Amherst County creates new 'Business Friendly Initiative' to keep, attract new businesses

County officials revamped new website, made permits application available online

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

AMHERST, Va. - Calvin Kennon is the president of Specialty Exterminating, based in Madison Heights, serving customers in Southwest and Central Virginia

"When we first got our building here. We spent several months through the planning commission where it would've been nice to kind of speed that up,” Kennon said.

Kennon's small business along with 100 others were a part of a research plan to help Amherst County figure out how they can help active businesses thrive while attracting others. 

"Connectivity. I know a lot of businesses have complained about that. Board of Supervisors, county administrators are really pushing hard to try to get us some better internet situation for our county. We're mostly rural,” Kennon said. 

Taking the information learned by business owners, the county launched the Business Friendliness Initiative, revamping their website to make it easier for community members and businesses, and making permit applications available online. 

"For folks who said well I wish we could file permits online and pay for them. Well guess what, we led the region being able to do that,” Victoria Hansen with the Economic Development Authority said.

EDA officials said part of staying competitive with surrounding counties is marketing themselves on the affordable land they have. 

"I don't think half of them realize we have a pad-ready grated site ready for a business to grow onto. A 100,000 square foot building could be put on it. We've already gone through the permitting, the DEQ process. But we have land available at really good prices,” Hansen said.

As for the businesses who have put in more than 30 years into the county they say this new initiative is already aggressive.

"Well, I think the list they have is very aggressive. If they could just do some of the things on their list anything will help,” Kennon said.

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