Business owners share ideas at Williamsburg roundtable

Local business owners and residents shared a range of ideas on ways to improve business in Williamsburg during a roundtable discussion.

"We think Williamsburg is a great place to do business and we have to tell that story," said Rick Overy, vice chair of the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority, during a luncheon hosted by the EDA on Tuesday at Capitol Pancake House. "The purpose of this annual roundtable is to get feedback. This is an opportunity to hear from the businesses."

The EDA hosts a monthly luncheon for business owners and city officials to gather and discuss how to boost business in the area.

Instead of a speaker, each table chose a representative who shared things they liked about the business climate in Williamsburg and things they wanted to see improved.

Gretchen Bedell, owner of Odd Moxie, said she wants to see the stereotype around Williamsburg change to better reflect its diversity.

"There is a stigma that Williamsburg is old and only filled with retired people," Bedell said.

Odd Moxie is a video production and design firm, located at 215 Ingram Road.

Don Pratt, owner of Aromas, said more affordable housing would help business in Williamsburg and help the city diversify population.

"Tiny homes seems to be the rage across the country, decreasing the size of land that is needed for homes would address population density," Pratt said. "Tiny homes construction might be a chance for something new in the Williamsburg area. We need to do something to support the businesses we already have in the city."

Aromas is a coffee shop and bakery, located at 431 Prince George St.

Resident Hugh Newton had a different perspective, Newton isn't a business owner but he lives in the city and said he wants to see a shift in how businesses attract tourists.

"Businesses need something more then just offering a service and have people leave. They need something to hold the interest of people and bringing them back by creating different experiences," Newton said.

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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