Community to receive technical services through Small Scale Manufacturing Pilot Program
For Immediate Release
Contact: Liz Lewis, Page County Economic Development & Tourism Coordinator
Date: February 11, 2020
Richmond – On January 24, Page County was selected to participate in a Small Scale Manufacturing Pilot program provided by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, through the Virginia Main Street program in partnership with the National Main Street Center.
A total of five communities across Virginia were selected for participation. The purpose of the pilot is to provide technical assistance to communities with potential to have small scale manufacturing as an economic development and revitalization strategy and identify opportunities and resources for scale up and implementation strategies. The pilot will kick off in February and final reports will be complete before July 2020.
“Small scale producers are key to strengthening local and state economies,” said Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs at the National Main Street Center. “These types of producers create jobs, drive tourism, and foster businesses that spur long-term growth within a community.”
“Our application explored the industry of outdoor recreation and how to develop and attract those types of boutique manufactures that benefit from our location. The pilot program will strengthen the work being done now to better link Page County and surrounding communities back to public lands with hopes of encouraging more recreation related entrepreneurs, increase cottage industry small scale manufacturing, and “jump start” revitalization on our Main Streets,”states Liz Lewis, Page County Economic Development & Tourism Coordinator.
Small scale manufacturing has emerged as a powerful way to tie opportunity to place and can fill a key missing piece in today’s local downtown and community development efforts. Data suggests that this form of manufacturing is rapidly growing in downtowns across the country, expanding and diversifying the employment and retail opportunities found there. Today’s consumers are looking for products with a story, that are locally made, and that appeal to their individualism. As a result, from microbrewers to apparel and bike manufacturers, many more people are beginning to blend retail, manufacturing and wholesaling opportunities at a much smaller scale, leading to growing tourism, diversified employment, and well-paid job opportunities for local communities.
“I see this as an opportunity to bolster our local entrepreneur economy through exploring options in small scale manufacturing. As a Virginia Main Street Community, LDI is happy to support the county on this amazing project,” says Meredith Dees, Luray Downtown Initiative (LDI).
VIRGINIA MAIN STREET PROGRAM managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street model to help communities revitalize their downtowns by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy that creates economic growth and pride in downtowns. (804) 371-7171 or visit www.virginimainstreet.com.