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Garden Gazebo to close, Luce restaurant opens

Updated: December 3, 2013 - 9:49 am

Posted: November 27, 2013

By Lydia Wheeler

After 10 years in business, Garden Gazebo on West 21st Street in Norfolk's Ghent neighborhood is closing.

Owner Pamela Katrancha said closing the 9,000-square-foot garden gift and home accessory store is the first step in her plan to retire.

"I turned 65 this year," she said. "We're changing the way we're doing business."

The store will host a grand closing celebration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 12 and officially close its doors on Jan. 31st. Katrancha, who also runs the Hickory Farms franchise stores in Hampton Roads with her husband, said the Garden Gazebo store in Pembroke Mall will remain open and the company will continue to take online orders through its website

The store, which carries garden related gifts, wind chimes, garden flags, bird feeders and garden tools, first opened in Greenbrier Mall in 1993. The following year, Katrancha branched out and opened a kiosk shop in Lynnhaven Mall, which led to the idea of leasing seasonal Garden Gazebo kiosks across the country. By the end of 2003, Katrancha had 40 seasonal kiosk locations in places like Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Cleveland; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Atlanta; Raleigh, N.C.; and Columbia, S.C. After 10 years in the Ghent store next to Panera Bread, Katrancha said she decided not to renew a long-term lease.

"It's been a good 10 years there," she said. "There wasn't anything like it in Ghent."


Luce, a modern, contemporary and regionally-infused Italian restaurant, expected to hold a soft opening following Thanksgiving at

245 Granby St. in Norfolk.

The restaurant is located where Empire Little Bar Bistro was previously operating before moving to 257 Granby St.

This is the first restaurant venture for owners Michael and Yolanda Imprevento. Michael is a partner with the law firm of Breit Drescher Imprevento & Walker in Virginia Beach and Yolanda owns Pace Insurance Agency in Norfolk. Chef Antonio Caruana said the restaurant and wine bar will serve half plates, which are larger than tapas, ranging in price from $10 to $20. Menu items include wild boar ragu, Sambuca risotto and hunter's sausage over spaghetti.


Honey Baked Ham is now available at Norfolk's Navy Exchange.

Franchisee Yong Cho, who operates two Honey Baked Ham stores at 2701 N. Mall Drive in Virginia Beach and at 12551 Jefferson Ave. in Newport News, opened a kiosk shop in the base exchange late last month. Located at 1560 Mall Drive, the Navy Exchange is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The kiosk store will be open until Dec. 24.

"People drive as far away as an hour for Honey Baked Hams," Cho said. "We are trying to do more pop-up stores to serve our customers better."

Known for it's glaze, Honey Baked Hams have become a popular centerpiece for holiday meals. recently rated it the most flavorful and consistently moist spiral cut ham compared to six other brands of spiral cut hams.

"We have the best ham in the world," Cho said. "It's not just the glaze. I'm a strong believer in the ham itself."

A regularly priced 3.5- to 6-pound Honey Baked Ham can range from $28 to $48 and hams 7 to 11 pounds run anywhere from $50 to $78, but Cho said he is offering a five percent discount on all purchases at the Norfolk Navy Exchange.


Platinum Salon, a new full-service beauty salon, opened in downtown Norfolk.

Thomas Glaser, who also owns Fusion Ink Tattoo Studio, co-owns the shop, at 440 Granby St., with his girlfriend, Adora Cunha. Salon services include men's and women's haircuts, colors and styles; manicures and pedicures; waxing; tanning; and massage therapy. Located next to Scotty Quixx restaurant, the salon is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Rajput Indian Cuisine is opening a new restaurant location in Suffolk in early 2014.

The new restaurant will be located at 5680 Harbour View Blvd. near Regal Cinemas in the Harbour View West Shopping Center. Owner Paul Chhabra has two other locations - 742 W. 21st St. in Norfolk and 4402 Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach. The menu features classic curry dishes, as well as tofu, chicken, lamb and naan. The Suffolk lunch and dinner restaurant is expected to offer a full lunch buffet, weekend brunch menus, take-out, delivery and catering.


Denny's locations in Hampton Roads have gotten a face lift.

The company recently renovated its corporate restaurant locations at 198 Newton Road in Virginia Beach and 1040 W. Mercury Blvd. in Hampton. Renovations are under way at 3337 Virginia Beach Blvd. in Virginia Beach and a grand reopening is planned for Dec. 5. Upgrades are also being made to a Chesapeake franchise at 401 Tintern St. Seth Grugle, a Denny's spokesman, said the nearly 60-year-old company is trying to bring the American diner to a new generation. Upgrades includes new kitchen equipment, new menu options, new interior designs, new outdoor awnings, localized decor and new uniforms. Wait staff will now be dressed in jeans, aprons and white, crisp, button-up shirts. Denny's is introducing its new design in a limited number of locations. Grugle said the company chose Hampton Roads restaurants because the four locations are close together.


Mojo Bones, a barbecue-and-blues-themed restaurant, plans to open a location in Olde Towne Portsmouth in the summer of 2014. The 3,000-square-foot eatery will be located at 814 High St., according to the city's economic development department. Mojo Bones, which has two locations - one in Norfolk's Ocean View neighborhood and the other in University Village behind the Ted Constant Center - specializes in barbecue pork, ribs, chicken and beef and blues-themed entertainment.


Bodacious Lady Boutique, a clothing store for full-figured women, opened in the Five Forks Shopping Center in Williamsburg.

The shop, located at 4498 John Tyler Hwy., opened on Nov. 22 and carries women's clothing sizes 14 to 26, jewelry, purses and scarves. The store, owned by Donna Mellis, is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and also appointment.


Duck's Donuts first franchise store opened in Williamsburg.

Russell DiGilio and Robin Griffith founded the made-to-order doughnut company in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 2006 and decided to franchise the brand. Franchisees John and Amy Williams will run the store at 4655 Monticello Ave. in the Monticello Marketplace Shoppes. The store will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on weekends from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.