Year In Review: The Top 10 Short Pump News Stories Of 2009

2009 was a big year in Short Pump. From two big snowfalls, the opening of new developments and the closing of three well-known national businesses based right here due to a turbulent economy, there was plenty that this year will be remembered for well into the next decade. Below our our top ten picks for […]

2009 was a big year in Short Pump. From two big snowfalls, the opening of new developments and the closing of three well-known national businesses based right here due to a turbulent economy, there was plenty that this year will be remembered for well into the next decade. Below our our top ten picks for the most memorable stories of the year.

#10: Chartering of Short Pump Rotary Club

The Short Pump Rotary Club was officially chartered in November, and brings with it a new group dedicated to service projects and giving back in the community. The group, which meets on Tuesdays at Maggiano’s in Short Pump Town Center, has already touched the community in just a few short months with the completion of several projects, including the construction of a wheelchair ramp and a major trash pickup along Lauderdale Drive.

#9: Sale of Ukrop’s Super Markets

While the sale of Ukrop’s wasn’t directly centered around Short Pump, the local chain’s highest grossing store according to recent figures is the Short Pump Crossing location. Ukrop’s announced the $140 million sale of 25 stores to Giant-Carlisle on December 17, citing increased competition and changing values among their reasons for getting out of the grocery business. The chain was Richmond’s number one grocer for decades until early this year. The stores will eventually be open on sundays and sell alcohol, among other eventual changes. Any way you swing it, the Ukrop Family are major players in charitable, sporting and cultural events and programs in the Richmond area, and the sale of the chain brings with it the end of an era in the River City, including right here in Short Pump. The event was even dubbed the “Ukropalypse” by local Twitter users.

#8: Fatal Accidents at Both Short Pump Town Center and on Springfield Road

Three fatal accidents claimed the lives of the same number of victims this year around Short Pump. In July, an SUV slammed into a motorist stopped at a red light at the main entrance of Short Pump Town Center, killing the victim upon impact. In November, an alleged drunk driver ran off Springfield Road near Echo Lake Park following a high-speed chase with Henrico Police. The driver was killed when her sedan crashed into a tree. In a tragic and ironic turn of events, her grandmother was killed a week later in the very same location when a car hit her as she went to place flowers on a makeshift memorial to her granddaughter.

#7: Grocery Store Robberies and West Broad Village Shooting

The Short Pump Walmart, Ukrop’s and Whole Foods Market were all robbed at least once this past year in a string of incidents this past spring. Soon after Dave & Buster’s opened at West Broad Village, a shooting occurred in the parking deck above the entertainment facility. Call it an everyday part of life, but noticeably a shake-up for many residents who are used to the quiet and uneventful (at least crime-wise) suburban area. A wrap-up of the spring incidents can be found in the linked article above.

#6: December Snowstorm

A massive winter snowstorm dumped more than 14 inches of snow on the Short Pump area just a week before Christmas, wreaking havoc on local roadways and shuttering businesses on the busiest shopping day before the 25th. At least an inch of snow remained on the ground in most places through Christmas Day, providing the first white Christmas to the area for quite some time.

#5: West Broad Village Progress and Delays

West Broad Village, Short Pump’s huge new mixed use development, has has a year of ups and downs, starting with a dispute with Henrico County over utility connection fees in the spring and ending on a positive note with an $8.7 million commitment from investors to pay off debts, remove liens and restart the stalled development that fell victim to the economy under the ownership of Orlando, Florida-based Unicorp National Developments.

#4: Colonel Barfoot in the National Spotlight Over Rights To Fly Flag

Colonal Van T. Barfoot was featured on nearly every national news media outlet after his Short Pump neighborhood, Sussex Square, presented the 90-year-old Medal of Honor recipient with a legal document requiring that he remove his free-standing flag pole which was, according to the Homeowners’ Association, in violation of neighborhood covenants. Barfoot gained the support of tens of thousands of individuals through a Facebook group and through the help of well-known politician Mark Warner and discussion at a White House press conference, was allowed to keep his flag pole.

#3: Closure of S&K Menswear

Richmond-based S&K Menswear, headquartered in the heart of Short Pump, announced in May its decision to sell its assets to a liquidation firm which shuttered the remaining 105 stores nationwide by mid-summer. S&K was started in Richmond in 1967 by Abe Kaminsky and Hip Siegel. The company had 200 stores at its height in 1997.

#2 LandAmerica Bankruptcy and Controversy

Mortgage giant LandAmerica, based in Innsbrook, laid off workers and filed for bankruptcy, igniting a storm of controversy, leading some to even accuse the entire company of operating as a Ponzi scheme. Some customers learned they wouldn’t recover their money. The bankruptcy battle is still brewing today.

#1: Shuttering of Circuit City

Former number two national consumer electronics retailer Circuit City announced on January 16 that it planned to liquidate and close all of its retail stores. The ax began swinging at the company’s Short Pump headquarters in late 2008, when Circuit City began laying off corporate employees, a number that soon went into the thousands locally, and exponentially more nationwide at its stores. Indianapolis, Indiana-based hhgregg, a smaller but growing electronics retailer, expanded into the Richmond market in November, taking over two former Circuit City locations, including the Short Pump Town Center store, and providing some lucky former employees of the defunct chain a comparable retail job.

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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