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April 20, 2018

Biz Buzz: New chef and new community theatre leader

New Denim & Pearls Chef Szydlowski and Debra Smyers, who starts May 1 as the Fauquier Community Theatre co-executive director.
Szydlowski new chief at Denim & Pearls

Denim & Pearls Restaurant in downtown Warrenton has hired Rob Szydlowski as its new chef.

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Mr. Szydlowski specializes in American fusion comfort food. He has worked 20 years as an executive chief and has served as the executive producer of four Food Network shows.

“Chef Rob is adding American cuisine to our largely Italian menu and with his energy and experience we will become the best Italian-American restaurant in town,” Denim & Pearls owner Jennifer Robinson said. “New menus will offer additional lighter fare options for lunch as well as steaks and seafood for dinner alongside their most popular Italian dishes.

“We have faced some challenges in our first year of business, but with some exciting changes coming in the next few short weeks.”

New menus will include more locally-sourced food, Ms. Robinson added.

Smyers hired to help lead theatre

The Fauquier Community Theatre has hired Debra H. Smyers as its co-executive director.

Ms. Smyers will start May 1, working alongside FCT Executive Director Christie Clark, a 10-year veteran. Both will work part-time.

“I am thrilled to begin working with Debra as we expand the visibility, increase productivity and celebrate the arts at Fauquier Community Theatre,” Ms. Clark said. “My job has expanded over the years. I welcome Debra’s work ethic, experience, and creativity.”

Ms. Smyers earned a master’s degree in arts management from George Mason University, where she teaches a course in grant writing for the arts. She has more than 14 years’ experience in arts management, including work as an executive director. A SAG-AFTRA union actress in film and television she also has directed and produced.

“Christie and I have worked together on several projects throughout the years and have great energy,” Ms. Smyers said. “I admire her dedication and success in being instrumental for the growth of FCT and outstanding community engagement.”

The two worked closely together to plan FCT’s recent 40th anniversary gala.

Founded in 1978, Fauquier Community Theatre each year stages a full season of productions at its Vint Hill home.

Survey launched for “micro enterprises”

The Fauquier Chamber of Commerce has created a Micro Enterprise Council.

Formed to connect and educate entrepreneurs and small enterprises, the council has created a short survey “to discover what local business owners have to say about the struggles they face.” Survey results will guide the council as it establishes resources, services and educational opportunities for the business community.

All local start-ups, entrepreneurs and owners of business owners (with five or few employees) are encouraged to complete the six-question survey. It will be open until May 31, 2018 and can be completed at this link:

For more information, contact Michelle Coe at 540-422-0916 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Wesley Shortridge at 540-439-0500 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Free class for homebuyers April 29

A free “First-time Homebuyer Class” will take place Sunday, April 29, in Warrenton.

Organized by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, the class will run from 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the John Barton Payne Community Hall at 2 Courthouse Square.

Speakers will include mortgage officers, Realtors and homebuilders addressing:

• Personal finances.

• Credit and credit scoring.

• Qualifying and applying for a loan.

• Choosing the right home.

• What happens at loan closing.

Those who complete the class will receive a certificate and will be eligible to apply for VHDA land programs.

Snacks, drinks and lunch will be provided.

To register or for more information, contact Debbie Cloud at 571-469-1068 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Chamber hosts “Valor Awards” banquet Thursday

The Fauquier Chamber of Commerce will host its seventh annual “Valor Awards” banquet Thursday, April 26.

The awards each year honor local police, firefighters, medics and dispatchers for exemplary service.

The banquet again will take place at Fauquier Springs Country Club. Tickets are $45 per person. The chamber also offers sponsorship opportunities.

To buy tickets, click here.

For information, call 540-347-4414 or email

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