As we do this time each year, we’re proud to showcase BizSense’s best reporting, best writing, best photography, most quotable characters and memorable headlines from the last 12 months.
But first, a big shoutout to the hard-working BizSense crew for always grinding on a daily deadline, always staying hungry and always keeping our loyal readers in mind when digging up news each day.
And to those loyal readers, tens of thousands of whom visit our site every day: we thank you for making our news part of your daily routine and helping us earn a living doing something we truly enjoy.
Cheers, to a great year and another to come…
A series of series
BizSense is known for covering the day-to-day churn of the local business community, but this year a few topics required several stories to clearly illustrate the full picture.
Time is money
Most notable was our series on the City of Richmond’s building permit and inspections process and how long-running issues were coming to a head in real life for businesspeople in real time. Part one was a story of unintended consequences. Part two showed that even a City Council member couldn’t catch a break from the department’s delays. And part three shined a light on the reasons folks had been afraid to speak up.
As 2022 began, we started getting word that numerous local companies had been sold as 2021 drew to a close, in part to get ahead of potential federal-level changes to the tax code. It turns out each company and each owner had their reasons and had their own unique stories to tell about growing a business and knowing when to cash out. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Diamond District contenders
Rarely does a huge swath of the city get the chance to be transformed in one fell swoop. With the Diamond District RFP process, the city let groups from across the country make their best pitches of what to do with the land around The Diamond. And BizSense did its best to explain who was behind each of the top proposals. Click for each of the installments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Some of those same contenders are now up to bat again for the City Center redevelopment plan.
Scoop and a shake
One of our biggest scoops of the year came from diligent document digging that showed Shake Shack was finally expanding into Richmond. Once we had the story in hand, we had some extra fun making sure our competitors couldn’t easily follow us.
Scoop and a show
Another big scoop came when we got word of a new amphitheater being planned along the riverfront by a group led by Dave Matthews Band manager and music executive Coran Capshaw. In the days that followed, our competition, particularly the TV news stations, got quite creative in finding ways to try to make the story their own.
There’s just something fun about hearing of these top-secret codenamed economic development projects and then being the first to report the details. Facebook’s (aka Meta’s) Project Tropical in eastern Henrico was just the latest. Someday we’ll do a story about the person who gets paid to come up with the codenames.
Chesterfield just says ‘no’ to cannabis
First came a seemingly benign story about a new medical marijuana dispensary in Chesterfield County. But not so fast, said the county building permit department. Surely the board of zoning appeals would reverse that rejection? Surely not. FOIA requests didn’t help clear the air as to exactly who at the county sent the order down from on high to snuff weed out of the county. Perhaps that will get a little less hazy in 2023.
Where’s the money?
One of the more bizarre and yet-unresolved stories from the year was that of nonprofit Enrichmond Foundation, which was known as the keeper of money for small local community groups and other nonprofits. But when Enrichmond suddenly dissolved, six figures’ worth of those groups’ funds became unaccounted for without explanation.
Fun with headlines
Here are a few headlines that made us chuckle. Don’t hate on puns.
One of the joys of reporting on small businesses is learning how entrepreneurs go from idea to action. Here are some of the more memorable examples of that from the year:
Dreams in a can
Private school snapshot
It turns out local private schools are still benefitting from trends that began during the pandemic. This numbers-heavy story explains how those trends have stuck around.
Richmond loves grocery store news and we broke stories in the fall about a mystery grocer (which one way or another has ties to Amazon) taking space for at least three stores in the region. We’ll look to be able to report the rest of the story in the New Year.
Long runs come to an end
Several long-running businesses called it quits in 2022, each with colorful stories to share:
Great pics (click on the photos for more)
Lastly, one of the most satisfying tasks completed by BizSense this year was the creation of our Development Tracker. It’s a set of interactive maps that track all major real estate development projects in the region and it’s a tool we’re proud to offer subscribers.