Year in review

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: The year 2011 was a busy one for businesses. Edwards Hardware in Courtland celebrated its 100th anniversary, Atlantic Wood in Newsoms provided wood pilings for the renovation of the sinking Lincoln Memorial Reflective Pool in Washington, D.C., and Brian Hedgepeth was named the new chief executive officer for Bronco Federal Credit Union in Franklin. The following is a month-by-month rundown of business news in Western Tidewater in 2011.

Jan. 5—Walter Hunt, a laid-off employee of ATC Panels since March 2009, makes a claim that the company owes him $28,000 in severance. ATC claims the company is not closed, a condition for granting severance.
Jan. 19—International Paper’s former Converting and Innovation Center, closed in June 2010, remains for sale for $6.89 million.
Jan. 29—Yesterday Antiques in Courtland closed after 2½ years.

Feb. 2—The Sunoco station in Courtland becomes a Shell Station, and Bill’s Hometown Grill becomes Duck Thru Food Store.
Feb. 9—The Tidewater News promoted Tony Clark to general manager and director of advertising. He came to the paper in October as a marketing consultant and director of special projects.
Feb. 16—Frank Padilla, owner of Don Pancho’s Cantina, announced the restaurant would reopen March 1 at Overtime Sports Grill location. The restaurant had been located in the Walmart plaza on Armory Drive.

March 1—A ribbon cutting was held for Raiford Psychological Services, which moved to downtown Franklin. Owner Dr. Stacey Scott started her business in the Franklin Business Incubator in April 2008.
March 9—The Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce named Highground Services as its 2010 Business of the Year. Founders James Strozier and John Warren, both formerly of International Paper, were also recognized.
March 16—The Virginia House and Senate passed legislation to expand a program that would offer incentives to new businesses. This would allow a joint Enterprise Zone in Franklin and Southampton County that could be expanded to include 6.37 square miles in southern Isle of Wight, which includes the closed International Paper mill.

April 6—Courtland’s Randy Moore starts up Avant Landscape Design.
April 13—Edwards Hardware celebrated its 100th anniversary. The business began Sept. 1, 1911.
April 20—Downtown Franklin Association and the City of Franklin received two Virginia Main Street Milestone Achievement Awards. The first was for investing more than 40,000 volunteer hours since 1997. The second for completing more than 250 building rehabilitations since being designated a Main Street Community in 1985.

May 4—Barry and Toni Nolf open Blackwater Outfitters and Nottoway River Guides, which rents kayaks and canoes, and offers guided and unguided river tours.
May 11—The Courtland branch of EVB received the 2010 Presidential Award for reaching the highest goal percentage in each of four categories.
May 23—Southampton County Supervisors rezoned two acres off Highway 35 from residential to industrial for a trucking terminal. James and Valerie Prosise of Suffolk made the request.

June 1—Amanda Jarratt was hired as manager of marketing for Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. She most recently served as the director of planning and development for Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
June 15—Bob Petty, chief executive officer for Bronco Federal Credit Union for 13 years, retired. He worked for the credit union for 27 years.
June 29—Jeff Jacobs was presented the Chancellor’s Award for Workforce Development in Occupation Specific Instruction and Services. He teaches the Warehouse and Distribution Operations Career Studies certificate Program at Paul D. Camp Community College.

July 3—For Pete’s Sake, a restaurant on Business 58, closed. The closing of International Paper was cited as a contributing factor.
July 6—A new law that expanded the definition of illegal gambling resulted in the closing of at least one Franklin Internet casino, Match Point.
July 13—Brian Hedgepeth was named the new chief executive officer for Bronco Federal Credit Union in Franklin.
July 20—Paul D. Camp Community College English Instructor Nancy Warren and Associate Professor of Math Justin Oliver were chosen to participate in an inaugural professional development program.

Aug. 3—Smithfield-Luter Foundation created a full, two-year scholarship for a student at Paul D. Camp Community College. Beginning this past fall, children and grandchildren of employees and retirees of Smithfield Foods and its family of companies who demonstrate financial need would be eligible for the $12,500 scholarship.
Aug. 10—The Walgreens in Franklin was named the best for customer service among the district’s 35 stores at a recent national conference in Las Vegas. The pharmacy was also noted for giving more immunizations than any other store in the district.
Aug. 17—Courtland was a contender for a huge LOVE artwork to be displayed in the town.
Aug. 24—Patricia Cleveland of Nottoway House celebrated her 40th anniversary at the furniture and design shop in Courtland.
Aug. 31—The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce was recognized for its website, which was designed by Insercorp in Franklin.

Sept. 7—Chris Rodriguez opens El Ranchero where Don Pancho’s Cantina was located in the Walmart Plaza.
Sept. 14—The Dairy Queen on Highway 58 in Courtland sustained more than $300,000 in damage from Hurricane Irene. Mid-Atlantic Dairy Queen Chief Executive Officer Mitch Sandlin said a reopening was set for the end of October.
Highground Services was one of five winners in a statewide competition that highlights the most resilient businesses in economically challenged parts of Virginia. As the winner of the Service Sector, company personnel will be enrolled in an executive education course valued at $8,000 to $12,000.
Sept. 28—Ashland announced that it will invest $5.7 million to convert the plant’s steam-making process from electric to natural gas.

Oct. 5—Tidewater Physical Therapy and Southside Physical Therapy announced heir merger.
The Downtown Franklin Association lost $2,000 to $3,000 from the rainout of the Franklin Fall Festival.
Oct. 12—The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors OK’d forming a joint state enterprise zone with Franklin and Southampton County. IOW planned to designate 3,800 acres in the southern portion of the county as enterprise zones, which are intended as incentives for businesses.
Oct. 26—Boykins held its inaugural Pumpkin Fest. Mike McManus, owner of Boykins Beans and Ice Cream, reported record sales by noon.

Nov. 2—The Dairy Queen in Courtland, which had more than $300,000 in damages from Hurricane Irene, reopened.
Nov. 9—Nathaneil Butler, 31, opened Royal Crown Cutz and Styles in Courtland. He had been cutting hair since high school.
Nov. 16—Jane Gibson opened Jane’s Sweet Potato Biscuits in downtown Franklin. Previously she had been working from her home.
Nov. 23—Gentle Touch Home Care, a Suffolk-based home health care company, announced it would open an office in Franklin in early December.
Nov. 30—Southampton County supervisors voted 4-2 to let Kenny McClelland of Sedley rezone his property. This in spite of a petition of 136 signatures opposing the request.

Dec. 7—Food Lion in Franklin began a $589,000 renovation aimed at creating a neighborhood market. Completion’s expected next summer.
Dec. 14—Ray Phifer and Sean Brinkley opened Checkerboard Corner Store on Delaware Road. The convenience store also serves homemade breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Dec. 21—County supervisors gave the OK for rezoning six acres so that Gray & Sons Construction could set up a new shop, office and equipment storage facility.
The Grey Fox Restaurant on North Main Street closed after nearly four years in operation under current ownership. Financial and economic reasons were cited as reasons.