Farmville and Prince Edward County Selected to Participate in Economic Development Pilot Program

Community to receive technical services through Small Scale Manufacturing Pilot Program

On January 24th, the Town of Farmville and Prince Edward County were selected to participate in a Small-Scale Manufacturing Pilot program. The purpose of the pilot is to provide technical assistance to communities with potential to have small scale manufacturing as an economic development and revitalization strategy and identify opportunities and resources for scale up and implementation strategies.

The program is provided by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, through the Virginia Main Street program in partnership with the National Main Street Center. A joint application was submitted on behalf of Farmville Downtown Partnership, Prince Edward County and the Town of Farmville. A total of five communities across Virginia were selected for participation from fourteen applications. The pilot will kick off in February and final reports will be complete before July 2020.

Chelsey White, Program Manager of Farmville Downtown Partnership stated, “Small-scale or artisan manufacturing is not new to downtown Farmville. We have producers of furniture, jewelry, pottery, cosmetic care items, screen-printed clothing, beer, and baked goods. We want to explore ways to better support these producers and attract more to further revitalization and economic development efforts in downtown Farmville.”

Small scale manufacturing has emerged as a powerful way to tie opportunity to place and can fill a key missing piece in today’s local downtown and community development efforts.

“Through this pilot program, we look forward to learning what strategies and opportunities exist to assist us in maintaining and enhancing small-scale manufacturing in the Town of Farmville,” says Interim Town Manager Scott Davis.

Data suggests that this form of manufacturing is rapidly growing in downtowns across the country, expanding and diversifying the employment and retail opportunities found there. Today’s consumers are looking for products with a story, that are locally made, and that appeal to their individualism. As a result, from microbrewers to apparel and bike manufacturers, many more people are beginning to blend retail, manufacturing and wholesaling opportunities at a much smaller scale, leading to growing tourism, diversified employment, and well-paid job opportunities for local communities. “We are looking forward to working in collaboration with the Town of Farmville and the Farmville Downtown Partnership on this project. We all are invested in strengthening our community through economic development growth and working together is a win-win for us all and for the community as a whole,” stated Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors chairman Jerry Townsend.