Town Crier Articles

Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Kathy Mullins
Categories: Life in New Town
The “Coming Soon” sign is coming down at 4919 Courthouse Street.  AXE REPUBLIC  has arrived. Opening festivities will take place October 25–27, according to business-owner Nikki Montero, who has leased the property.  Have you experienced axe throwing?  This centuries-old sport, with ties to knights, Vikings and lumberjacks, is known to evoke primal competitive feelings in participants. 
“And, it’s really fun,” adds Nikki.  “Axe throwing can be enjoyed by both men and women and a wide range of age groups. You don’t need any special skills to throw one.”
That’s something she discovered herself when she was introduced to axe throwing by a friend for her birthday. At the time she was exploring options for a new venture, and immediately delved into some intense research about the flourishing axe throwing rage.  Before long she was convinced that this rapidly growing sport would be a great fit for New Town. 
More and more sports, from rock climbing to sky diving to pickleball, have created indoor versions that can be experienced year round in climate controlled indoor space. Participation is not weather dependent. Devotees are able to maintain training year round and entrepreneurs can count on steady return from their business investment.  Add axe throwing to the list of newly “indoor” activities.
The New Town location is ideal, Nikki noted, citing the convenient parking, proximity to shopping areas, Colonial Williamsburg, the college and other places where she might draw interest. “Most local residents of all ages maintain active lifestyles. The movie theater, restaurants, pubs and fitness centers, all contribute to a lively nighttime vibe. Sidewalk traffic is abundant in this walkable community and that increases our visibility and our chances of walk-in business,” she said.
Nikki Montero, the sole owner of AXE REPUBLIC, is confident about her own abilities and brings a unique set of skills to running the business.  She has traveled widely as a former military wife, worked in the stock market arena, been a stay-at-home/active-in-the-community Mom, and most recently worked as a school nurse with Williamsburg/James City County Schools at D.J.Montague Elementary. 
Nikki Montero, owner of Axe Republic, in front of a target. 
Opening celebration will take place October 27 - 29
Her enthusiastic support team includes husband Eddie, who owns and operates two The UPS Stores; their college-age children, CJ and Hannah, who are enrolled at UVA and JMU; parents Ron and Francine; and, other family, friends and community associates. Friends and family members assisted with the demolition process, removal of debris, painting and construction of lanes; while contractors created a kitchen suitable for handling the food and beverage needs.
Though axe throwing is quite safe, safety is taken seriously. Precautions and lane rules are reviewed before guests enter the throwing area and lanes are monitored.  Come prepared – all players must wear closed toe shoes (no high heels or sandals allowed). No intoxicated person may throw. And, should you own an axe, leave it at home. Except in League competition players must use house axes.
Each of 12 throwing lanes accommodates 2-6 players at a time. A single walk-in customer might pair up with another single player who is hoping for a match.  Larger groups can reserve multiple lanes. Booking lanes online is recommended (  The minimum age for axe throwing is 14 years.  Groups that contain 14- to 17-year olds must include at least one playing adult. The cost to throw is $27 per person for 75 minutes of lane time.
Novices will be able to learn how to throw an axe on site and then consult with those experienced Axe Coaches - called “Axeperts”-  as they play. 
Montero shares today’s consumer preference for “EATertainment” venues, those that combine activities with food and beverages in one place (29%, according to a survey conducted by research firm YouGov). AXE REPUBLIC is designed to be an all-in one place entertainment/recreation establishment. 
The interior ambiance at AXE REPUBLIC is a mix of rustic features and modern industrial surfaces created with both wood and hi-tech materials. Wire fencing, metal mesh and poles, and wood panels define the boundaries of the throwing lanes. At the head of each lane there is a raw wood backdrop displaying a large round target outlined in black with a bold red bulls-eye at the center. 
Nikki says, “The comfortable lounge area has a different vibe. It is separate from the throwing lanes, but has a view of them. Watching the competition is part of the excitement.” 
The lounge is furnished with high top tables and stools Here patrons can enjoy gourmet hot dogs, cookies from Celli’s Chocolate Chips and other exceptional snacks and varied beverages including craft brews from Virginia Beer Company. “Some patrons will visit us to demonstrate their existing skills; others, to learn the art of hurling an axe at a large wooden bulls-eye target,” she said. “Games can be friendly rivalries, or fierce competitions. It’s up to the players. There may be customers that come in just for the food and beverages,” Nikki anticipates.  
When it comes to attracting customers, Nikki Montero sees many possible directions.  “We expect AXE REPUBLIC to be an exciting date night destination. The novelty aspect of axe throwing will draw in some curious folks and also position us as an interesting venue for birthday, bachelorette, office parties and other events. I envision business colleagues coming in after work.  College students should find this a great place to have fun – my own kids included.  Groups of friends or couples could meet here before a movie or stay all evening. This will be a lively place where tourists and families can get something to eat and drink and either watch others play or join the games themselves.  It works on so many levels,” she said.
Defined by distinct shapes and forged from varied materials, axes have been used for centuries in many capacities – as tools, weapons and even as amulets to protect crops from bad weather.  It’s not hard to imagine how throwing these implements became a competitive pastime for those who handled axes regularly and had time on their hands. Yet today, axe throwing is a rapidly growing craze that captivates all sorts of participants, many that have never handled a tool of any sort. 
“Everyone wants to experience something that’s new and different,” suggested Nikki. 
League competition has encouraged interest in and promoted skill building for bowling, archery and many other individual and recreational sports.  Now leagues are being developed for axe throwing.  AXE REPUBLIC Williamsburg has affiliated with the World Axe Throwing League (WATL).  This means that local players can join competitive league matches on Tuesday nights beginning with the 8-week Winter Season that starts January 14, 2020.  Local winners will qualify to compete in regional and national contests.
In a press release announcing the lease of 4919 Courthouse Street, Kelly Voss of Developers Realty, the company that manages New Town’s commercial properties, expressed her pleasure with the new business, saying, “We’ve been searching for the right user to activate this corner location for some time and believe we’ve hit the bull’s-eye with AXE REPUBLIC!”
Drew Haynie, of Cushman and Wakefield | Thalhimer said, “Nikki is a true entrepreneur and an energetic early adapter bringing a fantastic and nationally trending new concept to New Town.”  
He also offered an upbeat projection about the potential impact of this new business, stating, “Watch for more entertainment/EATertainment and family friendly concepts coming to Main Street in 2019. New Town Main ownership has really made a big commitment to keep the center relevant and dynamic by attracting fresh offerings and hot concepts that offer something for everyone.”
One final note: Nikki Montero is not only an entrepreneurial business owner in New Town, she is also a resident.  She and her husband reside in the Village Walk neighborhood. She says it’s an added bonus that she can now walk to work, so keep an eye out for her on the sidewalks and give her a welcoming shout!                 
Monday:                                      CLOSED
Tuesday:                                      Leagues/ Special Events
Wednesday–Thursday:                    5 – 9 PM
Friday:                                          5 – 10 PM
Saturday:                                     11 AM – 10 PM
Sunday:                                        12 NOON – 6 PM
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Lucy Painter
Categories: Life in New Town
New Town residents are busy people with work and families, yet many find time for a hobby. Now that the weather is cooling off, maybe it's time to get out the bicycle that has been sitting in your garage and join some of your neighbors in a hobby that many enjoy.  
One avid biker is Bill Haas of Charlotte Park.  Bill road bikes recreationally with his family but also seriously with groups organized by Conte's Bike Shop located here in New Town.  Conte's publishes ride schedules online, and its employees are always willing to talk with you whether you are a long-time biker or new.  The shop also organizes mountain bike rides, some along a trail with access across from Opus/Panera that opens onto a vast system for mountain bike riding. It is at Panera on Saturday mornings that as many as 11 bikers meet at the end of their ride, neighbors who are happy to talk with you about their experiences.
We are fortunate to live in James City County with its many trails for bikers of all levels.  Rider Tom Carter, a mountain biker, uses trails at Freedom Park at the end of Centerville Road and York River State Park.  Both have wider, flatter trails good for beginners as well as single track (narrow) mountain biking trails.  These are more challenging with changes in slope, twisty turns, root obstacles, and narrow gaps between trees.  Riding here requires that you have the right bike for the terrain.
Area bikers also have access to Virginia's Capital Trail, a favorite ride of Tom's. It begins next to the parking lot at Jamestown Settlement and ends about 50 miles later at Shockoe Bottom in Richmond although no rider has to go the entire distance. The trail is wide, flat, and off road to avoid cars. Benches along the way offer rest.
No matter whether you tackle the Capital Trail or enjoy our neighborhood streets, the object, as Tom says, is to "have fun."
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Phil Casey
Categories: Life in New Town
The New Town Commercial Association inaugurated another fun social event this month:  Wednesday evening concerts in Pecan Square (at the corner of Discovery and Ironbound Road).
Johnny St. Clair kicked off the series on September 18 with an easy going program that put the emphasis on old school country tunes.  The weather was perfect for an evening of music and many New Town residents were in the audience.  Johnny performed solo but he provides his own bass accompaniment for his guitar using pedals as an organist would.  There is a lot happening in a Johnny St. Clair live performance but he makes it all sound super smooth.
On September 25, Jocelyn Oldham performed.  As she sang Van Morrison’s “Moondance”, with its lyric about October skies, it perfectly suited another beautiful outdoor evening in the neighborhood.  Her set included covers of such artists as Sheryl Crow, Leonard Cohen and John Prine.
If you missed these two shows, do not fret!  There are two more announced concerts in the series for 2019.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket and come out for a couple hours of live entertainment under the magic of October skies.  New Town entrepreneur and guitarist Scott Wise will appear on October 2 and the dual guitar line up of StonesThrow takes the stage on October 9.  Concerts are 5:30 to 7:30PM.
Special thanks to The Local Scoop and Next Door Neighbor Magazine for making these concerts possible.
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: Life in New Town
Iron-Bound Gym will offer flu shots on Tuesday, November 5th from noon to 3 PM. 
Anyone is welcome.  Simply bring your insurance card and you will be all set.   
DID YOU KNOW - Early November/late October is the ideal time for flu shots.  The big box stores are pushing shots earlier and earlier in the season (just like holiday displays), but that can make them less effective.  It takes 2 weeks for the shot to be effective and the highest incidence for the flu is from December to May.
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: Life in New Town
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Rebekah Roberts
Categories: Life in New Town
Reporter Alexa Doiron of the WYDaily calls it, “A new business . . . to help children’s creativity bloom.” I think too that it’s a magical place for kids of all ages where intellect and imagination develop, create, and party! It’s Kidz N Art, an amazing new art studio for all ages with a focus on pre-school through middle school age children.
You’ll find the studio at 4345 New Town Avenue, Suite 107B right behind Paul’s Deli and Restaurant. It opened this past June, just in time for summer vacation. Shaunda Armstrong, founder and owner of Kidz N Art explains that the goal of the studio “is to develop out of the box thinkers and leaders who thrive on innovation and problem solving.” This is not your ordinary art studio; it’s extraordinary.
When you arrive, look at the beautifully decorated windows that showcase artists’ work. Gaze through the glass door. Go inside. Wonderful colors are everywhere. Colors that pump one’s spirit, tempt one’s thinking processes, and entice one’s creativity. You’ll find a great open studio for all ages to work on artistic creations in all mediums. There is a “creative space” for working in groups on school projects from poetry to story development and more. There is even a mini library for support. The studio provides the Girl Scout curriculum to complete the drawing badge and they offer fundraisers and birthday parties.
Shaunda also highlights the hands-on programs, such as the Young Business Visionaries program, which teaches children business skills and promotes the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. There are “Sip Juice and Paint” groups that, incorporate painting with reading, math, and other subjects to support the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum.
A mural of Van Gogh’s Starry Night is the backdrop for the open studios where easels line up at attention to serve eager young artists. Kidz N Art offers Little Painters classes for children 2-7 years. The cost of a class or session includes all materials too.
Check out the Kidz N Art website if you looking for something to do as a family? You can visit an exclusive open studio. The site promises that, “... Creative assistants will also assist in color mixing and answer any questions you may have.” It goes on to say that if “you are looking for something more in depth or a one-on-one lesson, please ask about private art lessons. Children over the age of 13 may be dropped off without a parent in the studio and adults without accompanying children are also welcome anytime.”
You will find a sense of welcome and purpose throughout the studio. Splashes of brilliant color foreshadow the wonderful activities, things to be learned and friendships to make that await everyone at Kidz N Art. This is definitely a valuable addition to New Town!
Posted on September 1, 2019 7:00 AM by Mike Reilly, Activities
Categories: Life in New Town
Posted on September 1, 2019 7:00 AM by Tom Nichols, Chair, Preparedness
Categories: Life in New Town
Posted on September 1, 2019 7:00 AM by June Dawkins
Categories: Life in New Town
Autumn is around the corner with its promise of cooler days, crisper nights and the glory of changing leaves. This is a great time to get yourself, your family and friends back outside to hit the trails (and sidewalks) of New Town.  
Did you know that our community has more than 2 miles of trails and 10 miles of walkways?  New Town trails are either Green, Purple or White. Green is primarily crusher run style base material.  Areas prone to wetness also have this material topped with a layer of mulch.  Purple is all mulch, except around bridges, where crusher material is also mulch covered.  White is also primarily a crusher run trail.
The Williamsburg/James City County area has other great locations for strolls, runs, hikes and bikes. Colonial Williamsburg, the Greensprings Interpretive Trail, Freedom Park, and College Woods offer places that are close, but feel miles away.  Yorktown is another option, with waterside sidewalks and long stretches of sandy beach.  There are even hills, for those who want a change of terrain.
After such a stretch of being indoors because of the intense heat, this is a good time for a reminder to follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) when venturing forth:         
  • Walk in the center of the trail,         
  • Treat clothing/exposed skin with insect repellent,         
  • Use EPA registered repellents such as DEET and Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, and Check for ticks (these are fewer, but they are still around,) when back inside and consult your vet for tick prevention for and pets.
Question of the Month:  Do you have a favorite place to walk/run/bike in the area?  Send us a post and share your insights with the New Town community!
So get out your Fitbit or use your cell phone app and track those steps!  Happy trails!
Posted on September 1, 2019 7:00 AM by Mary Cheston
Categories: Life in New Town
Warm weather brings the constant din of hammering and heavy equipment on our streets. Perhaps you’ve seen the crews working day (and night) to complete some of the remaining homes in New Town. We thought it was time for a construction update.
Roper Park
Roper Park is closing in on completion. Of its 93 planned townhomes, 13 are unsold. Construction of the remaining units bordering Center Street and Casey Boulevard is anticipated to be completed in 2020. According to Mike Youngblood of Twiddy Realty (representative of the builder, Atlantic Homes) the pace of sales has been about 18 homes a year for this neighborhood. Roper Park’s properties include the Federal Townhomes, Parks Edge, Woods View, and Townhouses on the Green. (In case you’ve found the variety of names confusing, Roper Park is considered legally to be Charlotte Park, Section 7, Lots 125+ for James City County records. The different home styles and their relationship to greenspace drove the distinction in marketing.)
Village Walk
Of the 98 planned homes in Village Walk, 79 are sold and 19 are available. The last section of five townhomes opposite Trader Joe’s will be 4-story designs and their construction is expected to begin in January 2020. According to Eagle Construction representative, Kelli Davis. “Homes have been moving well and we hope to be wrapped up here in summer 2020.” Kelli said that Village Walk appeals to buyers as a “close-knit, homey community.” 
Shirley Park
Next month the first residents of Shirley Park should be moving in, according to Mike Youngblood. Twelve single family homes have been sold to date, and up to 6 of these residences will be finished this year. When completed, Shirley Park will include detached as well as attached duplex and triplex models. Overall, the community will probably take until 2024 to reach full buildout.
Shirley Park will include a series of affordable townhomes, as per the proffers for New Town. Clearing has begun for this area, although some of these townhouses are still in conceptual design. Youngblood sees sales in Shirley Park as “evidence of confidence in New Town” and stated further “market values have held” and that should be good news for all residents in our community.
Shirley Park also honors three of the original driving forces behind New Town’s development – John McCann, Joseph Stettinius, and Larry Salzman. The major thoroughfares of the neighborhood have been named for each of them: McCann Way, Stettinius Trail and Salzman Street.
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