Notes from the August 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 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 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. email@example.com
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.