WAYNESBORO, VA– Grow Waynesboro is pleased to announce the final grant awards for three new local businesses, helping them to create jobs and build a culture of entrepreneurship in Waynesboro.
The announcement follows several months of searching and outreach, to identify the most exciting and innovative new business start-ups in Waynesboro. Interviews were conducted with local residents to jumpstart a conversation about needs and opportunities in the local economy, and over 24 grant applications were received with new business ideas from local entrepreneurs. The final grant announcements follow a public Pitch Night event in which semi-finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges, peers, and community residents.
“The level of response we received was staggering,” says Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Waynesboro. “From breweries to retail storefronts, real estate development to small scale manufacturing – the impact and breadth of local economy activity this year far exceeds the number of entrepreneurs our Grow Waynesboro campaign was able to directly support with grant dollars.”
Judges chose the final winners based on a diversity of criteria, including the start-ups’ need for funding, their business viability and readiness, as well as their positive impacts on Waynesboro. “Regardless of whether a business received grant assistance, we are working to match all of our applicants with training, mentorship, and other forms of small business support,” says Cranor.
The three businesses chosen to receive the Grow Waynesboro grant awards are:
· Make Waynesboro, awarded $6,000, aims to bring a complete, creative retail and making experience to Waynesboro composed of complementary services. The downtown space they envision would consist of a retail space with unique ceramic items combining form and function; studio space for owner, Jake Johnson, a professional ceramic artist; and space for lessons or night-out making experiences.
· The Faded Poppy, awarded $7,000, creates unique and beautiful floral arrangements, sourcing from local growers and even their own backyard when flowers are in season. Currently a home-based business, the Faded Poppy will use Grow Waynesboro grant dollars to open a new storefront for floral event and ordering needs, working with local vendors such as White Dress by Greta Kay and Amanda’s Touch to create a one-stop wedding planning destination in Waynesboro.
· Ula Tortilla, awarded $8,000, is currently a producer of organic corn tortillas in Afton. They will be opening their new storefront and manufacturing space in Waynesboro, as well as expanding their product line to include chips, flour tortillas, and a greater variety of corn tortilla, bringing local food manufacturing and job creation into downtown Waynesboro.
“Job creation and economic activity were cornerstones of our application review process,” says Jim Hyson, who joined the Grow Waynesboro team as a judge and applicant reviewer, “but so was bringing back manufacturing, supporting green business design concepts, creating retail clusters, and downtown revitalization. These are all part of Waynesboro’s local economy story.”
For additional information, please contact Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director for Economic Development and Tourism.
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