April 1, 2022
Despite today’s winterlike conditions, Spring in the Greenbrier Valley is here! The new season holds promise of warmer weather, new growth in our forests and fields, and new opportunities for our communities and residents. Here at the Greenbrier Valley EDC, we’re excited about the possibilities too.
To understand these possibilities, I think it’s important to give some background for those not familiar with our organization. What exactly does the Greenbrier Valley EDC do? Why is it important? How can it help us move forward?
Since taking over as director in June of 2021, these questions are at the heart of the conversations with community leaders, businesses, and even within our organization. And so, as we look ahead, lets remember why the Greenbrier Valley EDC is here to begin with. This seems an appropriate topic for my first blog post, in our first e-newsletter.
The Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation was created in 1994 by legislation (HB 4587) as a multi-county economic development authority for Pocahontas, Greenbrier and Monroe County, West Virginia. We are a special district unit of government, and we are supported in part by a $1.25 per capita assessment paid by each county commission based on the last Census population. Other revenues come from grants, grant administration, and property leasing. We are led by a 12 member board of directors, four from each county including a County Commissioner. We now have a full-time staff of four. You can find out more about staff and board here.
Our mission at the GVEDC is to “to strategically facilitate economic growth and higher wages through collaborative partnerships, while preserving the natural beauty and quality of life in the Greenbrier Valley Region.” That’s an impressive statement. But what does that mean?
Economic development is a broad term, with many, many moving parts. For instance, in our annual action report to the State, we outlined projects spanning Business Retention and Expansion, Business Attraction, Workforce Development, Community Development, Property Development, and Broadband Enhancement.
Thankfully, we aren’t in this alone. There is a great network of people and organizations aiding in this work – nonprofits, other governmental units and agencies, individuals, and most importantly the businesses we serve. The connectivity of the Greenbrier Valley, the accessibility of its leaders and the partnerships are one of its’ greatest assets. It’s because of these partnerships that we are able to apply and administer grant funds for our organization and for others.
We use our connections to partners and to funding to assist our Greenbrier Valley businesses to expand opportunities in workforce and education, for site selection, or for financing for example. Helping companies that already understand why Greenbrier Valley is the place to be is our number one priority. This includes assisting those starting out in their entrepreneurial journey and taking steps to start their own business. We administer a loan fund for business financing. We also market our region to outside companies who may be looking for a new home, companies that will make a positive impact on our communities.
In supporting businesses, we also help in finding and developing sites. We compile all the commercial and site listings from realtors and owners in our three counties on our website. So that whatever your business need is, we can show you all the opportunities. If you have properties that could be home for a new or existing business, we can add them to our listings – no charge, no catch. (And we do have openings currently in our own buildings that we would love to show you). As the housing market is tight, the Greenbrier Valley is also facing a shortage of commercial/industrial property, particularly in “site ready” properties for larger employees. (We’ll talk more about that in future posts.)
Site inventory, as you know isn’t our only challenge in economic development. There are workforce shortages, supply chain issues, housing shortages. These aren’t just Greenbrier Valley problems; some are national problems. But we help work on local solutions.
As I said, spring is a time for us to look forward. And I am excited about learning more and meeting more folks as I embark on my 10th month here as Executive Director. We’ll be launching a strategic planning effort in the next few months with a solid plan for our work over the next three years, and we
want need your participation.
At the Greenbrier Valley EDC we believe in preserving the unique nature of our communities, and to build on the assets of our region. We want to be active partners in helping people and business succeed. Tell us how we can do that.
I would love to hear from you anytime. If there is anything we can do to assist your business, your project, or if you just want to provide updates and feedback, we’re here to help.