November 2021
Virginia Tech celebrates Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC grand opening of new addition
Virginia Tech’s Health Sciences and Technology Campus celebrated a major milestone on October 12 – the opening of a $90-million addition to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke
Snipping the ceremonial ribbon at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC Addition (from left): doctoral student Rachana Deven Somaiya, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Virginia State Sen. John S. Edwards, Roanoke Vice Mayor Patricia White-Boyd, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates
Eileen Filler-Corn, Virginia Tech Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology and Research Institute Executive Director Michael Friedlander, and Carilion Clinic President and CEO Nancy Howell Agee.
With the approval of more than 200 spectators, representatives from Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic, City of Roanoke, and the Commonwealth of Virginia ceremonially opened the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC Addition on Tuesday.

Guests earlier had settled beneath a tent on the Riverside Circle to hear remarks before touring the state-of-the-art research facilities and meeting scientists who work there. The $90-million, 139,000-square-foot expansion enables the institute to double its workforce by 2027.

During the ceremony, Virginia Tech’s President Tim Sands underscored the importance of biomedical research – especially now, in the wake of a global pandemic.

“As the past several months have demonstrated, the nexus of health, science, and technology is the place where humanity confronts the challenges of the future,” Sands said.
Michael Friedlander, Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s founding executive director, echoed Sands and emphasized the powerful public-private partnerships that have led to the institute’s rapid growth and success.

“This effort demonstrates the commitment of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Carilion Clinic to discovery in the service of health,” Friedlander said. “I am certain that even beyond the timeframe of the careers and lives of those of us who have the privilege of serving in this enterprise today, what you have all built here will continue to provide life changing discoveries in the service of health and a catalyst for the economic vitality of this region for decades to come.”
Spotlight on Business -
French Farmhouse
Tastefully blending the past & present!
The French Farmhouse Home Market has opened in downtown Roanoke! The small, female-owned home decor marketplace located at 9 Church Avenue, SE offers a unique market shopping experience focusing on the importance of home and creating spaces. The modern farmhouse home decor, lighting and furniture tastefully blends the past and present, is budget-friendly and carefully hand-selected.

The French Farmhouse also presents Rendezvous, a farmhouse themed event space on the beautifully designed second floor offering unique event rentals. Owner and Franklin County native Ashley Lawson aims to offer a market to instill the value of community and create memorable experiences for each person who walks through her doors.

The French Farmhouse is open Tuesday - Saturday from 11am - 6pm and on Sunday from noon - 6 pm.
Four Blacksburg- and Roanoke-based entrepreneurs working with machine intelligence, drone docking stations, healthcare credentialing, and thermal sensing were chosen to RAMP’s Fall 2021 Cohort focused on technology startups.

Learn more in the video below about Corvus Labs Chief Research Officer Spencer Leamy.
A self-described “Hokie coming home,” Spencer Leamy helped found Corvus Labs in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Corvus Labs is a software development firm dedicated to building advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning applications by leveraging emerging computational paradigms.

According to Leamy, decision-makers often are drowning in useless insights from the “data deluge” — such as doctors using robotic surgical devices — which impacts their ability to make timely, relevant insights to close the loop as fast as possible between observation and action.
Passenger Traffic Slows at ROA
September 2021 traffic decreased 1.9% versus August 2021
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport saw a 1.9% decrease in September 2021 traffic versus August 2021. September 2021 saw a decrease of 902 passengers from August 2021, the result of less leisure travel and the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

The airport did see an increase in September 2021 traffic of 106.9% on a year-over-year basis; however, when compared to pre-Pandemic September 2019, traffic decreased 25.6%.

"People still want to get out and travel. They are comfortable with the measures taken by airports and airlines to ensure their safety," stated Mike Stewart, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission. "Due to the start of school and the Delta variant, we saw traffic slow in September but this was to be expected and shouldn’t impact travel overall in the near term. As this variant subsides, and airlines rebuild their schedules, it is critical to use our current service not only to keep it but also to have more added back and help our regional economy recover. Air service will be even more important when our business customers return to the sky. We continue to appreciate the community support for choosing ROA."

The Airport Commission works with airlines to improve the air service for the region. ROA is open and operational if the public needs to fly, and has continued to implement enhanced cleaning protocols, as have the airlines, to make air travel as safe as possible. The Commission sincerely thanks customers for choosing to fly ROA.
In recent social media posts, the owners of LUCKY ROANOKE and Fortunato JP Powell and Hunter Johnson announced the following exciting news for Roanoke!

On December 31st, Lucky will be closing its doors and they will begin work on the next chapter of this experience with new designs, new cocktail creations, new menu concepts, and more. When we started Lucky in 2010, we were hungry to push the boundaries of what we could bring to Roanoke, and we are passionately setting out to do that again.

And while we are hard at work on this, we are also excited to spend some time getting our sister restaurant down the street, Fortunato, fully staffed and up and running six days a week! We’ll put it bluntly … COVID has had our entire industry running on a skeleton crew for quite some time, and we are thrilled to be able to FINALLY have the resources available to have the restaurant operating at full capacity. Our team certainly looks forward to seeing you there.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years and continues to do so. We cannot wait to show you what we have planned in 2022, and will also be documenting the entire journey and sharing it here as well.

We’re excited for what the future holds and look forward to having you with us on the journey.
Walkabout Outfitter raises $1,503 for the
Blue Ridge Land Conservancy
In partnership with the Smartwool and Darn Tough sock companies
Owners of Walkabout Outfitter, Kirk and Tina Miller, present Meredith Keppel and Tina Badger, of the
Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, with the check of $1503.00.
Walkabout Outfitter, a Lexington, Virginia-based, independent outdoor retailer located throughout Virginia partnered up with the brands, Smartwool and Darn Tough, to successfully raise $1,503.00 for the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy in Roanoke by donating a percentage of Smartwool and Darn Tough sock sales during the month of “Socktober.
Three dollars for every pair of Smartwool or Darn Tough socks sold between October 7th and 17th was donated to the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy; a local not-for-profit organization that works hard to promote the conservation of western Virginia’s natural resources, farms, forests, waterways and rural landscapes. Tina Miller, co-owner of Walkabout exclaimed, “We were delighted to have so many customers shop our Socktober promotion to purchase socks for a cause. Without our customers’ support we wouldn’t be able to give back to our communities as much as we do!”

The promotion not only supported our local community but was nationally received and promoted in other independently owned retail businesses and therefore supported not-for-profits in communities across America.
Often, we don’t need a real excuse to hit the road and simply enjoy a peaceful drive with someone special (or even alone).

However, we have an assortment of really great country stores in Virginia’s Blue Ridge that are totally worth the drive and are actually destinations unto themselves.
COVID-19 Dashboard
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission staff has prepared a COVID-19 dashboard to track regional cases and also includes demographics and mapping of vulnerable populations.

Included in the dashboard are unemployment claims, nursing home locations, and zip code COVID-19 data. COVID-19 cases and deaths are updated hourly from Johns Hopkins.
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, business highlights and programs within the City of Roanoke.

Tune into RVTV Channel 3 to learn more or access it through our website at

Check out our last two shows!

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:

Elmwood on Ice Opens in Downtown Roanoke November 24th
Thanks to Downtown Roanoke, Inc., the fun continues in Elmwood Park!

Elmwood on Ice presented by WDBJ7 is coming back for the sixth season of downtown ice skating! This year Elmwood on Ice has something new: putt-putt! The popular outdoor ice-skating rink is a family favorite and provides a great opportunity to show off Downtown Roanoke to everyone who visits. Our new putt-putt course debuted last month and was also a family favorite. Elmwood on Ice will reopen for the season on November 24th.
Upcoming Training and Events
Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture
Presented by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
Thursday, November 4, 2021
5:30 pm
Travels Around the Urea Cycle

Developmental Pediatrics - Senior Investigator, Center for Genetic Medicine Research
Children's National Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at The George Washington University
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Urea cycle disorders are a group of rare genetic metabolic disorders that are associated with episodes of coma and brain damage.  This is due to an accumulation of ammonia that is normally detoxified in the liver through a cycle of enzymes that, when functioning normally, leads to the excretion of toxic waste from protein metabolism as non-toxic urea.  While urea cycle disorders occur in only about 1 in 14,000 people, rare genetic disorders as a whole occur in about 1 in 15 people.  Using urea cycle disorders as a model of rare genetic disease research, in this lecture the history of the development of therapies for these disorders, the successes and failure, is discussed by Dr. Batshaw, an investigator who has worked in this field for 45 years.  The current outcomes are discussed from a neurodevelopmental perspective.  A major focus will be on the potential use of gene therapy and gene editing to cure these disorders. 

This lecture is anticipated to be presented in-person in Room M203, 2 Riverside Circle, at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia, and will also be hosted virtually.
SBA to Host National Veterans Small Business Week
November 1-5
Events will highlight the Agency’s efforts to support the Nation’s Nearly 1.8 million veteran-owned small businesses through its 22 Veterans Business Outreach Centers

The U.S. Small Business Administration will celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of our veteran small business owners during National Veterans Small Business Week, Nov. 1-5, 2021.

“National Veterans Small Business Week is a time to honor the service and celebrate the impact of our nearly 1.8 million veteran entrepreneurs who are a driving force in our economy, generating approximately $1 trillion annually and employing nearly 4 million people,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The SBA team is committed to providing the capital, marketplace opportunities and supportive network of Veterans Business Outreach Centers so that our veterans and military spouses can continue to do what they do best – face hardships head-on to build, innovate, and adapt their businesses to survive and thrive.”
Global Entrepreneurship Week KIcks Off November 8 - 14
This November, Global Entrepreneurship Network will celebrate 13 years of helping millions of people unleash their ideas to start and scale new businesses through Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The campaign began in 2008 with an emphasis on inspiring young people to make their mark and has quickly grown to become a comprehensive effort that engages entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers, support organizations and others collaborating to advance economic growth and innovation in more than 180+ countries around the world. 
For additional events, workshops and resources, click here!