W'boro hub: City eyes home furnishings
Waynesboro city officials and business leaders have announced a plan to transform Waynesboro into a home furnishings hub– a one-stop destination for appliances, interior decorating services, accessories and anything else for the home.
Warehouse Solutions Inc., a commercial real estate broker, is spearheading the plan, dubbed "Waynesboro, Within These Walls,'' in a partnership with the city.
City and company officials hope to use Waynesboro's existing home furnishings market, which includes more than 30 businesses, along with the city's multitude of available storefronts and commercial space, to attract dozens of additional home furnishing-related enterprises.
As the plan progresses, officials say, the city will be "branded'' as a regional destination for goods and services catering to new homeowners and those refurbishing their home.
"We thought about what we could do to attract [consumers] from throughout western Virginia and the surrounding area,'' Mike O'Donnell, co-owner of Waynesboro-based Warehouse Solutions, said at a news conference Wednesday, August 6. He was joined by Economic Development Director Brent Frank, City Manager Doug Walker, and real estate investor Jim Morris.
Developing Waynesboro into a home furnishings hub makes sense, they said, given the city's location, available commercial space and, perhaps most importantly, an existing market.
"We already have a significant number of home furnishing businesses here,'' said Walker. "We want to take advantage of something we already have and build on it.''
Added O'Donnell: "Our strategic location at the intersection of Interstate 64 and 81 gives us an advantage over lots of other communities.''
Morris said Waynesboro could become a destination akin to Farmville, the Southside Virginia town known for scores of home furnishing shops and related businesses.
"Our hope is to create something similar to that, but that's convenient to folks here in western Virginia,'' Morris said.
Frank said his office, in conjunction with the partnership, which could include several other local businesses as the project moves forward, will actively market Waynesboro in an effort to attract new business.
The city will use its business incentive package, which includes rebates on municipal and state costs like water and sewer fees, as an added lure, Frank said.