Archive for April, 2020


County wineries struggle to survive

Posted on Apr 27 2020 | By

Industry in free fall as economy vaporizes

If ever there was a time to buy a bottle of Virginia wine, it’s now.

After 40 years of robust growth, the 26 winery owners in Fauquier County and some 275 statewide are faced with a make-it-or-lose-it scenario that will unfold over the next several months due to COVID-19.

The emotional and financial pain facing these small business owners is reflective of millions of other businesses nationwide. But envisioning a vibrant sector of the local economy going up in smoke is almost unimaginable, given where they were two months ago.

“We will not grow grapes or make wine this year,” said Brian Roeder, owner of Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane. “I think we are going to lose at least half of the wineries in Virginia, probably more.”

He will block fruit production of his healthy vines by pulling the flowers on the young buds.

Roeder thinks it’s not just “hobby” or boutique wineries at risk, but at least 20 percent of the serious businesses that produce large case volumes for sale to individuals, wine shops, and restaurants.

On March 10, Roeder realized it was going to be a monumental challenge to survive the financial hit his business had taken and initiated a plan to remain viable.

He terminated the employment of all 60 of his employees. Some have offered to assist him gratis during the crisis. “We have a wonderful group of people here,” he said.

Not wishing to encourage his customers to leave their homes, he has not taken advantage of pickup bottle sales permitted by Virginia, but rather is selling wine at a 20 percent discount and offering free shipment. It’s “the deepest discounts we’ve ever offered.”

It’s challenging to square Roeder’s usually optimistic view with his take on the current situation. “I believe we are going to be in an economic depression within months, and it will probably last years,” he predicted.

An analogy he shares with business associates and the county leadership is, “The U.S. economy was a dragster headed down the track at 200 mph when it was thrown into reverse, blowing the engine and transmission but not deploying the chute.

“I’m going to have to tear my business apart, everything I’ve spent years to build, simply to find a way to exist,” he said.

Jim Law is the proprietor of Linden Vineyards in Linden.

All of his sales were to people visiting the winery and to restaurants; almost all those sales have ceased. But what has been a positive surprise for him is, “the number of people calling us and ordering wine, which we ship. I did not expect that.”

These are loyal customers who understand the hardship he is facing, he said.

Like Roeder, Law does not offer bottle sales onsite. Since social distancing has been put in place, guests are not allowed on his property. He said, “We are taking the whole isolation thing very seriously. We do not want to contribute to getting people out of their houses.

“I am not speculating as to how this will ultimately unfold, but when things do open up, it will look very different than before. We will likely restart with reservation-only visits, so we can control the number of people coming out here. Social distancing will continue to be an issue, and we want to control that.”

On another sobering note, Law observed that because of the recent mild winter, bud break is occurring earlier than in previous years. That has the potential of setting up a dreaded frost scenario.

If a hard freeze hits before the final frost date of May 10, it could decimate the grape crop, literally nipping it in the bud.

Luke Kilyk, owner of Granite Heights Winery in Warrenton, echoes the assessments of his fellow vintners. “It has been devastating for us, and I think every winery across the board is seeing that devastation. Our business is down by at least 75 percent.

He said, “We do not host weddings and other large events, but for those who do, they will have to face those realities too.”

Kilyk also observed that now more than ever, wineries will need to focus on quality wine because that’s what will drive consumer purchases, not entertainment and events.

His winery has a carryout sales system in place as allowed by law. Customers order by phone or email, and upon arrival at the winery, an employee walks out and places the paid order in the trunk of the vehicle to maintain social distancing.

Kilyk has a successful law practice in Warrenton and said, “If it weren’t for my primary income, I would be in dire, dire straits. My law firm is what is holding the winery together.”

He too opines if a debilitating frost occurs because of the mild winter, money will be needed to protect his vines, an investment he will be forced to make to save his business.

Chris Pearmund, the owner of five wine businesses, including his eponymous Pearmund Cellars in Broad Run, said, “To survive we are doing a lot of creative marketing and outreach to our customers.

As a result, we are hurting, but doing better than expected.
“But, if we do not do creative things, we will die.”

Among his tools are $100 gift cards selling for $80. All of his wines that have won gold medals are selling for $25 a bottle. Given that a wine bottle holds 25 ounces, he promotes the sale as “selling gold for a dollar an ounce.”

To further enhance his “gold sales,” he includes free shipping.
He has laid off close to 100 part-time employees, keeping only managers on the payroll.

To survive, Pearmund underscored the need to stay in touch with his customers and continue to be creative in maintaining close relationships.

One timely product he produces is a high-end organic hand sanitizer. It costs $45 a gallon to make, and he gifts a bottle to his customers and business clients.

Pearmund quoted Audrey Hepburn invoking where he is philosophically today, “To plant a garden is to believe in spring.” To that end, last week, he planted one thousand grapevines and 107 trees at his Broad Run winery.

Published in March 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

County businesses tack into the wind

Posted on Apr 27 2020 | By

With recovery in limbo surviving in place prevails

With over 1,900 businesses in Fauquier County, there are likely 1,900 stories of how to survive the current coronavirus landscape. Entrepreneurs build companies employing educated risks. Those critical skills are now being used to carve out their futures.

The challenge is to assess business threats when even tea leaves are not much help. Nonetheless, a can-do spirit ranging from locking down and protecting assets to ferreting out new revenue streams is now in play.

Salon Lou
Salon Lou is an upscale Warrenton hair salon owned and operated by Lori Nicholson. Nicholson spent over a dozen years, and multiple career starts before realizing her long-held dream of owning a salon. It opened in 2015 and has been a success from her first cut.

Today the shop is shuttered, and her 15 employees laid off. Nicholson said, “It’s almost surreal for my team and me. We were all in shock for the first two weeks. In the third week, we said, ‘OK, what are we going to do with ourselves?’”

Maintaining esprit de corps was foremost, so conducting virtual cooking classes with her employees helped soften the blow of not being able to man scissors, dye, and hair dryers. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

The downtime has also been devoted to virtual online training classes to maintain and enhance hair treatment skills and support professional educations. “A major industry show was canceled, so a lot of my stylists are taking classes online.”

Her furloughed employees have applied for unemployment. The process is frustrating and time consuming because millions of unemployed are tackling the same problem. “I’ve had to help some of my employees get it,” Nicholson said.

She has had a lot of clients call and ask if she could come and do their hair. Unfortunately, state licensing laws and insurance companies will not permit most hair styling to be performed off-premise.

More importantly, she does not want to take the chance of infecting the community or her employees by going off-site. When the economy does open up, she thinks, “We will be bombarded. Clients want professional hair jobs. They do not want to cut and color at home.”

It’s also going to change how her employees will interact with customers. “We can’t do our job six feet away. We’ll probably end up wearing gloves and face masks. Everybody will be scared of going back into the workforce.

“Currently, I can sustain my business for two to three months. After that, it’s going to be questionable,” Nicholson opined.

Piedmont Press & Graphics
Tony and Holly Tedeschi own Piedmont Press & Graphics. The couple has over 50 years of print and design experience backed by the perspective on how to survive cyclical business swings.

The current bleak landscape could be their ultimate challenge in navigating a turbulent economy.

Tony Tedeschi said, “My company is still open because we were declared an essential service because we produce mailings and signage, both important to the economy. But we’ve lost work on promotional materials for concerts, festivals and equine events.

“Losing business like the Gold Cup was hard because it’s one of our bigger jobs of the year. I would estimate our business is down 60 percent.” The drop in revenues occurred almost overnight.

Tedeschi was already preparing for a recession, which he thought was overdue. He learned a lot by surviving the 2008 recession, so he was better prepared by saving money, both corporate and personal. Their first move as owners was to stop taking paychecks.

He also asked his employees to shift to a 32-hour workweek, essentially taking a 20 percent reduction in pay. “We have enough money to go a couple of months, keeping our 15 employees working.” He has an unused line of credit and has applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is a loan for small businesses.

It’s a forgivable loan, as long as 75 percent of it goes to the paychecks of the employees as well as their health care benefits.
If he is approved for the loan, it will give him an additional 75 days of relief.

With all his planning in place, he thinks he is a long way from bankruptcy. He also is in the process of creating some new products and is poised to spend money on marketing.

“Where you make your money is when you come out of a downturn. We want to be ready when that day comes. I’m not panicked about the situation. It’s going to be bad and painful, but people are doing their best to pull together and survive.”

Regeti’s Photography
Amy Regeti manages her family’s Warrenton business that has, “Pretty much been set on pause. We are solely devoted to photographing weddings, and all our clients are postponing their plans. That will have a domino effect going into the 2021 season.”

The effect of postponing weddings to the following year is to block valuable dates that would have gone to new business.

Regeti said, “It limits what we can take on. We service about 25 weddings a year, all of that that has pretty much jumped to later in the year.

That business will likely jump again, dependent on the timing of the economic recovery. “I would be surprised if we shoot even one wedding this year.

“A lot of our clients are shifting dates because they do not want to hold a wedding and a reception with everyone wearing masks. It’s not how they want to remember their special occasion.”

The family business is a full-time job, but her husband does some work for the federal government. He has been able to retain his security clearance and continues to work, providing much-needed family income.

Home Sweet Home Improvements

Tom and Dawn Wotton’s Bealeton company is a design, build, and remodeling firm with four full-time employees.

One of the first actions Tom Wotton took after social distancing was implemented was to reach out to past elderly clients and see how they were faring. Often that resulted in face masks being delivered to the individuals for their protection.

His business is still operating and has about a three-month backlog of work; only a few of his current client’s projects slowed down. Nonetheless, fresh leads have stopped.

When on-site, his crew quarantines off a section of the home that is being remodeled and works with hand sanitizers, gloves, safety glasses, and face masks. CDC guidance materials for home construction crews are included in the company’s regular safety talks.

Some of his suppliers and subcontractors initially wanted to stop residential work, and Wotton told them his clients were OK with proceeding and gained the cooperation of the vendors.

Wotton said, “Yes, we are feeling an impact of what’s going on. There are two fronts in play here. First, there are the health and safety issues, and we are managing that part of it. Secondly, there is the financial front. If we can produce, we need to continue to produce. It’s that simple.”

Published in April 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Local farmers: now more than ever

Posted on Apr 26 2020 | By

County agriculture showcasing value to community

There are about 1,100 farms in Fauquier County with more than 200,000 acres of farmland. The value of local land stewards to a growing number of back-to-the farm shoppers has been highlighted by COVID-19.

When grocery stores shelves begin to look bare, consumers cast about for alternative sources. In Fauquier County, that’s often just a few miles away.

Jimmy and Ronnie Messick are co-owners of Messick’s Farm Market in Bealeton. They are third-generation farmers and own 1,000 acres of farmland over three separate properties in southern Fauquier County.

In addition to the seven-day-a-week farm market, the brothers have 330 milk cows, 250 of which are daily milkers. In addition, 800 acres are devoted to grain growing: corn, soybean, and wheat. Jimmy Messick manages the farm and market; Ronnie Messick oversees the cattle operation.

The market carries local artisanal goods like handmade pasta, pastured meats, and even skincare products. For those who come hungry, there is a made-to-order deli counter for sandwiches and prepared salads and an ice cream stand.

“Our business is up 300 percent in the last few weeks,” says Jimmy Messick. “When the coronavirus hit, we were able to maintain most of our local suppliers of eggs, milk, bread, and other products. We had items the grocery stores didn’t. That resulted in a big jump in sales. But I wish my success was for a different reason.”

Today, the grocery stores are beginning to do a better job of stocking shelves, but the Messicks continue to benefit from the change in buying habits that were established during the early days of the pandemic.

Jimmy Messick said, “Our curbside sales are now more than half of what we are selling daily.” Like some restaurants, wineries and other businesses, their farm market has switched to an entirely new way to sell groceries. Customers call orders in, make payment and stop by later and pick up the order, either inside or outside the store.

During busy times, like lunch hour when the deli is active, the market staff asks that only one member per family enter the store. “We try to maintain the ‘ten customers at time thing.’ We wear gloves and are regularly sanitizing carts and surface areas throughout the store,” said Messick.

He reflected on what the “new normal” will be like when the governor’s stay-at-home is lifted. “We have lots and lots and lots of new people who are coming in who we’ve never seen before. It’s done more to expand our customer base than anything before this.”

Locust Hill Farm is a 2,200-acre family farm operated by Del. Mike Webert (R-18th) and owned by his grandmother. It’s located in the northern part of the county. The farm tills about 1,000 acres of grain and raises 120 beef cattle.

The farm sells beef both online and increasingly, through home deliveries. “Beef orders have taken off. When local folks see no beef in the grocery stores, they call me and order home delivery,” said Webert.

One downside to his business is the cancellation of some stockyard sales that previously attracted large groups of sellers and buyers. Additionally, his wife is a graphics designer that produced catalogs for livestock sales, generating significant springtime income.

His overall income is down slightly, but will come back when the economy reenergizes, he believes. Weber thinks that fruit and vegetable growers, and cattlemen like himself, will see a permanent change in buying habits.

“I think this is an opportunity for local agriculture to showcase what we do. It’s no longer just a niche agritourism business. People are not going to call the farmer for just weekend sales. They are coming out to purchase food for regular consumption,” Webert said.

Currently, it’s a mixed blessing, but overall Webert sees it as a positive development, both for him and other farmers.

Dennis Pearson is a fellow cattleman who owns Soldier’s Hill Angus Farm located near Fauquier Springs. He runs a 500-acre beef farm with a 160 head of cattle. He echoed Webert’s perception that there are pluses and minuses, but in general, the current stressed economy has been a good thing for cattlemen.

He said, “I have a freezer meat trade on my farm, and those sales have increased. On the other hand, the stockyards have been shut down for a couple of weeks and that has had a short-term negative impact on my sales.

“The Virginia Beef Expo was canceled, and I had cows in that sale. But I’m absolutely seeing an increase in consumer buying. I think people realize they have to have more storage at home. I also think there’s probably been an increase in the sale of freezers too. This year it has been very easy for me to sell all the products that I produce.”

Kenny Smith works the milking side of the cattle business with 17 employees milking 891 cows, the largest herd in the region. Rather than direct sales to consumers, he sells his milk to a large cooperative that services 950 dairy farms in a five-state area.

He notes that the co-op only has so much throughput, and that has been constrained because its packaging lines for half-pint containers destined to schools have been shut down. Those lines cannot be used to fill gallon jugs.

Plants are running 24 hours a day and are 30 percent over-capacity.
Smith said, “The current situation has not harmed Cool Lawn Farm. Our employees are healthy and stay at home when not working. One bright spot is families are reuniting again and enjoying each other’s company.”

He admitted, “One thing I do miss is Friday night date nights with my wife and friends. We miss the interaction.”
Mel and Kevin Powers own Powers Farm & Brewery in Midland. The 21-acre farm has nine acres devoted to growing some 40 different fruits and vegetables.

The products are sold through its community-supported agriculture program whereby customers buy shares and receive various fresh produce throughout the growing season based on specific agreements.

It’s anticipated this business will do well once the growing season begins. “More people are signing up, and I think I’m going to reach my goal soon. I’m always excited when people get excited about vegetables,” Mel Powers said, laughing.

The brewery was opened in 2017 and the venue has shut down due to the law forbidding any on-site consumption. Sales of beer are now made through glass and can growlers; 32-ounce containers that customers pickup outside the brewery after making a prepaid purchase online.

Unfortunately, growler cans are in short supply. “They are like toilet paper, said Mel Powers. “But, we expect a new shipment arriving shortly.” The Powers also have partnered with Whiffletree Farm to distribute their beer using the farm’s distribution system.

The overall business has been somewhat down, but Kevin Powers has not run the numbers yet. “The really important thing is we’ve had to shift from an on-premise to a to-go business.

“The hyper-local support we’ve gotten has been awesome. The people who live within five to 10 miles are helping us keep the lights on. It’s been great,” said Kevin Powers.

Published April 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Doggedly pursuing wellness

Posted on Apr 25 2020 | By

Note: This article was published before COVID-19.

Hungry Like a Woof centered on holistic veterinarian care and pet food

From personal loss sprang commitment. From commitment emerged dedication. From dedication rose the gift of healthy pets bestowed on Fauquier County.

The thread of success was straightforward but it was ultimately compassion driven by passion that led to the opening of a whimsically named veterinary clinic and wholesome pet food shop in November 2015.

Hungry Like the Woof recently celebrated its fourth anniversary and its reputation for providing quality pet care and food is firmly established. The force behind the successful enterprise is Ann Griffith, who in concert veterinarian Dr. Carol Lundquist, created a unique business that responds to today’s consumer interest in authenticity.

The story began over four years ago when one of Griffith’s two collies was diagnosed with lymphoma. In the course of seeking treatment for her beloved pet, Allie, her veterinarian oncologist strongly suggested Griffith seek concurrent medical care from a holistic veterinarian. Enter Dr. Lundquist.

Allie ultimately succumbed to her disease but the gentle care and nutritious diet she received no doubt helped her emotionally during the final months of life. Shortly thereafter the two women began talking about a mutual business opportunity centered on holistic pet care. The relationship morphed into a friendship and then on to a new business.

So, how did it get its name? “I’m a child of the 80s and loved the group Duran Duran,” says Griffith. “Hungry Like the Wolf was one of their big hits. We were trying to think of a clever name for the business that was dog-related.” The British new wave band provided the answer.

Griffith is employed full-time as a consultant in the financial services industry so the daily face of the pet food segment of her business is store manager Kristin Dowell.

Dowell is managing a business with robust growth potential. Consider there are 90 million dogs and 94 million cats in the United States today. Couple those numbers with an estimated $75 billion that will be spent this year within the pet industry and it’s a ticket to success.

Moreover, millennials continue to be the largest pet-owning demographic. The market is substantial and growth will only accelerate in the years ahead.

The business
When you walk through the doors of Hungry Like the Woof, located at 147 Alexandria Pike, #203, you’ll encounter three separate entities.

To the right is the veterinary clinic that is run by Dr. Lundquist. It’s called the Singing Stones Wellness Centre. It is holistic centric providing acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and physical therapy for small animals and horses.

In the center of the store is the pet food shop. The idea for organic pet food was driven in part by tainted food coming out of China. As far back as 2007, the Food and Drug Administration learned that certain pet foods were sickening and killing cats and dogs. It was found that contaminants in vegetable proteins imported into the U.S. from China and used in pet food were the cause.

The store sells an assortment of holistic food and treats to help pets maintain optimum health. Dr. Lundquist hand-picks all of the products, assuring the shelves and freezers are stocked with the highest quality brands. Herbal supplements and toys are also available.

Are there real benefits to holistic pet food as opposed to what’s widely sold in grocery stores? Store manager Dowell says, “When people eat healthily, they feel better and it’s the same for animals.

“If you feed your pet a healthy diet, it’s also going to help financially in the long run because you’ll have fewer trips to the veterinarian.”

The third segment of the store is devoted to training and conditioning. The sizable training room is covered with special flooring that enables dogs to grip and maneuver without slipping. The training segment of the business works with professional dog trainers and obedience instructors who come on-site to conduct classes. Both private and group classes are offered.

Group classes in puppy training and traditional obedience run 50 minutes per session for six to seven weeks, depending on what’s being taught. Dowell underscores that owners actively participate in training and must use and reinforce what they’ve learned in the class to assure their dog fully benefits. “You don’t train the dog as much as you train the owner,” she emphasizes.

Additionally, there are courses in conformation training for show dogs learning to comport themselves in the ring. And interestingly, there are even courses in “nose work”, or skills employed in tracking.

The training room is also available for lease. “We’ve had wine glass painting lessons, a Halloween party, yoga classes, and more. It’s good to make the room available to the community. It gives them space they might not find elsewhere,” said Griffith.

The spirited entrepreneur is grateful for how Fauquier County has responded to her love of animals and their well-being. “We are thrilled to be in Warrenton. We love our clients. It’s a great group of loyal people who come here. I hope we’ve helped them and their pets.”

For a peek at the comprehensive services and products available from this caring Warrenton “Woof Pack”, drop by

Published in a November 2019 edition the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Restoring faith in humanity

Posted on Apr 25 2020 | By

Note: This article was published before COVID-19.

Habitat ReStore shaping current & future lives

Buy a sofa to help a family. Sounds like a comfy proposition for both parties, eh?

In fact, it’s not just a sofa that makes the magic work. Gently used refrigerators, home furnishings, electrical supplies, plumbing items, windows, doors, kitchen cabinets and a variety of appliances, large and small, all contribute to making lives more rewarding.

This fair market exchange works because of the legendary non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976. Habitat has helped more than four million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve more than 800,000 homes worldwide since its inception.

It is the largest not-for-profit builder in the world and its success is touching lives even here in Fauquier County. While donations fund much of the institution’s operating revenue, its unique retail outlets, known as Habitat ReStores, also funnel dollars into local affiliates tasked with building homes.

And less one thinks Habitat dwellings are gifted to people gratis, rethink the idea.

Habitat applicants must be willing to attend required workshops on successful homeownership, live in the neighborhood where their home is being built, contribute at least 400 hours of sweat equity towards its construction and cover the home’s mortgage and other monthly expenses.

It takes big bootstraps to slip into the American dream. Nonetheless, qualified applicants jump at the opportunity if it is afforded them.

But donations and a homeowner’s commitment alone do not raise the roof and that’s where ReStore plugs the gap. While there are nearly 900 Restores in the United States, they are not ubiquitous to all communities.

Fauquier County is fortunate to have one since the dual purpose of funding Habitat homes while providing quality used merchandise to our citizens is a double win for the community.

Restore locally
Unlike typical retail stores where merchandise is standardized from month-to-month, Habitat’s home improvement selections will vary from day to day, even hour to hour. Why? Because its “merchandise managers” are the local citizens supplying the store on a steady-stream basis.

What you don’t find at 10 a.m. might well be on sale at 3 p.m. Turnover is rapid and the “Whatdathink they’ll have on sale today” proposition makes it a fun place to shop.

“When you first walk into the store, you’re going to get bombarded by our furniture selections. There are tons of furniture for sale. Something we put on the floor in the morning will be gone later in the day,” said Georgianna Granillo.

Granillo is the store’s director and heads up a paid staff of six full-time and part-time employees. The crew is augmented by some 22 part-time volunteers who circulate in and out of the store throughout its five-day a week schedule. The store is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Further highlighting the contributions to the county, on occasion individuals who have had minor run-ins with the law will be given the opportunity to work off community service sentences at the store.

Granillo has overseen the store’s operations for almost five years, joining the Habitat team one year after the store opened in 2012.  She gained her retail experience working for several big box stores in the region.

“I’m very happy to be here. It makes me wish I had jumped into the Restore job a long time ago. Working with the staff, volunteers, customers and donors makes me feel really great,” she said.

One of the other satisfying things about managing the store is the recycling concept it thrives on. Items brought in that are deemed acceptable and end up on the showroom floor typically have years of use left in them.

Granillo explains a lot of the donated items might well have been headed for a landfill and unnecessarily destroyed when they could see a continued productive life. ReStore offers a second life to such quality items.

“I feel really good about that. It makes me feel ‘Green’. In addition, all those items are bringing in money to support our mission,” she explained.

Pricing on merchandise is based on condition and quality. Popular living room furniture typically ranges from $50 to $250. “However, we had one high-end leather sofa set that was in excellent condition and originally sold for over $2,000. That one sold for $700,” she said. “But that was on the really high side of our pricing.”

There are items the store does not accept: unframed mirrors or glass, appliances over 12 years old, used mattresses, box springs, clothing, toys, baby furniture, and dishware.

Safety issues and possible manufacturers’ recall dictate whether certain items are not accepted. “We don’t want to transfer something to a home and have it hurt someone,” she said.

One popular feature of Restore is donor pickups. The store has a dedicated truck that operates four days a week throughout most of Fauquier County, and at times beyond, based on the size and quality of the payload.

A typical run will include five to six stops a day. Donors simply contact the store and set up a convenient time for the truck to swing by and relieve them of quality but no longer needed items.

The service is particularly beneficial when a refurbishing project leaves a homeowner with furniture or appliances hoping to find a new abode.

As a result of the work and love produced at the Warrenton Restore, Fauquier Habitat for Humanity builds one or two homes a year for those in need. Make your contribution to the effort by stopping by and purchasing a useful home product.

The ReStore is located at 617 Frost Avenue in the Food Lion shopping center. For store hours and more visit

Published in 2019 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

The sporting life

Posted on Apr 25 2020 | By

Note: This article was published before COVID-19.

National Sporting Library & Museum dedicated to bucolic pursuits

The first thing you are drawn to is the life-size statue of a riderless horse in military saddlery, head hung low in exhaustion, eyes closed.

It stands majestically in front of a Middleburg library and museum and is a unique and intriguing study in contemplation.

It also represents in a broader sense what is at the heart of Fauquier County and the Nation: the sporting life.

The statue beckons the visitor like the North Star. It’s titled War Horse and is the first piece of art you’ll encounter before entering the internationally known facility.

Awaiting your visit are 21,00 other items of art, statuary, rare books, and more.

The statue was commissioned by the late Paul Mellon and represents the 1.5 million horses and mules who gave their lives during the Civil War for both the Blue and Gray; animals that are inherently and ironically peace-loving.

The bronze work springs from the hands of one of Britain’s leading animal sculptors, Tessa Pullan. The forlorn equine compels one to stop and gaze at the level of detail and poignancy that emanates from the art.

From the reins hanging from its head and lying on the ground, to a scabbarded sword on its saddle and its right rear hoof barely touching the ground, it’s emblematic of what you are about to experience.

Books, sculpture, and art that makes one pause reflect and admire.
Welcome to the National Sporting Library Museum.

The NSLM was founded in 1954 as the National Sporting Library by George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., and Alexander Mackay-Smith and sits on six acres in the village of Middleburg.

Ohrstrom was an avid fox hunter, president of the Orange County Hunt, and a breeder of thoroughbred and steeplechase horses.

Mackay-Smith was an author, horseman, and visionary leader who passionately promoted equestrian sports during the last century.

Together the two men gifted future generations the joy of all things field, forest, and stream.

Executive director’s dream
Today the museum and library are under the leadership of Elizabeth Von Hassell.

Von Hassell could be considered to the manor born for the position, a description she would quickly demur.

She was born in Winchester, raised in Berkley Springs, West Virginia, and from the age of 16, attended schools in Virginia.  Later she purchased a small farm in Clarke County with her family.

Field sports have always been part of her life. She grew up horseback riding, fox hunting, fishing, and shooting with her father and held an appreciation for the art and literature associated with those sports.

“I have the ultimate dream job. It is an honor for me to work with our team and board of directors here at the museum,” she says. “I’ve always thought it a privilege to live in the Piedmont.

I have a deep-rooted desire to protect our countryside because it’s essential to the viability of the sports we represent at the museum.”
Von Hassell’s resume reflects what she brings to the organization she leads.

After graduating from college, she worked in a variety of jobs unknowingly leading to her dream position.

Marketing, strategic planning, public relations, and similar positions in the corporate world of Madison Avenue, including a stint with a major pharmaceutical firm, led her to accept a job close to her heart: director of development at James Madison’s historic home, Montpelier.

The home sits on 2,650 pristine acres but like all land today was exposed to potential commercial and residential development.

“I worked diligently in making sure a large portion of that estate would be placed in a conservation easement. The effort was successful. Today, 2,000 of those acres are protected from growth in perpetuity,” says Von Hassell.

The portfolio
NSLM comprises two buildings on its property. One is a fieldstone country home that houses an extensive library. The second is a series of attractively connected brick buildings where the museum is located.

The grounds are surrounded by mature trees and landscaping creating a university campus-like setting as you walk the grounds.

In addition to the War Horse statue, other outdoor sculptures such as a fox, horse, and colt set the stage for what the visitor will experience within.

The library is unique in that it contains the largest collection of traditional sporting literature in the world. There are over 7,000 volumes of rare books dating from as early as the 1500s.

Subjects run the gambit from angling, horsemanship, shooting, wildlife, coaching, and numerous other subjects related to the out of doors. There is even a volume on dueling.

Unlike conventional libraries, scholars and interested visitors can arrange to peruse the collection but cannot take the volumes off-site given the rarity of the books and their often-priceless value.

The general public can arrange special tours in advance.
The museum contains over 800 pieces of artwork, statuary, and decorative art.

“It is without a doubt an absolute gem of a collection,” observes Von Hassell. Be prepared to spend some time as you walk through the museum. The collection draws a visitor in, almost demanding contemplation, as many scenes are of outdoor life in action.

Typical libraries and museums present collections to be viewed in a hushed environment. While this is true of the NSLM, it is just one of its many strengths.

It has an active calendar that seeks to make its programs an integral part of the local community.

Numerous events such as art classes, presentations, lectures, live concerts, and involvement with local schools place an emphasis on learning through participation.

Recently internationally known artist Andre Potter held a standing room only discussion on his new art book. He will return soon to teach a masters drawing class. “He is one of the absolute best contemporary artists alive today,” says Von Hassell.

Every Wednesday a gallery talk is held showcasing traveling exhibitions, new acquisitions, or permanent collection pieces. Each talk is original and not repeated. Reservations are not required and admission is free.

Recent exhibitions included a presentation by artist Paul Brown on pencil, pen and brush art, a roundtable discussion on African-American jockeys, a glass sculpture class held by artist Joan Danziger, and an equine sculpture workshop
Increasing membership is an important goal for the organization. Student memberships are $25 and adults $50, making it very affordable compared to other museums. “I think the cost is reflective of how committed we are to the local community.”

The NSLM is opened Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and youth. Children under 12 are free. Library admission is also free.

To make the facility as widely available as possible, SNAP and EBT cardholders are admitted at no charge.
After a tour of the library and museum consider shopping and dining in Middleburg
The village dates to 1787 and has many upscale shops and restaurants that will round out your day’s activities.

For an in-depth look at the programs, exhibitions and classes available at the National Sporting Library and Museum visit its website at

Published in the Fall 2019 edition of inFauquier magazine.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Note: This article was published before COVID-19.

Marshall hair emporium goes full service

There’s an average of 150,000 hairs quietly growing on a guy’s head. Multiply that by 22, and it’s the about the number of hairs Kristy Haase snips each day. Toss in two more stylists, and some 6.6 million strands are cascading to the floor of her popular shop each day.

That helps explains in part why Haase is doubling the size of her hair displacement factory, now located at 4199 Winchester Road, Suite G, in Marshall.
But it’s not just haircuts that have driven the expansion of the locks trimming shop.

On Saturday, February 29, the business will double in size when it moves next door from its current location and begins offering a host of new services.
Look for high-pressure tanning beds (reduces tan time from 20 to 14 minutes).

In fact, given the surge in vitamin D deficiency today, some health experts posit that periodic light tans are the most natural way to boost levels of the much-needed sunshine vitamin.

In addition, organic spray tanning, hair coloring, facial waxing of eyebrows, lips, and chins, professional massages, and an increased emphasis on women’s hairstyling are also newly available services.

What she had formerly created was a unique barbershop catering to men but also serving women. “About 90 percent of my customers are guys. But the men would tell their wives what we do. When the women came in, they didn’t see old barbers in overalls cutting hair,” said Haase chuckling.

What they did see is a shop staffed with experienced women and one man who knows hair from the roots up. At any given time, one would see Haase and one or two of her staff of four cutting or shaving while chatting away with their clients. Rock music played in the background and friendly banter echoed around the shop.

“I wanted a shop that was modern but with a relaxed atmosphere. That’s why I went with a rock music theme. I’m originally from Cleveland, which is the home of rock and roll, and I thought it was a cool idea to create a shop called Rock-N-Barbers.

“I started cutting hair back in 2001. I picked up a solid male following. I enjoy cutting men’s hair. I’m not too fond of doing coloring or permanents.”

In addition to custom haircuts, the guys get to choose their favorite rock genre from Amazon’s Alexa that stands poised to play classic rock or whatever rock music desired. None of the old formats will change with the expansion of the business.

Now more than hair
Her original concept was to focus on men’s hair. But to grow the business, the fairer sex needed a bit more attention. What created the opportunity to expand was the unexpected availability of a salon next door to her current shop.

Last August, the owners decided to move and vacated the space. It had a massage room, break room, quality bathrooms, and an upscale retail desk in the front.

Haase quickly realized taking Rock-N-Barbers to the next level was a two-step sideways move. Plans she had harbored for years crystallized in a heartbeat. The serendipitous availability of the 1,250 square foot space cinched the deal, and she spent three months writing a business plan to make it all happen.

In addition to further custom finishing the shop, Haase has hired an exceptionally talented hairstylist, Leslie Townsend.
“In addition to strictly cutting women’s hair, she’ll also be in charge of training the staff. She’ll be my go-to women’s hairstylist,” says Haase.

A massage therapist was brought on board too, Kerry Doheny, who arrives with her bona fides in place. She worked at a high-end salon in Tyson’s Corner that charges $185 an hour. Rest assured, you will not find that price tag on any of Haase’s new offerings.

Doheny will offer at least 10 different massages, including Swedish, sports, and cup massages ranging in length from 30 to 90-minutes.

In addition to a massage table, there will be a massage chair in front of the shop where quick 15-minute rubdowns can refresh and recharge stress-laden clients.

“Even a 15-minute session can be therapeutic and perfect for healing or preventing injuries,” says Haase.

Another new hire will be a receptionist who will staff the appointment desk and keep the shop looking as sharp as one of its freshly trimmed clients.

So what are some of the trends in men’s hair today? For sure, all manner of beards and goatees are fashionable.

“The younger guys also like cuts that are short on the sides and long on the top with parts. Before, it was a bit of a spiky look. Now, they want a smoother appearance. In fact, some younger guys are asking for perms because of their long hair on the top,” Haase observes.

She says that older men with thinning hair are increasingly going for a clean, super trimmed buzz cut. “The comb over is definitely out.”

Haase is excited and animated about her latest career shift. “I think the shop is going to do really well. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s all coming together. I think our customers are going to like all the new services we’ll be offering.”

And if it gets a bit hectic for the energetic owner, she can always slip into the massage chair and let her tensions flutter to the floor, along with all those snipped hairs.

For the full cut on Rock-N-Barbers, its services, hours and scheduling appointments visit , or call (540) 364-8133.

Published March 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

For the love of the cut

Posted on Apr 13 2020 | By

Note: This article was published before COVID-19

A dream fulfilled at Salon Lou

Lori Nicholson loves making beautiful. Always has always will. Nonetheless, it took a dozen years and multiple short careers before she locked down on what her heart had been telling her all along.

Today, a legion of fans is thankful—and looking great—that she found her way out of passionless jobs and onto the stage of beauty.

Since the age of 18, she had wanted to pursue a cosmetology career, but her father felt otherwise as parents are often wont to do. His vision was “Nurse Lori” and very reluctantly she went off to nursing school at age 20.

“I became a nurse but never did anything with it and subsequently majored in computer information systems in college,” says Nicholson.

“I then went to flight attendant school, opened my own home inspection business, did real estate appraisals, helped take a company public, and other jobs along the way. None of which I pursued.”

By her late 20s, she came to the realization she could not shake her passion for hairstyling. It was not only the artistry of professional haircare that attracted her but the gift of confidence and pleasure she could bestow on women and men seeking to look their best.

After a dozen years and seemingly a dozen false starts, lightning struck. “I sat down one day and asked myself what did I really want to do? I came back to my original desire to do hair. I said, ‘I’m going to do this.’”

For the next four and a half years, she learned the art and skill of hair care at two Warrenton hairstylist shops. Slowly the idea of opening her own salon began to crystalize. She envisioned what a client would seek in such a venue.

“I wanted a beautiful place with certified and well-trained hairstylists educated in their craft and devoted to ongoing education to maintain and build skills, and having no pretensions in dealing with clients.” She chose the name Salon Lou because her nickname was Lou Lou.

To bankroll her dream, she withdrew savings, sold stock, and bet the farm on her long-held dream. She located an attractive retail space at 147 Alexandria Pike, Suite 102, and began building it out as a high-end salon.

The realization she had invested everything in her vision scared her. The Sunday before her Monday opening four and half years ago, two clients knocked on the door of the salon eager to make appointments.

“They said they had to make their appointments right away even before we opened the business. I said to myself, ‘Yep, we are going to be just fine.’”

Weeks after the opening, the salon was still receiving congratulatory bouquets of flowers from clients thrilled she had opened her own business. There was no marketing of the salon. Word of mouth drove the company forward.

“The response was incredible. People were so happy for us. I would go home at night and cry with joy at the success of the opening.”

Staff & Trends
Today the salon is staffed by 14 stylists with decades of cumulated experience. As she envisioned, her team continually updates their skills by participating in classes and workshops and attending salon shows learning about the latest hair products, tools, and equipment.

Nicholson says women’s hairstyles today are trending back to the 70s and 80s. “Women are going back to dressing their hair by curling or using products to enhance texture.” It’s no longer just letting hair fall naturally and doing nothing with it. In the past, natural curls were straightened but today she sees clients who want their hair treated to create curls
“Big hair is back,” a trend she sees as continuing and accelerating.

Men’s styles are also changing. Facial hair continues to increase in popularity. Formerly there was less grooming of beards and goatees. Now clients are using conditioning products and mustache waxes.

Hairstyles have gone from old school banker to a more relaxed look. Among younger men, there is an emerging interest in modified mullets. The cut is a hairstyle that was popular in the 80s; short on the front and sides and left long at the back. What goes around comes around.

In addition to hairstyling, the salon offers all manner of nails, lashes, tinting, and waxing services. Prices range from $37 to $50 for men’s haircuts and $125 for women’s cut and color treatments. The full monty can go as high as $500 for that seriously special occasion.

As proof of the success of Nicholson’s dream, the appointment books for her and her experienced male stylist alone are booked into January. But with her depth of staff, walk-ins are accommodated wherever possible.

Further proof of the shop’s success? In 2016, Virginia Living Magazine voted it the #1 Northern Virginia salon.

After years of searching for what she wanted in a career, Nicholson has found it. “I am so proud of what I have created here. But I couldn’t have done it without my team. I’m proud of everyone here”, she says.

“And I’m so grateful for the way the community has supported us.”

For a guided tour of all things Salon Lou, visit

Published December 2019 edition in the Fauquier Times,

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Getting to Know…Orlean and Hume

Posted on Apr 13 2020 | By

A winning argument could be made that western Fauquier County looks much as it did in the 1800s. Its pastoral landscape still offers a mantel of rolling hills, verdant pastures, and dense forests all backdropped by the distant Blue Ridge Mountains.

Of course, growth has populated the area over the last 200 years, but its rolling, softly curving former wagon roads still showcase inspiring vistas almost identical to those enjoyed by our forefathers. Artists passing through the region today would instinctively reach for their brushes.

One extended stretch of this majestic landscape is Leeds Manor Road, threading the villages of Orlean and Hume like a gold chain and showcasing two perfect pearls. Its name springs from the 18th-century Manor of Leeds, which was part of Lord Fairfax’s Northern Neck Proprietary.

The villages are six miles apart and reached by traveling west from Warrenton on U.S. Route 211 for about five miles and taking a right onto Leeds Manor Road for another five miles before arriving at Orlean.

Orlean is a quintessential small village situated in the heart of Virginia’s Piedmont with mountain views to the west. The town was established in the early 1800s and named in honor of Andrew Jackson’s defeat of the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.

It encompasses 51 buildings, including commercial buildings, churches, a post office, a former school, and multiple residences and their ancillary outbuildings that date from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century.

Notable dwellings include the Orlean Farm House, Smith-Hinkley House, the Anderson-Rector House and Store, the Greek Revival Thorpe-Cornwell House, Jeffries Store, Orlean Methodist Church, Providence Baptist Church, and the post office building. The town was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

The town’s focal point is the Orlean Market & Pub. Originally established in 1870, it provided asylum from harsh winter travel between Warrenton and Marshall and also served as the community meeting place, connecting the local population.

Today, the Market serves restaurant and pub food in addition to catering events. Fresh and local ingredient entrees are available Wednesday through Saturday evenings, delighting the palates of both the locals and visitors.

Its small grocery store, boasting a selection of Virginia wine and craft beers, offers social lubricants to round out the food offerings or for carryout for an evening’s repast.

Special events and live music are offered periodically, and perhaps most importantly, they have the only gas station within miles of the village. A short walk from the Market is The Village Green. The shop sells gifts, antiques, furniture, and in-season plants. The building is almost a century old and was originally a general store.

As you leave the village headed north toward Hume, take note of the town’s latest pride and joy on your left, a new $6.9 million volunteer fire and rescue department completed in 2019.

Hume was incorporated in 1848. In the mid-19th century, it was known as Barbee’s Crossroads—after Joseph Barbee—who leased the land from Denny Fairfax in 1787. The village is six miles north of Orlean and situated at the end of what was then known as the Leeds Manor Turnpike. The village center is at the corner of Leeds Manor Road and Hume Road, formerly known as the “Crossroads.”

In the past, the original town had three stores and four blacksmith shops. Large cattle farms in the surrounding area employed many families. During the American Civil War, wounded from the First and Second Battles of Bull Run were taken to Barbee’s Crossroads.

The Episcopal Church of Leed’s Parish was occupied at different times by both Union and Confederate soldiers. As a result of nearby fighting, the church walls were damaged by a shell that exploded inside the church. In 1873, the church burned and was rebuilt.

The Philip Carter Winery is just north of the village and open year-round, offering a delightful tasting room and beautiful grounds for sipping and picnicking. Driving west for four miles on Hume Road, you will reach the Marriott Ranch Bed & Breakfast.

The ranch manor house is called Fairfield; it was built in 1814 by James Markham Marshall, brother of the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall—the “Babe Ruth of the Supreme Court,” having written or co-written over 1,000 decisions.

The Marshall brothers, along with Raleigh Colston, paid $70,000 for 220,000 acres after the Revolutionary War. They divided the property into three separate ownerships, with James taking possession of 80,000 acres.

Virginia residents are blessed with many historical areas to visit, and Fauquier County offers some of the finest. Next time you’re looking for a day getaway, turn the family chariot into the “Orlean-Hume Express” and take an excursion back in time.

Published in February 2020 in Discover Fauquier.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

The bulge blows again

Posted on Apr 13 2020 | By

Note: This article was published prior to the lockdown.

March 14 gala celebrates restoration of North American Elk

Over 150 years ago, the last of Cervus elaphus canadensis disappeared in Virginia. As is often the case when man battles wildlife, man won. When the Mayflower landed in 1620, more than 10 million of the magnificent animals roamed the United States. By 1900, less than 100,000 remained in small scattered herds in the lower 48.

But man saw the error of his ways, and today one million elk populate the United States, mostly in the western states.

The resurgence of elk herds in the eastern U.S. has been an even more remarkable story. While paling in numbers to its western brethren, efforts over the last several decades have seen numbers rise from almost zero to herds totaling over 16,000.

Today, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania are reaping the benefits of the elk comeback, with the economic rewards to rural communities among the more notable accomplishments.

How did it unfold?

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
The RMEF was founded in 1984 by four outdoorsmen sitting around a western elk hunting camp. They lamented that unless action was taken, both elk habitat and the species itself would disappear. Its success is measured today by the 500 active chapters and thriving herds around the country.

The organization’s template was taken from the pages of Ducks Unlimited, who worked tirelessly since 1937 to successfully preserve wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, other wildlife, and people.

The RMEF has brought over seven million acres under conservation easement and provided critical survival habitat for the America Elk. While the emphasis has been on western land preservation, a cadre of other dedicated sportsmen have achieved similar success in the eastern U.S.

One of the drivers of the eastern success story is Danny Smedley. Smedley is a retired senior manager for an electronic funds transfer company. He ignited his passion for elk and elk hunting 30 years ago when he picked up a magazine called Bugle, published by the RMEF and headquartered in Missoula, Montana.

“I was out in Yellowstone on a family vacation after my first child was born. I looked through that magazine and was very impressed and joined the foundation,” Smedley said.

“About six months later, a gentleman who had been a former chair of the national organization invited me to a meeting in D.C. He said they were thinking about starting a Warrenton chapter of RMEF.

“I attended that meeting three decades ago have been involved with both the foundation and organizing the local fundraiser that supports our cause ever since.”

In part through his efforts, today there are now 15,000 elk in Kentucky, 200 in North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 200 near Grundy, Virginia, 1,000 fittingly thriving in Elk County, Pennsylvania, and 100 in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

By any measure, the success of the establishment of these herds represent diamonds on an elk’s rack. Moreover, the location of some of the herds is on reclaimed strip-mining land in poorer sections of the country.

“Down in Grundy, Virginia they’ve got little cabins, a visitor center and viewing stations throughout the area. Annually over 350 people visit and pay $30 each to see the elk and listen to them bugle,” Smedley said.

Hunting is conversation
This is the slogan of the RMEF and underpins why the hunt is an integral part in saving a threatened species. Smedley says he is often asked about the dichotomy between hunting and recovering threatened wildlife. Actually, the two go hand-in-hand. He cites as an example the tale of two birds: The America Wood Duck and the White-Billed Woodpecker.

The former thrives as both a game duck and a successful survivor because Ducks Unlimited became its “sponsor”, recovering wetlands and building hundreds of thousands of duck boxes. Today it is one of the most numerous ducks in the country for the mutual enjoyment for both birders and hunters.

Conversely, the latter had no sponsor, and today the White-billed Woodpecker is extinct. “A species can lose out if it does not have a purpose and a sponsor,” said Smedley.

This year the RMEF’s local fundraiser will again be hosted at the Fauquier County Fairgrounds on March 14th, from 3:30 p.m. till 9:30 p.m.
In addition to speakers updating attendees on the success of elk restoration nationwide, there will be games, live and silent auctions with prizes as exotic as a premier elk hunt in Montana, an Indiana Whitetail hunt, dinner at Sibby’s in Warrenton, and high-end firearms by Weatherby, Winchester, Kimber, and others.

Tickets are $85 each, $135 for couples, and support the goal of elk revival throughout the United States. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Danny Smedley at (540) 222-4994. Smedley is also ready to answer questions on the foundation itself or on how to make a donation to the cause. To go the easy route, simply order tickets online at

With tickets in hand, you’ll join some 200 other sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts and learn more about the valued work of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

A digital tour of the world of elk recovery can be taken at, consider visiting any of the East Coast elk recovery areas and be entranced by the stately king of the forest and its haunting bugle call.

Published February 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Circling the globe…landing in Fauquier

Posted on Apr 13 2020 | By

Owner of BIZCLEAN squeaky clean after high tech career

Keith Segerson was born in Madrid, Spain, where his father was stationed as an Air Force fighter pilot. From that international start, the entrepreneur roamed the world tending to business. And while he never spent time in a cockpit, along the way, he became a Top Gun in his own right.

At the age of three, his father was transferred to Ohio, and he thought it in his best interest to join him. Good move. Segerson grew up in the Buckeye State and attended Ohio University, majoring in business and marketing.

Upon graduation, he moved to Houston and worked for ten years in the IT industry. “I worked for companies that had a global footprint, so I began my international business career at a relativity young age,” said Segerson.

In 1990, with substantial experience gained in the technology field, he accepted a job at George Mason University as a manager on the IT side of the school. He held the position for eight years before advancing to head IT responsibilities for the entire University. Clearly, the man was on the move.

From there, he shifted to the academic arena at Mason but did not teach. Instead, he worked in public policy and eventually became assistant dean for the School of Public Policy at the University, focusing on economic development and community outreach.

“I handled a lot of international work centered on economic development and was responsible for the nascent enterprise center. The Mason Center focuses the energy, skills, and intellectual capital of the University on creating and expanding businesses. It specializes in small business services, government contracting, international trade, entrepreneurship, technology venture, and telework initiatives.

During his stewardship, it became one of the most extensive business assistance programs in the country, working with some 20,000 firms. “We oversaw the entire small business development center for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Companies he helped launch were known as “incubators” and dotted the Northern Virginia business landscape and well beyond.

Following a pattern, Segerson was then promoted to assistant vice president of economic development and research for the University. A lot of the work was international in scope. “I worked in Russia, Turkey, China, and other nations worldwide,” Segerson explains.

In 2014, he left George Mason after 25 years of leadership positions and founded P3 Innovation Strategies. His expertise led him to help build businesses in information technology, global economic development, entrepreneurship, innovation ecosystems, and public-private partnerships.
Segerson and his team provided client consulting services for companies and governments globally.

In the last few years, however, “…the winds of change shifted and pushed me to consider looking for new business opportunities. I found doing business in Turkey and China very difficult to almost nonexistent. I was growing weary of constantly addressing international bureaucracies. Especially with a small firm like mine that did not have a large staff.”

What to do? While out of sync given his burnished international technology resume, Segerson had always wanted to open a business that was recognizable within a community. “After my father retired, he built a small business, and I saw him work hard to make it a success. I was very proud of what he achieved.”

It’s obvious Segerson wasn’t about to do anything that didn’t involve extensive due diligence. He explored numerous opportunities, including a dog grooming business. Whatever he chose, it had to be viable, provide services within a local community, and, for certain, have clear profit potential. Given his independent streak, franchises were not considered.

After in-depth research and running the numbers on several candidate firms, he elected to focus on office cleaning companies. Thirteen months ago, he assumed ownership of an existing such business and dubbed it BIZCLEAN. It serves Culpeper, Fauquier, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties and is based out of Vint Hill.

Today, it has 11 clients at 25 physical locations predominately serving the medical office building industry. It includes office cleaning and floor maintenance services, such as carpet cleaning and floor buffing.

“At the moment, we have 10 hardworking, dedicated employees, all part-time, and my focus is 100 percent on serving our clients. It can be stressful at times, working six, and sometimes seven days a week. Recently I got home at 12:30 a.m.”

In his limited spare time, he still does some consulting work for his company P3 Innovation Strategies.

Segerson, 62, is married to an elementary school teacher and has four adult children and five grandchildren. He chose Fauquier County in which to shift career gears because “I just felt the area was the right place to be in.

“I’m really proud to be here. My son lives in Warrenton, and in previous jobs, I worked closely with the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce and the Fauquier County Department of Economic Development. I love what I’m doing. I’m going to keep on working and building this new business.”

For a full description of the BIZCLEAM services, visit And remember, their reputation is spotless.

Published March 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES