Vienna Business Association Champions Local Shops

D.H. Scarborough, chair of the newly-formed group, answers five questions for Patch.

The Vienna Business Association formed late this summer, after the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce announced it was dropping Vienna from its name.

Patch spoke with D.H. Scarborough, chair of the newly-formed group, about the new organization.

Patch: The VBA is a relatively new organization. What has been the response to the organization from members of the business community in Vienna? Tell Patch a little bit about how the organization came to be.

D.H. Scarborough: The Vienna Business Association had the first meeting to form the organization on Aug. 31. The response from businesses and the entire community has been really exciting and amazing. We started by contacting local businesses by email to invite people to our organizing meetings, and the word has spread. We have about 100 people on our email contact list at this point and around 75 paid-up members of our organization.

Patch: What are the longtime goals of the VBA?

Scarborough: Our Mission Statement: The Vienna Business Association will strive to be the voice of the Vienna business community. VBA will promote great business opportunities and development through networking and increased interation between the commercial and residential communities. Our members maintain Vienna's small town feel and high quality of life by hosting and supporting community events.

Patch: Many business in Vienna were formerly members of the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce. When that group changed it's name, do you think businesses in Vienna felt left out?

Scarborough: Many members of the VBA are still members of Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce. The VBA is not in competition with Tysons. That group said they left Vienna to pursue other goals. Vienna needs a business organization that understands the benefits of the community and believes in growing within this community.

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Patch: The VBA hosted an event on Small Business Saturday. How did that turn out?

Scarborough: It was great! The "Know Your Neighbor Saturday" was sponsored jointly by Town of Vienna Business Liason Committee and VBA to correspond with the U.S. Small Business Saturday. A bunch of Vienna businesses had specials for the day and Church Street merchants had a special (that is still going on) with a ticket for a big prize drawing for those who got the ticket stamped by a number of stores. We are looking forward to an even bigger event next year.

Patch: Do you think shoppers in Vienna are generally supportive of small businesses in the community? Could there be more support or awareness?

Scarborough: Yes, the residents do support area businesses. Perhaps people who have recently come to this community think of the malls first instead of all the places where you get really good service and personal care. But it doesn't take too long for them to change their focus to local.

Peggy Smith December 07, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Why did they set up selling Christmas trees on the BP gas station lot directly across from the Lions? The Lions are a highly regarded service organization who have been selling Christmas trees in Vienna for many years, and depend on the Christmas tree sales to fund their charities all year. Not very neighborly.
Erica R. Hendry December 07, 2012 at 03:41 PM
John we've tried a few times to reach out to the Stalcups over the past year but they haven't indicated they are interested in talking to us. We hear from a lot of folks that miss them.
Christie Radomsky December 07, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I would like to point out that it is not the new VBA that set-up the program amongst Church Street merchants to increase business through their holiday shopping pass/bingo type card. Barbara Werner of Black Eyed Susan began a Church Street Merchants organization many years ago and implemented the shopping pass/bingo card promotion more than five years ago. Every year the program is revised and grows. To have a new group come in and try to prop themselves up with publicity by claiming that they instituted this program is deceitful. Proper credit and kudos needs to be given to those that actually do the work to help promote business. Thus far the VBS is merely riding the coattails of other established programs.
Barb Werner December 08, 2012 at 02:59 AM
While I appreciate the recognition for starting the Holiday Shopping Pass I would like to add that if it were not for Peggy James at The Artful Gift Shop, keeping it going would have been much more difficult. Since moving to Church Street, Peggy has been the most active and vocal supporter of small business in the Vienna community. If the Small Business Saturday event was considered a success it is because of the efforts of Peggy; from arranging for an online presence for the event, creating a flyer, and distributing them to business, and setting up a booth on the day of the event to promote offers being made by small businesses in town. As a member of the Vienna Business Liason Committee she is one of the first faces you will see when you move a business to town. I never even knew the committee existed until Peggy joined. Peggy James, and the Artful Gift Shop, deserves the thanks of the small businesses she promotes in town and the support of the Vienna community she loves. Thanks for all you do Peg!
Wien December 08, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I loved the convenience and crew of Stalcups, but if they couldn't make the rent in their former location, I doubt they'd be able to afford a new space along Church Street. As renovations continue on buildings on that stretch, rents there are seeing a decent spike considering the overall condition of the commercial real estate market.


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