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New artisan gift shop hopes to bring happiness to corner of Heather Heyer Way

Crystal Graham

Ovid & Lane Charlottesville A new business opening in Charlottesville, at the corner of Water Street and Heather Heyer Way, is looking to bring happiness to a place that many people remember for a tragic death that was fueled by hate almost seven years ago.

Ovid & Lane will officially open its doors at 321 E. Water St. in time for the Tom Tom Festival on the Downtown Mall this weekend.

Rob Brown, co-owner with his wife Sherrie, said the downtown community has worked tirelessly to help heal and reclaim the city’s identity in the wake of the events in 2017.

“We hope to help contribute to continued healing and reclamation, and do so humbly, by genuine means, with an earnest heart,” he said.

Earlier this week, the couple was busy putting the finishing touches on the space – styling the shelves, making sure the gifting station was stocked and even painting a bench and preparing flower boxes outside the store.

The 400-square-foot retail space will offer eco-friendly vegan body frosting, soap, bath bombs and other self-care and gift products.

It’s been a dream of the couple to open a location in Charlottesville for several years.

“We’re happy to be a part of downtown here,” said Sherrie Brown. “I love Charlottesville. I’ve loved Charlottesville ever since the first time I came here, and I love the people. I think our concepts are going to fit in really great with this clientele.”

Brown is already a successful entrepreneur with a thriving retail location that includes a makerspace in Downtown Staunton under the name Essentially Zen.

The rebranding of the Charlottesville store, she said, honors both sides of their family, with Ovid paying homage to her husband Rob’s family and his roots as an African American, and Lane, paying tribute to her grandmother, who taught Sherrie how to make soap.

Brown’s soapmaking stemmed from an interest in essential oils where she gained knowledge about the importance of what we put on our bodies daily.

What started as a hobby with her grandmother grew into a business with a mission to create products that are healthy for the user and the planet.

“The products that we will carry here go very well with the Charlottesville vibe,” she said. “Everything is eco-friendly.”

Ovid & Lane Charlottesville

Ovid & Lane, like its sister store in Staunton, will put a big focus on curating premium gifts based on budget, scent, size or even color, and it will be beautifully boxed with a bow and dried flowers.

Whether purchasing a gift or shopping for your own self-care, the Browns hope you will stop in to Ovid & Lane on your way from the Water Street parking garage to the Downtown Mall.

“There is nothing in here that is bad for you or bad for the planet, and that’s something that we’re very proud of,” she said. “Everyone loves a little self-care. I think we found that out during COVID.

“We all need to take better care of ourselves instead of running ragged all the time and take some time out of our day or week to take a nice bath and use the right products and be thoughtful of what we’re using and putting on our bodies and back into the water system.”

Ovid & Lane is located at 321 E. Water St. in Charlottesville. The location will be open Thursday-Sunday.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.