Ever since she began baking for her family, friends, at local bake sales and after-school events for her children, Gina Celli said she’s always loved baking cookies.
That passion for baking led her and husband Anthony Celli to open Celli’s Chocolate Chips, a new cookie and coffee shop that held a soft opening earlier this month. Kacie Celli, their daughter and marketing manager for the business, said a grand opening is planned for the second week of April.
Celli said she’s looking to fill a niche for lovers of small-batch, premium cookies that is unmet in Williamsburg.
“There’s a lot of cupcake places but there are really no cookie bakeries, and everybody loves a cookie,” she said. “Everything that we do uses high-end, premium ingredients and every batch is really delicious.”
The menu includes classics such as chocolate chip, snickerdoodles and ginger snaps, along with more unique offerings including Italian Wedding, a butter cookie with walnuts and powdered sugar, and the Hudson, a caramel and milk chocolate cookie. The restaurant also serves La Colombe drip coffee.
Although the store is open for walk-ins, Celli said the majority of her business prior to the grand opening has come from the Celli’s Chocolate Chips website. There, customers can order batches of cookies by the dozen that they can either pick up or have delivered to their homes.
While the business has received a warm reception from the community so far, Celli said that after the grand opening next month, she hopes to continue growing the business and pleasing customers.
“We want to stay true to what we do by keeping every cookie … an amazing experience,” she said. “We want our space here to be really welcoming. We want people to be very much at home, like you’re coming into your kitchen.”
Celli’s Chocolate Chips is at 4548 John Tyler Highway, Suite A. For more information, call 757-208-0541 or visit cellischocolatechips.com.
Pet supply and accessory store Pet Valu will hold a grand opening at its new Lightfoot Shopping Center store on Saturday.
At the day-long grand opening event, shoppers and their pets can enjoy free samples, refreshments, raffles, prizes, as well as child and pet-friendly entertainment, according to a company news release.
The first 50 customers to make a purchase Saturday will receive a pet-themed gift bag.
The grand opening event will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit us.petvalu.com or call Williamsburg Pet Valu at 757-645-9056. The store is located at 6493 Centreville Road.
Local consulting engineering firm VHB recently won a National Recognition Award at the American Council of Engineering Companies’ 52nd annual Engineering Excellence Awards for its work to restore Carter’s Grove Plantation in James City County.
The project is one of 196 engineering projects being recognized by ACEC at an awards ceremony in May. Projects were judged based on their originality, technical innovation and social and economic value, according to a news release from the American Council of Engineering Companies.
According to the release, VHB developed a master restoration plan and led the design of more than 15 projects on the 486-acre plantation, including work to improve its stormwater management system to handle runoff. An existing farm pond was also reconstructed and expanded to help treat surface water and provide a new habitat for wildlife.
VHB used drones to generate high-resolution videos and topography of the site, which were later used to generate 3-D models of Carter’s Grove Plantation.
The company has 29 locations along the East Coast in addition to its Williamsburg office, which opened in 1980. For more information about the local VHB firm, visit vhb.com/Pages/Offices/williamsburg-virginia.aspx.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.