Virginia is consistently rated, by Forbes and other business surveys, as one of the best states in the nation for business. Recently, NerdWallet.com published its survey of the top ten places within Virginia to start a business. Warrenton, my home and the home base of The Van Gils Law Firm, was ranked third in the entire state. The survey described Warrenton as follows:
The town of Warrenton, about an hour west of D.C. near Shenandoah National Park, has 21.2 businesses per 100 people, fourth highest among Virginia communities, and 40.1% of its businesses have paid employees. The Greater Warrenton Chamber of Commerce offers a business assistance team whose mission is to “support and educate local businesses towards sustained profitability and success.” The chamber provides free professional guidance, expertise and resources to its members.
As a founding member of the Greater Warrenton Chamber of Commerce (“GWCC”) and its Business Assistance Team, I am very proud of this ranking and the achievements of our business community. The GWCC was started in 2009 in the midst of a historically difficult recession. Remember “Main Street vs. Wall Street” and “Too Big to Fail”? Well, literally on Main Street, Warrenton and in other parts of Fauquier County, businesses were dying at an alarming rate. It appeared to us who work with businesses that direct help was needed and fast. We formed an assistance team dubbed “The Triage Unit”. We gathered from among our business colleagues, experts in various aspects of business such as finance, insurance, marketing, law and business consulting. Several businesses were counseled and saved. Seeing the mistakes some people made from the very start of their business, the Triage Unit became the Business Assistance Team as it is more helpful to assist a business as early as possible. To date, the Business Assistance Team has assisted more than 30 businesses and non-profits.
The two places ranked ahead of Warrenton, Tyson’s Corner and Fairfax, are in Fairfax County. Three other places ranked in the top ten, Falls Church, Merrifield and Vienna are also in Fairfax County. I am very familiar with Fairfax County having lived a long time in Fairfax City and having worked six years in Tyson’s Corner. I believe that the addition of Metro’s Silver Line will, over time, truly transform Tyson’s Corner into a magnificent place for business but with all due respect to the aforementioned places, where would you rather live?
As stated by the authors:
NerdWallet evaluated each city’s business environment and local economy when forming this list, and noticed that adjacency to Washington, D.C., helps Northern Virginia cities a great deal.
What was not evaluated was lack of traffic congestion, low crime, beauty of the environment, a small town atmosphere and interpersonal relationships in business. If you mix even just a few quality of life issues with the business and economic factors, Warrenton would rise swiftly to the top of the list. That is important because businesses need people and people want to live in nice places.
I encourage anyone thinking of starting or relocating a business to tour Old Town Warrenton, Vint Hill and the other business districts in and near Warrenton. Reach out to the Greater Warrenton Chamber of Commerce, The Fauquier County Economic Development Department and the Economic Development Manager for the Town of Warrenton. You can tell them Bert sent you. Truly, the use of my last name will not even be needed. If you take me up on my recommendations, you will see what I am so proud of and what no survey can adequately measure.