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Virginia St. Cafe: Smoke-free Business of the Year

Judy Wade with her award.
Prevention Connections presented its second annual Smoke-free Business of the Year award to Virginia Street Cafe in Urbanna at an October 7 awards luncheon at the Downtown Richmond Marriott. 

Virginia Street Cafe was recognized for its exceptional work in promoting smoke-free dining and smoke-free workplaces in its community. Owner Judy Wade, who quit smoking herself 15 years ago, took her restaurant completely smoke-free on November 1, 2008 in the middle of the popular annual Urbanna Oyster Festival.

“Prevention Connections commends Virginia Street Cafe for providing a healthy, smoke-free environment for its patrons and employees,” said Prevention Connections chairman R. Neal Graham.

Wade said, “It’s a fairly small restaurant and I’d had some comments about the smoke when people smoke in here. It’s hard to keep it separate, even when the smoking section is just a small area of the restaurant. I thought it was better all the way around, for my employees, for me, and for the kids. I run a family business and I enjoy the kids coming in and the families coming in, and they really appreciated this.”

And as for her clients who were smokers, Wade said, “Some of my old customers who smoked said they weren’t coming back, but I’ve seen them since then. They had to let me know, but they’re okay about it now. They still come in.”

Wade herself smoked for almost 20 years until she quit about 15 years ago. “I woke up some mornings and it was a little hard to breathe… and my doctor told me I was a prime candidate for emphysema. The following week I went to visit my grandmother at her nursing home and I realized I didn’t want to be one of the ladies who were walking around with oxygen tanks. They’re very nice, but I didn’t want to do that. I think it was a smart choice for me.”

Virginia Street Cafe has been participating for years in smoke-free business days and other activities sponsored by the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Community Services Board’s volunteer Rural Virginia United Coalition.

After looking at surveys that the coalition conducted with Wade’s customers about smoke-free dining, Wade decided to go smoke-free.

Lynn Jaeger of the coalition said, “Most people think that because they have two or three customers who smoke, they perceive it to be everyone’s desire to smoke, but most of her customers wanted it to be smoke-free and we are real happy and pleased that she has decided to make the restaurant 100-percent smoke-free.”

posted 10.14.2009

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