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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Board of Supervisors to hear retail plan
During Tuesday meeting

Friday, February 22, 2013

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

When the Henry County Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday, it will hear a presentation about the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.’s plan to expand its role in retail.

John Parkinson, chairman of the EDC board, said it approved the plan Thursday.

He declined to discuss specifics of the plan before it is presented to the supervisors.

“We have looked at this, and I think the board of the EDC believes that we can do some things to help out local developers, and we are going to develop resources for that,” Parkinson said.

The EDC also “will take any guidance we can from (commercial) developers. We’ve got a good set of commercial property developers in addition to” the owners of Liberty Fair Mall, he added.

Parkinson said he thinks all commercial developers “are working diligently to bring in retailers, and we don’t want to get in their way” but do want to help.

Lisa Fultz, director of the EDC’s Small, Minority & Entrepreneurial Division, also may look at developing “some smaller retail opportunities that come to her” by helping them with business plans and ideas, Parkinson said.

“We often look to Rising Sun Bakery” as an example of those types of homegrown businesses, Parkinson said, “but we believe there are others” with the same potential.

“We know and the supervisors know that we have a limited budget, but we think we can juggle some of our resources” to help retail, he said. Hopefully county officials will view the EDC’s plan positively and all work together to develop retail in the future, Parkinson added.

“We take the comments that Debra has made seriously,” he said of Supervisor Debra Buchanan’s proposal to create an office to work on attracting retail businesses.

The supervisors also approved retail growth as a goal in their annual plan for the upcoming year.


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