May 2021
SBA Announces $28.6 Billion
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Application Opening
Prioritizes women, vets, & socially and economically disadvantaged individuals
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the opening of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund registration for Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 a.m. EDT and opening for applications Monday, May 3, 2021, at noon EDT. Online applications remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted. 

“Restaurants are the core of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on main streets across the nation,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “They are among the businesses hardest hit and need support to survive this pandemic. We want restaurants to know that help is here.”
May is Bike Month and Amtrak Encourages You to
Bring Your Bike Onboard!
Part of the joy of a journey by train is the ability to explore the stops along the way, and what better way to do that than by bike? If you'd like to ride our rails with your bike, Amtrak offers a number of different services to transport your bike onboard. Each train has different equipment and loading procedures that dictate what service will be offered. The capabilities of your origin and destination station also determine how bikes are handled, so check out all the details here before you book your trip. 
Luna Innovations Supplies Critical Laser Component for NASA's Navigation Doppler LiDAR
Roanoke-based Luna Innovations (NASDAQ: LUNA), a global leader in advanced optical technology, recently announced that it has successfully designed, qualified, and built the RIO® narrow-line width semiconductor laser to be used in the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Navigation Doppler LiDAR (light detection and ranging) system. The selection of Luna’s RIO laser highlights Luna’s unique capabilities in the development and production of rugged, high quality semiconductor lasers for emerging applications such as LiDAR. 

The Navigation Doppler LiDAR (NDL) is being developed at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. LiDAR is a remote sensing method which helps determine the exact velocity and position of a spacecraft to assist in landing at the desired location on planetary surfaces. Using laser beams sent from the LiDAR system towards the surface, the beams’ detected reflections are processed to determine what direction the spacecraft is moving, how far away the surface is, and how fast the vehicle is moving towards the surface.
New restaurant brings Soul Food to Southwest Neighborhood
Crossroads Restaurant and Sweet Treats opens in Norwich
Mayor Sherman Lea participates in the April 16 Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting at Crossroads Restaurant and Sweet Treats with owners Lisa Wilson and Ashley Boardley. The new restaurant is located at 702 Bridge Street, SW.
Founded by Lisa Wilson and her daughter, Ashley Boardley, Crossroads Restaurant and Sweet Treats is a family-owned business featuring delicious soul food and outstanding baked goods. Located in the Norwich neighborhood, this new restaurant offers popular dishes to include chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, honey lemon pepper chicken wings and homemade chicken salad, as well as banana pudding for dessert lovers!

The Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting was held on Friday, April 16 with Mayor Sherman Lea making comments.
Wilson and Boardley have created a family-style café and look forward to positively impacting this long-time Roanoke neighborhood. Crossroads is just yards away from the Roanoke River Greenway parking lot on Bridge Street, so it is an easy stop for cyclists and walkers looking for a convenient place to grab a bite to eat before or after their greenway experience.
Spotlight on Business
Big Lick Comics
“Not a store, a story.”  A big statement for a big experience now open in Roanoke.

Big Lick Comics is a massive 6,000 square foot comic book, toy and collectible retail store located in the Market Square East shopping center on Orange Avenue.

Founded by JD Sutphin, owner of local event and marketing agency Big Lick Entertainment and his brother, Adam, the location is a celebration of the characters, stories and art of the superheroes that inspired their childhood and now their own children.

Whether it’s a life size Spiderman peeking out behind a Marvel themed building or their Stan Lee inspired kid's zone “Excelsior Park”, it’s sure to grab your imagination.  Carrying over 140 new titles of comics as well as thousands of “back issue” or vintage comics plus dozens of lines of new toys, action figures and collectibles.  It's unlike anything in the Roanoke Valley or even the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“The idea is to not feel like you’re in a store, you should feel like you’re in the story.”  says Adam Sutphin.

The “story” is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am-7 pm at 3424 Orange Avenue.
Breaking through:
The many layers of substance misuse...opportunities uncovered for support, recovery, awareness on the campus, at home, and in the community.
BRAIN SCIENCE: Scientists at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC use imaging scans in a variety of research studies, including some connected to the study of substance use and misuse. (photo by David Hungate)
Alcohol, marijuana, Adderall, LSD. Richard has not only tried them all, but he once was addicted to several at the same time.

“I was staring at myself in the mirror, and I just saw death,” the Virginia Tech graduate student said. “I thought, ‘I need to start making changes.’”
Richard’s treatment and recovery journey began in early 2020. Because of the existing and often harmful stigma surrounding substance use disorders, he elected to use a pseudonym in this story. After approximately six years of battling addiction, Richard was determined to make sure graduate school and a new environment didn’t slow or stop his positive progress, and it didn’t. He recently celebrated one year of sobriety, thanks in large part to the support he found within the Virginia Tech Recovery Community. For students like Richard, as well as some Virginia Tech employees, the Recovery Community has been a lifeline on their journeys toward a positive well-being.

In the U.S., there were more than 81,000 deaths from drug overdoses from May 2019 to May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths recorded during a 12-month period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ride Solutions Offers Self-Guided Bike Tours
Plan your next biking adventure in Virginia’s Blue Ridge! Solutions has developed bike routes organized by subject and interest. These routes were specially built in the Ride With GPS system, a free tool that can be downloaded for iOS or Android. The Ride With GPS platform provides audible turn-by-turn directions, images and videos noting key places of interest, and the ability to share your route with others. 

Ride Solutions created a special routeRoanoke - The Heart of Virginia's Blue Ridge route to showcase several local businesses and places of interest for visitors to Roanoke in Virginia's Blue Ridge. It's a 9.5 mile route that includes the opportunity to explore neighborhoods like Downtown Roanoke, Grandin Village, and Wasena, as well as popular spots like the Taubman Museum of Art, Historic Roanoke City Market, and Black Dog Salvage.
The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA) is making a BIG IMPACT to communities and their local businesses by utilizing the Economic Development Loan Fund Program (EDLF).
With low fixed interest rates and no origination fee, the EDLF program provides gap financing to both business startups and expansions! VSBFA can be a direct lender to either the business itself or the local Economic Development Authority (EDA) or Industrial Development Authority (IDA). VSBFA is eager to work with other primary lenders such as Banks or Community Development Financial Institutions as a partner lender to ensure that the project’s overall financing needs are met.
If you are considering a project that needs some extra assistance in securing financing, VSBFA should be your next call. For more information or a confidential discussion on current opportunities in your area, please contact Linda Tackett, Regional Lending Manager, VSBFA, at 540-492-0493 or email  
Interested in a new job?

Virginia Tech is actively searching for essential positions. To learn more about available career opportunities, click below.
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 or click below for our most recent show featuring 

Barrows Inc.
The City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development is on Facebook and Instagram! Please "like" or "follow" us today!
Check it Out!

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:

Upcoming Training and Events
You’re not sleeping: Expert to explain neuroscience of anesthesia in Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture
Emery Brown, the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and professor of computational neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed algorithms to analyze brain activity data to define the neurophysiological mechanisms of general anesthesia. He will deliver the next Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture, presented by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, on May 6 at 5:30 pm.

To register and learn more, visit