Home Virginia Artisan Center team selects consultant

Virginia Artisan Center team selects consultant


staunton2editsThe Virginia Artisan Center Management Team has selected a consulting firm to conduct a study on the feasibility of developing a regional artisan center in the Shenandoah Valley. VernerJohnson Museum Architects & Planners, in collaboration with Leisure Business Advisors LLC, will work with the management team and regional stakeholders to determine if an artisan center is feasible, and if so how it should be located, developed and operated.

The artisan center concept was proposed in response to the Commonwealth’s significant growth in rural, cultural tourism. The study is designed to determine if an artisan center can benefit the region’s artisans, agri-artisans and local economies by promoting and selling authentic products, showcasing artisan activities, and serving as a hub from which cultural tourists can explore the surrounding area. The proposed center is expected to complement existing efforts such as the Artisan Trail Network’sexpanding series of community trails, currently in place in the Shenandoah Valley, Piedmont, Southern and Southwest regions of Virginia, as well as other local and regional efforts to promote cultural tourism.

VernerJohnson will study an area encompassing the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Craig, Highland, Nelson, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham and Shenandoah and their respective townships and cities. Phase one of the feasibility study aims to determine if the artisan center is economically feasible, what components will contribute to its success, and where it should be located. If the project is deemed viable a second phase will focus on more detailed business planning, including capital costs, facility concepts, and operating and management recommendations. Both phases are anticipated for completion in September 2013.

The Artisan Center Feasibility study is funded by a planning grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The management team for the feasibility study includes representatives from the Artisans Center of Virginia, the City of Staunton, DHCD, theFrontier Culture MuseumVirginia Tourism Corporation, and the four planning districts that service the comminities in the study area.

As the study progresses the management team and consultants will seek input from diverse groups of stakeholders representing the artisan, hospitality, tourism and agricultural communities, as well as local governments and other interested parties. These inputs will be collected via focus groups and online surveys.

Anyone interested in participating or following the progress of the study is invited to join the stakeholder list by CLICKING HERE to send an email specifying an area of interest.



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