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.