October 2020
The completion of renovations was celebrated Wednesday, September 30th with comments by Mayor Sherman Lea followed by a ribbon-cutting with Hotel Roanoke's leadership team. Pictured from (l) to (r) are CEO of the Virginia Tech Foundation John Dooley, Executive Chef Stephen DeMarco, Director of Operations R.D. Wright, Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea, General Manager Brian Wells and Director of Food & Beverage Declan McGettigan.
THE HOTEL ROANOKE & CONFERENCE CENTER COMPLETES RENOVATIONS OF THE PINE ROOM & 1882 LOBBY BAR
$3.6 Million Renovation Builds upon the Hotel's Premier Four Diamond Status as a Dining Destination

To mark the 25th anniversary of the reopening of The Grand Old Lady, The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, Curio Collection by Hilton has announced the completion of the $3.6 million renovation of the historic Pine Room restaurant and introduces the newest dining option, the 1882 Lobby Bar.     

The Pine Room and 1882 Lobby Bar officially opened at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. Highlights of the multi-million dollar renovations project include: a new 40-seat lobby bar and seating area; an open kitchen experience in the restaurant; an outdoor stone patio seating area with a commanding presence over downtown Roanoke; adding more than 55 seats to the restaurant; a return of the night sky mural previously seen in the pre-1939 hotel; daily lunch and dinner service; and an additional event function space and restroom facility. 

 “This investment by the owners of The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center shows their long-standing commitment to our community, particularly given the difficult economic times we’ve seen this year,” said Brian Wells, general manager of the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center.  “This renovation builds upon the hotel's premier status as a dining destination, hotel and meeting facility in the mid-Atlantic and creates another ideal location for events; a long standing and honored tradition for our hotel in this city."

“We are excited for the opportunity to add something new and original to the hotel as well as the downtown nightlife scene,” said Wells. “It’s our goal to provide an experience that not only speaks to the guests and residents of Roanoke but showcases the area’s unique history in a one-of-a-kind collective way.  As the gateway to Virginia’s Blue Ridge, we embrace welcoming guests and telling the story of Roanoke. This project delivers and projects the mystique and allure of our great city through regionally-inspired culinary and cocktails, ambiance and al fresco dining overlooking the city.” 

“We are confident that loyal patrons and new guests alike will appreciate how the spaces have been reimagined to create a modern luxurious feeling, while honoring the cherished history of the hotel,” said Wells.

The hotel partnered with Lionberger Construction for the project, a general contractor and commercial construction company in Roanoke, Virginia.
Valleys Innovation Council Wins Build to Scale Grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to Fuel Tech Company Growth in the Region
U.S. Department of Commerce Commits Nearly $1 Million to Expand RAMP
The Valleys Innovation Council (VIC) will receive $982,442 in Build to Scale grant funds as part of a $2.08 million three-year project to scale up current accelerator and startup assistance programming through the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP) and to continue VIC’s work growing the regional innovation ecosystem. The grant, one of only 52 awarded nationally, is part of a total $35 million the U.S. Department of Commerce will deploy to recipients in 36 states to support high growth entrepreneurship. The grant will be directed to specific programming designed to support scalable startups in technology and health and life sciences across the GO Virginia Region 2 service footprint, which spans the New River Valley, Roanoke Valley, Alleghany Highlands, and Greater Lynchburg region.
City of Roanoke Offers Grants for Small Businesses
The City of Roanoke has established a $1 million Grant Fund to support small business recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. One-time grants from $1,250 up to $12,000 are being provided to offset business impacts during the pandemic. The grant program is administered by the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development. If you have any questions, please contact Economic Development at (540) 853-2715 or email: econdevl@roanokeva.go

The Roanoke Outside Foundation has been working to support the outdoors for more than a decade and we need your help to take it to the next level.

We’ve proven we are an outdoor community. We’ve shown the value in promoting an area’s natural assets to those looking to relocate their businesses as well as people looking for active outdoor vacations.

Our community has listened. They’ve jumped in feet first and have grown to be incredibly proud to live in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Now is the time to capitalize on this regional pride – while everyone is eager to get out and explore more than ever before – and invest in the bigger picture. Let’s help our region come out on top of this global pandemic.
Bank On Roanoke Valley announces next round of
Financial Wellness Series

Bank On Roanoke Valley is proud to announce the next round of the Bank On Financial Wellness Series, beginning in October 2020!

In this financial wellness series, Bank On Roanoke Valley rewards participant's hard work and commitment through perks tailored to each individual’s self-identified goals. In other words, Bank On Roanoke Valley works with you to tune up your finances in a way that makes your money work for you! Determine your financial goals, and get help achieving those goals with direct interaction from Bank On Roanoke Valley financial partners who teach the classes and help you on your journey to financial empowerment! 

The next Bank On Wellness Series will be held online monthly beginning the 4th Tuesday of every month from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM from October 2020 through March 2021 on GoToMeeting, an online meeting platform. There is one required workshop every month for participants to be eligible to receive rewards and incentives. The series is offered at no-cost and is open to Roanoke Valley residents. Only 15 participants will be accepted in the class, with seats filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Topics include:

October 27, 2020 – The Future Looks Bright: Goal Setting, Credit Intro, & Banking Refresher
November 24, 2020 – Make It Work: Create a Spending Plan, Reduce Spending, & Increase Income
December 22, 2020 – The Dreaded “D” Word: Discuss and Conquer your Debt!
January 26, 2021 – Just Charge It: Smart Borrowing and Credit Building
February 23, 2021 – Bank It, Plan It: Savings and Future Planning
March 23, 2021 – Let’s Celebrate: Graduation! Expert Panel Q & A

You must enroll in advance to attend. To request an application, contact Brandon Meginley, Financial Stability Specialist with the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development by phone at 540-853-1120 or by email at brandon.meginley@roanokeva.gov.
Luna Products Selected to Support 
NASA’s Orion Crewed Mission into Deep Space

Luna’s Corrosion Sensors Monitor Environment on Board Orion Spacecraft

Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ: LUNA) recently shared that its corrosion monitoring products have been selected by Lockheed Martin to monitor critical environments on board NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Part of the Artemis program, Orion is the only spacecraft specifically developed for crewed missions into deep space, supporting NASA’s mission to build a sustainable presence on the lunar surface and on to Mars. The first mission, Artemis I, will be uncrewed and will launch in 2021 out to the lunar vicinity and back to Earth. Artemis II, the first mission with astronauts on board, is planned to go to the Moon in 2023. 

Hustle/Haven, a new wellness studio located at 355 Campbell Avenue, celebrated on September 17th with a Grand Opening & Ribbon-Cutting. The studio offers Hot Yoga, Indoor Cycling and more. Pictured here are Mayor Sherman Lea (left) with owners London (ctr) and Aaron Dykstra (right).
Crumbles Store celebrated with a Grand Opening & Ribbon-Cutting on September 24th. Located at 127 W. Kirk Avenue, the Breakfast/Brunch restaurant is known for its coffee, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, yogurt parfaits and more! Mayor Sherman Lea is pictured here cutting the ribbon with owner Ruben Liendo and numerous family members and friends.
Spotlight on Business - Mama D's Barbershop
Mama D's Barbershop held a Grand Opening & Ribbon-Cutting on Thursday, October 1, 2020 with Mayor Sherman Lea in attendance. Pictured above (from l to r) are Roanoke businessman, Scott Viette, Mama D's co-owner Deanna Brunelle, Mayor Sherman Lea, Mama D's co-owner DeAnna Phillips Munsey and Roanoke businessman Dave Spangler.

Located at 2926 Sweetbrier Avenue, just behind The Coffee Pot Roadhouse on Brambleton Avenue, Mama D’s is Roanoke’s newest Barbershop. 

With the many changes brought about in 2020 as the result of COVID-19, there is a tiny cabin in the City of Roanoke that will remain as a barbershop. 

The cozy red building with 326 square feet of space was built years ago by the popular Coffee Pot Restaurant as a double cabin. The current owners have been told the cabin, along with five or six identical cabins, were rented by the Coffee Pot to travelers and musical acts until 1970. 

It was in 1970 that the two-room cabin became a single room and would be home to a barbershop for the next 50 years. 

Jim and Jerri Lane served the community as barbers/stylists and kept their customers coming back for great stories, cuts and personalities. As the recent pandemic mandated the closure of shops in March, the Lane family decided retirement was a good option and thus, closed the cabin doors. 

Friends and co-workers in management at the barbershop franchise Sport Clips, Deanna Brunelle and DeAnna Phillips Munsey realized the potential of the vacated space and within days had an appointment with a realtor. They jumped at an opportunity to remodel and reopen this “diamond in the rough.” With extensive cosmetic touch ups, the cabin became an industrial, old-fashioned family environment. 

Mama D’s Barbershop opened its doors in early August, determined to give great haircuts, exceptional customer service and offer affordable products. 

Co-owner Deanna Brunelle is a native of Massachusetts. She raised a family in West Virginia, often spending time in Roanoke. The outdoor amenities and friendliness of the people persuaded her to make Roanoke her “happy place.” Co-owner DeAnna Phillips Munsey, a Denver native, grew up in Roanoke. The two D’s are excited to bring their professional services to Mama D’s!

As with many things COVID-19 has impacted in 2020, it is with trust and anticipation that the two D’s jumped in and fulfilled their dream of starting their own business while keeping a 50 year tradition at this Roanoke location alive. 

They encourage readers of Spotlight on Business to stop in for a haircut or just to sit on the cabin’s front porch and become a socially distanced friend. 
Researcher receives NIH grant to study noninvasive treatment for metastatic breast tumors
Irving Coy Allen (left), Eli Vlaisavljevich (center), and Jennifer Munson (right) received an NIH grant to research noninvasive techniques to treat metastatic breast tumors. Photo credit Laura McWhinney of Virginia Tech. [Note: Photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic]
Eli Vlaisavljevich, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech, received a Trailblazer Award from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health to research possible treatments for metastatic breast cancer.
Virginia's Blue Ridge Tourism Marks Record 2019 
Preparations are Underway for 2020 Fall and Holiday Season Recovery
Before the impact of COVID-19, tourism in Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) topped a record $920 million in direct travel expenditures for 2019, an increase of 3% over the previous year (U.S. Travel Association). Tourism also generated 8,177 jobs in the VBR region and $66 million in state and local taxes. The increase was largely attributed to the opening of new hotels and restaurants, an increase in sports tournaments, growth of meetings and conferences, enhanced transportation options, unique outdoor recreation experiences like Explore Park, festivals and events, the diversity of arts and culture, and outstanding cuisine and craft beverage offerings.

With support from over 1,500 industry partners and investment provided by the Cities of Roanoke and Salem and the Counties of Roanoke, Franklin, and Botetourt, Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge achieved the 10th consecutive year of RECORD growth. "Regional collaboration has been the key to our success. Tourism is BIG business and notably an economic driver for our region," said Landon Howard, President of Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge.
Cares Act Funding Available for Roanoke City Residents
Are you a City of Roanoke resident who has experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19, or are you a business owner who lost income or had to furlough employees?  Emergency federal funding available through the CARES Act is available for residents who need help with the following due to income loss as a result of COVID-19:

Electricity bills, Gas/oil/propane bills, Water/sewer bills, Internet service, Childcare costs, Car payments, Car insurance, Medical expenses, or Funeral costs

Small businesses, nonprofits, food banks, mental health service providers, and substance abuse treatment providers may also be eligible for reimbursement of expenses due to COVID-19, or income loss.
Interested in a new job?

Virginia Tech is actively searching for essential positions. To learn more about available career opportunities, click below.
City to Resume Parking Enforcement

With the recent increase in business activity in downtown Roanoke and elsewhere in the City, and based upon requests of merchants and property owners in an effort to ensure turnover and availability of on-street parking for customers, enforcement of on-street parking regulations will resume for City streets beginning Monday, October 19. In addition, the Center in the Square and Tower parking garages will also return to normal operating hours and fee schedules on Monday, October 19.

Due to the Governor’s Stay-At-Home and Safer-At-Home Executive Orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, enforcement of regulations for on-street parking was temporarily suspended. With recent relaxing of COVID-related restrictions and an increase in business activities, it has become necessary to take additional steps to ensure the availability of on-street parking.

In recognition of how business practices have changed in response to COVID-19, the City has worked with local restaurants and businesses in the downtown area, along with Downtown Roanoke Incorporated (DRI), to designate 16 curbside pickup locations creating a total of 30 spots for patrons to use. Signage will be in place to mark these locations, and there will be a 15-minute parking limit. A map showing these curbside locations is available on the PARK Roanoke website. Parking enforcement will be monitoring the designated curbside pickup locations.

If you have questions, please contact PARK Roanoke at (540) 343-0585 or send an email to parking@parkroanoke.com.
Incentivizing Commuter Behavior Through Ride Solutions

Business leaders...did you know a prime parking space is an ideal way to encourage employees to try sustainable transportation modes?  
One or two “Reserved for Carpool” or “Reserved for Vanpool” spaces near the front entrance of your business, or even properly installed bike racks, can be an incredibly effective incentive.

Furthermore, customers observing these enhancements to your front parking area will know your leadership team is committed to supporting sustainable transportation.

And, implementation only costs the price of a sign! 

RIDE Solutions, your regional commuter assistance agency, can assist your business by suggesting an array of opportunities and incentives that encourage employees to utilize more sustainable modes of transportation. Parking at your business will become more manageable and the added benefits supporting sustainable transportation will assist with employee attraction, while keeping current workers happier and healthier.

Additionally, you can take advantage of the RIDE Solutions rewards program for employees offered through the mobile app, where commuters log their trips – even telework trips! - and access literally thousands of local and online rewards. 

RIDE Solutions also has the ability to set up employer-specific rewards, such as personal leave time, promotional items, gift card drawings, and more for employees meeting certain customized criteria. 

Want to learn more about how rewards and incentives can drive employees to more sustainable modes? Contact Jeremy Holmes, RideSolutions Director at jholmes@rvarc.org or by telephone at 540-342-9393.
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: 

The City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development is on Facebook and Instagram! Please "like" or "follow" us today!
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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:


Upcoming Training and Events
Join the
Roanoke Small Business Development Center
for the following opportunities!


To learn more or register,
call (540) 632-1174 or
visit Roanoke Small Business Development Center on Facebook!