Thursday, May 31, 2012

River District Restaurant Doing Well in First Year

Congrats to Jake and Connie Eckman for their first year anniversary (6/1) in the River District!!

Click here to view the recent WSET report about Jake's on Main!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday May 10, 2012


Guatemalan Information Technology Company Relocates to Danville

Web Parts LLC has relocated its computer programming, applications and data center operation to Danville from Guatemala.  Web Parts enhances and promotes the use of Open Source Software allowing delivery of superior software products and services at substantial savings to businesses and consumers. The company will start with 10 positions, but it projects to provide 260 new jobs within three years.

The overall average wage of the jobs will be $65,000.

“We are hiring for several positions right now, especially several skilled computer programmers,” said Brad Mainland, who owns and operates the company with his wife, Priscila. “If you know anybody with good Java and PHP skills, please send them my way.”

The couple considered Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and Hawaii for their operation before choosing Danville as the place for their business. The capital investment for the project is $10 million.

The project would not have been possible without a $1 million Tobacco Commission Revitalization Opportunity Fund grant. The Tobacco Commission utilizes a formula to determine grant amounts. The number of jobs, wage levels and the company being involved in an information technology-related field helped build a case for a larger grant.

“The grant enables us to get started by purchasing computer and data center equipment,” Mainland said.

Mainland said he was impressed with the level of broadband infrastructure in Danville. “NDanville, Danville’s broadband network, provides me with extremely fast speeds for sending and receiving data, which is vital to the existence of my company. I am able to have two different providers for redundancy to ensure I am never completely down.”

Danville’s local network connects with the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative, which today owns and manages more than 1,500 miles of fiber, connecting Virginia’s rural southern region to long-haul fiber stretching from Atlanta to Washington, D.C.

With access to broadband through nDanville and Mid-Atlantic Broadband, Delegate Danny Marshall said southern Virginia is becoming a technology hub for IT companies. “Our investments in infrastructure and job creating projects are paying off well in southern Virginia,” Marshall said.

Mayor Sherman Saunders echoed that statement in greeting Web Parts. “We warmly welcome Brad and Priscila to Danville,” Saunders said. “Web Parts LLC is another example of Danville’s investment in broadband infrastructure paying dividends by recently attracting several companies to the region, including Noblis, Ecomnets, and now Web Parts.”

The company has temporary space at the Masonic Temple on Main Street while it considers options for a final location.  Employment inquiries may be directed to the company.


Big equipment moving in to take Danville Downtower down

Downtowner 01
Demolition of the former Downtowner Motor Lodge is continuing and a huge hole has replaced the parking deck.

Monday, May 7, 2012

                           To read the full article, please click here.
May 7, 2012



The city of Danville’s Office of Economic Development announces today the availability of a new River District blog. The blog has been created in order to keep downtown stakeholders and the public informed of projects specific to the River District.

The blog currently features information such as recent news releases, new business announcements, special events, upcoming meetings, and specific project updates such as the impending demolition to the former Downtowner Motor Lodge and the upcoming Phase 1 of the Streetscape Improvement Plan.

“Blogs are important communication tools today, especially with young business professionals,” said Anne Moore-Sparks, project manager. “Attracting young professionals to Danville and having the ability to quickly update or add information for public viewing gives our office a competitive edge when recruiting additional jobs and investment to our community.”

The blog can be accessed at

The Danville Office of Economic Development has made the use of social media a top priority over the past year. Economic development professionals are starting to embrace social media to promote their business locations at the regional level as well as at national and international levels.

“Economic Development is a very competitive business,” said Jeremy Stratton, director. “Using different forms of social media to market potential sites and buildings is a definite advantage over other localities that use a more traditional form of marketing and advertising. In this challenging economic environment when budgets are tight, where else can you reach as many people with as little cost?” 

In addition to the River District blog, the office has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a website specifically geared toward economic development in Danville, and a site selection tool that markets available sites and buildings in the city. The website, the site selection tool, and the blog also have mobile versions so that you can access information from any location. The office also has plans to add a LinkedIn page and a YouTube Channel to its mix of social marketing.

The social media sites can be accessed from the Office of Economic Development’s website –

“It is important to find creative ways to communicate in today’s business climate,” said Corrie Teague, marketing manager. “By using a variety of social media tools, we show that Danville is a place that embraces technology and the spirit of innovation. Not only does it open the channels of communication from the City to its local residents, but it also allows us to reach out to others around the world. ”

Anyone wishing to have River District information posted on the blog is encouraged to send the information to Anne Moore-Sparks for review.

The market — which features local produce, meats, eggs, pastries, cheese, wine, potted plants, crafts and an assortment of other goods — on average has 55 vendors and 700 customers on Saturdays, said Jacob McCann, program director with Danville Parks and Recreation.

Regular vendors come from five counties: Pittsylvania and Halifax and Caswell, Person and Rockingham counties in North Carolina.

Forty North of Semora, N.C., is one of the new vendors in Danville this year. The farm typically sells naturally grown produce, duck and chicken eggs and pastured meat in Durham and Carrboro, N.C., but owner Keenan McDonald’s Danville ophthalmologist convinced her to sell here. Several Danville customers thanked her as they said they often have to go out of town for organic food.

About 1,000 shoppers will come on the first day of the year and the first 800 shoppers at the Community Market on Saturday received free tomato plants.

Donna Allen of Danville will put her tomato plant on the patio with her basil and oregano. Since she’s been living here the past seven years, she’s seen the market evolve with a huge variety of products. She likes seeing what’s new but mainly comes to support local farmers and visit with other regular shoppers.
“I spend more time in here than I do in the grocery store,” Allen said.

The farmers market is open from 7:30 a.m. to noon every Saturday. In July and August, the market will also open on Wednesdays.

By the numbers
Danville Farmers Market
55 vendors on average Saturday
700 shoppers on average Saturday
Open 35 days this year
Runs 4.5 hours on Saturdays
Regular vendors from 5 counties
(Source: Jacob McCann, market manager)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thursday May 3, 2012

New Hybrid Vehicle Company Locates in Danville 

Hybrid Vehicles of Danville, Inc. (HVDI) will locate its new manufacturing facility and headquarters in Danville, Virginia.  Jim Bailey and his wife moved from East Helena, Montana to operate the company in Danville.  Hybrid Vehicles will initially hire 25 people with plans over a three-year period to employ at least 150 employees.  The three-year capital investment total is expected to be at least $1,500,000.

The company will produce a hybrid vehicle solution for large buses and armored vehicles for Defense and Security applications.   The vehicle will have a proprietary cooling system operated by solar power in order to keep the interior bearable for the occupants. Many of the vehicles will be exported overseas where there is a burgeoning demand for more fuel efficient and versatile armored vehicles.  Jim Bailey has already established several international high level leadership relationships where the vehicles are in high demand.

The project would not have been possible without a $420,000 Tobacco Commission Revitalization Opportunity Fund grant.  “The TROF grant enables us to get started by purchasing equipment and hiring people to meet contracts that we already have,” stated Jim Bailey.

"This is another great day for southern Virginia.  The Tobacco Commission TROF program is the most effective incentive program that we have in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Almost every economic development project of considerable size has received a grant, which made a difference of the company locating in southern Virginia versus a neighboring state,” explained Delegate Danny Marshall.

HVDI has entered into a joint venture with the Advanced Vehicles Research Center (AVRC).  HVDI is utilizing AVRC’s Military-Off-Road-Test-and-Training Site (MORTTS), an all-wheel Mustang 500 Dynamometer and a proprietary Milspec Cybermetrix data acquisition system for testing the armored vehicles propulsion characteristics and fuel economy performance.  AVRC also has a contract with the GSA that establishes a unique purchasing relationship with the federal government, the largest consumer in the USA. AVRC has agreed to provide access to the GSA contract to enable continued sales of these and new armored vehicles to come.

“We are pleased with the growing alternative vehicle sector that we are attracting to our region.  Danville offers an attractive operating environment and a growing number of entrepreneurs that collaborate together on projects to create better paying jobs for our citizens.  We warmly welcome Jim Bailey and Hybrid Vehicles to Danville,” stated Mayor Sherman Saunders.

The company has temporary space in Danville in order to start their operations and meet contractual order timelines.  Negotiations are on-going to secure a final location for the company.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

River District Streetscape Improvements

                                                                                      Credit: Artist rendering
River District
Based on feedback they received through a series of community meetings, the River District streetscape designers have modified plans to eliminate elements — such as expensive granite curbing — people said they did not care about to provide for more brick, cobble and pavers in the downtown design and improved the finish of Union Street.

John Schmidt, of Land Planning & Design Associates, said using concrete curbing left more money in the project’s $2.8 million budget to use additional cobble, brick and pavers in designing sidewalks and crosswalks.

The planners are also saving money by using existing streetlights, but refurbishing them and putting them on new foundations, as well as rewiring them and giving them new globe.

Union Street property owners complained their streets were being ignored in previous designs, so more money was allocated to tie the Main Street design into Union Street by using the same decorative trim on the sidewalks, planting trees and installing new lighting.

Schmidt said the survey and base mapping is 90 percent complete and the design plan is 75 percent complete. It is expected that all plans will be done by June 7 and the job will go out for bids.
The schedule calls for construction to begin in July.

Schmidt stressed that construction will be handled as quickly as possible, on a block by block basis, so businesses are no inconvenienced any longer than necessary. Access to all businesses will be available throughout the process, Schmidt said.

New utilities will be in place before construction begins, with gas and water moving underground with new meters and boxes. A storm water drainage system — something downtown Danville has not had before — will also be in place.

Plantings are being considered, with a hardy elm planned for Main Street and Crepe Myrtles for Union Street. Decorative flower boxes will be positioned on street corners.

Phase I of the project will streetscape Main Street, from Memorial Drive to Floyd Street, and Union Street, from Main Street to Spring Street.

Phase II — reworking the 100-percent corner (the intersection of Main Street and Memorial Drive) to redirect traffic and create a plaza with a large fountain — recently got a jump-start by JTI Leaf Services, which is donating $400,000 to the city to design and build the fountain.