximum rate on weekends, regular weekday rates still apply before 2.25 hours



“It beats parking on campus!”

(according to Kent Square Parking Garage Site Supervisor, Stephanie Pascoe)



American Red Cross, Avid LCC, Cabo Fish Taco, Center for the Arts, IMG Sports, Kent Jewelers, Modea, Real Life Dental Care, Senior Fellows for Resource Development, Sew Attitude, and SunTrust Bank will all validate your parking (Translation: FREE PARKING when you visit these businesses! Where other than Monopoly can you get that?)  Most businesses will validate parking for the time they spend at the business, not necessarily to cover an all day rate.


Kent Square Parking Garage Site Supervisor, Stephanie Pascoe rocks!!!

Stephanie is personally responsible for implementing Charlotte-based Park Inc.’s first-ever parking garage operation right here in Downtown Blacksburg!  Now, the company, specializes in valet services for hotels, restaurants, and VA hospitals along the east coast, Park Inc has taken her experience at Kent Square and  applied it to another parking garage in Washington, D.C.!  Way to go, Stephanie!!!



You’ll never have to feed another meter again!

Kent Square Parking Garage even accepts credit cards(VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover as well as cash and coins) AND gives receipts for reimbursements for taxes, businesses, etc. (ever get one of those from a parking meter??) 

And the #1 Reason to Park Your Car

in  Kent Square Parking Garage


You will never have to face the shame and humiliation of trying to parallel park in public ever again!


Let us hear from you!  

What do you think is the best reason to park in Kent Square Parking Garage?  Write your entry in the comment section below by 5pm Monday, November 7, and we’ll treat the person with the best response (as determined by Downtown Blacksburg) to Full day rate ($4) for parking at Kent Square Garage.  Validation tickets to cover parking for the day can be picked up at the Kent Square Garage office on the day you will be using the garage.

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The Kent Square Parking Garage is located at the corner of Draper Road and Roanoke Street; 383 parking spaces on 4 covered levels plus an open air deck with the best views of Downtown Blacksburg on top!  For more information, contact Site Supervisor,

Stephanie Pascoe at 540/443-3542 or at


1 Nov

Missed TubaChristmas in 2010?
Check out this performance of Hark the Herald!

Now you are in the mood for some TUBA…we need YOU!

All ages and ability levels!
TubaChristmas is coming back to Blacksburg to join the Winter Lights Festival. Join in the fun as downtown Blacksburg celebrates with the annual lighting of the tree, parade, Holiday Market, Horse & Carriage rides, Art Crawl and more. TubaChristmas will make this the best holiday celebration ever! Bring your tubas, euphoniums and all of your friends to downtown Blacksburg on Friday, December 2nd , 2011.

Participants, please RSVP to

Schedule and Details:
• Parking: Kent Square Parking Garage – 207 Draper Rd, Blacksburg, VA 24060.
• Registration: 3:00 to 4:00pm – $5.00 per musician (Department of Music, rm. 243, Squires Virginia Tech)
• Rehearsal: 4:00 to 5:15pm (Department of Music, rm. 243, Squires Virginia Tech)
• Break: 5:15pm to 6pm (Dinner will be provided for the musicians.) Pizza, hot chocolate, coffee and water.
• Performance: 6pm to 7pm, Market Square Park, outside with heaters. (Warm weather dress and plastic mouthpieces are in order.)
• Available for purchase: TubaChristmas hats and/or scarves, Music ‘Carols for a Merry TubaChristmas ,  and Commemorative buttons.

TubaChristmas is sponsored by Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.and the Department of Music at Virginia Tech

About TubaChristmas

You are again invited to participate in one or more of the TUBACHRISTMAS concerts/events presented throughout the world. TUBACHRISTMAS was conceived in 1974 as a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. Through the legendary William J. Bell we reflect on our heritage and honor all great artists/teachers whose legacy has given us high performance standards, well structured pedagogy, professional integrity, personal values and a camaraderie envied by all other instrumentalists. The first TUBACHRISTMAS was conducted by the late Paul Lavalle in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974. Traditional Christmas music performed at the first TUBACHRISTMAS was arranged by American composer Alec Wilder who ironically died on Christmas Eve, 1980. Wilder composed many solo and ensemble compositions for tuba and euphonium. He was a loyal supporter of every effort to improve the literature and public image of our chosen instruments. Through Alec Wilder we express our respect and gratitude to all composers who continue to embrace our instruments with their compositions and contribute to the ever growing solo and ensemble repertoire for tuba and euphonium.
Every Christmas season, tuba and euphonium players of all ages, from specific geographic areas, gather to pay respect – through William J. Bell – to all the great artists/teachers who represent their heritage. Every TUBACHRISTMAS performance features traditional Christmas carols especially arranged for the first TUBACHRISTMAS, (December 22, 1974 in NYC’s Rockefeller Plaza) by American composer Alec Wilder (died Christmas Eve, 1980). Through Wilder, TUBACHRISTMAS concerts pay grateful tribute to composers who have embraced these noble instruments with solo and ensemble compositions. Depending on the population of any given geographic area, TUBACHRISTMAS ensembles may attract multiples of 100 participants aged 8 to 85 years! The warm, rich organ-like sound of the tuba-euphonium choir has won the ears and hearts of every audience. It is no wonder that TUBACHRISTMAS is an established Christmas tradition in cities throughout the world.

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If you don’t play Tuba come downtown and enjoy a spectacular performance on December 2nd at 6:00pm in Market Square Park.

Please share your favorite TubaChristmas story in the comments section below! The best story will win a TubaChristmas commemorative button!

TUBACHRISTMAS is a property and presentation of the
P.O. Box 933 • Bloomington, IN 47402-0933
(812) 824-8833 • FAX (812) 824-4462
e-mail: Web site:
“. . .dedicated to developing, expanding, and preserving the music arts. . .”

Guess Who’s Celebrating 25 Years in Downtown Blacksburg!?!

29 Oct Matrix

Post written by Karen Quina Doyle

Revised: 11/16/12- Matrix Gallery is celebrating it’s 25th Birthday! Another year older and another year better and better! Come and join the celebration 11/16/12 4-8pm in Matrix Gallery.

Stepping into Matrix Gallery  on a late October day that might best be described as a mix of drizzle and bluster with a touch of grey, the forecast immediately brightens as shop owner Lana Jaurez ushers me in with her warm smile and easy way.

Lana Juarez

A few steps more, and I’m fully immersed in the company and domain of the attractive, petite shop owner with chocolate eyes and silvering bob.  I know in an instant I’ve just entered the realm of someone who is right in her element, doing exactly what she loves and even more obviously meant to do.

The Road to Blacksburg

As an Art Major at Tech in the ’70s, Juarez had her heart set on working at a Downtown Blacksburg craft shop in the spot that is now Poor Billy’s.  It closed before she got that chance.  Waiting and wishing for someone to reopen it, she took to the road as a juried artist specializing in stained glass, a craft, which by her own admission, she hasn’t pursued in a while.

The journey would ultimately take her across the country just as it had as a young “Navy brat” transported from California to D.C..  It was during these more recent ventures that she met most of the artists and artisans “from all over” she still represents to this day.  Even though she has long since left the juried arts circuit, the latest works of those early acquaintances are still exquisitely displayed right next to her more recent finds.

Opening the Doors on a New Chapter

Realizing she could no longer wait for someone else to reopen that craft shop, she, along with two others who have since moved on, opened the gallery November 7, 1987 just a few blocks up the road in what has remained its permanent location at 115 North Main Street.

Working Her Magic

During a visit that was altogether too brief, I immediately grasped the notion behind her success when two random gentlemen, one with a clear agenda and one without, appeared in her doorway. The more decisive of the two made quick work of coveting a dove sculpture, a premeditated gift for (it was apparent) a very special lady, though he was in no apparent hurry.

Every dog has his day!

He and the engaging Juarez lingered over musicians and friends they had in common along with a shared love for Keb’ Mo’, who (unbeknownst to him) had prompted the whole exchange by way of Lana’s sound system.   The other, asking where one “might find antiques in town”, was greeted with the news that he could easily find “future antiques” right there in Matrix Gallery!  It was clear to me that no one could open that door without feeling the urge to come in and find what would surely become a treasured heirloom.  Even I was not immune.  I ended up leaving with the perfect gift for a friend’s new arrival: a baby rattle crafted out of a single piece of American black cherry at the hands of Victoria, TX wood turner and furniture maker, George Bagnall.

Art from All Parts

The array of artists reads like a travelogue as diverse as Juarez’ journeys — Whiting, WA; Burlington, ND; Corrales, NM; Easthampton, MA; Arcata, CA; Haiku, HI — though weight and prominence are equally given to local and regional artists including Blacksburg’s own David Crane, Beverly Nachlas, and Sally Mook as well as Floyd’s Sarah McCarthy, Richmond’s Robin Cage, and the Shenandoah Valley’s Marsha Heatwole.  The offerings range from pottery to glass, jewelry and wood, leatherwork, and hand-forged steel among a variety of other media.

“I believe it’s important to continue the tradition of honoring things made by hand,” Juarez intones.  “Even though this is new,” she urges, cradling a pottery mug with heartfelt appreciation, “it’s ancient.”  With a compassion that is hard to miss, she emphasizes how hard it is for the American artist to make it, especially now as things are moving too fast at the hands of technology.  “It’s something we can’t afford to lose,” she says with an impassioned plea.

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Tell Us What You’ve Found There

Do have a favorite artist or prized acquisition from Matrix Gallery?  We’d love to hear about it. Please share your story with us in the comments section, below.

When you’re through, go by and wish Lana a Happy 24th Downtown Blacksburg Anniversary!  We dare you to leave empty-handed.

Matrix Gallery is open seven days a week.

Learn more at


27 Oct Ritas5

Post written By Lauryn Tamburello

Rita’s manager, Jim Hagan, originally from Frederick, Maryland came here to start the “water” ice and custard shop after coaching football for many years.
Jim tries to get involved with the local community as much as possible by sponsoring children’s sports such as football, wrestling, volleyball and baseball.
This fall you will also be able to find Rita’s at a second location- in the concourse area of the Basketball arena! The stand will be located on the football stadium side during Men’s basketball games.
You can also find Rita’s at all of the Downtown Blacksburg events such as Summer Solstice, Steppin’ Out and Gobblerfest.
The most popular flavor enjoyed at Rita’s is Mango, and the Ice and Custard are equally top sellers. You can enjoy seasonal flavors such as Pumpkin, Cranberry and even Iced Hot Chocolate.Rita’s specializes in “water” ice, meaning it’s not as solid as Italian ice; the ice is made fresh everyday and Jim adds, “the custard is like nothing around here, it’s a soft serve with egg,” which leaves it thick and creamy. ”

For future business owners, Jim says, “the hardest step is the first step, do your due diligence and don’t get into the paralysis of analysis.”

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Jim sees the importance of small businesses working together and regularly features a special deal- bring in your receipt from a purchase at any downtown store and receive a 10% discount off your Rita’s purchase, Monday through Thursday. Another favorite cause is Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Each June, the Rita’s franchise partners and treat team members at 550+ locations work hard to support the mission of curing childhood cancer by asking guests to donate $1 to purchase a paper lemon. Guests personalize their paper lemons, which are then proudly displayed as a part of the local store’s “Wall of Hope,” a visual tribute to their community’s participation in the fundraiser. Since becoming a corporate sponsor, Rita’s has raised more than $2.5 million for pediatric cancer research and is the leading corporate donor in terms of dollars raised! Rita’s in Blacksburg enhance their fundraising effort by selling Alex’s Lemonade lemons during Summer Solstice Fest. In 2011 the Blacksburg store raised $900 for this cause.

Rita’s Blacksburg opened May 22, 2009 and is open all year round.
Rita’s is located on College Avenue between Green’s and The Lyric Theatre. Please visit their website for more information Rita’s

And don’t forget to shop downtown and take your receipt to Rita’s for 10% off your icy delicious treat, Monday through Thursday every week!

NEW- Rita’s now sells Custard cookies and cakes in addition to the regular wonderful ices and custard treats!

What is your favorite Rita’s flavor?

So you want to own a restaurant……

26 Oct

Being the owner/manager of a small  restaurant business can be a fun and  rewarding experience– OR it can be a  difficult and demanding job! And, the  current economic environment makes  everything more challenging. Find out how to set the stage to make your business an exciting one– for you and your customers. This FREE workshop will expose you to the steps to launching and managing a  successful restaurant business.

Entrepreneur Express:
The Business of Restaurants
A Workshop on Starting and Managing a Successful Restaurant
November 21, 2011   8:00 am-  12:00 pm
Holiday Inn Christiansburg–  NRV Mall
99 Bradley Dr. Christiansburg, VA 24073

Register for FREE at
Advanced Registration Required
Questions? Contact:
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce: 540-552-2636
Virginia Department of Business Assistance: 276-676-3768

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8:00am  Registration & Breakfast

8:30am  Sponsor ~     Phillip Vaught

8:40am  Introductions – Catherine Sutton/MCCC

8:55am   Reasons Why Restaurants Fail- Kitty Barker/VTC

9:15am   Steps & Resources for Starting/Operating  a Successful Business in Virginia- Sandy Ratliff/VDBA

9:35am   Business Plans- David Shanks/Radford University College of  Business

9:50am  Financially Sustaining a Restaurant-Joe Rollison/Wells Fargo, People Source Inc.

10:00am  Tax Requirements-Alice Jones/Montgomery County   Commissioner of Revenue

10:15am  Liability Insurance-Tripp Godsey/Farmers Insurance

10:35am  Testimonial- Kevin Shaw/Domino’s Pizza

10:45am  Break & Networking

10:55am  Marketing, Promotion, Customer Service- Randy Rose/VTS

11:15am  Testimonial- Patrick Dobbins/Sal’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

11:25am  Building Codes– Blacksburg/Christiansburg, Health Department guidelines,  Q&A- Cathy Cook,(Town of Blacksburg Building Official),  Jerry Heinline, (Town of Christiansburg, Building Official)

12:15am  Evaluations & Adjournment

Featured Vendors: US Food Group, Hethwood Market, PME Comp

Restaurant Seminar brought to you by: Downtown Blacksburg, Inc., The Blacksburg Partnership, Montgomery County Chamber of CommerceMontgomery County Economic Development,Virginia Department of Business Assistance, and the  Virginia Tourism Corporation. With sponsorship from and Wells Fargo.


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