RDA Programs

Dream Launch Awards - Bliss Hair and Nail Studio

Bliss Hair and Nail Studio owners, Gabriela and Maria Blair, decided to open their business on Main Street in Danville because they wanted to establish a hair and nail salon that brings the newest, latest modern trends of the beauty industry and to be on par with other bigger cities. Their mission is to be dedicated to providing personalized attention with genuine care to their clients and guests in a warm, relaxing atmosphere that is welcoming to everyone. Bliss Hair and Nail Studio uses only eco-friendly, cruelty-free and sustainable products because they want to nourish the health of their customer’s hair and teach them how to take care of it well.

They wanted the studio to be located in the River District because it is exciting to see Danville and the River District coming to life.   They put a lot of thought into the studio’s design, taking into consideration the historical architecture and feeling of the building.  With a calming green color, and natural design accents, they intentionally designed the salon to be comfortable and welcoming to whomever walks in.  They are qualified to work with many kinds of hair and are also bi-lingual: English and Spanish.

Mother-daughter team Maria and Gabriela came to Danville from Nicaragua 24 years ago and Danville has been their second home since then.  They see how much potential Danville has and want to be a part of making Danville beautiful by adding their strengths and vision to all the other creative ventures in the community. They love Danville because it has so many elegant and charming buildings that are waiting for people in the community to bring their unique tastes, creative ideas, and bring to life to those empty, dark places and they see these historical buildings like hidden treasures that need to be polished to make them shine.

What made you decide to take part in the Dream Launch Bootcamp/Pitch Competition?  

“We began dreaming of opening Bliss Hair and Nail Studio in 2018 and planned on opening in 2020. The first step we took was to go to the Economic Development Office for advice and information and we talked to Kelvin Perry. He encouraged us to do the Dream Launch program.  During COVID everything shut down, but we kept busy writing our business plan during quarantine. By early fall of 2021, we began preparing for Dream Launch to start class in January 2022.”

How would you describe your experience in the Dream Launch Bootcamp? 

“The River District Association is doing an amazing job working tirelessly to help make our community grow. It provided great insight to see so many industries come together with one common goal.  Anyone who is interested in starting a business should take the Dream Launch program.”

How will the Dream Launch Grant funds help you expand/start your business? 

“The funds helped us to expand into our second opening phase by offering nail care services in the River District. We are bringing the latest models and technology of nail equipment. We are bringing a vast inventory of products for hair, skin, and nails and we designed a custom-made color bar that will hold the entire color spectrum of hair color shades.”

Any words of wisdom for new entrepreneurs? 

“Put the work in motion and be intentional. Put love into everything you do.  Gain knowledge by reading and researching!”

Dream Launch Awards - Temptations Gourmet

The River District Association is excited to celebrate the 2022 Dream Launch Pitch Grant Awardees!  These businesses participated in a 6 week Dream Launch Bootcamp that covered topics from financial planning, business planning, access to capital, marketing and more.  Those that attended all 6 classes were able to pitch for funding if they chose to.  

Temptations Gourmet, owned by Carnesha Fuller, was awarded $24,000 from the Dream Launch program and $2,500 from Movement Bank to help establish a brick and mortar business in the River District. 

Temptations Gourmet owner Carnesha Fuller loves traveling, shopping, cooking and extreme couponing.  At the age of 8 years old, her grandmother who raised her taught her the fundamentals of cooking. She has also been making sweet goodies and treats for birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions.  One day in 2020, her pastor asked her to make him a salad.  He thought it was beautifully presented, and tasted amazing, so he took a photo and put it on Facebook.  From then on, people began to call Carnesha asking her to make them salads for lunch and other occasions, and the salad business was born!  

Carnesha grew up in Java, Va and has lived in Danville for the last 24 years.  She has seen the growth in the River District, and sees the amazing potential for even more growth, and wants to contribute to the River District’s coming back to life.  She is excited to begin offering her creations in a brick and mortar location, and creating a legacy for her children!

The awarded Dream Launch funds will be used to remodel the Temptations Gourmet brick and mortar location, as well as purchase essential equipment needed to run her business successfully. Stay tuned for an announcement of where the business will be located!

What made you decide to take part in the Dream Launch Bootcamp and Pitch Competition?

“I was successful doing custom order salads.  I had conversations with Mr. Kelvin Perry at the Office of Economic Development and with Councilman Bryant Hood about having a brick and mortar business in the River District.  They encouraged me to take the Dream Launch Bootcamp and pitch my business.  They said, “You have a gold mine, don’t let it get away.”"

How would you describe your experience in the Dream Launch Bootcamp?

“The Dream Launch Bootcamp was an excellent program.  It was so informative.  The one thing I wish is that there could be some “mini workshop series” outside of the program, to continue the education and relationships formed in the Bootcamp.”

Words of Wisdom for new Entrepreneurs

“Don’t give up!  No dream is too crazy not to pursue.”

 

Dream Launch Awards - Urban Fitness

The River District Association is excited to celebrate the 2022 Dream Launch Pitch Grant Awardees!  These businesses participated in a 6 week Dream Launch Bootcamp that covered topics from financial planning, business planning, access to capital, marketing and more.  Those that attended all 6 classes were able to pitch for funding if they chose to.  

Urban Fitness, owned by Marvin Ken Jones, was awarded $13,200 to help expand the gym located at 525 Loyal Street.  

GET Boosted - Photography by Lisa

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients!  GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.  

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.  

Photography by Lisa located at 442 Main Street used the GET Boosted funds to purchase examples of her Masterpiece Portrait Collection, so her clients can see the artistically painted and enhanced portraits available.  

Photography by Lisa, Inc.’s owner, Lisa Carter, has been a professional photographer in the region for over 30 years.  She has earned her Master’s of Photography Degree and Craftsman Degree and is a Certified Professional Photographer through Professional Photographers of America. She is a member and sits on the board of the Virginia Professional Photographers Association. 

Lisa began her photography career as a creative outlet while working in the textile industry in Danville.  Something she loved to do as an artist eventually turned into a means to gain a second income and her business grew quickly. She operated her business from a residential studio until she decided to move her business into a commercial space.  She has been in the River District for 7 years, and offers many different photography services and products. 

The Photography by Lisa studio is a full service portrait studio offering wall portraits, albums, and gift sized prints along with business headshots and personal branding sessions. She specializes in High School Senior Portraits, Bella Couture Sessions, Family Portraits, and more!

Photography by Lisa used GET Boosted funds to purchase displays of The Masterpiece Painted Portraits offered.  These beautiful portraits deserve to be displayed large showing the beauty of the subjects captured and artistically rendered.  Go by 442 Main Street to check them out!

To learn more about Photography by Lisa and all the services offered go to the studio’s website, Facebook page, or

GET Boosted - Urban Fitness

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients!  GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.  

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.  

Urban Fitness, located at 525 Loyal Street used the GET Boosted funds to purchase 6 spin bikes.  

Owner Ken Jones has operated Urban Fitness in the River District for the past twelve years.  This hybrid gym offers memberships, and facilities for weight training, basketball, and general sports training.  They also offer personal training and fitness classes.  Ken Jone’s classifies his business as “an old school motivational gym.” 

With the addition of 11 (6 purchased with GET Boosted funds) spin bikes Urban Fitness is now able to offer spin classes four times a week.  The spin classes are open to anyone in the community, not just gym members.  Classes are now offered Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 am, and Monday and Wednesday at 6 pm.  Classes are $10. 

Ken Jones is excited to offer spin classes in the River District because it is excellent at increasing cardio health, and body sculpting.  Additionally, it is a great form of exercise that can be done with a group, while also following social distancing guidelines if needed. 

In addition to the four classes per week that are open to the public, Urban Fitness also offers private classes for family or corporate groups.  Owner Ken Jones is excited to offer this new service, help increase the community’s fitness options, and to be a part of the River District’s growth. 

To learn more about Urban Fitness, and to sign up for spin classes you can visit the gym’s Facebook Page, or sign up for a class online HERE.  

GET Boosted - Blush and Glow Spa

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients!  GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.  

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.  

Blush and Glow Spa, located at 530 Main Street, Suite 207 used the GET Boosted funds to create marketing materials and videos based on the businesses recent rebranding. 

Owner Lauren Parks opened Blush and Glow Spa (formerly Blush and Bashful Waxing Spa), on Lynn Street in 2018 offering waxing services.  In 2020 she participated in RDA’s Dream Launch Bootcamp and Pitch Competition and was awarded funds that allowed her make the jump from being a solo operator to adding employees, and funding the purchase of additional required equipment for the growth of the business.

Blush and Glow Spa expanded again in 2021.  The business moved to a larger space at 530 Main Street, Suite 207 and added several additional services in addition to waxing, including eyebrow shaping, facials, lash services, and airbrush tanning.  

In 2022, Blush and Glow Spa is expanding again into the first floor of their current building and adding a salt lounge and yoga studio!

The professional marketing videos Blush and Glow Spa is using GET Boosted funds to create will help the business spread the word about all the services offered.

To learn more about Blush and Glow Spa, and to schedule an appointment for services, you can check out their website, http://blushandglowspa.com, and their Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/BLUSHandGLOWspa

GET Boosted - River District Auto Spa

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients!  GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.  

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.  

River District Auto Spa located at 136 S. Ridge Street used GET Boosted funds to purchase a 54 Inch TruVIS Vg2-540 Roland decal and banner printer. 

River District Auto Spa owner Von Wellington began the auto detailing business in 2015. He works in film and photography in the region and wanted to get to know people, put faces to names, be a part of the community, and offer something needed.  

Originally, he started the River District Barbershop, and was then offered the use of the whole building.  In the back of the building is a garage space with a lift, and he decided to start an auto detailing business in addition to the barber shop.  

He went to Chicago to become certified by Dr. Beasley's in auto detailing at the International Detailing Association.  The training consists of 10 units and quizzes done online, and an in person demonstration of skills to the top detailing professionals in the country.  Once having a successful demonstration, Von Wellington was then certified to teach others in the industry.  He also added to his credentials by traveling to Atlanta to learn how to professionally tint windows, and apply wraps to autos.  He is also now certified to teach other professionals how to detail cars. 

With the addition of the 54 inch Roland decal and banner printer and also a laminator, River District Auto Spa is able to do custom wraps, decals, and even business banners. Detailing companies around the region are already contracting with River District Auto Spa to produce wraps and decals for them.  

When the Covid Pandemic started, the River District Barbershop had to close down, and the Auto Spa decided to repurpose the space into a clean, brightly lit room where the wraps, window tinting, and ceramic coatings they offer could be applied with clarity and precision.  It will also be a space for training and workshops for those interested in learning how to do the services offered at the River District Auto Spa.  

Von Wellington wants everyone to know that the River District Auto Spa offers impeccable extremely professional services at reasonable prices, and everyone is welcome.  They give the same level of care, service, and detail, to your car whether you have a 20 year old Ford Focus, an antique treasure, or a brand new Ferrari!  

River District Auto Spa offers the following services: 

  • Washing
  • Full detailing
  • Tinted window installation
  • Ceramic protective coatings
  • Wrap and decal installation
  • Workshops and trainings

The River District Autos Spa is open 7am - 7pm, 7 days a week.  You can call 434-728-3459 or book and pay for your service on the website:  https://www.riverdistrictautospa.com/

GET Boosted - Let it Go

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients!  GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.  

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.  

Let it Go, located at 541 Bridge Street, used GET Boosted funds to purchase an Infrared Salt Booth.  

Owner Heather Burtt opened Let it Go in Danville because after years of suffering from fatigue and poor gut health, she found relief with colon-hydrotherapy and wanted to bring the service to her hometown.  

After opening in September of 2021, Heather decided to expand her offerings and used GET Boosted funds to purchase an Infrared Salt Booth Sauna.  Clients sit in the booth for up to 30 minutes.  The treatment can help with many symptoms including fatigue and skin conditions.  In addition to providing relaxing heat, clients can choose different colored lights that can also affect mood and health.  They can also attach their phones to the booth via bluetooth and listen to music they choose. 

In addition to colon-hydrotherapy and the salt booth, Let it Go has just installed two Yoni Steam chairs.  

To learn more about what Let it Go offers, you can visit the website at https://www.letitgodanville.com/

GET Boosted - X-S Fashion Design and Alterations

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients!  GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.  

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.  

X-S Fashion Design and Alterations is located at 535-A Main Street and used GET boosted funds to purchase a cover stitch sewing machine, an inventory of thread, and chairs for sitting at the sewing machines.  

Owner Xinia West has been designing and altering clothes for Danville residents for over 20 years.  She began with a store in the Piedmont Mall and later moved to Main Street in the River District.  Xinia began sewing when she was a child. With her grandmother she made stuffed animals by hand.  Later, while studying accounting, she kept sewing by making clothes for herself, siblings, and friends.  She has been sewing ever since, and considers it a gift from above!  She learns something new every single day.  

Xinia and her sister Flori Clark work together to create beautiful custom clothing including coats and jackets, wedding dresses, prom dresses, and more.

However, before purchasing a top stitch machine with GET Boosted funds, they were not able to effectively alter or create with more stretchy materials such as lycra or spandex.  The top stitch machine uses five threads to create a stitch that can move with fabric.  Previously, they had to go over a hem three different times, with three different machines to create the same effect.  

Now, X-S Fashion Design and Alterations can begin to do custom designs of T-shirts and athletic wear.  

Have you seen a clothing design you loved?  You can take them a photo and get it custom designed, just to your size, with fabric you love. 

For more information and to get connected, call  (434) 791-2888, or stop by the store at 535-A Main Street!

The Brick Running and Tri Store

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients! GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.

The Brick Running and Tri Store is located at 410 Main Street and used GET Boosted funds to expand the store's products and services offerings to bikes, bike accessories, clothing, helmets and repair and tune-ups.

Owner Adam Jones was born and raised in Danville, VA. He remembers over ten years ago when the idea for The Brick started with a brainstorm on the back of a napkin while sitting in Red Lobster. And on April 14th, ten years ago, The Brick opened on Main Street in Danville, to be a business specializing in shoes, apparel, equipment and nutrition for walkers, runners and triathletes. Adam attributes the store’s success to his motto “people over profit” and focuses on how the store can provide great service, and also be a community hub where relationships and friendships are forged through the love of physical activity.  This community is built through running and walking groups and events such as community 5k’s. Currently groups meet at the store at the following times:

Group Runs: Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6:15pm
Group Walks: Wednesdays at 5:30pm

The Brick used the GET Boosted funds to expand products, services, and a sense of community to those who love biking! The Brick now sells three brands of bikes (Cannondale, GT, and Schwinn) as well as bike accessories, tires, pumps, apparel, and helmets.

Additionally, the funds allowed the store to purchase a bike stand and a full set of bike repair and tune-up tools. In addition to bikes and products, The Brick can also service or repair your bike.

For more information and to get connected, visit The Brick’s website and Facebook page. Happy running, walking, swimming, and biking!

GET Boosted - Impotters

 

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients!  GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.  

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.  

Impotters Clayworx is located at 406 Lynn Street and used GET Boosted grant funds to purchase a second kiln for the pottery studio. 

 

Owners Lori and Berkeley Bidgood have been doing pottery out of their home, and teaching classes at various locations downtown for years.  But in 2021 they had the opportunity to open a pottery studio space in the River District on Lynn Street.  The new studio allows them to create their own work, teach classes, and conveniently fire pottery in one space.  

Since May 2021 the Impotters Studio has been operating with one kiln.  Finished pottery pieces require two different firings, one for the plain clay piece (called a bisque firing), and one once the piece is glazed.  Each firing can take 24-36 hours to load, heat, cool and unload.  With one kiln, it was possible to do a firing every other day, which meant if classes were full, it could take weeks to cycle everyone’s pieces through the firing process.  

Impotter’s second kiln was installed in early December, just in time for Christmas presents!  With two kilns running, it is possible to fire every day, and stay on top of demand.  It also allows the Bidgoods to expand class offerings and studio access without having a backlog of unfinished pieces.  

Additionally, should the older kiln need repair and it could take several weeks to get parts.  Without a functioning kiln Impotters would have to shut down for the duration of the repairs.  With a second kiln in operation, they can continue to offer classes and create their own pieces.  


Impotters Clayworx offers 6 week classes, Saturday classes for adults and families, and Friday Try-it sessions.  They also host birthday parties or other private events for small groups.  There is something for everyone! Or, if you simply want to buy a lovely piece of pottery for yourself or for a gift, you can stop by the shop Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 5pm.  


Visit their website or Facebook page to see what classes are currently being offered. 

Angela's Creative Catering

River District Association is excited to begin announcing the projects of GET Boosted Grant Recipients!  GET Boosted is a River District Association program that was developed to provide established River District Businesses with planning guidance and financial support to develop projects, or purchase equipment to give their business a boost and allow them to expand in creative ways.  

Each business worked directly with River District Association and the Longwood Small Business Development Center to develop an idea and a plan, and were then invited to apply for grants up to $5,000 to put their plan into action.  

Angela’s Creative Catering located at 401 Wilson Street, used GET Boosted funds to purchase an efficient, fast, and sanitizing dishwasher.  

Angela’s Creative Catering  offers event catering, and healthy dinners and boxed meals (for delivery or pick-up).  For the past 6 years owner Angela Blankenship ran the catering business out of the kitchen space.  But in 2020 she decided to take over the adjacent former VC Restaurant  space and transform it into an elegant modern event space that is frequently used for wedding receptions, bridal parties, rehearsal dinners, and celebrations of life.  With a full AV and sound system, the space is also ideal for corporate board meetings and events.  

The space's first event was set to be in April of 2020, but then the global pandemic hit, and Angela pivoted to providing more boxed and delivered meals.  Most of these meals used single-use packaging, but as things began to open up, and more events were planned, she and her team started to use the event space for more formal gatherings.  

Events such as wedding rehearsals, or corporate dinners use multiple dishes, glasses, and silverware for each attendee.  Hosting many events with 20 or more people required staff to spend several hours washing, rinsing and sanitizing.  With the help of the GET Boosted grant, Angela’s Creative Catering was able to purchase a small commercial dishwasher that can clean, sanitize, and dry 20 sets of dishes in 1 minute and 20 seconds!

Having an efficient commercial dishwasher will help Angela’s Creative Catering use staff more effectively, and enable them to host larger functions that might require more dishes. 

We love seeing River District businesses thrive!

To schedule an event, or order healthy meals visit the Angela's Creative Catering website.  

RDA Launches GET Boosted Program

Danville’s River District Association (RDA) has launched a new program specifically designed to  help existing River District businesses think creatively about projects or improvements that could boost their business to the next level.  

E-Commerce Renovation

In the past few months, shopping behaviors have radically shifted amid the public health situation. Numerous industries have witnessed unprecedented loss while e-Commerce sales have risen by more than 8%. As a result of the pandemic, the need for small businesses to embrace social media and online sales has never been more important. Acknowledging such realities, Danville’s River District Association (RDA), a proud Virginia Main Street (VMS) program, has launched an initiative to help merchants thrive within our “new” marketplace.