Fan-area business group launches revamped program

The Fan Area Business Alliance’s new website. (Screenshot)

A neighborhood business association is forging ahead with a relaunch amid the coronavirus pandemic, with board members saying local businesses need the support now more than ever.

The Fan Area Business Alliance last month went live with a new website and new offerings, including a year’s membership for free for businesses that sign up by September.

The alliance, which was founded in 2013, provides programs and services, as well as government advocacy, to businesses and nonprofits located in Richmond’s Museum and Fan (though not Carytown) districts.

The alliance counts 50 to 60 entities among its membership. It hopes to increase membership to 100 businesses. Membership costs $50 a year.

Charlie Small, FABA board member and creative director at MadeCreative, said the group dropped $40,000 to $50,000 to refresh its website and other projects related to the relaunch that went live March 31.

The new website is the center of the relaunch, and new features include a forum for members, an “ask an expert” resource to guide members through topics such as taxation and city permitting, an events calendar and a member directory for customers, Small said.

Other components of the relaunch include a membership video, direct mail campaign and monthly newsletter.

The alliance initially planned to roll out the relaunch March 25 with an in-person gathering. The coronavirus pandemic derailed that effort, and while the alliance plans to hold a celebration event to recognize the relaunch sometime in the future, it decided to move forward with its website launch to provide assistance to businesses that might be struggling with the disruptions caused by the pandemic, Small said.

It’s hard to pin down how many eligible businesses exist in the alliance’s service area. But around the time the alliance was founded, it was estimated that there were about 2,000 businesses in the area, Small said.

Another aim of the relaunch is to encourage greater participation by members. The alliance plans to build up its board from the current six members to around 10 to 12. In doing so, more businesses will have a larger hand in the alliance, and a larger board will help the alliance shoulder its operations more easily, FABA President Tricia Bryant said. Bryant is also owner of Concierge Home Solutions.

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