A new year brings a renewed sense of purpose. And, although we need to continue to stay vigilant about our health, we can also start to feel hope for the future. Downtown’s small businesses have been waiting for your return and are ready to serve you in a safe and compassionate way. We hope you’ll remember and support them, too. They’re your friends and neighbors, and they’re the faces of your Downtown. #MeetMeDowntown
Photojournalist Regina Boone (pictured on the right with colleague Sandra Sellars), continues the vision of her late father, Ray Boone, founding publisher and editor of the Richmond Free Press, a weekly newspaper established because Richmond needed news catered to Black people. Mr. Boone made the paper FREE to relieve barriers in getting the news. Headquartered downtown at 422 E. Franklin Street, his legacy continues through the work of his widow, Jean, son, Raymond and Regina.
For more than 18 years, Julep's New Southern Cuisine has been known for its award-winning favorites like shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes. Located at 420 E. Grace Street, Julep’s temporarily closed in March 2020 to keep employees and customers safe, reopening in July. But, without the regular foot traffic of downtown workers and conventioneers, it’s been slow. Said owner, Amy Cabaniss, “I like the feeling of downtown. People care for one another... look out for one another.” Amy is photographed here with bartender Hootan Hadavand (far left) and server Tony Fountaine (far right).
Chef and owner of Maya, Maria Oseguera brings modern Mexican cuisine to 525 E. Grace Street. The restaurant offers a mix of Chef Maria’s Colombian culture and her husband Michael’s family roots in Amecameca de Juarez, Mexico. In 2012, Maria and her family not only transplanted themselves, but their love of the two food cultures to Virginia, bringing imaginative plates that impress the senses with rousing flavors and beautiful presentation, using fresh ingredients from local markets.
Anthony loves the unique perspective that being Downtown brings... being surrounded by diversity, the city’s architecture, and the energy of people. As a parent of two, Anthony saw the need for a different kind of children’s clothing in Richmond. So he and his wife, Nora, got to work building a children’s clothing line that tells a special story: stay in school, do good things, be strong, and go for your dreams! Located at 104 W. Broad Street, Little Nomad hopes to attract all of the new families living in Downtown Richmond and beyond.
Adele (shown here, center, with grandchildren L.J. (left) and Lia (right) Collins) is executive director of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of VA. For more than 30 years, the BHMVA has offered a dynamic multi-dimensional learning experience which includes history and art exhibitions, community conversations, literary presentations, social gatherings, documentary screenings, historic portrayals, and cultural activities. Housed in an artifact itself, the Historic Leigh Street Armory, at 122 W. Leigh Street, the museum is located in Historic Jackson Ward, a National Historic Landmark District, once home to Maggie L. Walker and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.
This dynamic duo, Janice, Director of Sales and Marketing, and Kevin, General Manager believe “We’re all tied in this together.” Along with a team dedicated to customer service and guest comfort, they operate The Berkeley Hotel at 1200 E. Cary Street. Richmond’s first boutique property, named after England’s Berkeley Castle, opened in Shockoe Slip with 55-rooms in 1988. It has remained open during the pandemic and follows strict COVID-19 precautions. Miller mentioned that downtown has always been close-knit and that camaraderie has increased as they’ve navigated the pandemic’s challenges.
If you’ve ever frequented Shockoe Bottom near Main Street Station, you've likely been greeted with a smile by Timothy Christian, a 5th generation vendor at the 17th Street Market. Selling fruits, vegetables, and more, he is considered a “Legacy Vendor” who’s worked the stand for more than 40 years after his father Henry passed it to him. You will find Timothy there nearly six days a week and on many holidays.
Jay Bayer, co-owner and general manager, has helped curate a creative cocktail menu at Jackson Ward’s Saison, a full-service restaurant focusing on seasonal small plates, entrees and desserts. He and his team doubled-down to also own and operate Saison Market, a neighborhood cafe serving breakfast, brunch, dinner and lunch just around the corner. Located at 23 W. Marshall Street and 323 N. Adams Street respectively, the two bring something new to the historic neighborhood, including cocktails on draft!