Laura Dyer Hild
Vice President & Director of Interior Design,
Anderson’s Neck Oyster Company,
Church Hill Venture,
The Bankuet Place,
Hot Diggity Donuts,
Butterbean Market and Café,
Dogtown Brewing Co.,
& Manastoh Brewing
Founder & Contributor,
The Dogtown Dish
The Neighborhood: Manchester
By Ja'Nai Tellis Frederick
A self-described urban tree-hugger, Laura Dyer Hild’s weekend retreats near West Point ultimately led to buying 300 acres of pristine property in Shacklefords along the York River. While conducting property and surrounding area research, Laura and husband, Mike, discovered quite a bit of oyster history and decided to start their own oyster farm from the ground up. An interior design director at HKS, Laura admits that while she didn’t know how to raise them, she allowed a penchant for oysters and environmental conservation to push her outside of her professional comfort zone, as the owner of Anderson’s Neck Oyster Company. The endeavor began with selling oysters to local restaurants, then rapidly expanded to Canada, and across fifty states.
Laura’s venture in socially responsible entrepreneurship then deepened its roots in the community of Manchester. Laura and Mike are heavily investing in the revitalization of the historic 1200 block of the Hull Street Corridor. Inspired by Church Hill’s Union Market, their goal is to create a community hub with new establishments such as Hot Diggity Donuts, Butterbean Market and Café, Dogtown Brewing Co., Manastoh Brewing, The Bankuet Place, as well as residential spaces.
Laura believes there is a synergy between her pursuits in interior design, oyster harvesting, and urban development. For Laura, creativity, sustainability, and strategy intertwine together with the “common denominator being change.” Professional diversification is not merely for revenue. According to Laura, “We are here for something: giving back and helping others, RVA, and the environment.”
A little Insight from The Dogtown Dish:
Laura is a member of the Commonwealth’s Monacan Indian Nation. The selection of the Manastoh Brewing name honors her Native American heritage and her maternal grandfather, Earl Smith. Manastoh, now Manchester, is the regional name given by the local indigenous people.
Writer: Ja'Nai Tellis Frederick
Illustration by Emily Herr