Virginia: Small Businesses & Economic Impact
The economic climate in Virginia continues to be challenging, with uncertainty surrounding the tax code, the retirement of baby boomers, student loan debt, succession planning for companies and the list goes on. Faced with these uncertainties, I’m consistently impressed and inspired by the resolve, vision and dedication of small businesses to take risks and create the future throughout the Commonwealth.
In Hampton Roads, craft breweries such as O’Connor Brewing Company have expanded production facilities, creating new jobs in manufacturing. O’Connor was also recognized by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce as the fastest growing manufacturing company in Virginia in 2017. Real estate developers are restoring buildings for both commercial and residential projects. Arts districts continue to grow, with exciting murals by out-of-town artists such as Maser in the Virginia Beach ViBe Creative District, and Norfolk’s NEON District celebrates 3 years in 2017!
At ABS Technology, we recently expanded our Virginia Beach presence by moving our client support and structured cabling team into a new space, nearly tripling the size of our previous location. We also moved our Richmond office to a historic building downtown. This provides our team, clients and vendors with a new place to work and collaborate, with walkability to downtown amenities, similar to our Roanoke office. These projects are just a few examples of economic growth initiatives in Virginia by small businesses, with one underlying theme: bringing people together to make a difference and build the future.
Hunter Dorroh, ABS CEO + Visionary, poses with Cisco’s Traci Brossfield at our New Richmond Office Open House in Historic Shockoe Bottom (January 2017.)
We should also recognize the importance and impact of new community projects to improve the lives of citizens, providing opportunities for people to recharge, relax, spend time together, volunteer and laugh. Happy, dedicated and engaged citizens are integral to the economic climate and our collective future. The new Selden Market in downtown Norfolk exemplifies collaborative placemaking, creating an environment for small businesses to reach customers in a centralized location, gain synergies by learning from each other through a mentoring program and build their brands before expanding into their own spaces.
Change is intimidating and can be unsettling, but small business owners throughout Virginia take risks every day to contribute towards the economic engine of the Commonwealth. They invest in their communities, their employees, their customers, and they invest in change. As a community, we are each stakeholders of small businesses, and I’m excited to see Virginia continue to be a great place to do business.
Bryan Campbell, CPA, MBA is the VP of Strategy and Operations at ABS. He is also the creator and leader of Innovate: Norfolk and he has been the recipient of several awards to include the Top 5 Under 35 from the Virginia Society of CPAs, Top 40 Under 40 from Inside Business and Outstanding Young Alumnus from the University of Mary Washington.