Tag Archives: local

Extraordinary Women: Gina Bonomo

Gina Bonomo, owner of Wool Workshop, is a large part of a movement that is redefining the knitting community. Sewing, knitting, and crocheting are regaining popularity, and the influx of younger customers in the market is challenging the concept that these hobbies are exclusive to older generations. Her attention to detail, passion for creativity, and use of social media to promote and sell her products have made Wool Workshop the place to go for unique and trend-setting yarn and patterns. However, what keeps the customers coming back is not only the quality of the product they are getting, but the welcoming learning environment that the store offers.

What made you want to start a boutique yarn store?
I owned a shoe store called Sole Mate for over ten years. It was humming along really nicely, and it was very established. Then my best friend was diagnosed with lung cancer in Richmond. I felt like it was a good time to spend more time with him. I tried to look at the big picture of what was important. I wanted to open something there, so I decided to sell my shop to my manager. I also signed a non-compete agreement that said I could not sell any clothing, shoes, or accessories in the New River Valley or Roanoke area.

I was preparing to move up there and start a whole new business venture, and he died. I did not want to put down roots there if he wasn’t there anymore, so I had to rethink what I was going to do.

I had always been knitting things for people and enjoyed that creative side. This was at the same time that the scarf-craze was happening. Knitting was becoming mainstream. So I decided to open a knitting shop, and it was exactly what I needed. It was healing my soul from the loss of my friend and the business I didn’t have anymore.

FullSizeRender-2
Photo courtesy of Wool Workshop

Let’s talk about the name “Wool Workshop.” Why did you choose it?
Workshop implies a creative space. I don’t like to view this yarn shop as a brick and mortar retail location, but instead as sort of a think-tank, fashion-driven, garment-driven space. It fits with my fashion background and what I have been doing my whole life. I know when I first opened, people didn’t see the connection, but I still feel like I’m in the fashion industry. We are creating garments with sticks and string. I don’t feel like that is a stretch at all. In fact, it is more creative and fashion-driven than what I was in before.

Why do you think knitting is increasing in popularity now?
Sewing, knitting, and crocheting, and many other handiwork things got lost when women went to work. Leisure time went away, and in terms of the garment industry it became cheaper to buy a finished garment than it was to make one yourself like our mothers and grandmothers did.

We are so tech-driven now, and I think that is making us begin to move towards things that make us feel human again and less like machines. Knitting allows people to get back some of the things they have lost. It is about regaining some leisure time and things that have meaning.

How do you choose the yarn you offer to your customers?
Anything local is very appealing. We get something in from a local farmer, and people know the cotton was grown, picked, dyed, and processed in Virginia. Customers love that, because it makes us feel like we are looking out for each other.

I also stay on top of the trends just like clothing stores. There are things people want to knit with and things they don’t want to use. We pay attention to the Pantone colors of the year, and we also offer a lot of products from popular Indie dyers.

When you aren’t knitting or helping others work on their projects, how do you spend your time?
I like to read and spend time with my kids and my husband. I run file miles every day, and I have for the last thirty years. That’s really important to me. I like to keep moving—it makes me a more interesting person to get out of my little circle and see other shops. I am an entrepreneur first and foremost. Of all the other things I do, like designing, my main thing is I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I’m a retailer. I’m having the time of my life really. I could do other things that would make more money, but I just want to be fulfilled, live an authentic life, and be happy.

For more information on Wool Workshop, visit www.skeincocaine.com. Follow @skeincocaine on Instagram for special yarn auctions every Thursday and Friday! Finally, don’t miss Stephen West—the biggest name in knitwear design and knitting. He is coming to Roanoke and Wool Workshop on June 11-12.

Summer at Chateau Morrisette!

We all recognize “the dog” while walking through the grocery store and can’t help but wish that we were spending the afternoon at one of the prettiest wineries in Virginia, Chateau Morrisette! Since first crafting wine in 1978, Chateau Morrisette has made a name for themselves through their involvement in the community and their dedication to excellence. Whether you prefer red, white, sweet, or dry they have the perfect bottle just for you. If you’re celebrating, they have extra-dry sparkling wine for that too!

13062912_10154186638468410_9010191299281807122_oA short drive to Floyd is all that stands between you and one of Chateau Morrisette’s weekend-long festivals. Be sure to check out the entire calendar of events on their website so you don’t miss out on some of the best happenings of the summer! If you would rather do something a little more low-key than one of the music festivals, then you can pay them a visit for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch and enjoy a flawlessly prepared meal with a perfectly paired glass of wine. Or, if you really just want a day away from all of the hustle and bustle, you can make a reservation for a tour of the wine cellar or vineyard with a tasting of ten different wines of your choice.

These tours are so beautiful and enjoyable as you get a better insight into the hard work that is put into making a great product. Lastly, during the warmer months many wedding and private parties are hosted at the vineyard because of the beautiful scenery and great atmosphere. Chateau Morrisette is unique because any and all well-behaved dogs on a leash are always welcome in the tasting rooms! You’re more than welcome to bring your K9 friend to keep you company as you sip some of the Valley’s finest.

11695375_10153513433463410_8644791396166027466_nChateau Morrisette also has great suggestions for specific flavor profiles to pair your selected wine with at home. If you have purchased a bottle and you just don’t know what to serve it with, you can find suggestions on their website, or you can use one of their recipes that they have published for the sole purpose of taking your meal to the next level. However, if you have visited the winery and you don’t live close enough to pay a visit or pick some up at the store, you can order it directly from them to arrive at your doorstep!

For the Bella girls, we love the fact that whether we’re entertaining friends, enjoying an afternoon at the vineyard, or just drinking a glass on the couch, we are spending our money locally. Book a tasting now and tell us what you’re drinking!

 

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Hudson Henry Baking Company

Photo Credit: Tyler Darden Photography

In 2012, Hope Lawrence and her husband, David, returned to Virginia in search of a way for Hope to go back to work and stay at home with their young sons Hudson, 8, and Henry, 5. After many months of searching, they found the perfect farmhouse for their family just outside of Charlottesville in early 2012. It included a separate commercial kitchen, and the Lawrences realized this presented a unique opportunity for Hope to be with her family and start the bakery she had been dreaming of for years.

Named after their sons, Hudson Henry Baking Company is the sole source of income for the family of four. And it is very much family-owned and operated. Both Hudson and Henry help their parents, and Hudson even accompanied Hope to the LLC meeting with their attorney. He also appeared in their video audition for Shark Tank.
“What is important to us is being home with the boys and working together to provide for our family,” explains Lawrence. “Our business helps us live a good life with our boys.”

When they aren’t baking, packaging, and shipping their delicious granola, the Lawrence family focuses on new ways to give back to others.

This outreach began when the business did. As Hope perused through websites geared towards entrepreneurs, she found several motivational thoughts that she considered putting on posters to inspire her.

HudsonHenry058“Then I thought, what if people read these things in the morning to start their day instead of the news? These sayings should be on cereal boxes!” says Lawrence. She realized she had the perfect way to get those inspirational words in front of her customers and incorporated them into their packaging.“The positive messages are as important to me as the granola,” she adds.

But she didn’t stop there. The Lawrence family works closely with their community by employing stay at home moms and participating in a work-study program with students at a nearby high school. They also put a lot of thought into the suppliers they choose for their ingredients. For example, their maple syrup comes from another family-owned and operated business, Mount Mansfield Maple Products, located in Vermont.

Their goal is to be a family business that helps others be their best. Whether that is through consuming their delicious granola, starting the day with their motivational quotes, or a combination of the two—the Lawrence’s want people to know that whatever their dream, a little positivity can go a long way. Their own success is the perfect example of this mentality. After just ten months of business, Hudson Henry Baking Company was featured on The Today Show in 2013 as one of Kathie Lee’s “Favorite Things.” Additionally, their products are available to a wide customer base throughout the country.

If you’re searching for that perfect Mother’s Day gift, this is it! Hudson Henry Baking Company is extending a special discount code to Bella readers for 10% off during the month of May. To take advantage of this deal, visit www.hudsonhenrybakingco.com and enter the code: bella10 when you check out!

Art Underground

Join us as we support The Aurora Artisans (Susan Egbert, Meridith Entingh, Miki Overcast-Kallan, Susanne Sellars and Nancy Stellhorn) and their 1st Annual Art Show, “Underground Art” at Aurora Studio Center this weekend. The show will take place on Saturday, March 19, from 10am to 4pm and Sunday, March 20, from noon-4pm.
This two-day show and expo will feature over 20 artists across disciplines including painting, print-making, sculpture, pottery, mixed-media, photography, mosaics, fabric, and glass. Works will be on display AND available for purchase. This is a great opportunity to meet the artists and directly support our local economy.
IMG_3959The Aurora Studio Center is located on the lower level of the newly renovated AURORA building at 110 Campbell Avenue SW in downtown Roanoke. It features 10 commercial studios, a visual arts classroom, a movement studio, and galleries. When visiting, please enter at the Campbell Avenue entrance and head down the stairs to the Lower Level Studios and Event Space.
Best of all– Art Underground is FREE, family friendly and welcome to everyone! Check out their Facebook page for event updates and additional information. We look forward to seeing you there!

Meet Amy Garland!

In our January issue, we sat down with Amy Garland, owner of Little Green Hive, to learn more about the unique local business, her other ventures, talents, and interests. Check out her interview below, and be sure to drop by Little Green Hive to try one one of the many delicious items on their menu!

How did Little Green Hive get its start?

I’ve been a health coach for about eight years and thought more about it being a smoothie bar in the beginning. It was about opening up a spot where I could coach people right here in my community as they started their journey towards better health. However, the space needed a coffee shop so we figured out a way that it could be both. 

IMG_0827Why is it so important to have options like this in Roanoke?
I moved here from Manhattan, where there were more choices for people who wanted to eat “clean.” At the time, it was more difficult to find things like that here.
Eating healthy is hard when the only convenient options are not good for you. The goal is to be a resource for people downtown to pick up healthier items quickly while they are out and about. Our smoothies don’t have any sugar added to them. The ingredients we use in our shop do not include any artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors. 

What are the origins of the food and beverages served at Little Green Hive?
Local foods became very important to me because our local artisan famers offer an abundance of them. We incorporated milk from a local dairy, local coffee from Red Rooster Coffee and non GMO fruits. The idea was to keep everything as local and quality as possible and keep it affordable for our customers.

What else do you do?
I have a Web Development Firm called 23 Hearts (www.23hearts.com), and work with clients like Just Dance Roanoke, Community High School, and Breadcraft. Additionally, I continue to work with women as a health coach to balance hormones and improve their health.

What’s Next:
I am creating new programs for my health coaching clients. You can find more information at www.nourishedfeminine.com

How do you spend your free time?
I love getting outside in the valley on the greenways and hiking. My husband and I are also part of the Virginia Inland Sailing Association (VISA) and we go sailing on the weekends. I enjoy metalsmithing and jewelry making in my spare time.

DIY Gifts for the Holidays

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is TEN DAYS AWAY!!!!

Some of the best gifts are handmade and heartfelt. If you are looking for an easy and unique DIY idea, you should pick up our December issue! We have two fun DIY projects that won’t take long to complete (trust us, we know time is precious right now). Or, you can head on over to our Pinterest page! There you will find tutorials for everything from leather totes and magazine racks to paper flowers and frames.

And if making something yourself is too time consuming, please remember to support your local artists!

 

Southwest Virginia Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker

If you need a little inspiration to get into the holiday spirit, look no further than Southwest Virginia Ballet’s 20th production of The Nutcracker! Beautiful music, lush scenery, and lavish costumes perfectly complement E.T.A. Hoffmann’s timeless story as patrons of all ages have their imaginations sparked by a Christmas tree that grows to huge proportions, mice and soldiers in battle, and snowflakes whirling through falling snow.
The Nutcracker is a timeless tradition in Roanoke. Those who attend a performance every year know that each one offers something different. Audiences will be treated to new choreography and costumes with this production. Perhaps most importantly, the central message of this performance is, “Love will prevail.” With all of the chaos happening in the world around us, it is a helpful reminder to inspire happiness in our community for the holidays.
“You will feel the love and joy of the people on the stage. The goal is to help the audience enjoy life,” says choreographer Pedro Szalay.
That goal is one that the dancers and artists take very seriously. The students involved have made sacrifices all year to perfect their performances including attending rehearsals on Saturdays and Sundays and even missing school dances.
High school senior Katie Munson will dance the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy. This year marks her 12th performance in The Nutcracker. She began at a very young age as a reindeer in the play. Under the guidance of Szalay, she has blossomed into a performer that can fill the demanding role of The Sugar Plum Fairy .
“This role is very technical,” explains Szalay. “You need to be regal. She is the guider of the Land of the Sweets and everyone looks up to her. It is about the technique and the artistry. Katie has both.”
“This year is special because it is my last performance [as a student of Southwest Virginia Ballet],” says Munson. “I have had an amazing experience with them, and am grateful for the opportunity to showcase the artistry and talent that go into the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
The cast of this year’s production will include the 57 members of Southwest Virginia Ballet’s junior and senior company as well as over 150 community members from the ages of seven through “adult.”
Performances will take place at the Berglund Performing Arts Theatre on Saturday, December 12 at 2.p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 3 p.m. You can also purchase tickets for Clara’s Tea Party, a special pre-performance event on Sunday, December 13 at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.svballet.org.

Sydney Hale Company

Candles are a staple in almost every household. It is easy to go the grocery store and purchase a big name brand, but once the pleasant smell has dissipated (most often, very quickly), you are restocking on your next trip, and your investment no longer seems worthy of its price.
If you haven’t already, it is time to consider investing in candles that support local businesses, are made with soy, and last longer than the cheap candles to which you are accustomed.
Sydney_Hale_Co._Soy_Candle_Bergamot_Black_Tea_largeSydney Hale Company’s candles are handmade in small batches right here in Virginia. Their premium soy wax blend, double cotton wick, and 50 hour burn time makes them stand out among any competition. Traditionally crafted and tastefully fragrant, they will quickly become a household staple.
Purchasing just one candle from Sydney Hale Company helps support the Purcellville, Virginia business, which is owned and operated by a husband and wife team, Meghan and Chris Cook. They have two employees and three shop dogs. Their more than 26 signature fragrance products are available in over 150 boutique retail locations across the USA and Canada.
Everything is handmade in a small 700 square foot studio lending to a truly ‘small batch’ operation. And, if you needed any additional reasons to try their products, 10% of their profits are donated to dog rescue— a cause very important to them.
Not only can you purchase their products on their website, but you can also see snap shots of dogs they have sponsored every month for The Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation. Visit www.sydneyhaleco.com for more information on this local company doing great things for our area.