The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V12

BRUGH
TAVERN

ASSISTANT TOWN
MANAGER
PETE PETERS

12

Vınton

| Virginia

As impressive as the Advancement Foundation's
track record has been, it is not standing out there
alone. The town's management has vigorously
sought to expand its business base with the kinds
of enterprises that speak to a new Vinton.
Among those is Rosie's, a horse race gaming enterprise at the old Colonial Downs, which recently
opened in May to take advantage of the Kentucky
Derby style "off-track" racing wagering. That has
meant over 150 new employees.
Small, mom-and-pop businesses make up the bulk
of the employment in Vinton and they have rarely
seen days as flush as the ones they're experiencing
now. Vinton is becoming known for its excellent restaurants, some ethnic, some specialty, some old-line
blue plate special. The Dogwood, which has been on
Lee Avenue for a very long time, still packs them in
at lunch time for homecooked meals, while
two Asian restaurants
(Red Jasmine Thai Cuisine and Asia Gourmet)
are quite popular, as is
a Mexican restaurant La
Casa del Burrito. Master
Sergeant BBQ works out
of a truck and has recently added outside
dining. FarmBurguesa
has created something
of a stampede at lunchtime for its specialty
hamburgers. New York
Pizza has a long and
storied run on Virginia
Avenue.
Lilly Hemp in Vinton,
part of the Innovation Mill, is a hempbased products business that is sitting on the edge of what many people
are saying is "the next Apple" from
a growth standpoint. Some analysts
estimate that in a few years 85 percent of everything in a home-including the home itself-will have some
hemp component. In the states where
hemp is legal, investment has been
impressive.
Businesses like Cardinal Glass, Berkshire Health
& Rehabilitation and Magnets USA are larger than
the mom-and-pops and they provide a stability for
the whole.

Two local radio stations also just moved to Vinton: The Mountain 102.5 (WBZA) and Oldies 101.5
(WVMP) signed a lease to leave downtown Roanoke
and move their offices and studios to the third floor
of the Lancerlot Sport Complex. Both stations are
re-broadcasted to Christiansburg and Blacksburg
markets.
And there is more to come. Macado's restaurant,
which recently moved into the old Vinton Library-to
much ballyhoo-brought 60 employees and a renovated Vinton Motors (a new anchor restaurant downtown is being considered), could add another 60,
says Assistant Town Manager Pete Peters. There are
plans in the works to upgrade the 59,000-square-foot
River Park Shopping Center, which recently lost its
grocery store anchor and the new owner is considering building some out parcels there, Peters says.
The Town currently owns Gish's Mill, probably Vinton's oldest building, and is entertaining proposals for
a renovation of the building that could include businesses, a restaurant and perhaps even apartments.
"They're looking at a B&B, restaurant, events space
and even an indoor farmer's market," says Peters. Because of the age and historical significance of Gish's
Mill, it likely qualifies for "several historic and preservation programs," says Peters.
Lancerlot recently reopened its ice rink, which was
destroyed years ago by a snow storm. It has been an
instant success, pulling in youth and college hockey,
as well as being used as a practice facility by the RailYard Dawgs pro team. The fitness center was also
upgraded and membership rose quickly, Peters says.
Vinton has taken slow, steady steps toward becoming what it is, says Peters. It has the town center so many localities seek and visitor traffic is increasing-at least partly because a group of quality
restaurants. A $750,000 Community Development
Block Grant helped the town with aesthetics and the
remodeling of the farmer's market and streetscapes.
Twin Creeks Brewery was recruited to locate downtown and it has been an important cog in the new
"cool" feel. Twin Creeks will open another outlet at
Brugh Tavern at the nearby Explore Park very soon.
There's even talk of an 80-room hotel near downtown to support many of the numerous wedding,
event and sports venues.
Vinton is not a big-business locality (Precision
Fabric Group is the largest with just 230 employees; McDonald's is fifth ranked), but its mixture of
small businesses, medium-sized businesses and successful entrepreneurs is raising eyebrows across the
Roanoke Valley and beyond.

DAN SMITH

WORK IN VINTON



The Roanoker - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2019

The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Intro
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover2
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - 3
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V1
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V2
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V3
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V4
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V5
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V11
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V12
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover4
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