Overview and Updates

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The August 2019 Business Roundtable 

The August Roundtable took place at the Williamsburg Community Building and was catered by Manhattan Bagel. Our speaker was Graham Henshaw, Executive Director of the William & Mary Entrepreneurship Center. The topic of the luncheon was "Launchpad and William & Mary Entrepreneurship Center Both Move Locations and Join Forces in Tribe Square. 

Mr. Henshaw noted several times in the presentation that this merge is not just a priority for the Entrepreneurship Center, but for the University as a whole. The impetus behind the project comes all the way from the top -- from University President Katherine Rowe. This has allowed the new entrepreneurship center to do unprecedented things in welcoming the Launchpad into its community. This includes providing all Launchpad clients with a William & Mary ID card, which will get them access to a multitude of tools and resources on campus.  

The new Launchpad & Entrepreneurship Center plans to engineer and manufacture "collisions" between the students and the entrepreneurs, hoping to blur the lines between the two in the "Hub" (the main center of activity for the venture). 

The Entrepreneurship Center's eight elements of focus will also hopefully benefit the clients of the Launchpad:

file8 For more information on the project, visit the William & Mary Website

The July 2019 Business Roundtable

The EDA's July Business Roundtable was hosted at Quarterpath Recreation Center and catered by Qdoba Mexican Grille. Our speaker was Danny Plaugher, Executive Director of Virginians for High Speed Rail, and his presentation was titled "Transportation and a Changing Virginia". Highlights from the presentation: 

  • Virginians for High Speed Rail is a non-profit coalition of citizens, businesses, localities and community groups that educate and advocate for the expansion of fast, frequent, and reliable intercity rail service. They were founded in 1994 as a partnership between the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the Future of Hampton Roads. 
  • "Virginia is changing and our transportation challenges are increasing". Between 1990 and 2017, Virginia's population increased by 36.9%, our road network increased by 13%, our highways increased by 12%, and access to flights decreased by 30.8%. 
  • Since 2000, passenger rail is the fastest growing mode of transportation in Hampton Roads (cars: 6%, plans: 8%, trains: 17%)
  • .The Williamsburg station averages 61,000 trips a year with ridership up 44% over the last decade. It generates about $8 million in tourism spending annually and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 5.8 million pounds each year. 

Benefits of High Speed Rail

The June 2019 Business Roundtable

The June 2019 Business Roundtable was hosted at and catered by Revolution Golf and Grille. Our speaker was Tracy Grey, Manager of the Williamsburg Farmers Market (WFM). The topic of the luncheon was "Williamsburg Farmers Market: Cultivating Community Around Food". Some fun facts from the presentation:

  • The Williamsburg Farmers Market is a collaboration between the City of Williamsburg, Colonial Williamsburg, the Merchants Square Association, the Williamsburg Land Conservancy and William & Mary. 
  • The Market's first season began in July 2002 with just 16 vendors. 
  • In its 17 seasons, the WFM has produced $14.5 million in vendor sales.
  • The market boasts 81 varieties of produce, and averages about 4,871 visitors each day.  
  • In 2018, 366 volunteer hours were put forward to help make the market run. 

Missed the roundtable? No worries.Here is Ms. Frey's Williamsburg Farmers Market Presentation

The May 2019 Business Roundtable 

Our May 2019 Business Roundtable was hosted at Quarterpath Recreation Center, and attendees enjoyed a BBQ Taco & Sandwich Bar by Old City BBQ. Our speaker was Terry Walker with SCORE. Mr. Walker is a business development strategist with extensive experience in team-building, change management, sales process, execution, negotiations, CRM and e-commerce. His areas of expertise include sales, marketing, web-based marketing, finance and warehouse & distribution operations. He uses his background and expertise in his volunteer capacity at SCORE, helping new businesses start and existing businesses grow. Some highlights from his presentation: 

  • SCORE was established in 1965 in partnership with the Small Business Administration to help small businesses. They (1) provide free, confidential business advice and mentoring, (2) offer low or no-cost business training through seminars and webinars and (3) share free business templates and resources. The Williamsburg chapter of  SCORE was established in 1985.
  • Williamsburg SCORE has over 25 local volunteer mentors with various business expertise including Business Start-Ups, Sales, Non-Profits, Finance, Manufacturing, Human Resources, Marketing, Customer Service, Business Plans, Strategic Planning, Operations, Research & Development, Electronics, Import/Export, Retail/Restaurant/Breweries, and more. These mentors each come from highly skilled backgrounds and have a wealth of knowledge to share. 
  • SCORE is able to help Pre-Startups and Startups by confidentially reviewing business ideas, helping to create a detailed business plan, provide advice on business negotiations and provide coaching through pre-finance preparations. 
  • SCORE can help existing businesses by confidentially reviewing and evaluating individual business situations and help identify new markets and attract new customers.
  • In just the past 3 years, SCORE has helped 20 non-profits get up and running in the Williamsburg area. 

Mr. Walker shared that Williamsburg is a special place, and has so many passionate people with entrepreneurial spirits. Many clients approach SCORE with a "weekend business" that has grown and developed so much that they want help turning it into a profitable full-time business. SCORE is located right downtown in the City of Williamsburg inside the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance building at 421 North Boundary St. They are available to answer any and all questions, anything from "What is an LLC and how do I register as one?" to "I've been been steadily growing every year for 10 years but I've stalled out, how do I jump start growth again?" to "Should I even stay in business?" If you would like to contact SCORE, visit their website to make an appointment or sign up for a mentor. Terry Walker Photo

The April 2019 Business Roundtable

The April 2019 business roundtable was held at and catered by the Best Western Williamsburg Hotel Historic District. This roundtable was hosted jointly with James City County Economic Development. Our speaker was Jenny Connors of the Williams Mullins Group, speaking on "How to Benefit from Opportunity Zones". Ms. Connors shared with attendees some background on Opportunity Zones as part of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act as well as some proposed regulations. She explained some of the potential tax benefits of opportunity zones, as well as examples of how the incentive may be used. This is a complicated topic, and you can find out more by checking out Ms. Connor's Yes Virginia Opportunity Zone Presentation here. 

The March 2019 Business Roundtable  

The March 2019 Business Roundtable was attended by 71 members of the business community and hosted by the City of Williamsburg in the Community Building located at 401 N Boundary St. The lunch was catered by Berrets Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill. Lisa Pacheco, Director of Sports Development for Sports Williamsburg, provided an update on Sports Williamsburg's growth and plans for the future. Some highlights from her presentation: 

  • Sports Williamsburg was formed in 2010 and is run by a community-driven operating board with members from area Parks & Recreation; Lodging, Dining & Attractions partners; the College of William & Mary and our local High Schools.  
  • The organization has a $100,000 grant budget to help attract tournaments and sporting events to the area. 
  • Its mission is to establish Williamsburg as a top 5, year-round sports destination within Virginia. 
  • In 2019 there are 74 sporting events planned with events occurring each month, making Williamsburg a year-round sports destination. These events have a potential economic impact of over $9 million between the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County. 
  • One new event this year is the Ironman Virginia 70.3 on Sunday, May 5th. The race was restricted to 2,100 registered athletes and sold out within 2 weeks. Expected Economic Impact is $1.5 million. 

Missed out on the presentation? No worries! We've got Lisa Pacheco's Sports Williamsburg Presentation for you right here. 

 The February 2019 Business Roundtable  

The February 2019 Business Roundtable was hosted at and catered by the Best Western Historic District. Roy Pearson, Chancellor of Business Emeritus of the William & Mary Mason School of Business, provided the Williamsburg Business Community with his annual Economic Outlook for the year. You can find his 2019 Economic Outlook Presentation here. 

The January 2019 Roundtable 

On January 8, 2019, eighty members of the Williamsburg business community gathered at the Williamsburg Community Building to hear from Terry Banez, Interim Executive Director of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance. Lunch was catered by Second Street Bistro. 

Prior to her position at GWCTA, Ms. Banez worked as Director of Trade Strategy and Operations for Newell Brands (Yankee Candle Company Division) leading over $300 million in businesses. She has a strong background of regional community involvement including serving on the Board for the United Way of Greater Williamsburg, the Board and Executive Committee for the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, Wounded Warriors Project, Habitat for Humanity and many other community organizations. 

Ms. Banez shared with the audience an update on changes to the Chamber & Tourism alliance in 2018, including Senate Bill 942 establishing the Tourism Council and enacting a 1% sales tax (excluding groceries), 50% of which goes to the localities and 50% of which goes to Tourism. With the passing of this bill, GWCTA reorganized into two councils: The Business Council and The Tourism Council. Ms. Banez further shared with the group her goals for the organization moving forward, including the Business Council's 2019 mission: "Serving, representing and enhancing business growth and success in the Greater Williamsburg area". 

Here you can find a copy of the January 2019 Business Roundtable Presentation

The December 2018 Business Roundtable

The December 2018 Business Roundtable was catered by Corey's Country Kitchen and hosted at the Quarterpath Recreation Center. The topic of this roundtable was "Thomas Nelson: The Peninsula's Community College" and our speaker was Dr. Patrick Tompkins, Provost of the Historic Triangle TNCC Campus. 

Forty-two individuals from the Williamsburg Business Community gathered to hear from Dr. Tompkins, who shared with the group information regarding Thomas Nelson's operations and programming. With a smile, he began his presentation by saying "The cool thing about my job is, we get to change lives". Dr. Tompkins went on to share that Thomas Nelson will be graduating its 50th class this May and that to date, their Open Education Resources have saved their student more than $1 million. 

Dr. Tompkins stated that many TNCC students are just one minor calamity away from having to drop out of school, and to combat this Thomas Nelson has created a student emergency fund that grants up to $250 so that students can pay an electric bill or get money to their landlord -- just something to "band-aid the problem" until a more permanent solution can be found. This program has gone a long way in helping to keep these students in school. 

Thomas Nelson Community College works hard to provide this community with what it needs. One example is ChefsGo, a program that was co-sponsored by the Williamsburg and York County Economic Development Authorities and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance. Upon hearing from local restaurants that it was difficult for them to find appropriately-trained kitchen staff, these organizations came together and created an intensive hands-on program that leads into a paid full time internship with participating restaurants, and a guaranteed interview with a local restaurant at the end of the program. Dr. Tompkins ended his remarks by saying "We are Thomas Nelson Community College. The most important word in our title is Community -- We are here for the community." 

For more information, check out the December 2018 Business Roundtable Presentation

December 2018 Roundtable Photo

The November 2018 Business Roundtable 

Fifty-Seven members of the business community gathered at Quarterpath Recreation Center for the November 2018 Business Roundtable. Our speakers were Lara Overy and Kevin O'Brien from the City of Williamsburg Commissioner of the Revenue's Office, and lunch was catered by the Cheese Shop. 

Lara Overy was elected in November 2017 and began her four year term for Commissioner of the Revenue on January 1, 2018. In her short term as Commissioner of the Revenue, Lara has improved processes, implemented an audit program and increased compliance resulting in additional revenue for the City. Lara's motto is to ensure all businesses are reporting accurately and being fairly taxed. 

Kevin O'Brien is the Business Auditor for the Commissioner of the Revenue's office here in Williamsburg. Kevin joined the Williamsburg Commissioner's office in the middle of 2018 after serving as Lead Deputy of the Portsmouth Commissioner of the Revenue's office for over seven years. Kevin earned his Master Deputy Commissioner designation from the Weldon-Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia and brings a wealth of knowledge regarding tax laws in Virginia. 

 Together, Ms. Overy and Mr. O'brien shared a presentation on local business taxation including How, What and When to Report. Included in their educational presentation was an explanation of what the Commissioner of the Revenue's purpose is, what changes Ms. Overy is making and has already made, additional information of the Business Audit Program and the Commissioner's office's "unofficial responsibilities". Here you can find a copy of the November 2018 Business Roundtable Presentation

The October 2018 Business Roundtable 

On October 9, 2018, 89 members of the Williamsburg business community gathered at the Williamsburg Community Building to hear an update on the Midtown Row Development from Michael Jacoby, CEO of Broad Street. The roundtable was catered by Sal's by Victor. 

Mr. Jacoby is the co-founder and CEO of Broad Street Ventures, which purchased the former Williamsburg Shopping Center and Monticello Shopping Center (now "Midtown Row") in 2017. Mr. Jacoby has more than 31 years of experience in the real estate industry and is an expert in large-scale leasing, acquisition, and development transactions, of which he has successfully completed  more than twenty-two million square feet properties throughout the United States. 

His presentation detailed Broad Street's progress so far since their purchase of the properties, and some before and after examples of what the layout of the shopping centers will be upon completion of the project. 

October 2018 Roundtable Jacoby

The September 2018 Business Roundtable 

The September 2018 Business Roundtable was hosted by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation at the Williamsburg Lodge. Our speaker was Mitchell B. Reiss, President & CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and he shared a presentation titled "Back to the Core. Into the Future." 

Mr. Reiss came to Colonial Williamsburg from Washington College in Chestertown, MD where he served as president. He held several positions at William & Mary, including vice-provost for international affairs, and his extensive career in foreign diplomacy includes serving as the President’s special envoy for the Northern Ireland peace process. He holds a law degree from Columbia Law School and a D.Phil. from Oxford University.

During his presentation Mr. Reiss shared that in 2017 Colonial Williamsburg accounted for nearly $500 million in economic output and approximately 6,900 jobs in Virginia, of which $350 million in economic output and 5,500 jobs were within Williamsburg and James City and York Counties. He also shared: 

  • Colonial Williamsburg employed 2,000 full and part-time employees in 2017, with a total payroll of $75 million, plus $22 million in employee benefits. 
  • In 2017, Colonial Williamsburg spent $45 million on purchases of goods, services and construction from Virginia companies, $10 million of which was within Greater Williamsburg. 
  • Through the multiplier effect, household spending by Colonial Williamsburg employees and spending by its in-state suppliers and contractors indirectly generated an additional $204 million in economic activity and 2,000 jobs in Virginia, of which $117 million in economic activity and 1,200 jobs were created within Greater Williamsburg. 
  • In 2017, spending by visitors to Colonial Williamsburg generated more than $4.4 million in sales taxes paid to the Commonwealth of Virginia and generated more than #3.5 million in room, meal and sales taxes to the City of Williamsburg 
  • It is estimated that spending by visitors to Colonial Williamsburg generated an additional $6 million in sales taxes for the Commonwealth of Virginia and an additional $5 million in room, meal, and sales taxes in greater Williamsburg. 

Outside of the realm of economic output, Mr. Reiss spoke about Colonial Williamsburg's support of the Greater Williamsburg Community. CW supports many community organizations that benefit its employees and volunteers, including Olde Town Medical Center and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). CW also provides free passes to students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents of current students at William & Mary, and a $10 per year pass for adult residents of Greater Williamsburg. And annually, Colonial Williamsburg opens the Historic Area. Merchants Square and other spaces for publicly sponsored events including Garden Week, An Occasion for the Arts, Summer Breeze concerts, Saturday Farmer's Markets and lighting of the community Christmas Tree. 

September 2018 Roundtable Photo

The August 2018 Business Roundtable  

The August 2018 Business Roundtable was held at Quarterpath Recreation Center (202 Quarterpath Rd) and was catered by Qdoba. Our speaker was Marcie Bevins, Industrial Commercial Account Executive with Virginia Natural Gas. Ms Bevins provided our business community with helpful tips and tricks on how to be energy efficient in both the home and business. Here you can find a copy of her presentation

July 2018 Business Roundtable - Cancelled

The EDA's monthly business roundtable will be taking a break this July. We all look forward to seeing this group back together in August! 

The June 2018 Business Roundtable

The June 2018 Business Roundtable was held at Quarterpath Recreation Center (202 Quarterpath Rd) and was catered by Aromas. Our speaker was Betsy Fowler, Director of the Williamsburg Regional Library, who shared with the business community what it means to be a part of a 21st Century Community Library. 

Ms. Fowler shared with the audience stories and testimonials from library patrons proving just how true the sentiment is that "Libraries change lives". 

Notes from the May 2018 Business Roundtable

The May 2018 Business Roundtable was held at and catered by the Best Western Williamsburg Hotel (351 York Street). Roy Pearson, Chancellor of Business Emeritus at the William and Mary Mason School of Business shared an outlook on the 2019 economy. 

Missed the luncheon? No worries, we have a copy of the presentation

Notes from the April 2018 Business Roundtable

The April Business Roundtable was held at and catered by Revolution Golf & Grille (1430 High Street). Sean Dunn, Chief of Police for the City of Williamsburg, was introduced at the meeting and he shared an introduction and overview of the Williamsburg Police Department. 

 Chief Dunn explained to the business community the difference in approaches to Policing (reactive vs. proactive) and his philosophy on the importance of proactive police work and community engagement. For more information on Sean's approach to police work, see a copy of his presentation

Notes from the March 2018 Business Roundtable

The March Business Roundtable was held at the Williamsburg Community Building (401 N. Boundary St.) and was catered by Qdoba Mexican Grille. Our speakers were Tracey Dowling, System Director of Business Development and Real Estate Services for Riverside Health System, and Bill Kiniry, Partner in the Shockoe Company and development consultant to Quarterpath Williamsburg. 

Dowling and Kiniry spoke about the unique opportunities available at the Quarterpath development with its 380 acres, 150 of which will remain undeveloped. With a focus on providing a "wellness-driven life", the development has plans for retail, residential and office spaces, all located near Riverside's state-of-the-art Doctor's Hospital. 

Missed the roundtable? You can find a copy of the presentation here.  

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

January 2018 Roundtable

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

October Roundtable

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.

September Roundtable

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

August Roundtable

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

Roundtable Photo

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). 

Copy of the Presentation

May Roundtable

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. 

Copy of the Presentation.

Economic Development Director Michele Mixner DeWitt also spoke about the EDA's Downtown Perception Study, which is a research component of the Downtown Vibrancy, 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. 

Copy of the Presentation.

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.

Photo

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. 

Copy of the Presentation.

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.  

Copy of the Presentation

 For more on the 2019 Commemoration, visit the event's website.

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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 small 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.

Copy of the Presentation

 Yelp Business Roundtable

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 Pancake 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.

Copy of the Presentation

 

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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.

Copy of the Presentation.

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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. mdewitt@williamsburgva.gov

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
• Entrepreneurs
• 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
• Parking

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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.

Copy of the Presentation

For more details on William and Mary Sports and to sign up for their newsletter, click here.

 Spencer Milne

Rich Saunders, City Economic Development Specialist (left) and Robert Willey, local brewery owner and EDA member (right), welcome Spencer Milne (center) to the event.