Downtown Richmond is not only home to our state Capitol and major corporations, but also to hundreds of small businesses, non-profits and cultural institutions. 2020 has been a trying year for everyone. But, as working from home became normal for most of the more than 70,000 people who work Downtown, it’s been especially hard for small businesses there. We hope you’ll remember and support them. They’re your friends and neighbors, and they’re the faces of your Downtown. #MeetMeDowntown
As the sole-proprietor of Gus’s Shoe Repair on 528 E Main Street, Cindy started the business with her husband Gus, an immigrant who used to make shoes with his family as a child in Greece. Shortly after opening their Downtown store in 1988, Gus passed away, leaving Cindy to manage the business. It took her six years to learn the equipment and techniques and she’s been cobbling ever since - with her colleague Maurice Clark!
For 30 years, the Elegba Folklore Society, at 101 E. Broad Street, has created artistic, educational experiences with high-quality art, spoken word, dance and musical performances bringing awareness to cultural roots across the African diaspora. Elegba also provides tours along Richmond’s trail of enslaved Africans and has engaged audiences virtually during the pandemic. "Richmond has a memory that contributes to our character as a city,” said founder, Janine Bell.
The Ukrop family has long been advocating for Downtown and its renaissance. Katie opened Quirk Gallery on Broad Street in 2005. In 2015, Quirk Hotel, a renovated 1920s former dry goods store, joined the gallery, both located at 201-207 W. Broad. Quirk has become a place for both locals and tourists offering a cosmopolitan street-level lobby bar, restaurant and a rooftop bar with City views.
For nearly 60 years, Barky’s Record Shop has been a downtown staple with the first store opening in 1956. A native Richmonder and Army veteran, Barky has weathered the storm through three downtown locations, including losing one to fire in 1993, settling at 18 E. Broad Street. His loyal patrons have relied on him and his longtime staff for their musical needs, mainly Gospel music, including hard-to-find CDs, DVDs, and vinyl selections.
A Shockoe Bottom mainstay, Havana ’59 celebrates more than 25 years downtown. The restaurant’s atmosphere places you back in time to 1950’s Havana, Cuba while seamlessly offering contemporary cuisine and cocktails. Daniel Griffin is the General Manager of one of downtown’s first rooftop bars. Havana’s offers outdoor dining year-round (even before it was trendy.) And, for the cigar aficionado, you’ve found your place right here!
Founded in 1900, this African-American, family-owned business has persevered for over a century. Started as a watch repair company, M.C. Waller designed and made his own tools to repair items during segregation. Waller & Co. continues that tradition today by repairing pieces while also selling fraternity and sorority paraphernalia and jewelry. As Downtown continues to grow, David Waller, fourth generation, believes it has the ability to develop even more as people invest in the city. He said, "It's right for investors to look at Downtown as a viable place to invest.”
Sefton Coffee Company is a coffee roastery featuring locally made pastries with gluten free options, freshly prepared sandwiches and creative coffee drinks. Jennie Skinner opened the company seven years ago in downtown's city center.
Herman “Big Herm” Baskerville, Sr. loves Downtown and entertaining people. The father of two opened Big Herm’s Kitchen in Jackson Ward in 2012 after running another successful sit-down soul food restaurant in Richmond. The restaurant is known for its fried catfish baskets, homemade desserts and chicken wings dipped in “ooh wee” BBQ sauce. Said Big Herm, "The key is diversity, and Downtown has been great to me, and I love the people. You have to build relationships with the people in the community."
Flo and Lotus are big fans of Saadia's JuiceBox & Yoga Bar. When they visit Richmond from D.C., they always make this Jackson Ward spot a priority! Saadia's brings a health-conscious eatery to RVA with a fitness kick. They proudly provide a myriad of options for those on a plant-base diet and those looking to find a one-stop for health and fitness. Their staff and team take pleasure in providing the finest quality foods available.