WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - No community in our region is a stranger to empty storefronts. Glade Spring has been working to fill theirs for almost a decade. The new business in the area is as much a transformation as it is a rejuvenation.
Officials have been trying to make the town more business-friendly, but it's the relationships they say are making a difference.
"We're looking for ways to keep taxes low and make sure we don't put up too much of a heavy burden on the people in town, plus also on our businesses. We don't want to do that either," mayor Lee Coburn said.
This year alone saw the opening of four new businesses in the town.
"Mainly what you're seeing is people staying here with more money in their pocket because we have jobs to offer. We went from five jobs seven years ago to over 40 now," Coburn added.
Tracey Stanley says she used to dream about owning a building in the square. Her dream has become reality. Stanley's property now houses 13 businesses.
"There wasn't an office building, a professional building, in town here. We thought it might meet a need and help keep some of our professionals in town," Stanley said.
Business owner Jill Yothers is just beginning her time in glade spring. She said there's a support system among the owners.
"This is a team effort. It's not one business on its own," she added.
The owners see much more than money at stake. It's an opportunity to re-connect with the community.
"They tell their stories over and over again, remembering all the life and energy that used to be here ago, and now it's all coming back," Stanley said.
We're told other towns have contacted Glade Spring for their business model. The small town is still busy at work. They've been planning several events throughout the year to pack people in the town square.
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