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Richmond Region Tourism launches BLK RVA campaign to highlight Richmond’s black experience

“Black business, Black culture, and Black creative expression continue to flourish in this region, making it more vibrant than ever before,” says advisory board chair Enjoli Moon. “The Black experience in Richmond is rooted, yet rising—this is a place where we connect with our past, celebrate the present, and look toward a bright future.”

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Richmond Region Tourism and The Black Experience Initiative, an advisory board of community members focused on developing unique ways to attract tourism while highlighting Richmond’s Black culture, have launched BLK RVA. The new tourism campaign highlights and celebrates the Black cultural experience in the Richmond region.

Richmond Region Tourism, the advisory board, and Ryano Graphics have dedicated the past two years to develop the initiative that fosters tourism and patronage of Black businesses in Richmond. BLK RVA encompasses four pillars: Arts and Entertainment, Food and Drink, History, and Community.

“Black business, Black culture, and Black creative expression continue to flourish in this region, making it more vibrant than ever before,” says advisory board chair Enjoli Moon. “The Black experience in Richmond is rooted, yet rising—this is a place where we connect with our past, celebrate the present, and look toward a bright future.”

Ryano Graphics, owned by Visual Strategist Shannon Bass, joined the Richmond Region Tourism team to provide the graphic and web design, videography and digital strategy that brings the campaign to life. The team includes Janna M. Hall, Andre Johnson, and Antonio “Knoxx,” all of whom are Richmond residents who understand the importance of making the Black experience a cornerstone of Richmond area tourism.

The campaign comes in time to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans to Virginia in 1619. In fact, 1 in 4 African Americans in the United States have roots in Richmond, Va. Creating the opportunity for others to connect with this history and Richmond’s Black community is the crux of BLK RVA.

“The Richmond region is a vibrant, multicultural hub,” said Katherine O’Donnell, executive vice president of Richmond Region Tourism. “We are very grateful for all the community volunteers and leaders who came together to create the BLK RVA campaign.”

BLK RVA provides opportunities for residents and tourists to support Black-owned businesses through in-person patronage and online engagement while telling important stories of the historical landmarks that make the Richmond Region what it is today.

Current BLK RVA partners include:

  • Afrikana Independent Film Festival
  • Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
  • Chesterfield County Economic Development
  • Elegba Folklore Society
  • Hanover County
  • Henrico County
  • JMI
  • Library of Virginia
  • Mama J’s Kitchen
  • Preservation Virginia
  • PWT, LLC
  • Richmond Black Restaurant Experience
  • Richmond National Battlefield Park and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
  • Samantha Willis, Writer, journalist, co-creator of the Unmasking Series
  • Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church
  • The American Civil War Museum
  • The Valentine
  • Town of Ashland
  • Untold RVA
  • Venture Richmond
  • Virginia Africana Associates
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Virginia Museum of History & Culture
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Tourism Corporation

To learn more about the BLK RVA campaign, go to www.visitblkrva.com.

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Arts & Entertainment

Axe-throwing chain set to open near The Circuit Arcade Bar in Scott’s Addition

The venue will open in the former Nicholson Sprinkler Corp. building at 3100 W. Leigh Street in the heart of the neighborhood.

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From Richmond BizSense:

After its first attempt to get into the Richmond market fell flat, a Canadian axe-throwing bar is back with a location coming to Scott’s Addition.

Bad Axe Throwing is preparing to open at 3100 W. Leigh St. in a 5,000-square-foot space in the old Nicholson Sprinkler Corp. building.

Based in Ontario, Bad Axe has nearly 50 locations throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. In 2018, it began planning a Richmond location on West Broad Street, across from the forthcoming Whole Foods in Sauer Center.

But those plans fell through last spring. Bad Axe owner Mario Zelaya said there was an issue about the amount of parking available at that location, which caused them to scrap the plans.

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Business

Nine-acre Elks Lodge property near Innsbrook slated to be transformed into mixed use development

Highwoods Properties paid $3.3 million for the nine-acre Elks Lodge near Innsbrook After Hours and plans to mull over mixed-use, high density options for the site.

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From Richmond BizSense:

One of the biggest landlords in Innsbrook has amassed more land in the area, this time snagging a block of acreage next to the site where the Innsbrook After Hours concert series is held.

Highwoods Properties last month bought the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks Lodge No. 45 property at 10022 Elks Pass Lane in Henrico. It paid $3.3 million for the 9-acre assemblage, which adds to another 12 adjacent and largely undeveloped acres the company already owns.

Jane DuFrane, Highwoods’ vice president and local market lead, said the company still is mulling options for the Elks land and adjacent sites, including developing a “walkable community with a mix of uses.”

“The Elks Lodge property’s contiguous proximity to our other land holdings and existing office buildings made it a natural fit for our portfolio,” DuFrane said in an email.

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Business

Container Store, Chase Bank taking over two adjacent properties at Short Pump Town Center

The former hhgregg appliances and electronics store and neighboring Matchbox restaurant are being transformed into two new-to-Richmond brands.

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Two neighboring properties at the entrance of Short Pump Town Center are set to be transformed into homes for two new-to-Richmond brands – both as reported by Richmond BizSense.

The former Matchbox Restaurant on W. Broad Street is currently being eyed for a new Chase Bank, BizSense says. Plans have been filed to transform the two-story building into a bank and drive-thru. Read more about the plans here.

Across the road, the former hhgregg appliance and electronics store – originally built as a Circuit City – is being rehabbed into a new location for The Container Store, which sells home organization and storage solutions. Check out progress of the transformation here.

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