Notes from the January 2018 Business Roundtable
The January Business Roundtable Luncheon was held at the Williamsburg Community Building (401 N. Boundary St) and was catered by Berrets Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill. Our speaker was Marvin Collins, City Manager for the City of Williamsburg.
70 members of the business community came out to hear Mr. Collins give an overview of the City's Highlights of 2017. He touched on:
- Economic Development
- The demolition grant that was used to remove the old Super 8 right in the center of town
- The purchase of 943-952 Capitol Landing Rd to complete a redevelopment goal
- Funhouse Fest & Botticelli exhibit support)
- Public Safety
- Approval of $13 million in bonds to replace the fire station and renovate/add to the police station
- Addition of police officer position
- Implementation of body worn camera and biased based police training
- Support of Strategic Partners
- Approval of 5-year contract for funding W-JCC School System
- William and Mary rezoning approval for Jewish Student Center
- Colonial Williamsburg rezoning approval for the museum expansion and the Raleigh Tavern.
Mr. Collins also touched on several little-known municipal facts. If you missed it -- don't fret! You can find here a copy of the presentation.
A photo of the crowd of 70 during City Manager Marvin Collins' presentation.
Notes from the December 2017 Business Roundtable
The December Business Roundtable Luncheon was held at Quarterpath Parks & Recreation Center (202 Quarterpath Road) and was catered by Corey's Country Kitchen II (1388 Richmond Rd). Our speaker was Andrew Trivette, Assistant City Manager for the City of Williamsburg.
Mr. Trivette gave the business community an update on the downtown parking study that was completed by the Walker Parking Consultants, and gave an idea of what we can expect in the coming years in regard to parking downtown. Emphasis was placed on City Council's desire to make the changes necessary to provide a positive experience for people (locals and tourists alike) walking, shopping, dining and exploring our downtown area. The following are some important notes from his presentation:
- According to the study, Williamsburg's downtown does not have a documentable parking shortage (but it does have limited parking available in several high-demand blocks, which creates the perception of a shortage).
- In year one:
- No changes will be made to the cost of parking
- Small sensors will be installed in each public parking space within the study area which will track the use of the spaces
- Residents will be able to check parking availability and know where spaces are available prior to leaving home.
- In year two:
- If parking issues are still evident, City Council can make efforts to "flip" the parking strategy currently in use. The study found that the City is enabling the perception of a parking shortage by charging less for the more convenient (on-street) parking and charging more for the less convenient (off-street) parking. "Flipping" this strategy would create a $1.00 charge for parking on-street and no charge for parking off-street.
- In year three:
- If parking issues are still evident, City Council can choose to proceed with dynamic pricing, which would increase rates in high demand periods and spaces while decreasing rates in low demand spaces. This would allow patrons who want to pay for the convenience of door-front parking to find a spot, and allow long-term parkers, or those looking for a bargain, to find that spot as well.
If you missed the presentation but would like to learn more, here is a copy of the presentation.
Notes from the November 2017 Business Roundtable
The November Business Roundtable Luncheon was held at Quarterpath Parks & Recreation Center (202 Quarterpath Road) and was catered by the Cozy Patio Bistro (1330 Richmond Road). Our speaker was David Denny, Executive Director of the Greater Williamsburg Partnership.
Mr. Denny spoke about the Greater Williamsburg Partnership: how it was formed, who is involved, what their key target sectors are. and what regional incentives we have to offer. If you would like to learn more about "What's New in Economic Development in Virginia and the GWP", here is a copy of the presentation. If you would like to learn more about the Greater Williamsburg Partnership, check out this brochure.
Notes from the October 2017 Business Roundtable
The October Business Roundtable Luncheon was held at the Styker Center (412 N. Boundary Street) and was catered by The Cheese Shop (410 W. Duke of Gloucestor Street). Our October speaker was Steve Sechrist, Director of International Students, Scholars and Programs, and the William & Mary English Language Program.
Mr. Sechrist shared with the business community the business side of international education, and the incredibly positive impact that William and Mary's international student population has on our economy.
Miss the roundtable? Here is a copy of the presentation.
Notes from the September 2017 Business Roundtable
The September Business Roundtable Luncheon was held at the Williamsburg Community Building (401 North Boundary Street) and was catered by 2nd Street Bistro (140 2nd Street). Our September speaker was Michael Jacoby, co-founder and CEO of Broad Street Ventures & Broad Street Realty. Broad Street Realty has recently acquired the Williamsburg Shopping center on Richmond Rd.
With more than 80 members of the business community in attendance, we had a full house eager to hear Broad Street's plans for the well-known shopping center located in the heart of our City. The Williamsburg Shopping Center, to be renamed "Midtown Row", will be a "new and unique experience-based retail, entertainment and residential district".
Some key highlights regarding the project:
- There will be more than $100 million in private investment
- Food Lion will remain in its current location given its lease terms, which allow for another 20-25 years.
- The center's new grid system, in the meantime, will be built around the Food Lion building, but will allow for eventual continuation (connection to Garrison and Bacon Ave) when the building is redeveloped
- Sal's By Victor and ABC will remain
- Ace Hardware has been offered a location across the street in a renovated Monticello Shopping Center. If Ace Hardware moves, their current building will be redeveloped into a modern food & beverage centered space.
- The plans include four new 5-story buildings (first floor commercial, with residential above targeting students and young professionals).
- There are efforts to recruit a 135-room hotel as a fifth new building.
- There will be a new public plaza to the west of Sal's, which will create outdoor dining and a park.
- The dance studio and the community pool will not be affected.
- The Marshall's building, the former bank building on Monticello, and the remaining commercial spaces beyond Sal's and the ABC store will be demolished.
For more information, view a copy of the presentation.
Pictured above from left to right: Marvin Collins (City Manager, City of Williamsburg; Michael Jacoby (Broad Street Ventures & Broad Street Realty); Michele Mixner DeWitt (Economic Development Director, City of Williamsburg)
Notes from the August 2017 Business Roundtable
The August Business Roundtable Luncheon was held at Quarterpath Recreation Center (202 Quarterpath Rd) and was catered by Qdoba Mexican Grille (1220 Richmond Rd. Suite D). This month we heard from Michele Mixner DeWitt, Economic Development Director for the City of Williamsburg.
More than 70 members of the Williamsburg business community attended the roundtable to hear an economic development update from Mrs. DeWitt. Such topics were touched on as "What is Economic Development?", "Why are we here?" and "What is our value proposition as the City?"
Of particular interest in the presentation was a background explanation and timeline of the recently announced redevelopment of Midtown (also known as the Williamsburg Shopping Center). Here are some key points and highlights:
- The Comprehensive plan has identified Midtown as a prime area for student housing and amenities. If you were to look at a map of Williamsburg, the southern boundary of William & Mary touches Jamestown Rd - an area with historic neighborhoods that both residents and the City want to preserve. It makes sense for the College's growth to instead push North, towards Midtown.
- The City has streetscape improvements planned. The goal is to create a space in Midtown where people (locals and visitors alike) genuinely want to spend their time. A place where people want to "live, work, eat and play." The City's role in helping to foster that environment is to handle the infrastructure side of the equation: reconstruct the road with narrower streets, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, etc. Make Monticello a place where people want to slow down and see what is going on.
- The lot at 1234 Richmond Rd is 20 acres, on which sits a 250,000 sf suburban shopping center that was built in 1959. As of right now, the center is 45% vacant. Of important note: since the foreclosure of the shopping center in 2014, no effort has been made to fill those vacancies in anticipation of the center's redevelopment. Most retailers are looking for a different product now: they don't want big box store spaces. Many retailers instead are approaching a model that involves less inventory with faster turnaround (requiring storefront locations that aren't quite as deep as what is currently offered in the shopping center).
- The shopping center was purchased in January 2017 by Broad Street. The shared vision of the City and Broad Street include: (1) Vertical Mixed Use (first floor commercial with four stories of residential above), (2) Grid system with connectivity to adjacent land (you can find examples in the attached presentation), (3) Monticello Ave streetscape (to include pedestrian friendly street with parking, sidewalks, outdoor dining and bike lanes).
- The project's timeline moving forward includes:
- August 16th: Planning Commission initial review
- September: Public Charette on Monticello Ave Streetscape
- September 20th: Planning Commission Public Hearing
- October 12th: City Council Public Hearing
- 2018: Construction
For more information, you can view a copy of the presentation.
Notes from the July 2017 Business Roundtable
The July Williamsburg Business Roundtable Luncheon was held at Capitol Pancake House (802 Capitol Landing Rd). This month we held our annual discussion with the business community and received feedback on what perceived opportunities and challenges we have available to and facing our businesses. 57 members of the business community attended the roundtable and shared their ideas.
Fore more information please see our Recap of the July Business Roundtable.
Notes from the June 2017 Business Roundtable
The June Williamsburg Business Roundtable Luncheon was held at the Quarterpath Park & Recreation Center and was catered by Manhattan Bagel. The Speaker was Samantha Huge, College of William and Mary Athletics Director.
Ms. Huge spoke about the impact of William and Mary Athletics on the Williamsburg Business Community, and what the athletics department is doing to ensure that their facilities are up to par with competition. She also spoke about the prospect of collaboration and the prospect of sharing space between the College and the Community when planning for future athletics development.
Notes from the May 2017 Business Roundtable
The May Williamsburg Business Roundtable luncheon was held at the Quarterpath Recreation Center and was catered by Nawab Indian Cuisine. The speaker was Steve Geissler, Executive Director of the Virginia Peninsulas Public Service Authority (VPPSA).
VPPSA is a regional governmental organization that provides solid waste management and recycling services to ten member cities and counties including the City of Williamsburg. Mr. Geissler spoke to the group about business recycling: why it's important, how businesses can benefit from it, and some of the simple things we as households & businesses can do to make things a little easier on the workers at the processing plant (like not recycling plastic grocery bags).
Pictured above: Gretchen Bedell & Gnorman the Garden Gnome (Work Nimbly), Steve Geissler (VPPSA), Rick Overy (EDA Board Member) and Michele DeWitt (Economic Development Director, City of Williamsburg)
Notes from the April 2017 Business Roundtable
The April Williamsburg Business Roundtable luncheon was held at the Stryker Center and was catered by Aromas Coffeehouse Bakeshop & Cafe. The speaker was Kym Hall, Superintendent of the Colonial National Historic Park.
Ms. Hall spoke about different ways that Public Lands can enhance our communities -- Specifically, touching on topics such as visitor spending, diversified tourism, quality of life, and amenity migration.
Economic Development Director Michele Mixner DeWitt also spoke about the EDA's Downtown Perception Study, which is a research component of the Downtown Vibrany, Design & Marketing Plan currently underway for the City of Williamsburg. To participate in the survey, click here.
Pictured above: Michele Mixner DeWitt (Economic Development Director), Jessica Hann (Williamsburg EDA Board Member), Kym Hall (Superintendent of Colonial National Historic Park), Rick Overt (Williamsburg EDA Board Member)
Notes from the March 2017 Business Roundtable
The March Williamsburg Business Roundtable luncheon was held at the Williamsburg Community Building and was catered by Firehouse Subs. The speaker was Corrina Ferguson, Director of Destination Campaign Marketing for the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance.
Ms. Ferguson spoke about the ins and outs of destination marketing, and how the three pillars "Freedom to have FUN", "Freedom to be CURIOUS", and "Freedom to RELAX" have all helped shape the Visit Williamsburg campaign. Additionally, she spoke about the ways that local businesses can utilize the Visit Williamsburg website to promote their businesses, and also reminded the audience of the role they play in promoting Williamsburg every day.
Economic Development Director Michele Mixner DeWitt gave us a brief overview of the Google Street View grant available to City businesses. For an overview of the program, please click here. For an application, click here.
Pictured above: Scott Foster (Vice-Mayor), Corrina Ferguson, Paul Freiling (Mayor), Robby Willey (EDA Board Member)
Notes from the February 2017 Business Roundtable
The February Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at the Williamsburg Community Building and was catered by Sal's By Victor. The speaker was Lisa Pacheco, Director of Conference Sales and Sports with the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance.
Ms. Pacheco spoke about the positive impact of sports tourism on the city, as well as Sports Williamsburg's efforts to make the city a top 5, year-round sports destination in Virginia. She also pointed out several specific ways that city businesses can get more involved with, and promote their businesses through, sports tourism.
Economic Development Director Michele Mixner DeWitt gave us a brief overview of the Qualified Equity and Subordinated Debt Investments Credit.
For a copy of the handout, click here.
Notes from the January 2017 Business Roundtable
The January 2017 Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at the Williamsburg Community Building and was catered by Berret's Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill. The speaker was Roy Pearson, Chancellor of Business Emeritus from the William and Mary School of Business.
Mr. Pearson spoke about the economic outlook for 2017. For a copy of his presentation, please click here.
Notes from the December 2016 Business Roundtable
The December Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at Quarterpath Recreation Center and was catered by Qdoba Mexican Grill. The speaker was Kathy Spangler, who is the Executive Director for the 2019 Commemoration, which is supported by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
Ms. Spangler spoke about the commemoration's strategic goals, objectives, performance metrics and events. Among the signature events are a "grand" assembly to commemorate the first representative legislative assembly, "The Making of American & African Arrival Day," and cultural arts events centered around the merging cultures.
For more on the 2019 Commemoration, visit the event's website.
2019 Commemoration Executive Director Kathy Spangler speaks to the audience at December's Business Roundtable.
Notes from the November 2016 Business Roundtable
The November Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at the Quarterpath Recreation Center and was catered by Southern Pancake and Waffle. The speaker was Mary Jo Sisson-Vaughan, Regional Lending Manager with the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VBSFA).
Mary Jo talked about the loan and grant programs that are offered to smal businesses through the VSBFA. The VSBFA offers several loan programs that help fill the financing gap between the bank's loan and private equity for small businesses. They also offer micro loans to SWaM certified businesses in cases where the banks are not interested in issuing small loan amounts.
To learn more about the programs that VSBFA offers, click here.
Notes from the October 2016 Business Roundtable
The October Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at the Quarterpath Recreation Center and was catered by Pita Pit. The speaker was Xerxes Nabong, the Community Manager of Yelp for the Hampton Roads region. The topic was "Yelp 101: The Basics of Yelp for Business Owners."
Nabong talked about practical ways that business owners can use Yelp to publicize their business. Yelp has 142 million unique visitors each year. There are a number of free tools available on Yelp for business owners including business description, photos, Yelp deals and responses to reviews.
Yelp Community Manager Xerxes Nabong, center, poses with EDA Vice Chairman Rick Overy (right) and Economic Development Director Michele DeWitt (left).
Notes from the September 2016 Business Roundtable
The September Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at the Capitol Pancase House at 802 Capitol Landing Road. The speaker was Todd Tyree, Executive Director of the Williamsburg Area Transit Authority, and the topic was "Where Transit Goes, Business Grows."
Todd covered the history, organization, fleet and budget of the authority and touched on a few reasons why public transit can benefit the business community- connect employees to jobs, increase development demand and drive property values, and assist with tourism efforts. Todd also talked about a few of the new changes coming to WATA, which includes more frequent stops at certain times of the day and on the busiest routes.
Todd Tyree, left, poses with EDA member Robby Willey.
Notes from the August 2016 Business Roundtable
The August Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at Quarterpath Rec Center and catered by MAD About Chocolate. The speaker was Nancy Buchanan, Executive Director of the William and Mary Real Estate Foundation.
Nancy provided a brief history on how and why the foundation was created, including its mission and funding sources. She covered the foundation's major projects, which include the Tribe Square mixed use development and Discovery II Office Building in New Town.
August speaker Nancy Buchanan (center) poses with EDA Vice Chairman Bill Carr (left) and Economic Development Director Michele DeWitt (right).
Notes from the July 2016 Business Roundtable
The July Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at The Hound's Tale on Prince George Street. Economic Development Director Michele DeWitt facilitated a roundtable discussion on the opportunities and issues for Williamsburg businesses.
At the end of the group discussion, Michele challenged everyone to do these three things:
1. Participate in the City's Goals, Initiatives and Outcomes process starting in September.
2. Find a way to partner with another local business and email Michele about what you did. firstname.lastname@example.org
3. What are some "next steps" to addressing some of the issues the groups identified at the July 12th Business Roundtable.
Opportunities for Williamsburg Businesses:
• Trade, Craft Artisan School
• Catering at special events
• Rehabilitate vacant properties
• Riverside Quarterpath Development
• Location between Hampton Roads and Richmond
• Riverboat Casino
• Brag about Williamsburg with a new storyline
• Low taxes
• Young families coming back
• Loyal retirees
• Boutique Hotel
• Foodie restaurants
• More than history
• Tax generating Businesses
• Big box like IKEA
• Sports Marketing
• More jobs for graduating students
• Rebrand the City
Issues Williamsburg Businesses face included:
• Transportation for all ages
• Minority Businesses and customers
• Active senior living
• Critical mass of activity and people
• Need more promotion
• Businesses should work together
Notes from the June 2016 Business Roundtable
The June Williamsburg Business Roundtable was held at Peter Chang's on Richmond Road and featured Spencer Milne, Assistant Athletics Director of Marketing, Promotions, and Ticket Operations at the College of William and Mary.
Spencer spoke to the impact that sports have on not only the state economy (contributing well over $1 billion each year), but also on the local economy. He provided attendees with an inside look into how William and Mary Tribe Athletics, as well as the numerous golf courses and youth sports leagues that call the city home, stimulate the Williamsburg economy by not only creating jobs, but also channeling funds into the local hospitality, restaurant, banking, and healthcare industries.
For more details on William and Mary Sports and to sign up for their newsletter, click here.
Rich Saunders, City Economic Development Specialist (left) and Robert Willey, local brewery owner and EDA member (right), welcome Spencer Milne (center) to the event.