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September 27, 2012

Green Businesses Transform Downtown Waynesboro

When the South River Fly Shop opened in Waynesboro, their proximity to the River, the downtown walking environment, and the Waynesboro community were all their greatest assets. “There’s nowhere other than downtown we’d rather be,” says Kevin Little, one of the store’s co-owners.  “From the South River Fly Fishing Festival, the development of a trophy trout stream on the river, to the community of fisherman and outdoor enthusiasts, this is truly our business home.”


They’re not alone, and on Thursday September 27th at 6:00pm businesses from throughout the City will be gathering to discuss why going green is good for business in downtown Waynesboro.


Stone Soup Books will be supplying snacks for this open-to-the-public event, located at the South River Fly Shop, 317 West Main Street in Waynesboro.  Entrepreneurs in the arenas of outdoor recreation, local foods, and alternative energy will share their success stories and challenges, while discussing what opportunities exist for other local entrepreneurs to expand and diversify this emerging cluster of green businesses.


Participants in the event include Sigora Solar, the Electric Tractor Store, the Waynesboro Farmers Market, Stone Soup Books, South River Fly Shop, Aquablaze Solutions, and many more as word of the event spreads.


New funding for green businesses will also be highlighted, as the event kicks off a partnership between the City of Waynesboro, Staunton Creative Community Fund, and Waynesboro Downtown Development Inc. to bring microloans, free business consulting services, and training events to downtown.


Businesses can apply for up to $50,000 in start-up and expansionary loans, funded in part by the City’s Community Development Block Grant and in part through leverage funds from the Staunton Creative Community Fund. Stella, Bella, and Lucy’s as well as the South River Fly Shop are both examples of businesses that have benefited from similar financing in the past.


“From storefront businesses to alternative energy design services, from seasonal activities to outdoor guides, we’re building a diverse and vital business base – and green businesses are one of our fastest growing and most dynamic downtown industries,” says Greg Hitchin, Economic Development Director for the City of Waynesboro.  “We’re excited to be partnering in the public sector to bring more support and attention to this dynamic business cluster.”