The Zipper Method



We got your attention, right? The Constant Contact analytics on our Weekly Report show that we have 21% average open rates. That means many fans of the Weekly Report open our email each week and some of you actually read it. I’d like to thank all 7,923 of you from the bottom of my heart. Next week I will see if putting the word zipper in the email title helped improve my numbers.
Since so many people read this, I figured it was important to drop some knowledge bombs on you this week. I want to tell you about something I learned recently in the hopes that we can accomplish great and noble things together. By the end of this article, together we can get traffic moving faster around the Richmond region and make RVA great again. We can reduce incidents of road rage. We can also end unnecessary back-ups on I-95, I-64, Powhite Parkway, 288, and the infamous, all-day-every-day, mind-bending back-up on the Shockoe Valley Bridge. (For the record, I’m not entirely sure where the Shockoe Valley Bridge is, but every single traffic reporter on every single station mentions that it’s backed up every single morning.) Are you ready to reduce traffic back-ups and put an end to road rage with one easy-to-learn technique?
It’s called the Zipper Method (or late merge) and I really need you to pay attention. Although this is publicly available data and almost every state in the Union has tried and failed to advertise this to the driving masses, I am apparently the only driver in all of our beloved Commonwealth who knows this. When two lanes of traffic are merging, drivers need to use the entire roadway to the point of merging, this is called a late merge or the zipper method. Cars merge together, one after the other, like a zipper being pulled together. Traffic engineers, people who are far smarter than you and me, designed our roadways to accommodate drivers who use the zipper method. Early mergers (people who stop short in a long merge lane haphazardly flipping their blinkers while blocking the rest of us) cause delays and traffic accidents.
Early mergers have a tendency to “go postal” when passed by a late merger. I merged from 195 North onto the I-64 West yesterday and a lady in a turd-brown Subaru almost killed me. She honked. She flashed her lights. She lunged her beat-up rust bucket at my beautiful back bumper. I yelled out the window, “Hey lady, I’m using the zipper method.” She responded with a one-finger salute. She’d slowly climbed into the left lane somewhere near The Diamond and patiently waited in crawling traffic for a mile. I passed her in the right lane and merged into the on-ramp at the last possible second. She called me a name I can’t repeat here in the Weekly Report, but that’s actually how the system is supposed to work. If you don’t want to take my word for it, then Google it. #sheeshlady





Monday, August 12 – Birth Day



Our COO Molly Whitfield is so organized that she actually scheduled the birth of daughter No. 3. On Monday the Whitfields welcomed Georgia Grace, a beautiful bundle of joy, weighing in at 8 pounds and 20 inches long. Congrats to Mama Molly, Papa Lee and the two best big sisters anywhere, Emily and Claire. Perhaps, the most excited was my daughter Hattie Saunders, who celebrated her 21st birthday on Monday.
I had the pleasure of meeting with two talented graphic design partners on Monday, first at lunch with Elizabeth Coffey of E Strategic Design. Elizabeth and I discussed some projects and I learned that she’s a Concord, Virginia native and was a fan of The Texas Inn. But she admits, she hasn’t had a Cheesy since her college days at VCU.
Afterwards, I sat down with John Drake of JDrake Graphic Design and Richmond chapter President of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts). John asked me to come speak at their annual conference in December and I happily obliged.






Tuesday, August 13 – What A Crock



Sometimes you just need an event to look forward to. With that in mind, the Madison+Main-iacs decided to start an annual tradition on August 13th. We called it our 1st Annual CrockLuck Party. Marketing & Biz Dev Manager Leanne “Set It and Forget It” Ferry and Business Manager Katie “Let It Simmer” Rossberg did a great job organizing the company-wide lunch, which featured more than dozen delicious crockpot creations. I forgot to cook, so I dropped by Farm Fresh and bought 16 pieces of fried chicken to throw in my pot. Account Executive Haleigh Lader one-upped me by buying Chic-fil-a nuggets. #CrockOChicken
Richmond BizSense hit inboxes on Tuesday with news about two Madison+Main-iacs; Kaitlin Thomas has been promoted to Director of Account Services and former intern Jenna Farley joined the team as a Jr. Graphic Designer. Read all about it!



Wednesday, August 14 – What does H.R. stand for, anyway?



I dropped by Capital Ale House in Innsbrook to grab a working lunch with H.R. guru and good friend Larry Elinskas, owner of Elin Associates, a boutique human resources consulting firm here in RVA. Larry is the kind of guy you can talk to and instantly feel better. I highly recommend Larry’s company, so if you’re still hiring people and not robots, check out Elin.


Thursday, August 15 – Making News



Our new client Housing Families First is already making big news, with a feature on national news website Vox that gives a behind the scenes glimpse of non-profits that received a grant from Jeff Bezos’ Day One Families Fund. Congrats on the great press, thanks to our very own Communications Director Kent Brockwell for helping them.
Thursday also marked Housing Families First’s latest open house/school supply drive/karaoke party. Kent and Account Executive Allison Throckmorton attended, dropped off some supplies, and performed an amazing rendition of “I Will Survive.”







Friday, August 16 – Music City Madness




As I mentioned earlier, my beloved first born and Madison+Main’s rock star social media specialist Hattie Saunders turned 21 this week. While I’m very happy for her, I am sad that I’m losing my favorite designated driver. To celebrate my little JMU music major’s big birthday, we flew out this morning to Nashville “Music City” Tennessee. I’m sure I’ll have lots of drunken selfies to share with you next week. For dinner tonight, my Hattie B. is taking me to Hattie B.’s, the famous Nashville hot chicken place.




A Few of Our Favorite Events


2019 Bourbon and Beer Festival

A. Smith Bowman Distillery | Fredericksburg, VA

August 24, 2019 | 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

A fun event to start off fall. Join us at the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fairgrounds (2400 Airport Ave.) to enjoy bourbon tastings, local craft beer tastings, and cigars! Mix and mingle with local brewers, distillers, and new friends. A select number of Virginia wineries and cideries will be sampling their award-winning beverages as well. Live music will be on the Safford of Fredericksburg Main Stage.



Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow

A. Smith Bowman Distillery | Fredericksburg, VA

September 28, 2019 | 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.


The tastiest roadshow in Virginia is coming to A. Smith Bowman Distillery! Present by the Virginia Distillers Association and A. Smith Bowman Distillery, the Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow provides a wonderful opportunity for spirit lovers to meet Virginia distillers firsthand and sample artisan spirits as well as craft cocktails from multiple Virginia distilleries under one roof. Guests can save by purchasing advanced tickets.



Magnificient Midlothian Food Festival

Westchester Commons | Midlothian, VA

October 12, 2019 | 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.


Eat, Drink and Be Magnificent! It’s the 31st Annual Magnificent Midlothian Food Festival – Presented by Wegmans. Live Entertainment with performances by South of James and The Party Fins! Live music all day! Enjoy small plates from area restaurants, wine, beer (including Craft Beer), mixed drinks, complimentary soft drinks, and more. Proceeds benefit local charities. Get your tickets today!


Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!




“Anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.”

— George Carlin