Middleburg Futures Group seeks help from business owners

— The Middleburg Futures Group — an economic development group comprised of local officials, business owners and professionals — needs help from local business owners as it moves from planning for Middleburg’s economic future to implementing their findings, Middleburg Town Councilman Bridge Littleton said at the Middleburg Business and Professional Association’s May 9 meeting.

“We are absolutely looking for as much help, assistance, volunteerism, energy, everything … to make this a long-term thing that helps all of us benefit together and preserve what we love so much about the community,” Littleton said. “I think we’re all really excited. There’ll be more to come, and we’re looking forward to working with the community at large.”

The group — which includes representatives from the business association, Middleburg Economic Development Advisory Committee, Middleburg Town Council and town staff — is seeking to improve the economic vibrancy and cultural aspects of the town with input from residents, visitors and business owners. The goal, Littleton said, is to create “the right experiences, the right communication methods and the right branding to really help drive the right kind of growth and the smart, intentional, purposeful growth that preserves what’s special about Middleburg and the area, but also helps everybody thrive down the road.”

MBPA President Punkin Lee echoed Littleton’s comments, noting that the group needs input and support from local businesses. “We have a lot of work to do, but we’re looking forward to it with the anticipation that our goals two, three, five years from now will make and improve everyone’s quality of life — the town’s, the business people, the residents and our visitors,” she said.

Aldie Heritage Association

The Aldie Heritage Association hosted MBPA’s May 9 Biz Buzz meeting.

The discussion came as part of MBPA’s monthly Biz Buzz networking event, hosted by the Aldie Heritage Association and held at the Aldie Mill, one of the best-preserved historic mills in the state of Virginia.

The heritage association works to maintain the history and culture of Aldie through educational and community events, including the annual Aldie Harvest Festival, which is held every October and promises to have more wine and food vendors this year, and its annual whiskey dinner in September. On June 3 at 7 p.m., the mill will be hosting “An Evening with James Monroe,” which will look back on his exemplary career, with commentary on his retirement at Oak Hill and his business interaction with Aldie Mills. In October, the mill will be hosting its first-ever beer dinner, a “battle of the brews” that will see three Virginia beers face off against three Yankee brews.

The meeting also covered positive developments with MBPA, including the growth of its email newsletter subscribers and Facebook followers, which now stands at more than 5,000 people. Members wishing to promote their events and news online or through the email newsletter should submit their information to info@visitmiddleburgva.com by May 16.

Attendees were also invited to attend a comprehensive plan community workshop May 22 at 6 p.m. at the Middleburg Community Center. The meeting will cover street improvements, new sidewalks, land use, future development on Salamander Resort & Spa‘s property, groundwater protection, future redevelopment on Federal Street and more. Contact Town Planner Will Moore at 540-687-5152 for more information.

This month also saw two new businesses open in town — Mystique Jewelers, which had previously had a location in Middleburg, is now open at 112 W. Washington St. #102 (the space previously occupied by Stitch) and Best Thai Kitchen is located at 4 E. Federal St. (the former space of the Federal Street Cafe).

The next Biz Buzz will be held June 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Middleburg Millwork Inc. “We are turning the meeting upside-down and doing something totally different, which will be fun for everyone,” Lee said.