In recognition of Business Appreciation Month, we would like to thank Henrico County business owners and executives. Because of you, our county is vibrant, growing and a great place to live. We especially want to thank our B Corporations – companies like Rivanna Natural Designs and Virginia Community Capital.
Rivanna Natural Designs: “Not Your Standard Trophy Shop”
A college volunteer experience at a refugee resettlement camp charted the course for Rivanna Natural Designs. “When I started Rivanna Designs in 2001, I had a very specific idea that I wanted to create jobs for recently arrived refugees,” says Crystal Mario, Founder and CEO. “I then had to determine what type of business would best benefit from a potentially highly skilled but initially non-English-speaking workforce.”
Mario’s original vision also included a desire to be gentle on the environment. After doing some research, she decided to focus on light manufacturing – an industry in which she felt assured she could procure raw materials from well-managed or sustainably harvested forests.
Set with a distinct vision to manufacture recognition gifts made from FSC-certified woods, bamboo, recycled glass and other Earth-friendly materials, Rivanna Natural Designs officially opened its Charlottesville operation in 2001. In July 2011, the business passed the rigorous application process to become a certified B Corp. (Learn more about Rivanna’s mission here.)
Today, Rivanna Designs is thriving in its new 10,000-square-foot location on Lincoln Avenue in Henrico County. The company’s relocation to Henrico has meant additional space for its large manufacturing and production machinery, with separate spaces for design, sales and – coming soon – a reception area. Most importantly, the new space means the company can take on larger jobs. Mario reports she plans to hire in the near future.
Mario’s desire for her business to be close to public transportation was the biggest reason she chose her new location. She was also excited about Henrico’s large talent pool and business- friendly environment. Ever-focused on her employees, she adds, “The most compelling reason for us to get this space, aside from proximity to public transportation, was that our business could be close to thriving neighborhoods where our current and future employees might actually live. People could walk their children to school and then walk to work. For an employer, this was a dream come true."
Henrico Welcomes Virginia Community Capital
Virginia Community Capital (VCC) is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that was specifically designed to support housing and community development ventures, increase jobs and build sustainable communities throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The company will move from its current downtown Richmond location to Carousel Lane in Henrico at the end of May, and approximately 25 employees will relocate to the new space.
“We’re really excited about the new location,” says Leah Fremouw, Assistant V.P., Community Impact. “We’ve outgrown our old space, and now we have an opportunity to take a vacant building and re-energize the space in another part of the region we serve.”
Community service is part of VCC’s DNA, and it was one of the first businesses to become a certified B Corp in the Richmond area in May of 2012. “We’re a community development financial institution,” explains Fremouw. “The whole reason we exist is driven by our mission to get resources and knowledge into the underserved communities across our state. The B Corp movement and its mission of doing innovative business while doing social good fits us well. As one of the first to become certified in Virginia, it’s really nice to see the emerging B Corp community grow.”
(Learn more about VCC’s mission here.)
Locally, VCC has financed projects to:
Many thanks to Rivanna Natural Designs and Virginia Community Capital for being a part of our business community in Henrico!