January 2020

Savara Development Teams Up with Black Dog Salvage on
New Boutique Hotel
Savara Development LLC has announced plans for a new boutique hotel in downtown Roanoke at the historic Liberty Trust bank building, and has teamed up with Roanoke’s own Black Dog Salvage to preserve some of the building’s original architectural details.

The Liberty Trust Bank Building, which opened in 1910, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Virginia Historic Landmark. Prior to the renovation of the building, the Salvage Dawgs’ crew filmed an episode on site for season 11 of their popular DIY Network show. Crew members Mike, Robert, Tay, Ted and Grayson explored the building from roof to basement in search of architectural elements that include plumbing and lighting fixtures, and dangerously heavy safe doors that will be used in a custom build for the hotel lobby. Architect Robert Pilkington of Roanoke’s Balzer & Associates is working with the developers on the renovations of the building.

Located at 101 S. Jefferson Street, on the corner between Alexander’s Restaurant and the Amtrak Station, the new hotel will be known as The Liberty Trust and will feature 54 guest rooms along with a lobby bar and restaurant. The Liberty Trust will be the only member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts group in Virginia’s Blue Ridge—and one of only six in the state of Virginia. The hotel is scheduled to open in late 2020 and will begin taking reservations in Summer 2020.

The property will be operated by Savara Hospitality, which also operates several other historic properties including Linden Row Inn in Richmond, Virginia and the Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Opportunity Zones Now Online for the Roanoke Region

Profiles of the nine  Opportunity Zones  in the Roanoke Region of Virginia are now online thanks to the Roanoke Regional Partnership.

Opportunity Zones have been designated by the federal government, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and provide certain tax advantages to investments made within a zone. Information on the zones located within  Alleghany County Covington Franklin County Roanoke Roanoke County , and  Salem can be found at Roanoke.org.
Spotlight on Roanoke Businesses -
uCell2us and Jump Into Mystery, LLC
Launched from the basement of the owner's home, uCell2us, Inc. relocated from a small space in the Cave Spring area of Roanoke County to Roanoke City in January 2019.

Located at 2001 Centre Avenue in the former Weddle Plumbing & Heating Company building, this small, family-owned and operated business has three full-time employees and started as an e-commerce only company selling phones in a large eBay store. Soon after the purchase of the 8,300 square foot building, uCell2us, Inc. opened a retail shop and expanded their selection. The company sells an extensive variety of phones, accessories and small electronics in the store and through the eBay, Amazon and Walmart online marketplaces. They also offer phone unlocking services, purchase used phones and accept phone trade-ins in the store.
Owners Joseph and Casey Brozovsky look forward to having a positive impact on the neighborhood and plan to make more local jobs available as they expand in the future.

To learn more about uCell2us, Inc. , please visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ucell2us/.
Jump into Mystery, LLC

Do you love a good mystery? Do you have the ending already figured out in the mystery movies and crime dramas before a show ends? Then come join the fun, while testing your sleuthing skills.
Jump into Mystery, LLC is a small business owned by Sabrina East which recently opened in the City of Roanoke.

At a Jump into Mystery event, you become part of the mystery as it unfolds. Introverts and extroverts alike will enjoy the prompted format of these games that will have you out of your seat, mixing and mingling with all of the other suspects. Ask questions, find clues, interrogate your comrades, and bribe or blackmail your way to the solution using play money. But keep your poker face sharp and be wary of the intel that you gather. After all, there is a criminal afoot. 

Jump into Mystery events are perfect for restaurants, wineries, breweries, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and country clubs, looking to drive traffic, boost sales, and attract new guests or members. 

They are also the perfect team building events for employers looking to encourage problem solving and leverage employees’ skill sets in a fun and memorable environment.

Looking to raise money for your non-profit? These events are proven to help you raise funds quickly in one fun and distinctive event. No need to make salespeople out of your members year round.

These events are perfect for all ages too! They make the perfect private birthday party for kids and adults alike. And what better way to bring residents at your apartment complex together, than by hosting a Jump into Mystery night!
Lastly, for anyone looking for the perfect client appreciation gift…look no further! Give your clients a mystery filled night to remember! Each event is designed for 15 to 100 people and fees vary based on the type of event chosen.

To learn more, call owner, Sabrina East at 540-293-8784 to discuss your upcoming event needs or email her at sabrina.east@jumpintomystery.com. You may also visit the website at www.jumpintomystery.com.
Virginia Tech, Indivior announce new collaboration to study
 long-term recovery pathways in people with Opioid Use Disorder
Christian Heidbreder (center), chief scientific officer of Indivior Inc., with Michael Friedlander (left) and Warren Bickel (right) of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. Virginia Tech and Indivior, a pharmaceutical company focused on developing medications to treat substance use disorders, have agreed to study environmental and socio-economic factors on recovery from chronic opioid abuse.
Few families are left untouched by the devastating problems caused by opioid misuse and addiction, which take the lives of about 50,000 people each year in the United States.

Similar to cancer and cardiovascular disease, opioid use disorder is a chronic illness that includes periods of both remission and relapse. Although many people achieve long-term recovery, the most effective pathways to a healthy life are not well understood.
Now, Virginia Tech and Indivior, a pharmaceutical company focused on developing medications to treat substance use disorders, have agreed to extend the RECOVER (Remission from Chronic Opioid Use-Studying Environmental and Socio-Economic Factors on Recovery) Study.

RECOVER is a multisite, non-interventional cohort study examining long-term recovery in individuals with moderate to severe opioid use disorder who received at least one dose of study treatment during the Phase 3 clinical trials studying safety and tolerability for Sublocade, an extended-release treatment for moderate to severe opioid use. Read More
Plan Your Next State, Regional or Mid-Atlantic Conference in Virginia’s Blue Ridge
Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge has a variety of resources at www.visitvbr.com/meetings to help plan your meeting in Virginia's Blue Ridge. You can connect to local service providers in the region, download materials that can be distributed to planning committees and attendees, learn about possible itineraries and group activities, and much more. With the assistance of Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge, you will be able to plan a first-class meeting and all-around experience. Contact our team at (540) 362-7848 to learn more.
Also, watch our new Meetings Video – Click here !
Virginia Western launches expanded automotive technician program in collaboration with Berglund Automotive Group
Students will gain hands-on training for careers at additional automotive facility. 

Virginia Western Community College’s School of Career and Corporate Training (CCT) and School of Business, Trades, and Technology (BTT), in collaboration with the Berglund Automotive Group, will offer expanded automotive service technician training beginning January 2020. Students can learn the skills they need in as little as five weeks to start an in-demand career as a general service technician. Most classes will be offered during the evening or on Saturday mornings, allowing students to keep their day jobs.
There is a national shortage of automotive service technicians as many experienced workers retire. In the Roanoke metropolitan statistical area, there were 847 automotive service technician jobs in 2018, 26 percent more than the national average, according to Emsi, an organization furnishing labor market data to professionals in higher education, economic development, workforce development, talent acquisition, and site selection. There were 52 active job postings in the average month and the median hour earnings were $19.35. Employer demand and automotive classes with waiting lists encouraged the college to offer more classes at a new Franklin Road location.
Berglund and its president, William J. Farrell II, were integral in helping this expansion hit the road. Berglund donated class space at one of its facilities–a former automotive dealership–where students can train in an automotive shop under supervision of a qualified instructor. In addition, Farrell and his family created a permanently endowed fund with the Virginia Western Educational Foundation to support students through scholarships.
“In our business, we have a very tough time filling all of the automotive technician opportunities that we have. It has become such a specialized field,” said Farrell, who is the treasurer for the Educational Foundation Board of Directors. “We felt that this was the best way for us to give back to the whole community – to grow a regional workforce not only for us, as an automotive group, but for all of our automotive colleagues in the Valley. We are glad to be a part of growing automotive opportunity for the entire region.”
The new training facility on Franklin Road will permit the college to offer more of its already in-demand automotive courses, combined with brand new entry-level and continuing education workshops for new and practicing automotive technicians. A variety of courses will begin in January 2020, from Automotive Electricity I, to Automotive On-Ramp (General Service) Training, and exam preparation for Virginia State Safety Inspectors. Depending on the type of course, students may be eligible for tuition assistance such as a scholarship through the Virginia Western Educational Foundation.
“We are excited to join with an automotive industry partner to offer this program in a real working environment,” said Dr. Milan Hayward, vice president of the School of Career and Corporate Training. “Students will acquire the skills they need to succeed and find mobility across many potential employers in our region.”
For more information on the automotive service technician program and to learn how to enroll, please call 540-857-6076 or visit:  https://virginiawestern.edu/workforce or https://www.virginiawestern.edu/academics/transportation.php . To learn more about potential scholarships, please visit the Educational Foundation web site at:  https://virginiawestern.edu/foundation/index.php .
Featured BizLink
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Adopted

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission recently unveiled it's 2019 Annual Report. The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) gives an ongoing planning process designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of a regional economic roadmap designed to diversify and strengthen regional economies. The document assesses regional economies, establishes regional goals and objectives, and outlines an action plan of priority projects.

Please click the link above to get the full report.

Generations and Appreciation

Recently, I was presenting “Bridging the Generation Gap” for an energetic group. I had an audience of 42, about half of whom were classified as Generation X (born 1965-1908). The other half of the group consisted of Baby Boomers and Millennials. At one point we were having a lively conversation about what words, actions, and behaviors bring out your worst and your best in the workplace. We were trying to determine which characteristics were specific to generations and which were general to all employees, regardless of age. 

Some topics were definitely specific to a generation. For instance, Boomers, were way more likely to ask for respect in the workplace, and face-to-face communication. The Millennials wanted flexible work days and perks such as being able to volunteer for a day or two a year for one of their favorite charities.

What amazed everyone were the commonalities, voiced in a variety of ways. It seems all employees, regardless of their generation, seek to feel appreciated at work. We heard it repeatedly. One person would say that the simple words “please” and “thank you” brings out their best. Another would say that being pleasant to others at work created a positive culture. 

Every day, as we go about our daily activities, we all see people who refuse to express common courtesy or appreciation. From other drivers who don’t wave “thank you” when you let them in, to people who are in the service industry and are gruff, we wonder what is wrong in their lives that they behave in that manner? Yet, we get so busy at work that we forget to stop, take a breath, and appreciate all we have and what our co-workers bring to our day.

The group I worked with realized that if everyone had an internal weekly quota of how many times they would like to express appreciation during the work week, it would really make a difference. What number could you commit to? What if you also decided to be more aware of appreciation at home or with complete strangers? 

I just finished a note to one of my colleagues at the Roanoke Higher Education Center who graciously did me a favor out of kindness. I thanked her at the time, but this is a great example of how a little appreciation can go a long way. I hope she is surprised by the note. One down…

I hope you will join me in being even more appreciative in the coming months.  

Business Bits is brought to you by Lesa Hanlin ( Lesa@vt.edu ), Virginia Tech, Executive Director, Roanoke Regional Initiatives (540-767-6100).
Don't forget...BizRoanoke is on RVTV Channel 3!

 BizRoanoke is a monthly television program highlighting economic activity and programs within the City of Roanoke.

Tune into RVTV Channel 3 to learn more, access it on our website at 
www.BizRoanoke.com  or follow this link to our most recent show: 

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City Owned Available Property
The City of Roanoke has a variety of properties available for acquisition, including existing buildings (as available) and buildable sites. Proposals for these properties must be approved by Council and must be submitted to the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development. 

For more information on available properties and the proposal process, please visit the links below:

Training & Events
Upcoming Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture
The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture Series brings nationally renowned experts to Roanoke. The free public lectures are open to members of the general public as well as to Virginia Tech and Carilion faculty, students, and staff.

When:  Thursday, January 23, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health
Where: Fralin Biomedical Research Institute
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016