Checking in with the Locals: Laura Van Camp

Posted on April 29, 2014 by


Charlottesville is a city filled with local-loving people, and a spirit of community and collaboration unlike anywhere else. Every week, Cville Niche will celebrate that spirit by featuring a local’s top picks. Check out previous local check-ins!

Laura Van Camplaura2

This shop gal could very well be credited for naming the Downtown shopping neighborhood, better know as the “Garment District,” a little over two years ago. At that time, Laura was moving jean theory: into its current location across from The Jefferson. This stylish neighborhood includes jean theory:, BitterSweet, Derriere de Soie, Vedigris, and around-the-corner-neighbors Darling, e.g., Roxie Daisy, and Petit Bebe, just to name a few. Check out this local shop owner’s top picks in Cville!

Describe what you do in town (whether it be your job or local interest/involvement in Cville). 

The two stores (jean theory: and Trade) keep me super busy, but I’m starting to find some balance. When I’m not working I like to be active – especially outside!

Describe yourself in 5 syllables or less.

Just not possible.

Top Picks

A favorite dish in town, what it’s called, where it’s at, describe what makes it special/different/one of your favorites.

I’m not good at picking a favorite, but lately I’ve been craving the Beet Salad at Tempo. It’s fresh and flavorful, a delicious combination of salty/sweet – my fav. Plus Brice and the service and atmosphere of his restaurant are all amazing.

I also (see – bad at picking!) love the Blue Plate Special at Hamilton’s – 5 dishes and generous portions of them. It’s yummy, filling AND a great value. Perfect for a vegetarian with a big appetite and limited time to cook.

A favorite drink in town, what it’s called, where it’s at, describe what makes it special/different/one of your favorites.

I’d normally choose a good cup of coffee or Kombucha over alcohol, but the Secret Garden Martini at Bang! is perfect. Clean, crisp and a little fruity without being syrup-y sweet. Wednesdays are a great night to go – $6 drinks and tapas!

A favorite local fitness class, name of the class, fitness center, brief description of the class and why you love it.

I got hooked on Bikram Yoga about two years ago. I love it because it’s a complete physical and mental workout. I can’t believe how much this practice has improved my ability to focus and cope with stress. I also like the sense of community I feel in the class… there’s just something about getting that sweaty with a bunch of half naked strangers. I love the combination of stretching and contracting – I leave there feeling like I just got a great workout and a massage at the same time.

All that being said, I can’t not mention a new class/gym I’m really excited about – MADabolic, in the IX building. It’s the most efficient and effective total body workout I’ve ever experienced. I love it because I go in and leave 50 minutes later with my butt kicked.

A favorite local music venue, name of venue, where’s it located, what makes it special, most recent show you enjoyed there.

I really really love the Pavilion – live music, outside, surrounded by the city. It’s the midpoint between my work and my home… so even if I’m just walking by during a show I still feel a part of the experience. I think it’s one of the many things that makes Charlottesville special – to be able to see big names in a pretty intimate, relaxed venue… It reminds a little of Wolftrap in Northern VA (where I grew up), but without the hassle and driving and parking, and crowds. Last year is kind of a blur (I blame this on opening the new store)… I’m afraid the last show I saw was Counting Crows the year before. Note to self: go to more shows at the Pavilion this season!