Small Business
New Leadership, Look at Speakertree
The new owners of “Lynchburg’s Record Shop” are turning over a new leaf for the store.

Blake Gederberg and Nick Cotrufo (in photo above) bought Speakertree, located on Fifth Street, in August 2016. While the store is still heavily involved in the sale of vinyl records, Gederberg and Cotrufo have expanded their model to incorporate more live music. This includes developing the young talent in town as well as bringing in some national touring talent.

Their hope is that they can start a movement to help revitalize Fifth Street and add to the arts and culture district.

Women’s Clothing Shop Relocates
After four years located on Main Street in downtown Lynchburg, the owner of Gladiola Girls says they are already seeing a lot of success at their new location in the Boonsboro Shopping Center.

The boutique changed locations in August. According to owner Renee Wood, the store’s numbers had slipped by 50 percent from July 2014 to July 2016. She says December sales were up 40 percent.

As Wood weighed whether to sign a five-year lease downtown, she says she was approached by Boonsboro Shopping Center to consider a store there.

“Church street being closed was a huge hindrance for us. And Urban Merchant left the block…retail brings retail,” said Wood.

The new Gladiola Girls is located at 4825 Boonsboro Rd., Suite F.

New Name in the Works for Altavista Meadery
Vahseer Meadworks, profiled in the December/January issue of Lynchburg Business, will soon have a new name.

In December, owner Jerome Snyder received a Cease and Desist letter from Dogfish Head Brewery, saying the name Vahseer is phonetically the same as their Kvasir seasonal beer. This is the second time Dogfish Head has contacted the meadery about a trademark issue. Originally, Vahseer Meadworks was called Kvasir Meadworks.

“I was a little surprised and disappointed,” Snyder told Lynchburg Business. “The trademark system is set up to be very easy for people who have attorneys on retainer to keep anyone from doing anything… I don’t have deep pockets to pay attorneys to say, ‘He’s wrong.’”

As this issue went to print, Snyder said he was waiting for an attorney to get back with him about some options for a new name that would have no trademark issues. He plans to rename the business and move on.

National Retailers Shut Down Local Stores
More changes are coming to River Ridge Mall as Macy’s announced it will close its store there at the end of March. According to a press release from Macy’s, 60 people work at the Lynchburg store.

Liberty University is the majority holder of the mall and will handle plans for redevelopment of the store. LU President Jerry Falwell, Jr., told the News and Advance that the former Sears building at the mall will be torn down and turned into an outdoor shopping mall. This work will not begin until 2018.

Another local closure includes the J. Crew Clearance Store on Millrace Drive. The store, which was very popular for its deals, shut down in January.

State Finances
Liberty University Highlighted in Annual Economic Report
Referred to as a “higher education phenomenon,” Liberty University (LU) was a main topic of the 2016 State of the Commonwealth Report sponsored by Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

The report mentioned LU’s combined on-campus and online enrollment of more than 100,000 students and endowment of $1.4 billion. It said the Christian university’s “long-term aspiration is to be considered in the same breath as Notre Dame is for Roman Catholics and Brigham Young is for Mormons.”

The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (LRBA), which hosted a report release event in December, says the state economy is expected to grow at only 1 percent. But because of the exponential growth of LU, Lynchburg’s economy is growing at a faster pace.

As a part of the report release, LRBA also announced that in 2016 they assisted in the creation of 619 jobs and generated $48.6 million in capital investment in the region.

New Contract
BWXT Will Support Virginia-Class Submarine Program
The Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies, Inc. says its subsidiary BWXT Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. will develop and fabricate Virginia Payload Module (VPM) launch tubes to support the Virginia-class submarine program under a single contract worth approximately $35 million.

Work has already begun for development efforts and qualification of the processes required to manufacture the payload tubes. BWXT expects to complete the development by 2019. Fabrication of a quantity of first-of-a-
kind VPM payload tubes will begin in 2017 with delivery of the first tube scheduled in 2019.

The work will be conducted at BWXT’s Mount Vernon, Ind. manufacturing facility.

Two Civil Engineering/Surveying Firms Join Forces
Hurt & Proffitt (H&P) and Blacksburg-based Anderson & Associates, Inc. (A&A) have merged.
On January 1, A&A joined H&P’s operation. The A&A office will remain in Montgomery County, and the new company is continuing business as H&P.

“We are excited about the opportunities that the combined forces of our two firms will hold for the future,” says H&P President Bif Johnson. “Our industry is rapidly changing and growing. This acquisition will allow us to meet those changes head on and allow us to expand our services.”

Founded in 1968, A&A is a progressive professional design services firm specializing in civil engineering, surveying, and GIS. H&P was founded in 1973 and has offices in Lynchburg, Roanoke and Wytheville.

Woods Rogers Joins Interlaw Global Network
Woods Rogers PLC has joined Interlaw as its representative firm in Virginia. Started in the 1980s, Interlaw is an elite network of independent law firms in major jurisdictions around the world.

“Joining the Interlaw network of law firms allows us to enhance our capabilities and support our clients who have growing national and international legal needs. In recent years, we have represented clients in
more than 15 countries—including many in Asia Pacific and Europe, as well as our neighbors Canada and Mexico,” said Woods Rogers’ President Dan Summerlin.

Interlaw’s presence spans more than 7,000 lawyers worldwide.