Community Leadership Program: A Leader’s Perspective

community leadership program

The conversation for The Valley Business Today with host Janet Michael featured Kory Campbell, Director of Marketing & Communications and Vanessa McAllister, Director of Programs and Events for the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber to talk about the chamber’s recent move to Winchester Regional Airport and the Community Leadership Program. Click here to listen to the conversation.

The Community Leadership Program – now entering it’s 26th year – is a nine-month program that runs from September through May. The program begins with an orientation, followed by monthly sessions studying specific topics including:

  • Leadership/Teamwork
  • Non-Profits
  • Community Culture
  • Agriculture
  • Media
  • Government/Economic Development
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Public Safety
  • Simulated Society
  • Community Problem Solving

The sessions are led by a combination of community leaders, professional facilitators, and specialists in the respective fields. This program is designed to provide insight into the challenges and opportunities that exist in the City of Winchester, Clarke County, and Frederick County, Virginia. Applications are being accepted through June 30 and can be found here: https://www.regionalchamber.biz/community-leadership-program/

Joining them for the conversation was Ben Savory, owner of Summit Events and a recent graduate of the Community Leadership Program who gave his perspective on the importance of programs like this. He told about the things that he learned about the community and explained what he plans to do with his newly obtained knowledge and insight.

Before they wrapped up the conversation, Kory gave details for the chamber’s move from Old Town Winchester to their new offices located in a hangar at Winchester Regional Airport. This move is temporary – 2 years – while a new business terminal is being constructed which will become the chamber’s new permanent home. He also talked about a few upcoming chamber events including: Business After Hours on June 29, 2022 at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club from 5:30pm – 7pm; Business After Hours on July 13, 2022 at Market Street United Methodist Church from 5:30pm – 7pm; and a Lunch & Learn about leasing standards on July 26, 2022 from 12pm – 1pm via Zoom.

For more information about chamber membership, programs and events, visit their website: https://www.regionalchamber.biz/ and follow them on Facebook.

Ask A Master Gardener

ask a master gardener

Are you gardening challenged? On The Valley Today this afternoon, host Janet Michael went to the Frederick County Extension Office to chat with several Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners to get answers to some popular questions. Joanne Royaltey, a Program Associate in the Consumer Horticulture & Invasive Species department of Virginia Cooperative Extension led the conversation. You can click here to listen to the conversation.

Joining them to chat about gardening issues and the Master Gardener class itself were:

  • Lucy Carlson, Master Gardener
  • Linda Bartlett, MG Class of 2022
  • Evelyn Garland, MG Class of 2022
  • Lisa Robertson, MG Class of 2022

The group talked about their experiences in the class, why they joined and what they’ve learned from their participation. They also shared answers to several questions that they are asked through their “Ask a Master Gardener” help line (aka GreenHelpLine.)

If you have any type of gardening question, volunteers at the Extension Master Gardener Help Desks will research your problem and provide unbiased, research-based solutions AT NO CHARGE. They can answer questions about trees, shrubs, house plants, perennials, annuals, and more!

You can simply e-mail a description (ideally with photos) of your gardening problems to the GreenHelpLine in your county, or stop by during office hours (see below) in Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties. Page and Clarke Help Desks operate virtually, and do not hold in-person office hours. During the growing season visit their booths at area plant clinics and farmers markets as well.

Today they discussed the types of questions they get and how they find answers and solutions for them. Topics included mulching, tree-topping (DON’T DO IT!!), growing tomatoes, propagating African Violets, the importance of soil testing and learned about choosing the right space for the right plant.

Contact your local office below, visit their website: nsvmga.org and follow them on Facebook.

  • Frederick County
    • Location: VCE Office, 107 North Kent Street, Winchester, VA
    • Help Desk Hours: Every Wednesday, 10 a.m.–Noon
    • E-mail: GreenHelpLine.FrederickCo@gmail.com
    • Phone: 540-665-5699
    • Southern States Farmers Market: Third Saturday of each month, April–October, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Clarke County
    • Drop-off location and hours: VCE Office, 524 Westwood Rd., Berryville, VA; Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • E-mail: NSVMGA.info@gmail.com (include “Clarke County Gardening Question” in the subject line)
    • Phone: 540-955-5164
    • Clarke County Farmers Market: Second Saturday of each month, May–October, 8 a.m.–Noon,
  • Page County
    • Drop-off location and hours: VCE Office, 215 W. Main St., Suite C, Stanley, VA; Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • E-mail: NSVMGA.info@gmail.com (include “Page County Gardening Question” in the subject line)
    • Phone: 540-778-5794
    • Plant Clinic at Massanutten Country Corner: Second and Fourth Saturdays of each month, April–October, 9 a.m.–Noon
  • Shenandoah County
    • Location: VCE Office and Classroom, Shenandoah County Government Center, 600 N. Main St., Suite 100, Woodstock, VA
    • Help Desk Hours: First and third Fridays of each month, April through October, 9 a.m. –Noon; First Fridays in November and December, 9 a.m.–Noon
    • E-mail: greenhelpline@gmail.com
    • Phone: 540-459-6140
    • South Street Barn Farmers Market: Last Saturday of each month, May–September, 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
    • Strasburg Farmers Market: Alternating Saturdays, April–October, 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
  • Warren
    • Location: VCE Office, Warren County Government Center, 220 N. Commerce Ave., Suite 500, Front Royal, VA
    • Help Desk Hours: First Monday of the month, April through October, 10 a.m. –1 p.m.
    • E-mail: GreenHelpLine.WarrenCo@gmail.com
    • Phone: 540-635-4549

The Valley Business Today: Winchester Rescue Mission Expands

Winchester Rescue Mission

The “Valley Business Today” conversation with host Janet Michael and co-host Kory Campbell, Director of Marketing & Communications with Top of Virginia Regional Chamber included Pastor Brandan Thomas from Winchester Rescue Mission to give details about his organization and their current expansion to Valley Avenue in Winchester. Click here to listen to the conversation.

Brandan talked about the services that Winchester Rescue Mission offers to members in need in our community.

Resident Shelter Programs meet the most basic and immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness. Each night, men, women, and families find a warm bed and safety from the streets at the Winchester Rescue Mission. The center for men can currently sleep up to 32 while their center for women can currently sleep 15. 

Case Management provides a case worker to work one-on-one with each person to develop a personalized plan to address needs including healthcare, mental health, literacy, and employment with the goal of helping them change unhealthy patterns of behavior, heal, and become a contributing member of our community.

Food Distribution and Community Meals are provided through a partnershiup with the local food bank, as well as grocers, stores, and other businesses that donate baked goods, meats, fresh produce, and other food items. The food distribution is open to anyone in the community currently needing food for themselves and their families.
Community dinner is served 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 5pm. The dinner is not only open to those finding shelter at Winchester Rescue Mission, but is open to individuals and families of the Winchester community. Click here to view the calendar.

Hygiene Services such as restrooms, hot showers and personal hygiene supplies as well as laundry facilities are available to all guests. The Winchester Rescue Mission’s shower and laundry facilities are also open to the community. ​Men can use these services Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:30am – 1:30pm. Women seeking to use these services should contact Winchester Rescue Mission to schedule a time for use.

Brandan also explained what the expansion to Valley Avenue will mean to the number of people they will be able to serve in our community – nearly double. They will also be able to expand their services to women and families, classroom space, and year-round emergency shelter. Get more details about the new building located at 2655 Valley Avenue by clicking here.

You can donate, volunteer, and get more information about Winchester Rescue Mission on their website: https://www.winrescue.org/  and by following them on Facebook.

Kory gave information about the “big move” the chamber is making to Winchester Regional Airport on June 16 and are looking forward to serving their members from the new location. He also gave us details for a few upcoming chamber events such as the Community Leadership Program graduation, Corporate Challenge, and Business After Hours.

Get more details about the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber on their website: https://www.regionalchamber.biz/  and by following them on Facebook.

Shenandoah 2045: A Conversation About Economic Development

shenandoah 2045 economic development

Today’s conversation on The Valley Today with host, Janet Michael featured Tyler Hinkle, Shenandoah County’s Planner. This conversation is part of an ongoing series following the work on Shenandoah 2045 – Shenandoah County’s comprehensive plan. The planning process will unfold over the next four years with the majority of the community collaboration occurring from 2020-2022, with input in 2023-2024. Click here to listen to the conversation.

Joining Janet & Tyler to talk about the economic development chapter was Jenna French, Shenandoah County’s Director of Economic Development/Tourism and Sarah Mauck from District Six (Strasburg) of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC.)

Jenna explained how economic development factors into the comprehensive plan and gave us some background on the economic development strategic plan which comes from information in the overall plan. She talked about how businesses choose localities to open/expand their footprint and talked about the importance of being specific when thinking about what residents might want/need for their communities. The group talked about how planning for schools, infrastructure, and “rooftops” impacts growth.

Tyler & Sarah shared their experience at MayFest and the great feedback they received from people who visited their booth during the event. Their setup included a “lego town” where adults and kids could place things like businesses, houses, schools and roads into the town where they felt they would be best suited. It was a big hit with visitors of all ages.

Each month, a topic of the conversation is the importance of feedback from residences throughout the county. Input is needed and wanted to make the comprehensive plan as comprehensive as possible. The team working on the plan wants to be sure that all generations are included and that every opinion is heard and discussed.

The CAC will be setting up at other events to promote Shenandoah 2045 throughout the summer in different localities across the county:

If you can’t make one of the events, you can take the community survey (open until Labor Day) by clicking here.

You can also access their “map feature” and tell everyone what your favorite place is in the county; where you have an idea for how things could be different; and where problems exist on the interactive map. Zoom in to your community and let everyone know where you want to see more detailed improvements such as sidewalks, new stores, or public river or stream access. Click here to map your future.

For more information about Shenandoah 2045’s comprehensive planning process, visit their website: https://shenandoahcountyva.us/future/ and follow them on Facebook.

Community Health: A Conversation about Robot-Assisted Knee/Hip Replacement

total knee replacement

We recorded today’s conversation on location at Warren Memorial Hospital with Mesfin Shibeshi DO, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon and Grace Speicher, Program and Operations Manager, Valley Health Orthopaedic Clinics, Southern Region. Click here to have a listen to the conversation.

Dr. Shibeshi shared his knowledge and experience with respect to robot-assisted total knee replacement. Using this technology, Dr. Shibeshi is able to create a 3D model of a patient’s knee before surgery, allowing for precise planning of incisions and implant placement. The robotic surgical technology offers a level of personalization and precision that can limit soft tissue damage, preserve bone and reduce post-surgical pain for some patients.

Dr. Shibeshi is using this technology to aid in same-day total knee reconstruction procedures at Warren Memorial Hospital, the first Valley Health hospital to earn the Gold Seal of Approval® for Total Knee Replacement and Total Hip Replacement Certification from The Joint Commission.

Grace explained why certification is important. Certification keeps everyone focused on providing high quality patient care by providing:

  • Patient Education– patients are prepared for their total joint journey.  This is accomplished by distributing a total joint book to each patient, along with teaching what to expect prior, during, and after surgery.  This is a collaborative effort with the surgeon, nursing, therapy and case management involvement.
  • Early Ambulation and Pain Control– Studies have shown the sooner a patient ambulates the better their recovery. In order to accomplish this, pain must be controlled.  In an effort to keep narcotic use at a minimum, they have what is called a multimodal approach which includes a block placed by the anesthesia team during the surgical process, along with a periarticular injection placed by the surgeon.  This approach allows for a longer pain control with less need for oral pain pills.  This is easier on the patient’s stomach, as well as less of a threat for narcotic dependence.

Practice Office in Front Royal:

Valley Health’s Orthopedics practice in Front Royal is located in the multispecialty clinic on the campus of Warren Memorial Hospital. Dr. Shibeshi sees patients in clinic there, and performs procedures in the OR at Warren Memorial Hospital. Info about the clinic can be found here: Orthopedic Care in Front Royal | Valley Health (valleyhealthlink.com)

More information about the robotics and certifications can be found here:

Two Valley Health Hospitals Add Robotic Technology for Knee Replacement

Warren Memorial Hospital Earns Gold Seal of Approval for Total Hip and Knee Replacement Program

Shenandoah Reel Women: A Conversation About Fly Fishing Camps For Girls

Shenandoah Reel Women

Today’s conversation on The Valley Today with host, Janet Michael featured Joan Chapman from Shenandoah Reel Women. It was all about fly fishing. She explained how/why the group was formed and the camaraderie she’s found by being a part of it. Click here to have a listen to the conversation.

Shenandoah Reel Women was founded in 2018 by three women who wanted to get out on the river fishing with other women. SRW has now grown to a group of 20+ women of all ages, from all corners of the county. These women gather to learn from, teach, and mentor each other. The goal of SRW is to get more women and girls into the river to try their hand at fly fishing and, also, to engage in other outdoor pursuits like hiking, birding, tree and wildflower spotting, and nature photography.

In the past day camps had been offered to encourage a younger generation of women (ages 12-18) to experience fly fishing. This year an overnight camp has been added. Both flyfishing camps are made possible by the 2021/22 Virginia Wildlife Grant Program through a partnership between the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia and awarded to Friends of North Fork Shenandoah River.

In these camps, young women will be mentored by established SRW members and volunteers. They will be introduced to the art of fly fishing, learn the basics of knot tying, the use of appropriate equipment, good casting techniques, river entomology and watershed conservation education.

The day camp will be held at Seven Bends State Park in Woodstock, VA on June 13-14, and 16, 2022 (Mon/Tue/Thur) 9am-3pm each day. The registration fee for this camp is $45 with enrollment limited to 15. Scholarships are available. Rods, reels and necessary equipment will be available for participants’ use during the day camp and for additional summer fishing activities.

The overnight camp will be a 5-day, 4-overnight camp at Shenandoah River State Park in Bentonville, VA. Girls will arrive at camp at lunchtime on Sunday, June 26, 2022 and depart late afternoon on Thursday, June 30, 2022. The registration fee for this camp is $125 with enrollment limited to 12. Meals and snacks are included. Scholarships are available. Rods, reels and tool lanyards that are used by the participants during the overnight camp will become their property at the conclusion, as part of the grant award. All current COVID guidelines will be followed.

Registration for either of these camps can be made at: https://fnfsr.org/srw2022/. The deadline to register for the day camp is Monday, June 6, 2022. The deadline to register for the overnight camp is Monday, June 20, 2022.

Space is limited for both camps so early registration is advised. Joan also explained that there are scholarships available for both camps and encouraged interested parents, coaches, school personnel to reach out to her personally.

For more information about Shenandoah Reel Women, the camps and/or scholarships, please contact: Joan Chapman via phone: 703-507-2276 or email:  joan.chapman@fnfsr.org. Follow them on Instagram for updates as well.

The Valley Today: Conversations You Might Have Missed

the valley today recap

If you missed any of the conversations this past week on The Valley Today, you can still have a listen to the podcast(s) here: thevalleytodaypodcast.com

On Monday’s episode, Janet talked with Tyler Hinkle, Shenandoah County’s Planner as part of an ongoing series following the work on Shenandoah 2045 – Shenandoah County’s comprehensive planning process. Joining the pair to talk about the collaboration that happens between the localities was Erick Moore, Director of Planning & Development for the town of Mount Jackson and his counterpart in Woodstock: Jill Jefferson, Urban Designer & Neighborhood Planner. Each explained their comprehensive plan development/updating process and talked about past plans. Click here to listen.

On Tuesday’s episode, Janet & co-host Justin Kerns traveled to Geraghty’s Micro Farm & Market for their conversation with Dayna Geraghty, co-owner & first-generation farmer. Dayna explained the concept of homesteading and how their farm started off as a way to simply feed their family in a healthier, more sustainable way. Their plan was to educate others by sharing their day-to-day successes and struggles in the hope that they could inspire others to grow their own food. Three years ago, it became their family business. She told us how they came up with the term “micro farm” because their property was substantially smaller than most of the traditional farms in our community. Because they sit on only eight acres, their need to raise livestock that is more manageable and easier on the land was vital and they needed to maximize each and every square foot. On their micro farm you’ll find several different breeds of bantam chickens, furry pigs known as KuneKune (pronounced cooney cooney) and a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats. Click here to listen.

On Wednesday’s episode of The Valley Business Today, Janet talked with Christine Kriz, Director of the Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center about their business counseling services and a new program they’re offering through a partnership with the Loudoun County Small Business Development Center. Christine gave details for their newest program – a food and beverage accelerator cohort that is being offered to all businesses in the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, and Loudoun, plus the City of Winchester and Leesburg. She explained that this program is for businesses that have a food item or non-alcoholic beverage that they sell and are trying to increase their distribution. Click here to have a listen.

On Thursday’s episode, Janet traveled to the Active Living Center in the War Memorial Building at Jim Barnett Park to chat with Winchester City Parks Director, Chris Konyar and Maggie McCampell Lien their Public Information Officer. The pair explained their current undertaking: surveying city residents to get feedback about the parks in their neighborhoods. There are nearly 16 neighborhood parks scattered throughout the City of Winchester with the ultimate goal of having a park within 10 walking minutes of every neighborhood. Chris talked about the importance of these local parks and why getting feedback will be vital to maintain and grow them to fit the neighborhoods they serve. You can visit their website to take the survey online: https://www.winchesterva.gov/parks or attend one of the feedback sessions they’ll be hosting throughout the summer. Click here to have a listen.

On Friday’s episode, Janet officially kicked off the returning summer series: Farmer’s Market Fridays. Each month (maybe more!) she’ll highlight a local farmer’s market, fruit stand, or farmer on the show.  Today she featured her favorite farmer’s market in the area during a conversation with Karie Griffin, Market Manager for Clarke County Farmer’s Market. Karie gave the details for their 27th season of Clarke County Farmer’s Market. The market will open at 8am on Saturday, May 7 and then run every Saturday from 8am – 12pm through October. The opening day festivities will feature over 30 vendors, live music, a kid’s craft table, and a petting zoo. Click here to have a listen.

The Valley Today airs weekdays on The River 95.3 and Sports Radio 1450 just a few minutes after noon. You can listen on the radio, on Alexa, or on the station website. If you prefer podcasts, you can subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts (or wherever you listen to podcasts) and have it delivered to your phone every day for FREE! You can listen to current and past episodes here: thevalleytodaypodcast.com

Farmer’s Market Friday: A Conversation with Clarke County Farmer’s Market

Clarke County Farmers Market

Today’s conversation on The Valley Today with host Janet Michael featured Karie Griffin, Market Manager for Clarke County Farmer’s Market and was the official kickoff to the summer series: Farmer’s Market Fridays. Each month (maybe more!) Janet will highlight a local farmer’s market, fruit stand, or farmer on the show. Click here to have a listen.

Karie gave details for the 27th opening season of Clarke County Farmer’s Market. The market will open at 8am on Saturday, May 7 and then run every Saturday from 8am – 12pm through October. The opening day festivities will feature over 30 vendors, live music, a kid’s craft table, and a petting zoo.

Karie explained what kind of planning goes into making the market a success each year including the committee that works behind the scenes year-round to secure vendors and sponsors. The market is a 501(c)3. She gave a rundown of the the vendors you can expect to see throughout the season – some are there every week while others have a rotating schedule or come later in the season depending on their offerings/growth schedule. They talked about the other things you can find at the market like the products from local makers in our area as well as local, live entertainment.

The market accepts vendors from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Vendors must submit applications prior to the start of each market season. You can do that by clicking here.

Market vendors sell the following: fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh and dried herbs, bedding plants, cut flowers, dried flowers and wreaths, home-baked goods (without egg or cream base), local honey, herb vinegars, sweet cider, fresh and/or frozen meats and poultry, eggs, cheeses, properly-labeled home-processed preserves, jams, jellies, pickles, relishes , chutneys, soups, dips, sauces, fermented foods, teas, salves, soap, herbal medicines and artisan craft objects.

She highlighted their location at 317 W. Main Street in Berryville and told Janet how moving there during the pandemic proved to be a good decision that will continue for years (hopefully) to come. There is ample parking and the walking proximity to downtown’s restaurants & shops is less than 10 minutes.

She gave a quick shoutout to their market supporters and sponsors and explained why their dollars are vital to keeping the market coming back year after year.

To stay up to date on which vendors will be at the market each week, follow them on Facebook, and sign up for their newsletter on their website: http://www.clarkecountyfarmersmarket.com/

Winchester City Parks: A Conversation About Programs, Parks, and the Pool

Winchester city Parks

Today’s conversation for The Valley Today was recorded on location in the Active Living Center in the War Memorial Building at Jim Barnett Park. Host Janet Michael talked with Winchester City Parks Director, Chris Konyar and Maggie McCampell Lien their Public Information Officer. Click here to have a listen.

The pair explained their current undertaking: surveying city residents to get feedback about the parks in their neighborhoods. There are nearly 16 neighborhood parks scattered throughout the City of Winchester with the ultimate goal of having a park within 10 walking minutes of every neighborhood. Chris talked about the importance of these local parks and why getting feedback will be vital to maintain and grow them to fit the neighborhoods they serve.

You can visit their website to take the survey online: https://www.winchesterva.gov/parks or attend one of the feedback sessions they’ll be hosting throughout the summer.

On May 23, 200 from 5:30pm – 6:30pm for Ward 3 at Jim Barnett Park, War Memorial Building, Social Hall

On July 25, 2022 from 5:30pm – 6:30pm for Ward 2 at Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart Elementary School

On September 26, 2022 from 5:30pm – 6:30pm for Ward 4 at Frederick Douglass Elementary School.

A session was already held on April 25, 2022 for Ward 1 at John Kerr Elementary School Library. Each meeting will focus on parks within the ward; however, residents are welcome to attend any meeting.

Maggie gave us details about the summer camps the parks department offers, talked about when the pool will open and gave some insight into the benefits the recent partnership with Shenandoah University provides through no-cost sports camps for children in the area.

Finally, Chris talked about the number of jobs Winchester City Parks currently have available from lifeguard positions to childcare and front desk/administrative. We talked about how great these positions are as a “first job” for many teens & young adults in our area. He also explained that if you’re interested in a lifeguard position, they will provide the necessary training and certifications needed. For a list of all the city’s job openings, visit the City of Winchester’s job portal by clicking here.

To learn about Winchester City Parks programs, purchase a family pool pass or get details about upcoming events, visit the park website: https://www.winchesterva.gov/parks and follow them on Facebook.

Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center: A Conversation About the Food & Beverage Accelerator Cohort

Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center

Today’s conversation for The Valley Business Today with host Janet Michael, featured Christine Kriz, Director of the Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center to chat about their business counseling services and a new program they’re offering through a partnership with the Loudoun County Small Business Development Center. Click here to have a listen.

Christine told us how the name change that Lord Fairfax Community College is currently undergoing will also affect her organization. The new name for the college beginning June 2, 2022 will be Laurel Ridge Community College. Once that takes effect, the SBDC will also rename to Laurel Ridge Small Business Development Center.

She explained the different services that Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center offers as the counseling arm of the Small Business Administration. These services include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Business plans
  • Financial analysis
  • Licenses and taxes
  • Marketing
  • Site location analysis
  • Sources of financing
  • Business library
  • Review of good practices
  • Financial planning and budgeting
  • Business loan assistance
  • Personnel assistance
  • Production planning and control

The Center’s core programs include small business seminars, business counseling,
operations audits, mystery shopper program, mentoring, and focus groups.
They work with people seeking bank loans, SBA guarantee loans, and state loans through Virginia Asset Financing Corporation. Besides the loan application process, they work with all types of business registration questions, tax forms, SBA assistance and writing business plans.

Assistance is also offered in the following areas:

  • Business start-up
  • Financial management
  • Marketing
  • QuickBooks assistance
  • Operation analysis and review for existing businesses
  • Business considerations and requirements for going into business

There is no fee in most cases to take advantage of their services since they are subsidized by the Small Business Administration and local government entities and economic development agencies (our tax dollars.)

Christine gave details for their newest program – a food and beverage accelerator cohort in partnership with the Loudoun County Small Business Development Center. The cohort is being offered to all businesses in the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, and Loudoun, plus the City of Winchester and Leesburg.

She explained that this program is for businesses that have a food item or non-alcoholic beverage that they sell and are trying to increase their distribution. She asked listeners to please share it with businesses they are familiar with that may also fall into this category. She gave a few examples:

  • Someone who produces their own jellies, jams, and wants to increase distribution.
  • Someone who produces a food product (pies, meats, meal kits) and wants to sell to hospitals, large chain grocery stores.
  • Someone who produces a non-alcoholic drink and wants to increase distribution.
  • Someone looking to meet other small businesses in Loudoun County as potential partners

In this cohort program you will learn from other small business owners, the instructors (many of whom have worked for Wegmans and Whole Foods) and via a workbook and instructional videos.  Once a week you will have an online live session with your classmates.  You will meet once a week for six weeks.  In between live meetings you will have homework assignments to do on your own.

She said there have been four previous cohorts around the state of Virginia and that AMAZING partnerships and new opportunities have come from these cohorts!

The deadline to apply is 5pm on May 4, 2022 and the program will begin on May 22, 2022. There is no fee to apply but only 10 businesses will be accepted into the cohort. You can get more information and find the application by clicking here.

For more information about the other programs and services offered by Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center, visit their website: https://lfsbdc.org/