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Richmonders expand here
Richmond-based businesses expanding into Fredericksburg

 A crew from Ashland's Carey Construction Services works on the interior of the Home Team Grill, which is aiming for a March 1 opening.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 2/5/2011

BY BILL FREEHLING

Fredericksburg has increasingly become a target for Richmond-area entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses outside Virginia's capital.

Amid the recession of the past few years, four businesses that started in Richmond have chosen Fredericksburg as a first destination to expand outside their home territory.

Two of the businesses--the Capital Ale House taproom in downtown Fredericksburg and David Peterson's Seven Hills Presents, which puts on the Celebrate Virginia Live summer concert series--have been up and running in Fredericksburg for a couple of years.

Another, Home Team Grill, is shooting for a March 1 opening at its new Eagle Village "family-friendly sports grill" across from the University of Mary Washington. The final one, F.W. Sullivan's, hopes to open its bar and restaurant in the George Street space now occupied by Fatty J's in downtown Fredericksburg by this summer.

It's not a coincidence that the Richmond-based entrepreneurs have all chosen Fredericksburg as an expansion target, said Fredericksburg Economic Development Director Karen Hedelt. She said Richmond business owners would logically look to a nearby city to first expand, and Fredericksburg offers reasonably strong demographics.

Capital Ale President Matt Simmons said proximity--as well as the welcome reception he received from the City Council, the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority and landlord Joe Wilson--was a big plus. He has to drive only an hour to get to Capital Ale's Fredericksburg location.

Hedelt said Capital Ale's success has helped attract other Richmond businesses. Simmons encouraged F.W. Sullivan's partners Hayden Fisher and Jake Crocker to come to Fredericksburg, and the two businesses plan to work closely together to promote downtown events such as Oktoberfest.

Additional Richmond-based merchants are looking at the region, said Jim Ashby, who grew up in the Fredericksburg area and now works in leasing for Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer in the Richmond area. He said merchants like the Fredericksburg market for its disposable income and young demographics. He said there's also a good mix of available space--including in the historic downtown and in newer retail centers outside the inner core.

Ashby said it helps that some of the Fredericksburg region's largest commercial real estate firms--including Thalhimer and CB Richard Ellis--have a strong presence and many business contacts in the Richmond area.

"It's good to see these retailers looking at Fredericksburg," Ashby said.


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