“Where Good Nature Comes Naturally” is not just a tagline – it is a nod to our exceptional natural setting and our welcoming spirit. Often cited by visitors for our first-rate hospitality, Waynesboro is much more than a great place to visit. Our strong manufacturing heritage dates back to the 1800s with products manufactured here that have furnished American homes, shaped the fashion industry, and landed men on the moon.
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Strategically located in the I-81 corridor in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Waynesboro is a city of approximately 22,000 people, nestled in the folds of the Blue Ridge Mountains with the beautiful South River bisecting our downtown. Our manufacturing prowess dates to the 1800s when companies flocked to the area to take advantage of the water and transportation access. Stoves, doors, furniture, bricks, barrels, dairy products, paper, and matches all carried the “Made in Waynesboro” label. Later, DuPont labs refined the Lycra manufacturing process, GE operated research facilities, and industrial players such as PGI, Mohawk, and Crompton rounded out a synthetic and industrial fibers cluster. Products made here played an important role in furnishing American homes, shaping the fashion industry, and landing men on the moon.
Today, the Lycra Company continues fiber production; Virginia Panel and PPi Time Zero manufacture electronics for defense, medical, and other industries; Augusta Lumber exports hardwood globally; and products made by F. R. Drake touch almost every hot dog made in the world. While our industrial makeup has evolved over the decades, the City continues to have a strong heritage of manufacturing excellence, and is a regional retail center and cultural and recreational hub.
We boast incredible natural assets, including a less than four-mile traveling distance between our downtown and the Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian Trail. We have one of only two urban trout fisheries in the state, and a downtown waterway navigable by canoe and kayak. An emerging artistic, craft beverage, local food, outdoor recreation, and entrepreneurial cluster is nascent in our economy and particularly strong in our downtown. Successes like the redevelopment and reopening of the Wayne Theatre-Ross Performing Arts Center, the expansion and redevelopment of the Shenandoah Valley Arts Center, and the opening of the P. Buckley Moss Gallery in our historic district are jewels of our renascence.
The City’s unique attributes combine to create a perfect location for business, recreation, and culture. Some say it is the quality of life that makes a location what it is. USA Today agrees, including Waynesboro in their October 2018 rundown of America’s 50 best cities to live in. Our safe neighborhoods, abundance of outdoor recreation, and quality of education at all levels contribute to Waynesboro being a great place to live, work, and play and “Where Good Nature Come’s Naturally.”
“Where Good Nature Come’s Naturally” is not just a fancy brand or tag line—it’s a nod to our exceptional natural setting and our welcoming spirit (see Branding Story). Often cited by visitors for our first-rate hospitality, Waynesboro is much more than a great place to visit. It is an affordable and progressive place to live, study and work—all within a setting of natural splendor.
The City of Waynesboro is centrally located along the I-81 corridor in the eastern portion of Virginia’s scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley. Our convenient location along I-64 provides easy access to major locations in the Midwest and eastern seaboard.Exit numbers to the city from I-64 are: exit 99 to 250 west, exit 96 to Delphine Ave, and exit 94 to Rosser Ave. and from I-81, exit 222 to 250 east.Waynesboro is an independent city covering approximately 15 square miles and is located in the eastern portion of Augusta County. Staunton is located eight miles to the west and Charlottesville is 29 miles to the east.The Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, and the Appalachian Trail intersect four miles to the Southeast of the city.
Citizens elect a five member City Council, who selects from among the council a Mayor. Elections are held every two years on May 1 with either two or three seats up for election. The city is divided into four wards; Council is comprised of one member from each ward and one at-large member.City Council appoints the City Manager, City Attorney, Council Clerk, City Assessor, and members to various boards and commissions.Other elected positions include Commissioner of Revenue, City Treasurer, Commonwealth Attorney, City Sheriff and Circuit Court Clerk.
The City Government is comprised of 18 departments; details of their services are outlined on the main municipal website. Links to common departments critical to new and existing businesses are listed below. Most forms and regulations are online at each department’s webpage.
- Building and Zoning: application of zoning ordinance and building permits
- Commissioner of Revenue: issues tax bills and business licenses
- Planning: reviews zoning applications, master plans, comprehensive plans, and capital improvements
- Public Works: maintains community infrastructure and operates water and sewer plants
- Treasurer: collects all monies owed to and maintained by the city
The City manages several facilities. The City Manager and most other administrative officials are located in City Hall with the Economic Development and Tourism offices located one block away. Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Public Safety facilities are located throughout the City.
Whether you are looking to start, locate or expand your business, host your state or regional conference, or simply plan your summer vacation we can help. The professional staff at the Waynesboro, Virginia Office of Economic Development and Tourism is available to provide information, contacts, and assistance. We work with realtors, developers, large industries, and local businesses to make your project a success through up-to-date demographic data, location assistance, and access to state and local financing options.
The Waynesboro Economic Development Authority is a seven member board appointed by City Council and charged with promoting the economic wellbeing of the community. In addition to its legal authority to issue industrial development bonds, the EDA directs strategic planning initiatives, oversees economic development incentives, and leads outreach efforts to the business community. Staff support is provided by the Office of Economic Development.
In 2011, the EDA received a USDA Rural Development grant to establish a revolving loan fund for small business.
On December 9, 2011, the EDA formally adopted the Five Year Economic Development Strategic Plan. The complete plan or a four page overview is available for download.
Currently serving on the Waynesboro Economic Development Authority are the following local business leaders:
- Perry Fridley, Chairman
- Mary Sullivan, Vice Chairman
- Angie Bandy
- Pete Brooks
- Mark Snyder
- George Reed
- Tami Radecke
- Gregory E. Hitchin, Secretary & Treasurer
The EDA meets regularly on the second Friday of each month at 8:00 am in the Economic Development Conference Room at 301 West Main Street unless otherwise noted. Meeting dates are listed below, click the date for meeting agendas and minutes.
February 9, 2019
March 8, 2019 – CANCELED
April 12, 2019
May 10, 2019 – CANCELED
June 14, 2019
July 12, 2019 – CANCELED
August 9, 2019
September 13, 2019
October 11, 2019 – CANCELED
November 25, 2019
December 13, 2019 – CANCELED
January 10, 2020
February 14, 2020
March 13, 2020 – CANCELED
March 31, 2020 Emergency Meeting
April 10, 2020 – CANCELED
May 8, 2020
June 12, 2020
Recognized by the National Main Street America program as part of the Affiliate Program, The City of Waynesboro is pursuing renewed life for its downtown, with a path directed at building momentum for entrepreneurial opportunity, attracting new downtown residents, and developing a draw for tourists. Local Facade and Sidewalk/Landscaping grants are available to assist owners. Learn more about our downtown revitalization projects.
Virginia Museum of Natural History – A 25,000 square-foot campus located on the banks of the South River interpreting the unique attributes of the Shenandoah Valley providing regional opportunities for science literacy. Read More
Sunset Park — Development of a portion of the 107-acre property, including closed-landfill passive recreational uses and a trail system for walking and mountain biking. Read More
South River Preserve/Constitution Park – Plans are underway to redevelop the park into a signature 11- acre park along the banks of the South River. The park will feature a number of natural resources including advanced storm water management, in-stream and riparian habitats, fishing and river access points, increased tree canopy and pollinator meadow trails that will be woven into an active park setting. Read More
Crozet Tunnel — Restoration of the historic Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel will turn it into an exciting recreation and heritage destination, connecting Waynesboro/Augusta County to Nelson County. It will provide walking and biking opportunities and link with the surrounding recreational resources such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park & Skyline Drive, the Appalachian Trail, and the TransAmerica Bicycle Route 76. Read More
East Main Street — East Main Street, Highway 250, is a critical entrance corridor connecting Waynesboro to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, Appalachian Trail, and other historic and recreational assets to the south and east. In early 2019 Waynesboro was selected as the recipient of the Creative Economic Development Consulting (CEDC) Creative Give Back award. CEDC studied the corridor during spring and summer 2019 and produced a Redevelopment Strategy and Marketing Plan in fall 2019. The complete study can be found here and an executive summary here.
When the pass through the Blue Ridge Mountains was discovered making westward expansion possible, Joseph Tees purchased a 900-acre parcel of land in 1743. When he died, his two sons divided the property between them. William received the portion that was on both sides of the South River and the road going from Charlottesville to Staunton. Upon the death of William, the property went to his wife and only child, Jane. Unofficially the area was known as Teesville. Jane married Samuel Estill and the couple bought the property rights from her mother in 1790. Estill, in 1798, platted an area of 83 building lots with streets and alleys on both sides of the road and just west of the river. In September 1800, 41 landowners petitioned the General Assembly to recognize the hamlet as Waynesborough, a name Estill selected in honor of General Anthony Wayne. This was granted in January 1801 and the town was incorporated in 1834.
The town was raided by the Union Army in 1864 and, on March 2, 1865, the Battle of Waynesboro occurred. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of General Jubal Early’s Confederate forces, was the last fought in the Shenandoah Valley.
Waynesboro was reincorporated in 1874. In 1881, when the north-south railroad crossed the east-west line a new boomtown, Basic City, was established at that junction.
For thirty-two years Basic City and Waynesboro existed side-by-side, but ultimately consolidated under the name Waynesboro-Basic in 1923. The following year the town was officially renamed Waynesboro and experienced a surge in industrial development that sustained economic stability through World War II. In 1948 the town attained first-class independent city status. Annexations at the time and in 1986 gave the City the room for expansion that is now present-day Waynesboro.
Population growth to the town was slow at first. In 1810, the town had a population of 250. By 1860, that number grew to 457. The town maintained a steady stream of visitors, however, due to its position on the Valley Turnpike, which took advantage of connections through Rockfish Gap. The town flourished in the years that followed and gained greater access to major trading markets when the east-west railroad reached it in 1854 and the Crozet tunnel was completed through the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1858.
Some of the remaining buildings from this period of its history include the Plumb House (now a museum open for tours seasonally) and the Coiner-Quesenbury House built in 1806, believed to be the first brick house built in the town, which is still standing on Main Street.
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The City of Waynesboro Office of Economic Development and Tourism periodically issues media releases publicizing new projects, announcements and events. To be placed on the distribution list, please contact us. To learn more about our community, check out our Tourism Profile Sheet.
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We rely on outstanding partners to provide the best service for new and existing business.
Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP)
State economic development agency offering a variety of information and tools including state wide business rankings, international trade assistance, state to state comparisons of costs and other information.
Virginia Port Authority
Operates multiple world-class facilities handling cargo from and to markets around the globe.
Virginia Employment Commission
Provides numerous services for employers and job seekers plus community and labor market data and statistics.
Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA)
Aligned within Virginia’s Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the VSBFA offers programs to provide businesses, not-for-profits, and economic development authorities with the financing needed for economic growth and expansion throughout the Commonwealth.
Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP)
Public/private partnership bringing together business, government, and education leaders to attract new business to the area, help existing businesses expand, and guide strategic workforce development to grow and sustain a healthy economic future for our region.
Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center
Provides confidential consulting services, business planning, seminars and training events to assist new and established small and medium-sized businesses.
Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board
Offers a variety of services such as employment information, career development training opportunities, easy access to support programs, and self-directed job search/job posting options, on the job training, work experiences, worker training and other business services.
Shenandoah Valley Technology Council
The current council membership consists of business, government and education leaders acting as technology design, infrastructure and application advocates who gather together for education, networking and business development.
Shenandoah Valley SCORE
Offers free confidential business advice and resources for startup companies and existing businesses from expert advisors.
Staunton Creative Community Fund
Provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses through loan, education, and technical assistance programs.
Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC)
Regional planning organization providing high-quality planning, technical assistance, and facilitation of services that address local, regional and state needs, plus serves as the regional data center.
Greater Augusta Regional Chamber
Supports business growth, and serves as a clearinghouse of information to create new opportunities to members in the Staunton – Waynesboro MSA. Represents businesses of all types and sizes, from small entrepreneurs to large industrial complexes.