Month: May 2017

Regional Tourism Outlook

Lynchburg Region Poised to Keep Pace with Growing State Tourism Revenues As temperatures rise, Lynchburg and the surrounding region are gearing up for increased tourism due to a variety of recent developments. From state level competitions using the Hill City as a landing zone to continued downtown revitalization, tourism stakeholders believe the area is poised for sustained growth this year and beyond. And with these developments on the horizon, Lynchburg is primed to keep pace with the rest of the state; according to a press release from Governor McAuliffe on May 8, 2017, “Virginia’s tourism industry had another banner...

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Movers & Shakers June/July 2017

Robin Baker—New Executive Director of the Arc of Central Virginia. Baker comes to Virginia from North Carolina where he was the executive director of the Arc of the Triangle. He has 30 years of experience in the field. Baker obtained a graduate degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University and began his career in Richmond. “Exciting additions to our organization are underway including new programs and activities for people that participate in our services, as well as opportunities for greater volunteer and community involvement…” said Baker. Jim Childress—Recipient of Marion T. Baker Award from VLAS. Childress, an attorney in Rustburg and former Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in Pittsylvania County, is the 26th lawyer to receive this annual honor from Virginia Legal Aid Society. Childress went into private practice in early 2015. He immediately joined the Pro Bono Panel in February 2015 and took his first case for VLAS in March of that year. In just two years, Childress has taken seven pro bono cases for VLAS. Irene May—New Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate. May joins the Smith Mountain Lake Office in Moneta and will specialize in working with homebuyers and sellers. She is participating in Long & Foster’s Success Path program. May received a Bachelor of Science in biology from George Mason University. She and her husband have spent the last 15 years working on and...

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One Way Out Escape Rooms

How an Out-of-Town Idea Became a Local Effort Recently, some friends and I went to One Way Out, an “escape room” on Lakeside Drive in Lynchburg. If you’ve never heard of an escape room, it’s an activity where a group of people work together, solving puzzles and unlocking clues, sometimes literally. Each escape room has a different theme, and after being locked inside—not literally, for the claustrophobics out there—you have an hour to solve every mystery and escape. One Way Out’s escape rooms are aimed at people ages 8 and older and there are no physical restrictions. In other...

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Charley’s Restaurant

What to Expect: Traditional dishes served with TLC The Experience Before you even get a menu, you’ll be glad you chose to grab a bite to eat at Charley’s Restaurant. After being cramped in an office all morning or staring at a computer, the two-story, bright atrium is the perfect place to relax and refuel between meetings. Formally located in River Ridge Mall, owners Rob and MJ Pearson moved the restaurant to its Graves Mill Road location in 1996. Since then, they’ve continued building this business that operates more like a big family. “There is a lot of longevity...

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AirBNB Renting Rules

How New Legislation Could Affect the Airbnb Experience What is Airbnb? A decade ago, if someone planned a trip—for business or pleasure—they usually booked a room in a hotel. At the most, a family or group of friends would rent a beach house for the week and split the cost equally. Now, however, the world of travel is changing. Travelers seek unique experiences, from far-flung breweries to Instagram-worthy restaurants. Similarly, travelers want a unique lodging experience that lets them get to know the cities they visit on a more personal level. Enter Airbnb, an online marketplace that connects individuals...

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Essential Elements of Employee Retention

Have you ever wondered why some of your organization’s new hires are not a good fit and leave in less than a year? If so, you’re not alone. The Impact According to Julie Kantnor, President and CEO of Twomentor, LLC, losing a Millennial employee can cost the company $15,000 to $25,000. It’s actually a lot more when you weigh in a few additional variables. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management states that employers will need to spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary in order to find and train their replacement....

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In The News June/July 2017

Growth & Expansion Bank of the James Breaks Ground on Appomattox Location Construction is now underway on a permanent Bank of the James facility in Appomattox. Located on Confederate Boulevard, the new 2,100-square-foot building will have four offices, two drive thru lanes, an ATM and a night deposit. The building’s design will be similar to the style of the Appomattox Courthouse. The bank opened a temporary mobile facility on Old Courthouse Road in October 2016. Since then, Bank President Robert R. Chapman III says they have been honored by the positive reception from the community. “As a community bank,...

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Real Estate, Supply and Demand

A modern fable about (real estate) supply & demand Once upon a time, in a modest little city, there lived a shopkeeper who owned a modestly successful shoe shop. As one might expect, the meticulous shopkeeper took great care every week to keep record of the available shoes for sale. Furthermore, once a week a truck arrived with a shipment of new shoes for the store to sell. All of this was accounted for in the shopkeeper’s dusty old accounting book. Having owned a shoe shop for many, many years, the shopkeeper was accustomed to both good times and...

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Make Room for More Hotels

An In-Depth Look at Lynchburg’s Growing Lodging Industry In recent years, Lynchburg has become an ever-brightening spot on the map, drawing increased interest—and guests—to its hilly borders. Near the airport, in the counties, off Wards Road and downtown, new lodging developments have been sprouting in response. “[Hotel] developers right now are viewing Lynchburg as a growth area and they are willing to invest millions of dollars to be a part of what we have going on,” said Lisa Meriwether, Sales Manager for the Lynchburg Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau. It is important to note that one hotel is not...

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Editor’s Letter June/July 2017

$24 billion in revenue. $5.7 billion in payroll income. 230,000 jobs. A quick snapshot of last year’s numbers in Virginia should make the case clear—it pays to invest in tourism, one of the five largest industries in the state. You can credit the collective financial success partly to statewide efforts. For example, the Virginia Tourism Corporation continues to market our state as a whole and promote the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand (which is now 48 years old if you can believe it). But I believe what’s really helping push those numbers higher year after year can be found at the local level. In this issue of Lynchburg Business, we are taking some time to focus on the greater Lynchburg area’s tourism industry and the issues that impact our bottom line. From major improvements downtown to state level competitions, the outlook is very positive for Central Virginia, according to local leaders. On page 88, read about the latest efforts to bring more people to town. Odds are you’ve seen the new hotels under construction in the area or have heard about The Virginian Hotel renovation downtown. “Another hotel?” you might have said to yourself. (I know I did.) Starting on page 35, we have an in-depth look at Lynchburg’s thriving lodging sector and asked some of the big players what’s fueling it. Also, our Commercial Real Estate columnist Billy...

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The Psychiatrist Shortage in Virginia

How Telepsychiatry Can Help Due to trends in mental health advocacy and growing clinical evidence, people are increasingly recognizing the benefits of psychiatry and behavioral health care. For example, a 2012 study published in Contingencies measured the cost of a single employee’s depression over a two-year period prior to that employee receiving depression treatment and found the cost to the business to be as high as $3,386 per affected employee. Unfortunately, even with a cultural shift towards addressing mental illness in Lynchburg, employers and families are struggling to get convenient and timely access to care due to a significant...

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Plugged In June/July 2017

June 2 A.M. Alliance Networking with Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance LRBA Conference Room 2015 Memorial Ave., Lynchburg 7:30 – 9 a.m. Complimentary admission for Alliance members. (434) 845-5966; June 6 Business Express with Retail Merchants Association of Lynchburg White Hart Café, 1208 Main St., Lynchburg 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Topic: “Stand Out in a Crowd of Competitors!” June 7 Lunch to Learn at the Small Business Development Centre CVCC, Merritt Hall 12 p.m. Topic: “Best Apps for Business.” Sponsored by Bank of the James. June 13 Networking Before Nine with Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce The Labyrinth Spa, 325 W Main St., Bedford 8 – 9 a.m. Free for members. $15 for non-members. Business Basics Roanoke Small Business Development Centre 4 – 7 p.m. An introduction to owning your own business. $20 fee. Pre-registration is required. June 22 Women’s Exchange Luncheon with Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance Oakwood Country Club 3409 Rivermont Ave., Lynchburg 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Cost is $25 for Alliance members and $35 general admission. (434) 845-5966; Business After Hours with Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce Sunken City Brewery 40 Brewery Dr., Hardy 5:30 – 7 p.m. Free for members. $15 for non-members. June 27 Retail University Informational Session National Retail Federation’s Rise Up Program 147 Mill Ridge Rd., Lynchburg 10 – 11 a.m. Organized by Retail Merchants Association of Lynchburg. June 30...

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Lynchburg Hotels, Then and Now

On a recent hunt for historical real estate perspective, I fell down the rabbit hole while reading through newspaper archives on microfilm at Jones Memorial Library. In my research, I stumbled across an article on the front page of the May 6, 1984 issue of Lynchburg News & Daily Advance with the headline “Oversupply of Hotel Rooms Seen” written by Jon Hiratsuka. In a four-year span, the Lynchburg area had seen the addition of 547 hotel rooms, including the 172-room Lynchburg Hilton, the 131-room Days Inn, and the 244-room Radisson Hotel Lynchburg, which took the hotel supply from less...

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Cold Calls Shouldn’t Be “Cold” Anymore

A cold call is less appreciated than a “sales” email. But if you have a dinosaur sales manager you may not be able to stop cold calling completely. However, it only takes a few minutes to research a prospect on the web or social media. You don’t have to make “cold” calls anymore if you use these nine tactics. 1. Learn about their products, services and customer base. The only reason one business is willing to contract with another is to improve efficiency or increase revenue. If your offer doesn’t fit its goals and plans, it’s not going to...

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Cash is King

But Kings Don’t Always Rule We’ve all heard the age-old adage that “cash is king.” I’ve used it myself countless times. It’s one of those phrases that can be used to fit different situations and can be used very differently by people with varying interpretations of its meaning. Those of us in the investment business talk so often about asset classes such as stocks, bonds and real estate, but it’s not often that we talk about cash. (And it should be noted that when we refer to cash, we are referring to cash in the bank, not simply paper...

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Smyth Companies

Continuing a Bedford Tradition, One Label at a Time Ryan Allison, VP of Operations for Smyth Companies’ Bedford offset printing location, walks energetically through his plant floor, greeting his employees with questions about their kids, asking how a family member is doing after surgery, joking with another employee with some good natured ribbing, and even carrying on conversations in Spanish at times. Allison and his family relocated from Florida a year ago, but you’d think it was longer, the way he interacts with his Bedford team. Allison has joined a company with a long history, both locally and in...

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Leading Lady: Megan Lucas June/July 2017

Title: CEO, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance Hometown: Centralia, Missouri Recent Recognition: Selected by Consultant Connect as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers for 2017 You’ve been in the industry going on 20 years now. What do you enjoy about working in economic development? What I like about it is impacting a community—whether it’s helping a business connect to another business or connecting people to jobs. I love helping communities grow, prosper and be successful. Looking back at your career, what makes you proud? Up until now, I’ve always worked in military communities, and any time you work...

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See Clearly Now

What Improving Technology Means for LASIK and Your Vision One of the most common surgeries in the United States, LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis), has enabled millions of Americans to forego their glasses and contact lenses and, in most cases, enjoy at least 20/20 vision. LASIK is a short, low-risk procedure that involves using a laser to reshape the cornea and thus correct a multitude of vision issues. Improving technology has had a major impact on this refractive eye surgery, making it even safer and more precise. David M. Harman, M.D., founder of Harman Eye Center and medical director...

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