Factory shuttered, yearbook revived, Austin club scene invaded by C’ville investors: News briefs

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Alex Janssen, president of Data Visible Corporation, said the local office supply manufacturing company was forced to close down due to lagging sales in recent years. Photo: Graelyn Brashear Alex Janssen, president of Data Visible Corporation, said the local office supply manufacturing company was forced to close down due to lagging sales in recent years. Photo: Graelyn Brashear

Check c-ville.com daily and pick up a copy of the paper Wednesdays for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news briefs and stories. Here’s a quick look at some of what we’ve had an eye on for the past week.

Charlottesville factory closes, leaving dozens out of work

More than 40 locals are out of work after a 47-year-old folder and filing manufacturing company just outside Charlottesville abruptly closed last week.

Data Visible Corporation, opened by Pat Janssen in 1966 as Janssen Products Company, occupied more than 60,000 square feet of factory and office space on Broadway Street. For decades, the company manufactured paper office goods and metal card cabinets, but Alex Janssen, who took over operations when his father retired, said the market for their products had shrunk significantly in recent years.

“We manufactured an antique filing system,” he said. “Hospital records are going electronic, so we lost all that business. Every day, a programmer writes more code to keep more information on a computer system.”

His employees, some of whom have worked for the company for 30 years, will receive one final paycheck. Janssen said telling them the news was the hardest part. “I’ve been working with these people a long time,” he said.

Data Visible held out longer than one of its former local competitors, Acme Visible Records, whose Crozet manufacturing site has stood vacant for more than a decade. But despite laying off workers and cutting back hours, Janssen said his company just couldn’t stay afloat. The existing machinery and stock, some of which has sat on shelves for years, is being sold off to another east coast manufacturer, and he hopes to find a tenant for the big industrial space. Nearby neighbors include an Yves Delorme warehouse and Relay Foods, which has its command central just down the street in Belmont.

Corks and Curls springing back to life

Five years after the last edition of UVA’s yearbook Corks and Curls was issued for the 2007-2008 school year, the UVA Alumni Association has found two current undergrads willing to revive it, according to a report in The Daily Progress. Those students, Michael Buhl and Carly Buckholz, plan to get a yearbook out for the graduating class of 2015.

As detailed in an article in The Hook  in 2010, the yearbook was killed off because demand for the book had dwindled thanks to social media sites like Facebook. Students simply didn’t see the need for such a keepsake. But Alumni recognized the yearbook as an important historical record and have sought a way to revive it. The 119 editions that were published offer a glimpse not only into the lives of students but the state of the world through those years, Tom Faulders, president of the Alumni Association, told the Progress.

“You really get an insight into what the students thought, what the major issues were at the time,” Faulders said. “We have Corks and Curls going back to the late-1800s.”

Local investors buy Austin nightclub

A group of investors with Charlottesville ties have purchased the legendary Antone’s nightclub in Austin, Texas, where multiple blues legends including Stevie Ray Vaughan launched their careers. The purchase is big enough news that The New York Times took note, writing that the club “played a big part in establishing that city’s reputation as one of the nation’s centers of live music.”

“Restoring the club to its proper place and glory is the right thing to do,” said one of the investors, Tayloe Emery, a film and television producer who was C-VILLE Weekly’s first ever ad rep back in 1989 and who now lives in Warsaw, Virginia. Other partners in the project include original Dave Matthews Band keyboardist and Esmont resident Peter Griesar, who ran the Satellite Ballroom in the early aughts and acts as a consultant to the group, and famed journalist and author Donovan Webster, a former editor of Virginia Quarterly Review.

The idea for the investment came from Emery’s pal, D.C.-based National Geographic geneticist Spencer Wells, whose brother lives in Austin and told Wells about the opportunity.

Griesar’s deep connections and broad experience in the music industry made him the “perfect go-to guy to put together this deal,” said Emery, who noted that the new owners didn’t purchase anything but the brand and intend to relocate it to a main nightclub zone in downtown Austin. He expects a new location to be announced by early next year.

“The plans I’m starting to see now are revolutionary and incredible stuff,” said Emery.—C-VILLE writers

Correction: The original version of the Antone’s article incorrectly described Peter Griesar as an investor. He is a partner in the project who acts as consultant.–ed.

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