SDDA searching for new executive director

Staunton Downtown Development AssociationStaunton Downtown Development Association Executive Director Julie Markowitz announced her intention to step down from the position Tuesday.

“Serving the Staunton Downtown Development Association has been both an honor and a privilege. The opportunities offered to me in the past 14 years have helped me to grow in ways that I never imagined and watching downtown blossom into the Main Street that is today has been the source of great pride,” Markowitz said.

During her tenure,  Markowitz guided the SDDA and Downtown Staunton through new branding and website, the gift card program and the downtown dig of 2010, the dawn of social and digital media, the economic downturn and the new normal, buy locally campaigns and Small Business Saturday, StauntoNites grants, BRIGHT Idea Grants and the BRIGHT Rewired Business Plan Competition, and the Extended Hours program and street entertainment.

She fostered relationships with local media and businesses sponsors for an average of $60,000 in cash and in-kind donations annually. She applied for and was awarded over $300,000 in grants and scholarships.

“The board is eternally grateful to Julie for her years of service as the Executive Director,” said Anna Schoenduby, SDDA Board President. “Julie has dedicated her life to our downtown community over the past 14 years and we are stronger for it. Downtown Staunton has been re-energized and seen incredible growth over the past decade. We are proud of where our community has come from and excited about where it is going next.”

A regional search will be conducted to find the best candidate for replacement. Information about the executive director position will be posted online at, on job recruitment and social media sites.

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