Goochland County brings Chamber, Economic Development under one roof

Pictured (Left to right) are Sara Worley, economic development coordinator; Kimberly Nelson, chamber office manager; Bonnie Creasy, chamber executive director; and Casey Verburg, economic development coordinator. (Courtesy Goochland County)

As it continues to look to attract and retain businesses, Goochland County has set up a new hub for business resources.

The Goochland Business Center at 2931 River Road West houses both the county economic development department and the chamber of commerce. By putting the two entities under one roof, local businesses have a central place to find the help they need to start or operate a business in the county, officials said.

“It’s one space for our businesses to see us,” Economic Development Coordinator Sara Worley said in an interview.

The multipurpose room inside the Goochland Business Center.

The center had operated at an existing county-owned building since March, but delayed its formal opening due to health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. It finally held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the center Sept. 1.

The chamber had been located at 2913 River Road West, also in the Courthouse Village Complex. Previously, the economic development department was located in the county administration offices.

The economic development department has two full-time employees. The chamber has a full-time director and a part-time assistant.

The chamber is an independent, nonprofit member organization focused on civic and commercial development. It is leasing its space in the center from the county.

The creation of the center comes as part of an effort by Goochland County to beef up its business support services, a project it has worked on since last year.

The economic development department was restructured and expanded to focus on business retention, though attracting new businesses continues to be a mission. Worley was promoted and joined by Economic Development Coordinator Casey Verburg in January 2019.

The department created a formal business retention program as well as a social media presence to better promote the locality and its companies, among other initiatives.

Scoring a win on the attraction side of its operations, Goochland recently landed a $17 million hydroponic farming venture, which plans to start operations at West Creek Business Center next year. A $95 million rehabilitation hospital opened at the business park in June. Also this summer, Hill Top Distillery opened at 2750 Maidens Loop.

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