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Ukrop’s opening long-awaited food hall in West End Tuesday

From fried chicken and paninis to specialty sides and even breakfast pizza, all your Ukrop’s favorites are back beginning this week.

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From NBC12:

Ukrop’s fans get ready – the company’s new Market Hall is set to open on Tuesday, Dec. 8!

Ukrop’s repurposed the Bon Air Baptist Church’s Village Campus at the corner of Horsepen and Patterson.

It will not be a grocery store, but a place to get some Ukrop’s favorites like fried chicken, potato wedges and pizza.

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https://www.facebook.com/ukropshomestylefoods/posts/10159095953729577

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WATCH: Richmond Region Tourism’s new marketing campaign proves Richmond “speaks for itself”

The campaign will run June 1, 2023, through June 2024, and is expected to reach more than 80 million potential travelers through connected TV in selected markets in the East Coast and southern United States, as well as on social media, digital display ads and out-of-home digital billboards in select markets.

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Richmond Region Tourism has launched a new, multi-channel $2 million marketing campaign to inspire travel to the destination. “Speaks for Itself” is a first-of-its-kind campaign for the Richmond Region, targeting potential travelers in East Coast and southern U.S. markets through an unconventional, sound-focused video approach centered around the genuine and authentic character of the region. It also marks a historic opportunity for Richmond Region Tourism to invest more than double its normal budget for tourism marketing.

A 60-second video preview was unveiled to the local hospitality community at Richmond Region Tourism’s 2023 Tourism Awards and Annual Meeting on May 11. The campaign video takes inspiration from popular ASMR content on social media to communicate what it’s like for visitors to experience the Richmond Region – a destination marked by an understated authenticity that even locals find hard to define.

“The Richmond Region speaks to every visitor in different ways,” said Jack Berry, President & CEO of Richmond Region Tourism. “Trying to find a pithy slogan to sum up the region simply wouldn’t do it justice, which is why we’re so excited by this campaign—it provides a platform for local voices and experiences to shine and encourages visitors to take in the many diverse sides of the region.”

The campaign also reflects an effort of community collaboration across the Richmond region. Six jurisdictions including the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Colonial Heights and the Town of Ashland contributed funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) via Virginia Tourism Corporation, which must be used specifically for tourism recovery efforts.

“It’s the little moments that make a visit to a destination special, and this campaign embraces and celebrates those experiences in a uniquely Richmond way,” said Richmond Region Tourism Board Chair Dan Schmitt. “They could happen at a buzzy restaurant downtown or in a peaceful park in Henrico. This campaign is remarkable in how it can be embraced and adapted across the region’s many jurisdictions.”

Richmond Region Tourism partnered with ChamberRVA and the Greater Richmond Partnership to review a competitive set of proposals from more than a dozen marketing agencies and selected Richmond-based agency Padilla to create and deliver the campaign.

To ensure that the campaign authentically reflected the Richmond Region, Padilla interviewed more than 60 local leaders and community members during campaign concepting including the BLKRVA and OutRVA committees, business owners, government officials, museum staff, college administrators and more. Keeping with the “Speaks for Itself” theme, local influencers also are being tapped to create unique ASMR-style videos that will be promoted in the campaign’s target markets.

The campaign will run June 1, 2023, through June 2024, and is expected to reach more than 80 million potential travelers through connected TV in selected markets in the East Coast and southern United States, as well as on social media, digital display ads and out-of-home digital billboards in select markets.

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Virginia ABC officials say they’ve ‘automated’ liquor lotteries to prevent future errors

Virginia liquor officials said they’re taking steps to automate the random lottery process for rare bottles after an outcry from bourbon enthusiasts who say the state bungled a recent lottery and allowed some entrants to win multiple bottles despite steep odds of that outcome occurring naturally.

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By Graham Moomaw

Virginia liquor officials said they’re taking steps to automate the random lottery process for rare bottles after an outcry from bourbon enthusiasts who say the state bungled a recent lottery and allowed some entrants to win multiple bottles despite steep odds of that outcome occurring naturally.

The leadership of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority discussed the lottery issues Tuesday morning during a meeting of the authority’s board of directors.

ABC officials told the board a problem occurred in the last lottery — which had more than 40,000 entries — due to a “breakdown in Excel sorting,” referring to the commonly used data processing software Microsoft Excel. The authority was using Excel to sort through lottery entries and determine the winners.

“I can’t speak to the inner workings of Excel. It sorted some of it and didn’t sort some of the rest,” said ABC Director of Internal Audit Mike Skrocki.

The authority also offered assurances that the possibility for human or spreadsheet errors would be reduced under a new system that will require less human oversight to pick winners at random. Officials indicated the new system will be implemented immediately and is expected to be formally announced when the next round of lottery results go out.

The previous system, said ABC Chief Digital and Branding Officer Vida Williams, allowed lottery entrants to enter multiple times using different home and email addresses. Though winners are asked to show identification to verify their address when they go to pick up a bottle they won, ABC officials said the old system appeared to let one person submit 241 different lottery entries.

“Our old process was very manual,” said Skrocki. “You could put Sesame Street as your address. It’s going to take it.”

Officials said they weren’t sure if allowing multiple entries contributed to some people seeming to defy the odds to win multiple bottles. But addresses will be more diligently verified going forward, they said, by checking them using location data from Google. The authority will also be implementing a stronger review process to check the results for statistical anomalies, officials said.

“The automated process does dramatically decrease the opportunity to game the system,” Williams said.

The lottery controversy is the latest rare-liquor drama for ABC, whose internal logistics data was offered for sale online last year to help bourbon hunters get a head start on figuring out which ABC stores would be getting highly sought-after products that aren’t usually available. The two men involved in the scheme, one a former ABC employee, both pleaded guilty to one felony charge related to computer trespassing.

[Read more: Neither man convicted in scheme to sell ABC bourbon info will face active jail time]

The authority’s explanation of what Williams called a “hiccup” hasn’t satisfied many of its customers. Statements ABC has posted on Facebook about the matter have been followed by a flood of skeptical responses, many questioning why the state should even be in the business of running liquor lotteries.

“In addition to the government not being able to properly run a booze raffle, a booze raffle exists,” wrote one Facebook commenter.

Another respondent quoted a line about propaganda from George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears,” the commenter wrote. “It was their final, most essential command.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, authority officials reiterated their belief that the flaws in the recent lottery didn’t appear to be intentional mischief by ABC employees and noted that anyone employed by the authority is barred from participating in the lotteries.

“We believe in equitable access to all of the products that we sell,” Williams said.

Williams also noted that most lotteries ABC conducted within the past year did not see similar problems, calling that “part of that story that is missing.”

“It made us seem like we’re a lot more egregious in oversight than we actually have been,” she said.

Some ABC board members pressed for more information on exactly where the problem occurred and how the new system would prevent it from happening again.

Board Chair Tim Hugo, a former Republican delegate, asked if the authority’s new system was something already being used successfully elsewhere or a system designed internally that would be more like a “beta test.”

ABC officials said elements of the new system are commonly accepted industry standards without going into specifics about the technology powering the new process.

“If you don’t know exactly how it happened other than that there were vulnerabilities … how do you know that this solution of dealing with the addresses stops the problem?” asked ABC board member Mark Rubin, who previously served as a senior adviser to U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., when Kaine was governor.

Authority officials said the new process will also involve a new, algorithmically driven way of picking winners at random, removing the need for manual sorting of Excel spreadsheets.

“We run the randomization through a statistical process,” said Williams.

Rubin noted he had gone to law school because statistics weren’t his strong suit.

“So your confidence level is very high that this problem is eliminated?” Rubin asked.

Williams replied: “My confidence is exceptionally high.”

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Grit Coffee opens new location in Scott’s Addition

Grit Coffee is now serving customers from the ground floor of The Otis, the new mixed-use development in Scott’s Addition.

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Grit Coffee is now serving customers from the ground floor of The Otis, the new mixed-use development in Scott’s Addition. The 2000 sq ft shop, located at 1621 Roseneath Road, serves coffee, espresso, tea, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches, and pastries daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We opened Grit on Libbie Ave in 2020 and have loved being a part of the fantastic food and beverage scene here in Richmond,” said Brandon Wooten, Chief Brand Officer of Grit Coffee. “Scott’s Addition is an exciting place to be, and we’re thrilled to share our coffee with such a thriving business community.”
Founded in Charlottesville in 2008, Grit Coffee started with a vision, a bit of grit, and a lot of coffee. Since that time, Grit has developed an expansive roasting operation, a flourishing ecommerce business and a growing statewide presence with multiple locations in Central Virginia including six in the Charlottesville area and two in Richmond. Grit searches out relationships with great farmers worldwide to cultivate and roast great coffees with craft and care — believing that only the best cup is good enough for the journey ahead.
Grit Coffee is owned by Bread & Table, a Charlottesville, VA-based management company that specializes in building and growing food and beverage businesses. Bread & Table also owns and operates The Wool Factory, Selvedge Brewing, Broadcloth Restaurant, The Workshop coffee and wine shop, Snowing in Space, branding and design firm IDCompany. They are also co-owners of Cou Cou Rachou bakery.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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