Charlottesville Albemarle County Convention and Visitors Bureau: Visitor center downtown on East Main Street. 293-6789, or toll free 877-386-1103
Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce: "Dedicated to representing private enterprise, promoting business, and enhancing the quality of life in our greater Charlottesville area." 295-3141
Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development: This is the bring-biz-here group that's devoted to increasing relationships between private businesses and public institutions, as well as trying to make sure you have a job. Phew. 979-5610
Free Enterprise Forum: Nonprofit organization that acts as watchdog over local governments, boards, and commissions. See how they're affecting bidniz. 220-0781
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives): These retired biz execs volunteer their time to help you start your business. 295-6712
Charlottesville City has an AAA bond rating, the highest possible. Charlottesville supposedly holds the record for the longest-running AAA bond rating for a city with a population under 50,000. On July 1, 2005, UVA announced that it is one of only two public universities to score a AAA rating from all three bond agencies, and still holds the honor through to 2010.
Major employers of the Charlottesville Area:
University of Virginia : 12,191 (over 13,000 w/P/T) includes Medical Center
University of Virginia Health System: 5,578
Albemarle Schools: 2,370 (inc. P/T)
Martha Jefferson Hospital: 1,700
Albemarle County: 535
City of Charlottesville: 917 (inc. P/T)
State Farm: 1,473 (inc. P/T)
National Ground Intelligence Center: 1,200
Northrop Grumman: 600
Charlottesville Schools: 770 (inc. P/T)
Region Ten Community Services: 600* (inc. P/T)
Atlantic Coast Athletic Club: 475 (inc. P/T, seasonal)
Kroger: 464* (including 166 P/T)
Crutchfield Corporation: 400*
SNL Financial: 400
Farmington Country Club: 383*
Piedmont Virginia Community College: 392-452 (inc. P/T, varies by semester)
Boar's Head Inn: 350 (inc. P/T, seasonal)
CFA Institute: 350*
PRA International: 300* (including P/T)
Wal-Mart/Sam's Club: 300*
Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge: 280* (inc. P/T)
Management Services : 171
U.S. Postal Service : 150 (including P/T)*
–source: approximate numbers of local employees via July 2012 Hook telephone survey. *Could not be reached by press time, so figure from the 2011 Annual Manual was used.
Charlottesville Metropolitan Area Employment Information at a Glance
May May May May May
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Civilian Labor 108,056 109,925 109,234 111,100 116,024
Employment 104,791 103,524 102,932 105,600 110,700
Unemployment 3,265 6,401 6,302 5,438 5,324
Unemployment 3.0% 5.8% 5.8% 4.9% 4.6%
–source: Virginia Employment Commission
City of Charlottesville: 5.0%
Albemarle County: 4.5%
–source: Virginia Employment Commission
Tough times, but it could be worse
Although the economic downturn has hit the Charlottesville area hard, unemployment rates for Charlottesville City have decreased slightly since last year, while the national unemployment rate has increased. The Virginia Employment Commission credits the softer landing for Charlottesville to recent UVA grads choosing to enter the local workforce instead of going elsewhere after getting their diplomas.
Major industries: Tourism, learning, medicine
Manufacturing, agriculture, and textiles have flourished in the area for years, and the beauty of the natural environment as well as our rich history have created a thriving tourism industry. In addition, Mr. Jefferson's university is home of prestigious law, business, and medical schools, not to mention a pair of highly-rated hospitals. As piles of retirement, investment, and tourism magazines attest, Charlottesville / Albemarle today is one of the hottest places to live in the country. And the wine bloggers had their convention here in July of 2011!
Albemarle has farmettes and horse farms galore, but for a rural county, we're fairly small potatoes in the Old MacDonald world of real agriculture. According to a 2007 agriculture census, Albemarle ranks at #35 among Virginia's counties with only 919 farms and $21.45 million in annual revenue from farm sales. Nearby Augusta, by contrast, ranks at the #2 spot with 1,691 farms grossing $138.7 million in annual sales. Albemarle didn't even chart for cotton, peanuts, tobacco, and barley, but here are a few measurements:
Hay: 53,300 tons produced from 22,700 acres
Cattle: 22,600 head
Sheep: 1,900 head
–from U.S. Department of Agriculture
Make mine local wine
The above statistics fail to count the wine industry, which is the fastest growing agriculture in the region. Since Jefferson was dubbed the "Father of American Wine," over half of Virginia's 2,000 vineyard acres are located in the Monticello region. A newcomer in the local wine biz is Donald Trump, who has taken over the winery started by Patricia Kluge, which is right down the road from Dave Matthews' vineyards.
–> See our wine section in the Food Finder for more.
The Virginia Lottery Economists call this a "voluntary tax." School administrators call it a godsend. It was created by voters in 1987, many of whom wrongly assumed the proceeds were going directly to schools. That misperception was corrected in 2000 when over 80 percent of voters in a state constitutional referendum voted to make it official to send the proceeds to public education. Now, all profits have been used for public education in the Commonwealth K-12. Sales reached over $1.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2011 and $444.2 million was contributed to public education. In 2008, Washington & Lee economics professor Scott Hoover sued the Lottery because he claimed the Virginia Lottery has sold tickets to players without any chances of winning a prize, which may help explain all those sad faces in gas stations.
Director: Paula I. Otto
Much to the consternation of environmentalists, Virginia was the #2 trash-importing state in 2009 with 5.2 million tons of out-of-state refuse arriving. While rankings weren't available for 2011, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the tons of out-of-state refuse rose to nearly 5.6 million last year. While this figure seems high, the amount of waste imported by Virginia has decreased by 27 percent since 2007. Around here, the former Buckingham County Landfill (aka Love's Container Service Landfill) is now an EPA Superfund site that was capped in 1998. Albemarle's landfill, now dubbed the "Materials Utilization Center," became a small-scale transfer station in 2001. Another hot trash topic: recycling, as waste haulers have waged war on a man named Peter Van Der Linde, who opened the area's first MRF– materials recycling center– promising that his massive machine can sort recyclables straight from the trash.
Go CHO (to Chicago)
Four carriers serve the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO): Delta Connection, United Express, US Airways Express, and American Airlines. That means nonstop service to Atlanta, New York/LaGuardia, Washington/Dulles, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Chicago. While rising gas prices have meant hard times for all sectors of the airline industry and CHO has cut its daily aircraft operations, its total number of boardings has increased.
Location: 8 miles north of town off (you guessed it) Airport Road. 973-8342
2011 passengers: 406,373
Average seats per day: 820
CHO aircraft operations:
191 aircraft operations/day average
47% transient general aviation
22% air taxi
25% local general aviation
If you're a high-roller, you'll be pleased to know that Piedmont-Hawthorne Aviation dba Landmark Aviation has 3 corporate hangars and 20 Tee hangars. Good place to stow your Gulfstream.