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Entrepreneurs in Action: Rural Businesses Thriving


Moderator:  Eva Doss, President and CEO, The Launch Place


Eva Doss has twenty years of experience in international business consulting, seed fund establishment, start-up management and business development in the United States and Europe. During her career, Eva developed new business opportunities for companies worldwide, and established branches of US, and European based companies.


Eva was the first Executive Director of the Southside Business Technology Center established in 2005, which organization has rapidly grown and is known today as The Launch Place.  Eva has also worked with Booz Allen, RTI International, and USAID in Washington D.C., where she designed, budgeted, implemented and evaluated domestic and international managerial training programs and business consulting projects in business development, capital investments, organizational management and financial forecasting.


Eva holds a post-graduate Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, has a MBA and BS in business administration; she is a Steven Covey certified trainer of trainers and speaks several languages.


Sara Baldwin, President, New Ravenna Mosaics


Sara Baldwin grew up on Virginia’s rustic Eastern Shore, on her family’s farm. “We were surrounded by nature, and all the inspiration that nature creates, from childhood, and we were encouraged to express ourselves artistically, using whatever we could find in our environment. It was an idyllic upbringing, certainly for an artist. We had to be both respectful of, and resourceful with, our surroundings, and these principles have guided me throughout my years as a designer and a businessperson. I feel very lucky to have roots and to live in a place where beauty and inspiration seem inexhaustible.”


In 1984, Baldwin set out to study fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania, where she took her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and trained rigorously as a fine arts painter. It was here that she made her first mosaic design, a mural of Eve in the Garden of Eden. When she returned to the Eastern Shore in 1990, the thought of a mosaic company called New Ravenna seemed a pipe dream. She took a chance and launched the small cottage industry with a handful of artisans. Twenty years later, New Ravenna employs more than 130 people and spans three city blocks in historic Exmore, Virginia–and leads the nation in designing and manufacturing custom mosaics in stone and glass with materials imported from across Eurasia and the Americas. She also started Sara Baldwin Design, which specializes in edited collections of product designs.


“It is our constant thrill to be on the cutting edge of design, using both traditional stone-cutting and mosaic methods and modern ones, such as the use of water-jet saws, which have brought us into a new era of stone and glass mosaic. I work with a great team of designers who never cease to amaze me; their love of the craft, and their resourcefulness are in perfect harmony with my own. ”


Baldwin, who still lives on the Eastern Shore, is proud parent to Michael, 23, and Grace, 14, and stays close to the family and land that have brought her so much.


Travis Croxton, Owner, Rappahannock River Oysters


Travis Croxton is an oyster farmer and restaurateur. Together with his cousin Ryan, he resurrected their centuries’ old family oyster company, Rappahannock River Oysters, and introduced the concept of aquaculture to the Chesapeake Bay. To promote their vision of sustainable seafood, he has opened three restaurants to public and critical acclaim, Merroir (Topping, VA), Rappahannock Oyster Bar (Washington, D.C.) and Rappahannock (Richmond, VA).

Travis was given the Tastemaker Award by Food and Wine Magazine, which recognizes top talent who’ve changed the world of food and wine, and his company was recognized in the inaugural Made In America – National Treasures Awards. He and his oysters have been featured on-air in Emeril, Chef’s Afield, and Life After Top Chef as well as in print. Most recently Rappahannock Oyster Bar (Washington, D.C.) was featured in Washingtonian Magazine as one of the Top 10 Restaurant Openings of 2012 and in the Wall Street Journal as one of 5 Outstanding Oyster Bars Around the Country. Rappahannock (Richmond, VA) was recognized as one of the Top 10 New Restaurants of 2012 by RVA News.



Diane Flynt, Owner, Foggy Ridge Cider



In 1997, owner Diane Flynt planted the first 20th century southern cider orchard with over 30 apple varieties, all chosen for the tannin, acid and complex flavors necessary for excellent hard cider. Flynt is active in the Virginia wine industry, as a member of the governor appointed Virginia Wine Board. She speaks on cider and teaches workshops, and is active in the national cider community. Diane is also a Board Member of the Southern Foodways Alliance.



Foggy Ridge Cider is the South’s first farm winery to focus full-time on growing heirloom cider apples and making artisan hard cider. Foggy Ridge Cider opened in 2004 and has consistently sold out of cider each year. In 2007, two additional orchards were planted, using the lessons learned from the first 10 years of fruit growing. Foggy Ridge Cider is distributed in 10 markets from NY throughout the South. Foggy Ridge Ciders have received gold medals in the International Eastern Wine Competition and the National Womens’ Wine Competition, as well as positive reviews in the NY Times, Saveur, Imbibe and many other national food and beverage publications.


Ciders Available: “First Fruit” is a rich fruity cider, “Serious Cider” is dry, crisp and chamagne-like, and the “Sweet Stayman Cider” is a lightly sweet cider.  Foggy Ridge “Handmade” is made from 100% Newtown Pippin apples. “Pippin Gold’ is a dessert apple port made with fermented cider and Virginia apple brandy.


Location: 1328 Pineview Road Dugspur, VA 24325



Joep Paternostre, President, Bloomaker, Inc.


Born: June 1960 in Zandvoort the Netherlands.

Married to Lilian Paternostre LO in 2002

Education: Studied medicines at University of Amsterdam in 1978 to 1980; Studied French language in 1980 -1981 at Sorbonne University Paris.


·         Sales manager flower bulbs in France for Van der Shoot 1981 -1982

·         Business owner Lingarden France SA 1982 – 1987

·         CEO Lingarden Holland BV 1987 – 1992 (Based in Holland)

·         Business owner/CEO Unigarden/Nedgarden BV/ Unigarden France SA/Unigarden Espanja SA/ Nedgarden GMBH Germany, Unigarden Russia 1992 – 2000 (Based in Holland)

·         Business owner/CEO Mantel International Holding 2000 – 2004 (Based in Holland and USA from June 2002)

·         Business owner/ CEO Bloomaker USA Inc. 2004 – 2014 (Based in the USA)

·         Other: Private pilot with IFR rating.

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