Business Partners Newsletter
June 2018: Volume 18, No. 6
The E-newsletter of the Roanoke County Economic Development Department is designed to showcase the investments and achievements of our existing business partners. For additional information about doing business in Roanoke County, visit our  website .
Board Recognizes Blue Ridge Beverage Company
From left: Bob Archer, Chairman & CEO; Regine Archer, Owner; Jackie Archer, President & CEO, Blue Ridge Beverage Company; Martha Hooker, Chair, Roanoke County Board of Supervisors; Jill Loope, Director, Roanoke County Economic Development

During the May 22, 2018 Board of Supervisors meeting, Blue Ridge Beverage Company accepted the Roanoke County Business Appreciation Month Proclamation on behalf of the County's  business community.

Founded in 1938, Blue Ridge Beverage Company is one of the largest wholesale beverage distributors in Virginia, distributing hundreds of the finest malt beverages, fine wines and soft drinks made in the United States and around the world.  Blue Ridge Beverage is a legacy company that has maintained business operations in the Roanoke region for 80 years.  The company has been under continuous ownership of the Archer family for 59 years and  is currently undergoing a 40,000 sq. ft. expansion in Roanoke County. 

About Us
General Inquires
P: 540-772-2069
F: 540-772-2030
Economic Development 
5204 Bernard Drive, SW 
Room 421 
PO Box 29800 
Roanoke, VA 24018
Jill Loope
Administrative Assistant
Mission Statement
To attract and facilitate the growth of innovative businesses, jobs and population that increase taxable investment and ensure sustainable world class community resources.


RBTC TechNite Awards

Securitec Screening Solutions received the 
Rising Star Award.
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council honored a talented group of companies and individuals at its annual TechNite awards banquet held at the Inn at Virginia Tech on May 3, 2018.

Nominations were accepted for seven award categories: STEM-H Educator, Regional Go-To-Geek, Rising Star, Entrepreneur of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Regional Leadership, and Company of the Year. Nominees were narrowed down to a subset of finalists in each category, from which award recipients were selected. This year the awards committee chose to recognize a recipient of the Ruby Award, an occasional award that recognizes a brilliant and valuable asset to the Roanoke-Blacksburg region. The committee also added a new award, the Regional Connector, which recognizes an individual that uses their networks to bring together people from across the region.

The RBTC was pleased to recognize the following award recipients:

STEM-H Educator:
Rick Weaver,  Montgomery County Public School System   and
John Warf, Burton Center for the Arts and Technology
Regional Go-To-Geek:
Darrell Little,  Carilion Clinic
Regional Connector:
Jeff Smith,  Voltage Leadership Consulting
Rising Star:
Securitec Screening Solutions
Entrepreneur of the Year:
Steve Critchfield,  MOVA
Innovator of the Year: 
Deb Kelly,  VTCRI
Regional Leadership:
Kevin Bloomfield,  Bloomfield Partners
Company of the Year: TORC Robotics
Ruby Award: 
Victor Iannello,  Radiant Physics

Redevelopment Opportunity: Holdren's County Store/Gish's Mill
Vinton Town Council has endorsed a Conceptual Redevelopment Plan for the site that was created by Hill Studio and is available at

 All responses to this request for proposal shall be submitted on or before 3:00 p.m. on July 31, 2018 to the address listed below:
Town of Vinton
311 South Pollard St
Vinton, VA 24179
Ref: RFP # 011618 Redevelopment of the Holdren's Country Store / Gish's Mill
Attn: Pete Peters, Assistant Town Manager

Reimagine Hollins and Oak Grove

Community Feedback on Hollins & Oak Grove Center Planning Studies
The "Reimagine" Hollins and Oak Grove planning studies are well underway this spring after four community meetings each, dozens of stakeholder interviews and hundreds of survey responses for the 20-year planning studies. Future ideas and design options include possibilities for commercial and residential redevelopment, new community spaces and multi-modal transportation improvements.

Survey Results
The study surveys were open from February 1 through April 7. The Hollins Center survey received 393 responses and the Oak Grove Center survey received 595 . In both places, many respondents felt that the areas were conveniently located and nice places to live, but lacked dining, shopping and entertainment options. In Oak Grove, many looked forward to more spaces for both adults and youth to hang out. In Hollins there was a strong desire for redevelopment for housing, locally-owned businesses and an updated Hollins Library. One respondent suggested that "there are just not enough real estate opportunities for leasing quality space for small businesses...A planned community could be the catalyst to make the area grow."

Design Open House Meeting Results
At the community meetings in March, staff asked participants for preliminary feedback on the types of improvements they'd like to see in the study areas. At the design open houses in May, staff showed possible options and areas for redevelopment, public spaces and multi-modal transportation based upon all feedback received. In addition to reviewing maps, participants were able to vote on their preferred type and style of improvements in these broad categories.

If you would like to comment on the maps and vote on these options, an online survey will be available on the study webpages from June 4 through June 29.

Roanoke County will draft the Hollins and Oak Grove Center Plans over the summer and bring them back to the public for plan reveal meetings in the fall.

Want to keep in touch?
Click the buttons under each study to sign up for email updates!

Events: Business Tools for Growth

Entrepreneurial Mindset: Gig Economy Course
June 13 

Business Smart Start
June 12

A Toolkit for 21st Century Leaders
August 2018 - March 2019 Learn More

Other Happenings

Check out the new website for updates on what is happening at the Market!

eXpand Lunch & Learn - Stop Avoiding &
Start Talking 

June 19
Virginia Lifescience Workforce Summit
June 21
Richmond, VA
Seeking a promotion? Conflict with a coworker? Scheduling issues? Dr. Eli Jamison, Leadership Development Instructor in Continuing and Professional Education at Virginia Tech, will facilitate a discussion about navigating difficult conversations we're facing (or avoiding) in the workplace and identify some strategies to help with these challenging but necessary talks.
Don't miss the premier Virginia Life Science Workforce Summit. It is a statewide gathering of life science industry employers, higher education institutions, economic development authorities, HR professionals, and policymakers.
Register Here Learn More


Hogan & Mills Group - Keller Williams celebrate first Roanoke area office

The Hogan & Mills Group of Keller Williams Realty held a ribbon cutting and business after hours event on May 3, 2018  with the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce. The location is new for Hogan & Mills and is also the first Keller Williams office in the Roanoke Valley.

Hogan & Mills Group
Keller Williams Realty
2727 Electric Road
Roanoke, VA 24018

Mayflower Hills Disc Golf Course opens at Explore Park

Roanoke County announced the opening of a new disc golf course at Explore Park with a ribbon cutting on May 11, 2018. This facility features 18-holes of purpose built play, through varied and diverse terrain including fields, woodlands and hills. Each hole contains beginner, intermediate and advanced tee boxes and at least two permanent baskets, providing 105 possible course alignments.

Mayflower Hills Park
3319 Rutrough Roanoke
Roanoke, Virginia 24014

Workforce Development

Roanoke County Public Schools students sign as Student Registered Apprentices
Building upon the success of a pilot program with the Western Virginia Water Authority (WVWA), more than 20 Roanoke County Public School students signed on as Student Registered Apprentices with five different companies at a ceremony on May 24, 2018.  

Students begin the Registered Apprenticeship program as juniors, working as paid employees to earn key industry certifications that will help these students develop skills and gain experience as they progress towards potentially high-wage careers with their partner business.

If you would like to learn more about apprenticeships contact
Jay Brenchick at 540-772-2070 or

Southern Trust Home Services signs three students for apprenticeships.

Photos Courtesy of RVTV-3

Registration open for VWCC Manufacturing Courses

Virginia Western instructors and the Workforce Development Services team would be glad to come out to speak with you further about courses, outcomes and assessments and also customized classes, just let them know a day and time convenient for you. They can set the meeting location at the VWCC Machining and Industrial Maintenance labs located at Goodwill on Melrose.

The Machining Program has been expanded to include 4 courses from the beginning skills of precision measurement and safety all the way to CNC Programming! We have new curriculum, new instructors and we've invested another $250k for new machinery and tools.

Industrial Maintenance Program - two courses in 20 weeks offered to gain Siemens Mechatronics Systems Certification (SMSCP) Level I. We have worked closely with Dan Horine, Mechatronics Program Head at VWCC, to present this series as introductory Mechatronics.

Programs begin in July, register today!


Roanoke County partners with Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity

Roanoke County is proud to partner with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity to better serve the businesses of the valley. Romain Gohar with SBSD will hold office hours at the Roanoke County Economic Development Offices on Wednesdays beginning June 6th. 

Businesses may schedule a free one-on-one counseling session on how to access business development resources, State financing programs (VSBFA), including technical assistance for conducting business with State agencies through SWaM Certification and eVA (Virginia's Online Procurement Portal).

Email to schedule an appointment.

Ramain Gohar with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity will be in Roanoke weekly to meet with businesses.

Board reduces threshold for Business License Tax

In a move to demonstrate the business-friendly environment in Roanoke County, the Board of Supervisors recently raised the threshold of annual gross receipts for entities required to pay the County Business License Tax from $100,000 or more to $125,000 or more; and requires entities below the threshold to pay only an annual $50 license fee.

This threshold adjustment supports small businesses, impacting 260 businesses in Roanoke County.

Virginia's Blue Ridge awarded an IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center designation

Virginia's Blue Ridge has been awarded a Silver-Level Ride Centerâ„¢ designation by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) elevating this region to a whole new level as a mountain biking destination. David Wiens, Executive Director of IMBA, made a special trip from Colorado to officially announce the Ride Centerâ„¢ designation. Wiens stated, "Virginia's Blue Ridge IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center status solidifies the enthusiasm for mountain biking along the East Coast and puts Virginia on par with some of the greatest mountain bike destinations. We look forward to the many ways Virginia's Blue Ridge will thrive with its new Ride Center designation."

Woodhaven Road property designated Opportunity Zones

Governor Northam today announced that the U.S. Department of Treasury has officially designated 212 Virginia Qualified Opportunity Zones. Governor Northam submitted 212 nominations in  April , which represented the maximum number of zones the Governor was able to nominate under the new federal tax tool that targets low-income census tracts.

"I am pleased that all of the 212 nominated Opportunity Zones have been accepted,"  said   Governor Northam . "We focused on local, regional, and state priorities, as well as Virginia's diverse geography and economic opportunities, to strategically select a balance of zones that align with other state and local economic development and revitalization efforts. My administration is committed to maximizing this important federal tool to strengthen our local and state economic development efforts and ensure Virginia is at the forefront of attracting new Opportunity fund investments."

The Woodhaven Road property is within one of the nominated census tracts, providing additional opportunities for funding the joint project of Roanoke County and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem.

Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions celebrates 1 year anniversary

RIDE Solutions and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional commission are proud to announce Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions has celebrated it's 1-year anniversary. This anniversary and the successes of the first year would not have been possible without the help of all our program sponsors, local government officials, and organizations who have created an environment that has allowed bike share and biking in general to not only survive but to thrive throughout the community.

Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions - First Year Facts
  • 17 stations and 84 bikes in the City of Roanoke and Town of Vinton - Almost doubled our size in our first year!
  • 7,174 trips across 2,552 members - Over twice our goal of 1,000 members in the first year.
  • 54% are from the Roanoke Valley - Bike share provides transportation for our citizens while still supporting tourism and economic development.
  • 53% of our users are Millennials; 15% are over the age of 50 - Bike share is very rider friendly and is being used by people of all ages.

Fintel recognized at United Way Annual Celebration 

Jessica Fintel was named the United Way of The Roanoke Valley Employee Campaign Manager of the Year at the United Way Annual Award Celebration held on May 10, 2018.
This is the second year that Jessica has served as the Employee Campaign Manager for Roanoke County. Under her leadership, the first year the county raised $41,300 and this year nearly $42,600 was raised.
Jessica accomplished two years of record-breaking fundraising through the creative use of employee engagement events and effective management of an interdepartmental committee of United Way coordinators. When asked about her recognition Jessica responded: "This award is truly a recognition of the hard work that all of the committee members put into our campaign. We are happy to be able to give back to such a impactful organization." 
Thank you Jessica for going above and beyond while serving as an advocate for the Roanoke County United Way fundraising campaign.

Jessica Fintel, Economic Development Specialist, with Afira Devries, President & CEO of United Way of Roanoke Valley

Passenger traffic continues to grow at ROA in April

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport continues to see 2018 traffic increase with April traffic up 10.6% on a year over year basis. April 2018 saw 52,957 passengers fly via ROA compared to 47,860 in April of 2017 an increase of 5,097 passengers. 

Strong community support, additional capacity, and improved airline operational reliability have all played roles in the continuation of sustained passenger growth, which began in September of 2016. April 2018 saw 10.6% passenger growth over April 2017.  Year to date 2018 traffic is up 5.5% versus 2017. At this pace the airport is on track to have its busiest year since 2011.

Virginia International Trade Events

 2018-2019 Trade Event Schedule
Trade Mission or Event
Registration Deadline
USAFRICOM Africa Endeavor
July 30 - August 3, 2018
June 29, 2018
SMM 2018 (Germany)
September 4 - 7, 2018
July 6, 2018
Trade Mission to Colombia 2018
October 1 - 5, 2018
August 2, 2018
AUSA 2018
October 8 - 10, 2018
August 10, 2018
Trade Mission to South Africa & Morocco
October 24 - 30, 2018
August 24, 2018
Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia
Oct. 28 - Nov. 1, 2018
August 31, 2018
Trade Mission to Southeast Asia
November 7 - 13, 2018
September 7, 2018
Trade Mission to Romania & Czech Republic
November 12 - 16, 2018
September 14, 2018
Arab Health 2019 (UAE)
January 28 - 31, 2019
November 30, 2018
Winter Germany 2019
February 2019
January 5, 2019
Trade Mission to the United Arab Emirates
February 24 - 28, 2019
December 28, 2018
Trade Mission to Mexico
March 25 - 29, 2018
January 26, 2019
LAAD Brazil 2019
April 2 - 5, 2019
February 7, 2019
Trade Mission to Germany & the Netherlands
April 29 - May 3, 2019
March 1 , 2019
Trade Mission to Brazil
May 20 - 24, 2019
March 22, 2019
Roanoke County Business Partners Show on RVTV

On this mont h's show, we attend the "signing day" for 25 Roanoke County Public Schools students participating in the Student Registered Apprenticeship program and talk with Ted Puzio owner of Southern Trust Home Services which is employing three student apprentices. We also speak with a few of the competitors in the 4th annual Gauntlet business plan competition to hear about their new ventures and their experiences while competing over the last 4 months.