Changes To Downtown Marion

MARION, Va. - While walking around Marion you may notice a few empty spaces with remnants of stores that used to be there. The people of Marion have found that just like seasons change, so do the stores in downtown.

We spoke with Sara Fitzpatrick who said, "With the economy the way it is in the whole county is a problem, but the ones we have down here are nice."

Avery Cornett has been in business for 30 years running his mom-and-pop jewelry store, Cornett Jewelers. He says stores don't stick around. "Of course with the economy being down it's not a great time for any of the entrepreneurs of downtown, malls, strip malls, online. I think all of their numbers are struggling,? said Cornett. "I've seen a lot of stores come and go. I think some of them completed their business plans, and some didn't."

Marion is currently working on a plan that they hope will bring more options to the downtown area; what better way to do it than with a contest?

As we walked down downtown Marion we noticed five empty store fronts. Marion officials are hoping that with this contest they'll be able to fill some of the empty spaces.

We learned that this contest is going to help entrepreneurs start their own business with the help of the town. "There are a lot of business holes in Marion mainly in the retail sector and what we're hoping to do is fill those by helping people to see that there is a need in the market and also give them the tools that they're going to need to succeed,? said Ken Heath, who is in charge of the program.

Cornett encourages all entrepreneurs to go try it out. "Don't be afraid to get out there and give it a try. It's not as difficult as you would think it would be with all the support that we have," he said.

The winner of the contest will receive a cash prize to help them start their own business and hopefully repopulate downtown Marion, one storefront at a time.

The Marion chamber of commerce took a poll to see what they would like to see in their area. If you would like to participate in the program then you can contact Ken Heath by phone at (276) 783-4190 or by email at

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