Archive for February, 2021

In-home charging stations for electric vehicles available now

There’s a gas station coming to your home. Except it won’t be pumping gas. Instead, electrons will be quietly refueling that electric vehicle in your driveway or garage. That is if you own one.

If this sounds a bit farfetched, consider the Tipping Point phenomenon. That is a point in time when a small change tips the balance of a system and brings about a major change. The EV industry has that point in its crosshairs.

And there is as a young entrepreneur who is positioning himself to be ready when the moment occurs.

Justin Mauch,27, is a calm, thoughtful young guy who thinks big. And he has experience in following his dreams. A native and current resident of Loudoun County, he opted to delay college and chase the experience of competitive cycling.

For six years, he raced with the USA National Cycling Team and other trade teams. He competed all over Europe, China, South Africa, and North America. And while he still competes, 2020 has seen no sanctioned races given the pandemic, and he is no longer pursuing a cycling career.

Since competitive cycling is not a stable endeavor, in 2017 Mauch decided to pursue a degree from the University of Virginia in economics and foreign affairs.

“Last September, I was talking with a friend about the $103,000 Porsche Taycan electric vehicle. The thought ran through my head that after purchasing such a vehicle, how do buyers regularly charge it,” said Mauch.

“Little guidance is given to new owners other than to call an electrician. What typically follows are technical questions from the electrician as to the type of plug and amps needed. Both the vehicle owner and electrician often don’t know how to easily proceed.”

Mauch saw an unfilled need, and while the need is small at the moment, the numbers are striking. There are one million EVs on the road today. By 2030, that number is projected to jump to 18 million. The tipping point will likely follow soon after.

“A few years ago, Tesla was the big player. That’s completely changing. Now you’ve got Volvo, Porsche, GM, Ford, Cadillac, Subaru, Toyota, and more. Everyone is bringing EVs or hybrid electrics to market.” And all those new owners will need convenient and accessible charging stations.”

To further explore the potential for his idea, Mauch canvassed electricians asking if they installed EV chargers. He found no one was serving the niche market. His entrepreneurial spirit was ignited.

The Product
Mauch began forming his company in the Fall of 2019 and officially launched it in January of this year. The first installations occurred in March, and then the business was put on hold due to the pandemic.

Today, he is targeting both residential and commercial installations, including auto dealerships and office buildings, where multiple installs are performed. Wineries, bed and breakfasts, and small airports are other prime industries.

To leverage his sales, he provides EV car dealerships with literature on his company so vehicle sales can include information on how the new owner can purchase a “one phone call” charging system.

Pricing depends on where a customers’ electrical panel is located in the home. The unit itself can be mounted on a weatherproof post abutting a driveway or inside a garage. If the electrical panel does not have adequate space, an additional 50-amp circuit can be installed.

The charger is about 12 inches high and 7 inches deep with a 25-foot rollup electrical cord. A recent new product offering will allow for an overhead boom permitting the owner to reach up and pull the cord down to the car.

The cost of installation, including the charger and the county inspection permit, averages between $2,000 and $3,000 and includes a three-year warranty. Mauch underscores if any operational issues arise, his technicians will respond quickly to resolve them.

When considering installation costs, Mauch advises there is a Federal tax credit providing up to 30 percent off the cost of the hardware and installation. For a $2,000 installation, the buyer could earn $600 off their Federal tax bill.

The electrical costs accompanying the shift from a conventional automobile to an EV is about $6 per “tank” for an empty battery to full charge. With a 300-mile driving range and filling a “tank” once a week, it would add an estimated $24 to a home electrical bill.

A 2018 study from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that electric vehicles cost less than half as much to operate as gas-powered cars.

Charger installations are proceeding on pace, and Mauch has set a goal of 500-unit sales for 2021. He has installed three Fauquier County units in the last few months and is confident the number will rise significantly in the next few years.

“Effortless Electric exists to make it ‘effortless’ for EV owners to install a convenient and time-saving electrical automobile charger,” said Mauch.

For information on sales, service, and more, visit

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Banking on Diversity

Posted on Feb 18 2021 | By

The Fauquier Bank joins forces with regional banks to support minority firms

Thanks to creative thinking among four community banks, minority businesses can now access interest-free loans to start or grow their companies.

The criteria for securing the money are straightforward. The firm must have a Minority Business Enterprise certification, have annual revenues that don’t exceed $1 million ($500,000 for farms), and be located in one of seven regional counties.

New businesses must exist for a least three months and existing businesses for more than two years.

Loan amounts are up to $50,000 for existing businesses and $10,000 for new ones.

For 119 years, The Fauquier Bank has served countless northern Piedmont businesses and residents’ banking needs. Last year, in a merger of equals, it joined forces with the Virginia National Bank of Charlottesville.

Today, it has six offices in Fauquier County and five in Prince William County, with 150 employees and $850 million in assets. By any measure, the organization exemplifies a successful community bank.

Leading the institution is an experienced banker in the person of Marc Bogan, President and CEO.

Bogan, 54, has been a banker for 30 years, the last five with The Fauquier Bank. His resume reflects time spent with large banks, like Legacy Wachovia and Bank of America, early in his career and progressively moving to several small community banks. In 2016, he took the reins of The Fauquier Bank.

“The diversity loan program is a four-bank collaboration,” said Bogan. “The Bank of Clarke County, the Bank of Charles Town, The Fauquier Bank, and First Bank in Strasburg and Winchester created and executed the concept. We call it ‘Banking on Diversity’”.

Like many recent creative business ideas, the loan program was an outgrowth of dealing with the pandemic in its early days. The banks initially huddled to work on safety and security issues of operating during Covid-19, the execution of the Paycheck Protection Program, and other financial needs.

“That early collaborative work morphed into a peer group of bank CEOs. We started to share ideas on things beyond the scope of Covid-19. One of those follow-on ideas was assisting the minority business community.”

Numerous studies have shown that minority small businesses do not have access to capital in a way a lot of non-minority business do. The interest-free loan program emerged as a way to address that shortcoming.

Moreover, the banking industry is charged by its regulators to invest in their local communities and specifically those with low to moderate incomes.

“The goal of the program is to provide capital for underserved minority and small businesses that need help building their businesses,” explained Bogan.

Often such businesses do not have traditional banking relationships. The ultimate goal is to grow their businesses, create jobs, and contribute to the broader community through increased commerce and taxes.

It is a pilot program, and adjustments will likely occur over time, including the terms. “We wanted to go to the market with an attractive program to get the attention of the targeted groups,” said Bogan.

What’s the incentive for the participating banks to make monies available interest-free?

Job creation and tax contributions are fundamental. Moreover, banks have a Federal mandate through the Community Reinvestment Act to provide capital through loans, investments, and services to low and moderate businesses and census tracts.

“We are not giving somebody money and hoping they’ll simply do something good with it. There is an expectation the loan will be repaid,” said Bogan.

The program was announced on February 9, in support of Black History Month. It has generated interest among the four sponsoring banks, but no loans have yet been extended.

“We are now in the question-and-answer phase as eligible businesses see if the program can be of value to them. One application has been received, and more are expected shortly.

“We are committed to making this offer available for one year. Each bank is contributing $250,000 for a total of $1 million. We are looking to place the money directly into the hands of small minority businesses,” Bogan said.

He goes on to underscore it’s not a large amount of money for the banks involved citing assets of $850 million for his institution alone. “But, it’s a lot money to these small businesses that are looking to grow and thrive.”

The Future
For those firms who apply and receive a loan, will the recovering local economy offer a hospitable environment for success?

“Everybody was concerned about the economy last year, even fearing a deep recession. Because of the Federal economic stimulus, I think the economy has stabilized. I also think Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region are doing better than most areas.

“We made more money in 2020 than we have in any single year in the bank’s 119-year history. The indicators and metrics I see for 2021 are all very positive. The economy is not in a place where it was last year.”

For qualifying firms interested in learning more about Banking on Diversity, visit


Published in a February 2021 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Small is beautiful at Hometown Imprints

Posted on Feb 18 2021 | By

Warrenton shop embroiders its way to a company’s bottom line

In the scary world of Covid-19, building a brand that conveys a sophisticated, secure, and established image is goal number one. Like a book, customers judge companies by their covers.

Fortunately, the Fauquier County community has a local resource to put images, logos, and more on all manner of items visually telegraphing the message, “Buy from us. We’re successful”.

On a more personal vein, having your name stitched on a golf towel introducing yourself to others while carding birdies is the ticket to lower scores. Well, maybe.

Hometown Imprints at 5439 Old Alexandria Turnpike uses thread and ink to energize a company’s profits or an individual’s image. Visual marketing keeps you from blending into the landscape while graphically building reputation and respectability.

Unlike most other promotional forms, embroidering and screen-printing logos on value items turn them into walking promotional tools; billboards with personality.

Hometown Imprints owners Jen Riggleman ,52, and her husband Buddy,50, have lived in Warrenton for almost 20 years. Buddy Riggleman founded Peak Roofing Contractors that today employs 50 people.

“Originally, Buddy was using a company down in North Carolina to supply logo work-apparel for the company. About two years ago, it occurred to him he could own his own printing company and serve his needs and those of other firms as well.

“He told me I was going to run the business. I said, ‘Excuse me!’ At the time, I was working at St. James Episcopal School. I was shocked. I told him I had a job but in truth, I was ready for a change,” said Jen Riggleman smiling.

With the purchase of an embroidery machine, the former school aide found herself running a business.

As with most things today, the company centers on the digital world. Images often come in a PDF format and from there are embedded onto uniforms, sports apparel, casual wear, and more.

If it drapes a body, a logo can be displayed on it. Typically, a digital design is ordered from a contractor and then stitched into a design through digitalizing or sublimation.

Once digitalized, the design is stitched in the order of the thread drop and color. Riggleman saves the image to her laptop that “talks” to the embroidery machine. She then final adjusts for size and colors.

In addition to embroidery, screen printing and vinyl heat printing make up a sizeable portion of other customized items.

While the technical side of the business is fascinating, customer interest centers on quality and beauty. To personalize an item conveys a sense of ownership, giving it the power to attract and hold attention, essential to building a brand.

As an article moves toward final production, a final review is provided to a customer for sign off, resulting in some back and forth until the last thread or shade of color is spot on. Once a customer approves the artwork, it takes about ten days to produce the deliverable.

What gets embroidered or screen-printed? Name it and its eligible: saddle pads, blankets, ball caps. beanies, jackets, stockings, golf towels, dress shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, cups, mousepads, and more. There is no limit to what can become a company promotional tool.

The firm’s growth has mostly come through social media and advertising, but Riggleman underscores that walk-ins and individual piece items are welcome. When looking for an unusual gift or a personalized article of clothing or equipment, it’s a sure bet an item displaying an individual’s name or symbol will be a cherished gift.

An essential asset in working with the firm is the personal attention given to every order. Just three people staff the “factory”: owner Riggleman, the designer, and her two assistants, Caitlyn Watkins, responsible for marketing, and Oscar Riggleman, the screen-printer.

One of several customer reactions found on its website sums up the service, “The staff were super responsive to all inquiries and were able to produce the desired product. I plan on using them in the future and highly recommend their service.”

Prices for products are based on the production technique employed and the number of items ordered. Individual items like a t-shirt can cost as little as $10 to $15, including the shirt. Clothing items can be purchased on-site, or customers can supply the product. Bulk orders tumble in price based on the numbers ordered.

“We are looking forward to 2021. Covid has had a negative impact on us as it has everyone. Much of our business was centered on summer camps, churches, family reunions, sports teams, and high school spirit-wear. All of that business has been affected.

“We have custom-designed face masks, including orders for the Town of Warrenton and the volunteer fire department.

“I think people sometimes don’t think about a micro-business as a buying option. One of our strengths is customer service. We even deliver orders if it helps our customers. We are focused on personalized service,” said Riggleman.

Small is not only beautiful, it’s an avenue to quality products and service.

Hometown Imprints is opened 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit for photo albums showcasing its products.


Published in a January 2020 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Traditional Irish fare to be offered by native Irishman

When the Piedmont countryside begins to turn Kelly green, Fauquier County residents will be tucking into Irish lunches and dinners with an accent on farm-to-table ingredients. The background “music” will be a lyrical Irish brogue heard around the room.

The location of the gustatory experience will be the former McMahon’s Irish Pub and Restaurant at 380 Broadview Avenue. The decades-old building has solid bones, so freshening up the interior is currently job one for the town’s newest entrepreneurs.

If it seems a tough time to jump into the restaurant business, years of international and domestic experience are in play here on what appears to be a preordained success.

Co-owners Jerry O’Brien, 45, and his wife Amanda O’Brien, 33, have traveled widely since embarking on their separate hospitality careers.  Among his long list of accomplishments, Jerry O’Brien managed country singer Toby Keith’s restaurant in Las Vegas.

The Old Sod
The Irish personality is widely known for its ever-ready smile and friendly disposition. Why? A case could be made that growing up in one of the most beautiful countries in the world creates an ebullient life view.

In Jerry O’Brien’s case, his birthplace was a small village on the Ring of Kerry, a must-see destination for international vacationers. Its beauty is renowned.

His life’s work life began at age 12 at a local bakery, shifting to a hotel in Killarney as a night porter and then night manager.  Subsequently, he moved on to another hotel in the town before relocating to Las Vegas to join a pub concept group that ran several Irish pubs in America.

His role was troubleshooting restaurants that had management issues. Assignments included Indiana, Washington, D.C., and even back in Dublin.

Meanwhile, Amanda, born and raised in Manassas, started her career at upscale Virginia golf clubs, then moving to a Charlotte, N.C. restaurant, advancing from server to banquet manager. A move to Las Vegas was prompted by a sister living there and resulted in landing a job with the same company Jerry O’Brien worked for.

“That’s how Jerry and I ended up meeting,” said Amanda O’Brien. A move back to Virginia offered the two professionals a chance to lease the former McMahon building. “Jerry will be the general manager, and I will cover catering and bar management.”

During his six-year stint in Las Vegas, Jerry O’Brien was offered a job at Toby Keith’s restaurant in Harrah’s. Within six months, he was promoted to general manager, a position he held for over two and a half years.

The decision to move back to Virginia was based on the birth of their son. “We didn’t think Vegas was a great place for our son to grow up.” underscores Jerry O’Brien.

Upon arriving here, he was hired as the manager at Harry’s at Airlie for two months. Then, Covid-19 struck.   

The pub
Once back in Virginia, the couple explored Warrenton and quickly spotted the building they ultimately leased. “As we drove past McMahon’s the first time, we looked at each other and said it would be a perfect spot for a pub.

“We’ve always had a dream of opening a place together,” said Irish Sessions band,. They have a five-year lease with a five-year option. Their goal is to buy the property outright.

Currently, an interior facelift is underway, including brightening the bar area and showcasing its beautiful wood. The building holds 267 people but will be operating under COVID-19 restrictions at 50% occupancy. An outdoor patio will also be available with picnic tables for folks feeling safer dining out-of-doors.

Negotiations are underway with a chef emphasizing farm-to-table fare. It will be an Irish menu featuring products from local farms.

Dishes such as shepherd’s pie, beef and Guinness stew, fish and chips, bangers, and more will be showcased. Some Irish meats will grace the menu too, including bacon and sausage that will be imported from the Emerald Isle.

Initially, there will be 25 employees, including, hopefully, some Irish natives. But finding the best servers will be paramount. “Our service standards will be really high,” explains Jerry O’Brien.

The pub will be opened seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Final operating hours have yet to be set. Hopefully, business will justify breakfasts on the weekends, and if that’s successful, three meals a day would be offered throughout the week.

Entrees will be priced in the $15-$17 range and up to $25 for dishes featuring local meats like pork chops and steaks. Beer is a given, 12 taps will sport both traditional Irish beers and local craft brews. Domestic and local wines will also on the drinks list.

Covid-19 restrictions will dictate final hours, but the goal will be to be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The Irish Sessions band, who previously played at McMahon’s, will be brought back. They are eight talented musicians showcasing jigs, reels, and hornpipe tunes.

The O’Brien’s are also committed to supporting the community and anticipate hosting golf tournaments and other fundraisers. “Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’re going to see if we can feed some of the less fortunate folks in our community,” said Jerry O’Brien.

If it’s true everyone has a wee bit of Irish in them, look for glasses to be raised high in affirmation at O’Brien’s.


Published in a February 2021 edition of the Fauquier Times

Categories : HAGARTY TALES