Experience Winchester’s best businesses


Business Coaching

Rene Hollebrandse as a business coach

Rene improving the profit of a business

The leading business coaching firm in Winchester is Mid Atlantic Strategic Services (also known as MASS) which also provides IT consulting, and bookkeeping services.

Business coaching has been introduced to the Winchester area by a business coach named Rene Hollebrandse, who at that time was active at the ActionCOACH franchise.

For a short time he had a business partner, Dave Hepler, who was also with ActionCOACH. The moment the housing market recovered though,Dave went back to being a home builder.

Crystel Smith was an employee coach trained by Rene, but she broke off to work on her own and write a book on her experiences as a banker, while Rene at that time stayed with ActionCOACH.

When Rene decided that ActionCOACH did not innovate enough he was hired by Mid Atlantic Strategic Services to be their CEO, a company that used another coaching system, called Compound Coach, which at that time was about three times more extensive than the ActionCOACH system. Or to quote Rene:

“I like their hi tech approach, and the fact that they were preparing their clients for the coming ‘Disruption’ by exponential technologies, such as the Internet of Things, cheap but advanced Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.”

Cort Maddox was the next employee coach of Rene, and he was trained in the Compound Coach system.
Nowadays Cort has his own coaching business, called Silverline coaching, but he is also still working with Rene in both Mid Atlantic Strategic Services and as a Compound Coach.

Cort Maddox is more active in Loudoun County compared to Rene who is more active in the Winchester and Berryville area.

Who else is active in the area?  There is Jorge Guiterez who calls himself a business coach among a slew of other business titles, there are a couple of ‘Life Coaches’, or people who call themselves ‘Executive Coaches’. Besides that there are also some Business Consultants active in the Winchester area.

Despite this competition, the local market is still dominated by Mid Atlantic Strategic Services. Why is that, what are the differences between Rene and Cort versus the others besides their stellar reputation in this field?

The Compound business coaches are forced to take continuous education in practical business growth strategies as well as standard psychological training in motivation and accountability. They guarantee their results (typically ‘you make more additional profit within 4 Months than that you pay as the coaching fee’).

That difference is paying off, did you know that 6 of Rene’s clients won a major award by the Chamber of Commerce (such as Small business of the year, and Entrepreneur of the year). That is 6 out of the 20 that were Chamber members…

When you go to a dentist, do you take someone who ‘once has worked in a dentist office’ or a dentist that is officially certified, has loads of happy customers and is still taking classes every year to learn new skills and techniques?

Why would a business owner invite a business coach into the business? For exactly the same reason that a professional sports team takes a coach. It is the only way to get to the top fast.

And what is ‘the Top’ for a typical business owner you might ask?  Having a business that works without you, and that makes you lots of money.


Fitness and Gym

Body Renew Winchester is the fastest growing gym in town and with reason. In fact, it is probably for several reasons:
Their membership prices are the lowest, and unlike their competitors include most services such as child care, tanning, fitness classes, 24/7 access on multiple locations, all without any additional fees. To complete their attempt to totally dominate this market they are now adding a basketball court and a swimming pool to these standard included services!

The only service that you really will have to pay an additional fee for are their personal trainers, and on the quality of those I have only met raving fans.




Glass Repair

The Glass Doctor is the steadily growing business of Jeff and Jocelyn Miller. Unlike most of their competitors, they repair car glass like your windshield, AND repair any type of glass pane at your home. From windows to mirrors to glass tabletops, showerdoors and so on. But they don’t stop there.  Any type of screen that you want to put in front of your window seems to be a piece of cake for them to repair. What I also found remarkable is that they operate from a real storefront in down town Winchester, not hidden away on some backwards industrial park.  The most common heard remark from their customers is that it was so easy to do business with them which kept the inconvenience of having a broken window as limited as possible.





Health Insurance

Creekside Insurance advisors llc is a full service broker in the field of health and medicare benefits. Their claim to fame is to constantly recalculate what healthcare company offers the best products for what price, for what category of people and then present the best option to their clients.

I discovered Creekside insurance because someone referred them to me. One way of finding out if a business is good, is by finding out how good they are in attracting new clients via client referrals, and how good they are in keeping their clients. Creekside Insurance blew me away, with over 95% client referral, while rarely loosing clients due to something other then death. 




Home Building and Remodeling

My custom home was build by Dennis Longerbeam of Gemini construction. I am not certain if he is still in business. If he still is, and I would choose to build another home, I would still put Dennis on my short list as it is a very well build home, and Dennis was always willing to please you.

However, Foreman Builders is right now my top choice and recommendation for those who insist first and foremost on quality work done for their custom home or remodeling project. It is remarkable that in the current economy (2011) there is one custom home builder in Winchester VA that is actually growing back into the home builders game, although fair is fair, it is the remodeling side of Foreman Builders that is growing the best.

The reason seems to the level of professionalism, and drive to be the best. Add to that the religious belief of Tony Foreman that it is your duty to deliver the best you can possibly deliver, and combined with the many years of experience of serving high end customers you have a very impressive custom home builder and remodeler.


Ballroom Dancing Studio

A real nice, big floor to dance on!

A real nice, big floor to dance on!

Social Graces Ballroom Dance studio has been the most consistent presence in the area of social dance in the north west of Virginia for years.

It has been growing steadily, and now that they own their own building it shows. I am told that besides Ballroom Dancing, they also teach the Bachata which is very popular in the clubs right now.


Moving Company

In the beginning of 2011 The original Mover Dudes, a local Winchester based mover, split and one of the original owners bought Help U Move, the other local Winchester based mover. Since then the company experienced fast growth as its goal to conquer the market with the best price-quality offering in Northern Virginia seemed to be spot on. Not only do its residential customers rave about the Help U Move experience, more and more furniture stores switch to this company because it quickly is proving to provide the most reliable deliveries for the new, or used furniture that these stores provide.

I have had the privilege to have to deal with them, and have concluded that their reputation is well deserved. Low priced, friendly but very professional and no damages. What else do you want?



Do you entertain guests at your home? Present them with some food and drinks? THE place where they sell almost everything in the ‘food entertainment’ area is Nibblins, Edibles and Gifts. They are Winchester’s retail success story. I am told that there is no other local business that has actually outgrown the Mall. The store has a little bit the reputation of being on the expensive side, which is actually a misconception. Yes, they have high-end kitchen appliances and rare exotic foods that will cost you a lot of dollars. But Susan Dolinar, the owner of the store, takes great effort to price her goods in the comparable range compared to other stores that offer items in the Nibblins domain (like for example Target). There is no store though, that beats the depth of the Nibblins assortment.


Search Engine Optimization


Not too far south of Winchester, in Shenandoah county, lives Mark Barreres who specializes in boosting the web presence of small businesses for a really affordable price. I have seen him get several businesses to the first page of google, and that for prices where other businesses would charge five, if not ten times more. You will have to deal with him on a monthly basis though, as Mark and his services thrive on regular communication.


 Used Car Sales and Service

The Ultimate Automotive Group

Used Car Salesmen have a bad reputation. And Car Repair shops are often seen as shady as well. But sometimes you meet someone who changes your beliefs. It happened to me at the Ultimate Automotive Group when I witnessed one of the owners standing up to a client who just asked where that car was that they said should have come in. “We sent it back” I heard Chris Rathel say. “We had it in our shop, and there were so many issues with it that we had to refuse it. It was way below our standard.” The client started to make some angry comments but Chris stood his ground. “We cannot sell something like that to you. I guarantee you I find another one, but you will be thankful if your son get’s a car that actually has no issues.” Finally the client agreed.

I started to investigate, and found out that at the UAG they spend way more in fixing cars before they sell them than any place they were aware of. “But you see, we are the ULTIMATE automotive group” said Chris. “That has to mean something.”

Ad the reasonable prices to that level of service, and you understand why they claim they rarely loose clients.


Superior lunch anyone?

Ever been at Throx Market Station? They must be the ‘Best Kept Secret in Winchester’. Stuff you would totally not expect at a gas station. “Crab cakes and Craft Beer” read a sign. I did eat the BEST chicken salad in Winchester at Throx. And I have eaten at almost every restaurant. Their burgers compete with Five Guys if you ask me, not with the fast food chain ones.

I once did read the joke ‘you must be in the South when the best food is sold at a gas-station’. In Winchester Virginia, that is true.


When you want to replace your windows…

So we stumbled upon one of those small businesses that think that if they do quality work people will come them automatically. You have met them probably, often no slick marketing in place, en offering their quality goods and services for a price that makes you wonder ‘how do they cover their overhead?’.
To us it seems that Energy Windows LLC is one of those businesses. The man had a printed list of hundreds of customer testimonials with him, all raving about the quality of his work, especially compared to the price he was charging… So if you are looking for energy conserving windows? Check them out.

11 thoughts on “Experience Winchester’s best businesses

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  2. Thanks for putting up this Blog for Winchester VA.

    I love coming to the 3d Tuesday Business Networking Event in Winchester Virginia every month.

    “Third Tuesday” of each month in Winchester VA
    Piccadillys Public House – 125 E Piccadilly St, Winchester, VA – 4:00 PM – 8 PM


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