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2007 | DANVILLEPITTSYLVANIACO.COM | VIDEO TOUR ONLINE TM

OF DANVILLE AND PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA

TANKS A LOT Childhood collection leads to military museum

WRITE ON High schoolers produce award-winning magazine

Restore the Core Downtown improvements attract new businesses

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2007 EDITION | VOLUME 1 TM

OF DANVILLE & PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VA

CO NTE NT S F E AT U R E S 10

RESTORE THE CORE Cultural activities, new specialty businesses and fresh takes on residential spaces are recharging local downtown areas.

BUSINESS 28 Coming to America Government and community leaders are working together to recruit international business to the area.

30 Biz Briefs

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19TH CENTURY, MEET THE 21ST CENTURY Respect for preservation is evident in an evolving business trend in Danville and Pittsylvania County.

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TANKS A LOT One man’s childhood collection has evolved into a military museum housing more than 15,000 artifacts.

36 WRITE ON George Washington High School’s award-winning literary arts magazine is eagerly anticipated each June.

39 RETURN TO GLORY For those who recall the flicker of old film reels on the screen, the North and Gretna Theatres bring back memories. DA N V I L L E

33 Chamber Report 34 Economic Profile

D E PA R TM E NT S 6 Almanac: a colorful sampling of Danville and Pittsylvania County culture

19 Portfolio: people, places and events that define Danville and Pittsylvania County

24 Image Gallery 41 Sports & Recreation 43 Health & Wellness 47 Community Profile: facts, stats and important numbers to know ON THE COVER Crossing at the Dan Photo by Ian Curcio

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O F DA N V I L L E A N D P IT T S Y LVA N I A CO U NT Y

SENIOR EDITOR LISA BATTLES COPY EDITOR JOYCE CARUTHERS ASSOCIATE EDITORS KIM MADLOM, SUSAN CHAPPELL, ANITA WADHWANI ASSISTANT EDITOR REBECCA DENTON STAFF WRITERS CAROL COWAN, KEVIN LITWIN, JESSICA MOZO DIRECTORIES EDITORS AMANDA KING, KRISTY WISE CONTRIBUTING WRITERS DEANA DECK, ANNE GILLEM, STACEY HARTMANN, JOE MORRIS, VALERIE PASCOE, PIPER REILLY ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER TODD POTTER AD PROJECT MANAGER RUTH MARTINEAU SALES/MARKETING COORDINATOR SARA SARTIN STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS WES ALDRIDGE, ANTONY BOSHIER, MICHAEL W. BUNCH, IAN CURCIO, BRIAN M CCORD PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT JESSY YANCEY CREATIVE DIRECTOR KEITH HARRIS WEB DESIGN DIRECTOR SHAWN DANIEL PRODUCTION DIRECTOR NATASHA LORENS ASST. PRODUCTION DIRECTOR CHRISTINA CARDEN PRE-PRESS COORDINATOR HAZEL RISNER SENIOR PRODUCTION PROJECT MGR. TADARA SMITH SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS BRITTANY SCHLEICHER, KRIS SEXTON, LAURA TAYLOR, VIKKI WILLAMS LEAD DESIGNER CANDICE HULSEY GRAPHIC DESIGN JESSICA BRAGONIER, LINDA MOREIRAS, AMY NELSON WEB DESIGN RYAN DUNLAP WEB PRODUCTION JILL TOWNSEND DIGITAL ASSET MANAGER ALISON HUNTER AD TRAFFIC SARAH MILLER, PATRICIA MOISAN, RAVEN PETTY, JILL WYATT CHAIRMAN GREG THURMAN PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER BOB SCHWARTZMAN EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RAY LANGEN SR. V.P./CLIENT DEVELOPMENT JEFF HEEFNER SR. V.P./SALES CARLA H. THURMAN SR. V.P./PRODUCTION & OPERATIONS CASEY E. HESTER V.P./SALES HERB HARPER V.P./VISUAL CONTENT MARK FORESTER V.P./TRAVEL PUBLISHING SYBIL STEWART EXECUTIVE EDITOR TEREE CARUTHERS MANAGING EDITOR/BUSINESS MAURICE FLIESS PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR JEFFREY S. OTTO CONTROLLER CHRIS DUDLEY ACCOUNTING MORIAH DOMBY, DIANA GUZMAN, MARIA MCFARLAND, LISA OWENS, JACKIE YATES RECRUITING DIRECTOR SUZY WALDRIP DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR GARY SMITH IT SYSTEMS DIRECTOR MATT LOCKE IT SERVICE TECHNICIAN RYAN SWEENEY HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER PEGGY BLAKE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR NICOLE WILLIAMS CLIENT & SALES SERVICES MANAGER/ CUSTOM MAGAZINES PATTI CORNELIUS

Images of Danville and Pittsylvania County is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Danville Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by e-mail at info@jnlcom.com. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce 8653 U.S. Highway 29 P.O. Box 99 • Blairs, VA 24527 (434) 836-6990 • Fax: (434) 836-6955 E-mail: chamber@dpchamber.org www.dpchamber.org VISIT IMAGES OF DANVILLE AND PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY ONLINE AT DANVILLEPITTSYLVANIACO.COM ©Copyright 2007 Journal Communications Inc., 361 Mallory Station Road, Ste. 102, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member

Magazine Publishers of America

Member Custom Publishing Council Member Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce

DA N V I L L E

ONLINE CONTENTS More lists, links and tips for newcomers

DANVILLEPITTSYLVANIACO.COM

MOVING PICTURES Take a video tour of Danville and Pittsylvania County at danvillepittsylvaniaco.com.

GET SMART ABOUT LOCAL SCHOOLS Find listings and links to schools, colleges and universities.

SEE HOW THE GARDENS GROW Get the dirt on growing seasons, soils and common challenges.

WHAT DO THE LOCALS EAT? Discover what makes cuisine in this region so deliciously different.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME Search for a new home, plus get moving tips and more at www.realtor.com.

A B O U T TH I S M AGA Z I N E Images of Danville and Pittsylvania County is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is sponsored by the Danville Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce. In print and online, Images gives readers a taste of what makes Danville tick – from business and education to sports, health care and the arts.

“Find the good – and praise it.” – Alex Haley (1921-1992), Journal Communications co-founder

jnlcom.com

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Almanac

How Refreshing Fresh air enthusiasts, rejoice. Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake are major recreation destinations for outdoor lovers throughout the region. Smith Mountain Lake boasts 500 miles of shoreline, with a portion of it situated in Pittsylvania County. The man-made lake was created in the mid-1960s to generate electricity and help manage the flow of the Roanoke River. Leesville Lake is a southern reservoir of Smith Mountain Lake and is developing rapidly. In fact, ESPN racing announcer and Pittsylvania County native Stacy Compton is backing a development and marina on the lake.

Rough, Tough Sport If you ever hear words like ruck, maul and grubber, you must be at a Dan River Silverbacks rugby match. The Silverbacks were formed in 1975 by North Carolina State University grads who returned home to Danville and didn’t want to stop playing rugby. By 1980, the club had 90 members. The team disbanded in 1989 as players retired from the game, but new members resurrected the club in 2003. Today the Silverbacks play on rugby fields at Angler’s Park and host an annual tournament with a Ruggerroast afterward. The tournament draws teams from throughout the region.

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Head Over to Ballou Danville knows how to celebrate spring’s arrival. A Festival in the Park takes place in late May, and a Pigs in the Park barbecue competition occurs that same weekend. Both events are held at Ballou Park, with the 2008 dates tentatively set for May 16-18. The original intention of Festival in the Park in 1974 was to celebrate spring’s arrival with a community picnic, and today a huge crafts and artist’s show highlights the weekend. Meanwhile, the Pigs in the Park barbecue competition features 40 contestants vying for $20,000 in prize money.

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Capital City of Danville Trivia fact: Danville served as the last capital of the Confederacy. It was at Sutherlin Mansion, located today on Millionaires Row in Danville, that Confederate President Jefferson Davis made his final proclamation prior to the Confederacy’s fall in April 1865. Maj. William Sutherlin welcomed Davis to the home, and today the mansion serves as headquarters for the Danville Museum of Fine Arts. The building has been designated a Virginia Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Booked Solid More than 2,500 people a month buy books at Goodwill Industries on Westover Drive in Danville. “Any book store would love those sales numbers,” says Dick Pretty, vice president of public relations for Goodwill Industries Danville. “We sell about 9,000 books monthly and feature 75 different categories of books on our shelves.” Pretty says about 4,000 books a week are donated to the Danville Goodwill, with 40 percent of them being usable to resell to the public. “The oldest book we’ve sold was written in French and titled History of France Volume II, which had a copyright date of 1581,” he says. “It took a while to sell, but we finally moved it for $500.”

At A Glance POPULATION (2005 estimate) Danville: 46,143 Pittsylvania County: 61,501 LOCATION Danville is in south-central Virginia on the Virginia-North Carolina border. BEGINNINGS The first white settlement occurred in 1792 and was named Wynne’s Falls, after the first settler. The village was renamed Danville by act of the Virginia Legislature in 1793, and a charter was enacted in 1833. FOR MORE INFORMATION Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce 8653 U.S. Highway 29 P.O. Box 99 Blairs, VA 24527 (434) 836-6990 Fax: (434) 836-6955 www.dpchamber.org

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Smith Mountain Lake

Altavista

Penhook Gretna 40 29

Callands

Chatham Ingram 360

Blairs

PITTSYLVANIA Danville

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Almanac

Fast Facts Q Danville has been nicknamed “the city of churches” because it has more churches per square mile than any other city in Virginia. Q Wendell Scott, the first African-American stock car driver to compete in NASCAR, was born in Danville. Q Danville was founded as a tobacco market, and industrial growth began to flourish once a yarn mill opened in 1881.

Fishing the Dan If you can’t catch a fish in the Dan River, change your bait. Fish are plentiful in the city portion of the river, with an abundant supply of bass, sunfish and catfish. There are also catches of striped bass along the Dan River just east of the city. Fishing is so popular in the region that city officials hosted the first Kids Fishing Derby in 2006 at Angler’s Park, with more than 120 people in attendance. The free event is now being held each year on the first Saturday of June, with the event aimed toward children up to age 16 who are accompanied by an adult.

O Chrismon Tree Move over, Santa. It was at Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville where Chrismon ornaments were first made. Congregation member Frances Kipps Spencer began making the religiousthemed ornaments in 1957 in order to produce decorations that seemed appropriate for a church Christmas tree. She even made a pattern book for ornament ideas, and that book is still in the possession of the church to this day. The symbols Spencer used for her ornaments were interdenominational, and as a result her Chrismon tree decorating ideas have grown in popularity. Ascension Lutheran draws many visitors each holiday season to see their tree, in the place where the ornaments originated.

Q The Pittsylvania County Clerk’s Office in Chatham is a popular spot for genealogy research, with some records that date as far back as 1737. Q The Amtrak train in Danville can take passengers to New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans.

SEE MORE ONLINE | For more Fast Facts about the region, visit danvillepittsylvaniaco.com.

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Matching grants enable restoration to faรงades in downtown Danville, with 34 complete so far.

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Restoring the

Core IMPROVEMENTS TO CITIES’ DOWNTOWNS ATTRACT NEW BUSINESSES

STORY BY STACEY HARTMANN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN CURCIO

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ultural activities, new specialty businesses and fresh takes on residential spaces are recharging the downtown areas of Danville, Chatham and Gretna, and the resulting benefit is more than what meets the eye. Revitalization efforts are not only beautifying these areas, but also increasing tourism by emphasizing each town’s historical assets, and strengthening business infrastructure by attracting new companies to the area. Danville’s downtown transformation in recent years has been the most dramatic. Improvements include facelifts to dozens of buildings, a historic mural program, continuing development of a 7.5-mile Riverwalk Trail and niche retail DA N V I L L E

shops such as In Good Taste Chocolate Café, specializing in made-to-order caramel apples, and Dixie Bags & More, offering custom-made tapestry handbags. “Now we’ve come to a point where people are starting to gather again,” says Liz Sater, the city’s redevelopment projects assistant and former executive director of Downtown Danville Association. “The nostalgia and the character of the downtown district are once again appealing.” To counteract the decline of the textile and tobacco industries, Danville stepped up revitalization efforts four years ago with the Downtown Façade Program, which gives matching grants of up to $30,000 per project. Many property owners have taken advantage of the program, resulting in DA N V I L L E P I T T S Y LVA N I AC O . C O M

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façade renovation and restoration projects for scores of buildings downtown. “It’s been a snowball effect, and it’s been a wonderful, wonderful time here in Danville, truly a renaissance,” says Anne Moore, the city’s redevelopment coordinator. “I think that’s evident in that we’ve announced six new businesses within the last two months to downtown.” While Danville City Beautiful keeps up the appearance of downtown, the area’s past is shared through the Historic Murals of Danville Program. So far, two murals are complete, one at the downtown gateway depicting the Wreck of the Old 97, and the other in central downtown showing 1920sera transportation. A third, planned for the area’s Tobacco Warehouse District, will showcase the area’s rich tobacco history. Ultimately, ten murals are envisioned by 2010. “If you would have gone up our Main Street four years ago as compared to today, it’s drastically different,” Moore says. That’s especially true in the aforementioned Tobacco Warehouse District, where 160 new housing units are bolstering downtown’s residential component and supporting its mix of about 140 specialty retailers, service businesses,

professional offices and eateries. Residents of the new apartments and condominiums can take advantage of fresh produce from the Danville Community Market, concerts at Carrington Pavilion amphitheater and hands-on exhibits at the Danville Science Center, Moore says. They can even check their e-mail along Danville’s Main Street corridor, a wireless Internet hot zone supported by Southside Wireless. Chatham and Gretna boast the same technological advantage in their downtowns. Known as “The Prettiest Little Town in Southside Virginia,” Chatham is Pittsylvania County’s seat. “I think we’re a very different town,” says Mary Lee Black, a longtime resident involved in Chatham First and chair of the Chatham Planning Commission. “We’re very communityminded and very cultured.” Chatham is anticipating the 2008 opening of a new community center, an invigorating addition to the town’s vibrant and historic quilt of Victorian houses, county offices, business, restaurants, antique stores and specialty shops. In addition, the Pittsylvania Historical Society is working

Several residents purchased portraits within Danville’s transportation mural, with proceeds defraying the project cost.

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to restore Chatham’s historic railway station. The society’s home, the 1813 Clerk’s Office, is itself a historic landmark. As a museum of more than 100 county artifacts, it is “one of the best kept secrets in Pittsylvania County,” says Langhorne Jones Jr., a retiree and local history buff. Gretna’s downtown, likewise, is on the move with improvements. Revitalization for a Greater Gretna, formed in 2005 by a group of concerned citizens, raises funds through its Gretna Food Land 5K Race, an annual May event supporting a town wish list that includes new entrance signs, streetscape improvements and hiking/biking trails, among others. Local businesses are stepping up to support the effort, says Gretchen Clark, president of the engineering consulting firm Reynolds-Clark in downtown Gretna. This united effort between the business community and its residents to support the vitality of the downtown business district is an attractive lure to new businesses as well. This community interest only adds to existing elements that make downtown Gretna so attractive, Clark says. “The character is 1930s Main Street,” she says. “I enjoy it because it’s close to home, it’s small, and we don’t have a lot of traffic. We can walk to the bank and the post office and to get something to eat.”

Chatham is the center of Pittsylvania County government.

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Downtown Dedication A CENTURY LATER, RIPPE’S REMAINS A FIXTURE IN DANVILLE’S URBAN CENTER

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owntown Danville department store Rippe’s has specialized in women’s apparel since the early 20th century, incidentally, at the same time illustrator Charles Gibson was influencing American fashion with his “Gibson Girl” sketches of his wife, Danville native Irene Langhorne Gibson. To commemorate its centennial in October 2006, Rippe’s opened another business in the downtown district. Rippe’s busy shoe department – Rippe’s Shoes – now occupies a separate shop next door to the principal store on Main Street. And since the new shop opened, business has tripled, says owner Ben Rippe. Rippe is the third-generation proprietor of this family business and the namesake of his grandfather, Benjamin, who founded Rippe’s in 1907. The main store carries select lines of women’s separates, dresses, suits and outerwear, including furs. The fur department’s wide selection of quality pieces attracts customers from all over the East Coast and offers cold vault storage as well as fur restyling, cleaning and repair. Rippe says the key to the store’s longevity is its commitment to quality. “We offer quality for value, and people know that,” Rippe says. “Our success also has to do with the services and personal attention we offer customers.” In addition, the Rippe family has long supported education, charitable causes and downtown interests. Besides opening the shoe shop, Rippe’s marked 100 years in business with a major charitable gift. Ben Rippe carried on the family tradition by donating $10,000 to the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region. The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce in turn honored Rippe’s with the Small Business of the Year Award. Despite invitations to open Rippe’s stores in other, more “modern” markets, Ben Rippe has so far chosen to stay put in his downtown Danville niche. “We stay downtown and just keep minding the store,” Rippe says. – Carol Cowan

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19thCentury, Meet the 21st Century REVERENT REINVENTION OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS DIVERSIFIES ECONOMY

STORY BY KEVIN LITWIN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN CURCIO

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irginia is where George Washington was born and where Patrick Henry called home. It is where Jamestown was settled 400 years ago and Thomas Jefferson’s beloved Monticello still stands today. So it stands to reason that history is dear to the hearts of people here, and that respect for preservation is evident in an evolving business trend in Danville and Pittsylvania County. Termed “adaptive reuse” by architects, investors are renovating old buildings and homes with their focus delicately balanced between preserving history

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and incorporating modern conveniences and amenities. “In 2004, I came across an old home that was more than 100 years old and in great need of repair – so I repaired it,” says Nami Kim Addis, owner of Yene Fusion Café & Sushi Bar on Main Street. “I was attracted to the Victorian architecture of the homes in this part of Danville, and I wanted to open a restaurant where my customers could enjoy this beautiful atmosphere.” Addis says Yene is an Ethiopian word meaning “mine and yours,” and much of her customer base consists of students from nearby Averett University.

“I wanted an interesting business for college students and professionals to hang out and relax in a home-like setting,” Addis says. “They can enjoy gourmet coffee and gourmet sandwiches, access wireless Internet and eat some excellent sushi – all in one of the most scenic areas of Danville.” Susan Stilwell also believes that historic preservation can lead to economic gain in Danville. The Century 21 real estate broker is involved with the Burton Condominiums project, which features residential units in the city’s former tobacco warehouse district. “A Richmond-based company is DA N V I L L E


Historic buildings in Danville’s Tobacco Warehouse District now serve as chic dwellings and offices.

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constructing 28 exquisite condos in an old 1880s tobacco factory building along the Dan River, with several of the units outfitted with granite countertops, hardwood floors and glass tile in the bathrooms,” Stilwell says. “Historic neighborhoods make a community more attractive, and Danville’s old tobacco warehouse district is really coming to life once again.” Yet another downtown Danville condominium development is in the works called Lindsay Lofts that will feature 21 dwellings above an old building that once housed a hardware store. “Burton Condominiums is a $5 million restoration project, Lindsay Lofts is a $4 million project, and many other investors are looking at Danville

for historic preservation endeavors,” Stilwell says. “I, myself, have become so enamored with historic properties that I bought a 1915 former wholesale grocery warehouse, put a loft on the third floor and am now using it as my residence.” A like-minded investor is Luna nanoWorks, a division of Luna Innovations that specializes in nanomaterial research and manufacturing. Instead of simply building a new facility in an industrial setting, the company opted to restore one of the old tobacco warehouses in the heart of the city. A historic district may be an unorthodox home for a company focused on tomorrow’s technology, but it stands as a shining example of how economic development can work handin-hand with cultural preservation (see

page 31 for more information on Luna nanoWorks). But it’s not just Danville that is exhibiting a flair for bringing historic landmarks back to life. In Chatham, An Inn for All Seasons is a mansion built in 1884 now being utilized as a popular bed and breakfast. “Visitors love the look of this gorgeous 19th-century mansion, but they also enjoy modern conveniences whenever they stay here overnight,” says innkeeper Gayle Hudert. “I mean, it’s inspiring to look at the luxurious architecture associated with An Inn of All Seasons, but our guests also appreciate a whirlpool in the bathroom when they retire to their bedroom for the night.”

Nami Kim Addis (left) owner of Yene Fusion Café and Sushi Bar, welcomes patrons to her restaurant to enjoy historic Victorian architecture, a free wireless Internet connection and delicious treats such as sushi (below). Opposite: An Inn for all Seasons is one of several historic homes housing successful bed & breakfasts in Chatham, thanks in part to parents booking lodging when visiting students at nearby boarding schools.

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Portfolio

Tanks a Lot GASSER’S CHILDHOOD COLLECTION EVOLVES INTO FULL-SCALE MILITARY MUSEUM

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When Gasser was growing up in Long Island, N.Y., there was a lot of cheap army surplus available. “Every week with my little dollar allowance, I’d go out and buy a helmet or a model, and next thing I knew I had an arsenal.” Gasser’s collection not only outgrew the family home, it eventually outgrew a 10,000 square foot building and began to overflow into rented storefronts. Because of space limitations, large artillery pieces and tanks were rusting outdoors. “Like most collectors, we outgrew the toy box,” he says, “but Mother Nature wins, you lose.”

So the search for a larger, permanent, indoor home for the collection began. He found it in Danville. Between Gasser and wife Karen, his steadfast business partner, it took three years to move the collection into its current 333,000square-foot facility. Gasser has a word of caution for other would-be collectors: “Know what you’re buying. The Department of Defense has teams that will confiscate entire collections that aren’t properly documented. These are weapons, serious firearms. I’ve spent a quarter of a million dollars in legal fees just keeping up with the proper paperwork.”

IAN CURCIO

f you ask William Gasser, co-owner of the American Armoured Foundation Tank Museum, how he started his career as a collector of military memorabilia, he responds with a question of his own: “Did you ever have a really silly idea when you were young and nobody tried to talk you out of it? That’s what happened to me.” It started innocently enough. Like many little boys, Gasser was intrigued with toy soldiers and weaponry as a child. Soon, though, his interest outpaced that of his peers. “Eventually, I had over 1,500 toy soldiers, and my father had to build an extension onto my room,” he says.

Tank museum co-owner William Gasser shows one of the more than 15,000 tank and cavalry artifacts in his collection.

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PHOTOS BY IAN CURCIO

Staying the Course

A Porsche zips around VIRginia International Raceway during testing.

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ifty years ago, when the roads were busy with MGs and Austin-Healeys and fans were making pilgrimages to Sports Car Club of America events, VIRginia International Raceway was a prime destination. Actor Paul Newman, who raced in both amateur and professional competition, once said: “If there’s a heaven on Earth, it’s VIR.” Yet in 1974, the track closed and lay dormant for 25 years. That would have been the end of the story if it weren’t for partners Harvey Siegel and Connie Nyholm. “He’s (Siegel) the visionary,” Nyholm says. “I’m the implementer.” In 2000, the partners managed to bring back what Nyholm refers to as the “grand dame of American road racing.” “We’ve restored the original 3.72mile race course and divided it into two courses that can be run simultaneously or combined,” she says. Among six distinct configurations that can be run at VIR, the 4.2-mile Grand Course is one of the longest road racing circuits in the country. VIR currently offers from 12 to 14 publicly promoted spectator events each year. Nyholm and Siegel also have founded the unique VIR Motorsport Country Club, a world-class vacation destination for drivers and their families. VIR boasts another innovation with its RacePlex Motorsports Industrial Park, home to both the Virginia Institute of Performance Engineering and Research and the Joint Unmanned Systems Experimentation and Research Center. Companies such as race teams and producers of commercial and military vehicles use VIPER’s cuttingedge technology to develop the next generation of their machines. JOUSTER is dedicated to development of unmanned ground vehicle systems. Both entities, developed with state, federal government and university support, are bringing jobs and capital investment to the area. DA N V I L L E


Portfolio

Cultural Complex A

t Danville’s Crossing at the Dan, you can still catch the “Midnight Train to Georgia” from the old railroad station, but make note that it leaves at 11:55 p.m., says Bill Sgrinia, director of Danville Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Two renovated Southern Railway buildings house the train station as well as portions of the Danville Science Center. The two buildings are part of a cultural complex that has become a new focal point in the Danville community. “The Crossing is such a hub to the revitalization of downtown,” Sgrinia says. “It isn’t a large area, but it houses the Carrington Pavilion, which is our outdoor venue for concerts and entertainment. We book acts like The Beach Boys that draw people from all over. It used to be called Auctioneers’ Park, back when the tobacco capital of the world was right here in Danville, so there’s a lot of rich history there.” In 1979 the land, part of the old Richmond & Danville rail yard, was acquired for a public park and amphitheater. The revitalization continued with the opening of the Danville Science Center, which offers families hands-on exhibits and special programs that include the Butterf ly Station and Garden – one of only a few butterfly greenhouses in Virginia. The Crossing at the Dan also includes a renovated bottling plant that was first used in 1885 by the Continental Brewing Co. and later housed the Celery Cola Bottling Works. The building is now known as the Pepsi Building and is used for public and private meetings and events. Another popular attraction in the area is the Riverwalk Trail, which utilizes a converted 1898 iron railway bridge. “The Crossing is one of the major trailheads for the greenway that makes its way through the city,” Sgrinia says. “The whole trail is about 7.5 miles long and runs along the river for a good distance. It’s a big draw for the whole region.” DA N V I L L E

Historic facilities at the Crossing at the Dan lend a nostalgic feel to events.

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Portfolio

Group Hits the Right Note he Danville Symphony Orchestra started in 1992 with only a few band and string instruments, but it had a community that loved music, sponsors willing to lend support, and a countryside filled with trained musicians itching to play. In 2000, Charles G. Ellis joined the organization as conductor and director of the symphony. A trumpet player with a director’s degree in music performance, Ellis served as band director for the county school system before entering the field of public relations and financial marketing. “First we started to build the orchestra in terms of size and players – not an easy task for a totally volunteer organization. Our regular musicians play for the love of it,” Ellis says. As it turned out, there was no shortage of musicians willing to perform. “Some players attend the local community college, which has no instrumental music program, “he says.

“Some had played in high school or in the all-state orchestra.” Drawing from the community for volunteer musicians leads to a wide range of professions represented in the group, which includes a plant manager and an assistant principal. “Our principal trombonist is an assistant state’s attorney, with degrees in music and law. The concert master/ first violinist earned a music degree but was working at Goodyear before

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAN DALTON

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joining us,” Ellis says. “The principal clarinetist played for 23 years in the U.S. Army Field Band in Washington, D.C., before signing on as band director at nearby Hargrave Military Academy.” The orchestra has outstanding local support, Ellis says. “The community pours money into the symphony and gives the musicians the opportunity to perform and hone their skills. The orchestra gives it back in the form of performance. It’s a mutual admiration society between the community and the orchestra,” Ellis says.

Founded in 1992, the Danville Symphony Orchestra consists of volunteer musicians. In 2007, the orchestra marks 15 years of delighting area audiences.

Fueling Fast Friendships in the Southside for Over Fifty Years

ABERCROMBIE OIL COMPANY Danville, VA • (434) 792-8022 LP • (434) 793-5811 Gretna, VA • (434) 656-2250 Martinsville, VA • (276) 632-4131 Siler City, NC • (919) 742-4165

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A Senator’s Powerful Brushstrokes S

ix large paintings line the boardroom walls in the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commercwe’s new office, each canvas showcasing area landscapes through broad, colorful brushstrokes. Each is signed “Hawkins.” Most people know Chatham, Va., Sen. Charles Hawkins for his more than 26 years of service in the Virginia Assembly, but not as many know of his artistic talent. Yet, it should come as no surprise, as he has used equally powerful brushstrokes to help paint a bright portrait for the future of Pittsylvania County for nearly three decades. When Hawkins began his career, tobacco was the primary cash crop in the region, which was also home to locally based manufacturers like Dan River Mills and Lane Furniture. Employees could shop at locally owned businesses for everyday essentials, and wealth generated in the community

stayed in the community. It’s a type of economy Hawkins feels is essential not just to the future of rural America, but the stability of civilization. “Historically, the strength of all communities has come out of the Main Street ownership of small businesses.” Hawkins says. “Even big companies that were headquartered here invested in schools, United Way and community activities. They brought a certain amount of stability.” When that stability appeared to be threatened by the decline of the tobacco and textile industries, Hawkins emerged with a strong vision, voice and pro-active plan. Hawkins has served on the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission since its inception in 1999 and was key in the development of the strikingly modern Institute for Advanced

Learning & Research, as well as securing funding to bring broadband Internet capabilities to the area. Hawkins says such initiatives to lure big business are only part of the equation. “You’ve also got to build another dynamic,” he says, “one that will let people open new businesses with a different approach in order to start developing that family wealth structure. Since World War II, we’ve raised some of the brightest people in this nation, but we’ve shipped them off to work in other areas. We need to be able to offer them some reason to come back home.” Hawkins announced in March 2007 that he would not seek re-election to the Assembly. While this may allow him more time to paint actual canvases, residents will enjoy this artist’s touch in the development of the community for years to come. – Stories by Deana Deck

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Sen. Charles Hawkins shows one of six of his paintings on display at the chamber of commerce office.

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Image Gallery

First Baptist Church on Main Street in downtown Danville

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN CURCIO

The Pepsi building at Danville’s Crossing at the Dan

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Image Gallery

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN CURCIO

A mural in downtown Danville

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Business | Danville and Pittsylvania County

Coming to

America COHESIVE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HELPS LURE NEW GLOBAL BUSINESS

STORY BY VALERIE PASCOE PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN CURCIO

W Dr. Pradeep Pradhan is head of Danville’s Americans By Choice organization, a group that helps recruit international businesses to the area.

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hen the first sleek piece of IKEA furniture comes off the assembly line at Swedwood North America’s new plant in Danville, cheers will go up across the globe. The company’s executives and leaders from the city of Danville, Pittsylvania County and the Commonwealth of Virginia have been working nonstop since 2006 to make the hightech plant a reality. “We are very excited about this move. The community has been extremely cooperative, and we have been very happy with the support we’ve received,” says Bengt Danielsson, president of Swedwood North America, an Ängelholm, Sweden-based, wholly DA N V I L L E


Several international flags fly over the historic Tobacco Warehouse District of Danville, a display of the community’s diverse cultural composition. In 2007, the Festival in the Park at Ballou Park included the first Windows to the World event, a festival honoring international heritages. This global view is opening minds and stimulating the economy.

owned subsidiary of The IKEA Group. Swedwood North America currently has more than 30 facilities, located mainly in Eastern Europe, and its primary function is to manufacture and distribute furniture for the popular Scandinavian home furnishings corporation. Located on more than 210 acres of prime industrial real estate in Cane Creek Centre, Swedwood North America begins its foray into the American manufacturing market with a 930,000square-foot facility. Danielsson says the company plans to develop at least three more factories on the same site and expects to employ up to 740 people in Danville and Pittsylvania County. It’s a prediction that has business DA N V I L L E

and government leaders – including Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine – smiling. According to Kaine, Swedwood North America’s commitment represents the second-largest investment ever in Southside Virginia. When the company made the announcement in October 2006, Kaine credited Cane Creek Centre’s prime site and the area’s skilled workers with winning the operation. Danielsson says an additional factor that drew the company to Danville was the presence of a cohesive international community. Early on, Danielsson and other executives met with members of Danville’s Americans By Choice group, a local international society consisting of more than 40 members from more than 20 countries across the globe.

“We considered many different factors, and one very positive experience we had was with this group,” Danielsson says. “We have colleagues who will be relocating to Danville from overseas, and I think this will make a difference for them as they make the transition.” Dr. Pradeep Pradhan, the group’s leader, says the society provides support, guidance, leadership and a “home away from home” for international newcomers to the area. “For a company as big as Swedwood, it is important to have a multicultural society with international flavor, and that’s what you find in Danville,” says Pradhan, an internal medicine physician from India who moved to the area in 1995. DA N V I L L E P I T T S Y LVA N I AC O . C O M

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Business | Biz Briefs

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“One of our biggest sales we ever had was several books and sets of books to a buyer in Romania. Another thing that is so fascinating is that American literature, such as sets of James Fenimore Cooper, will sell in Germany with great ease,” he says. “And Japan seems to have a fixation on early American history. I once asked a customer what this was all about, and they told me that since we wrote their constitution after World War II, they were interested in the origins of our own constitution.”

Author Henry Hunt thumbs through an old volume of bound newspapers at his bookstore, Shadetree Rare Books, in historic downtown Chatham.

READ A BOOK UNDER THE SHADETREE After years of traveling the globe chasing stories, Henry Hurt now lets the world come to him. Hurt, a former editor-at-large for Reader’s Digest, is the proprietor of Shadetree Rare Books in Chatham. The store, which also does brisk business online at www.shadetreerarebooks. com, is the realization of both a dream and a need, Hurt says. “I’ve always loved books, and I love to keep books,” he says. “In one sense, the origins of the book business came from a spillover in our house; I just had 30

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to do something with them. But I will admit that there are some, in my heart of hearts, that I really don’t want to sell, so I price them pretty high.” Much of Shadetree’s inventory focuses on American and Virginia history, with additional emphasis on children’s literature, architecture and design, cooking, travel and classic paperbacks. The store also has many signed first editions. For Hurt, author of the 1985 book Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy and 1983’s Shadrin: The Spy Who Never Came Back, part of the fun is just discovering from where his buyers come.

THE MATRIX ENTERS DANVILLE Giving Danville and Pittsylvania County “an 11 out of 10,” Matrix Technologies is building a new, $20 million plant that eventually will employ 500 people at the 100-acre site. The Durham, N.C., manufacturer chose Danville for its new facility after city and county officials won over president Jim Ladd on every front. “Danville fit the profile for where we think one of our central technology centers will work the best,” Ladd says. “I was really impressed with the people. We’ve got as many places after us as we want to go, and the officials here were just so helpful. They’ve been incredibly supportive throughout the process.” Matrix uses green technology to manufacture a concrete replacement made from cement and natural material including soybean hulls, cornstalks and newspapers. The substance cracks less easily than regular cement and can be used to build homes and other structures at lower costs. The company also converts waste such as old tires and medical materials into energy to run specialized greenhouses that will be used to produce plants for the European pharmaceutical industry. Matrix hopes to draw former textile and tobacco industry workers as it recruits staff. The company will be up and running within 2007 and will continue expanding and hiring for an estimated five years, Ladd says. GOOD ATMOSPHERE, GREAT FOOD When Mary Williams opened her one-room diner in 1951, she had one goal: serve good, home-cooked meals in a Christian atmosphere. A couple of relocations and several expansions later, DA N V I L L E


the second and third generations of her family are carrying on that tradition. “She started out in a humble little place, and she always said that you give the customers the best food you can give them,” says Elene Farlow, Mrs. Williams’ daughter. “They know when they come here to eat, they’re always getting the same; there’s no changing everything from one month to the next.” Mary’s quickly outgrew its original location, which only seated 25 people. The family moved the business to another location and, in 1956, constructed a new building where its cafeteria-style serving system was instituted. “I remember thinking that it wasn’t going to work,” Farlow says. “I figured when people went out to eat, they wanted to sit at a table and have someone wait on them. I didn’t think people would like it, but Mother had a vision. Little did I know.” Customers have so enjoyed Mary’s over the years since that the kitchen has been upgraded completely three times in this location. But regardless of the kitchen or building, the food and its preparation stay the same. “Every time we get a new cook, they have to learn to cook our way,” Farlow says. “That’s one of the things we attribute our success to.”

cars passing the mall each day on Piedmont Drive,” Skelley says. “Also, more than 700,000 people visit the race tracks annually and spend nearly $70 million in the region.” In addition to its strong and varied merchant mix, the mall constantly enhances its facilities for the approximately 6 million customers it welcomes annually, Skelley says. Among the most recent improvements are soft seating areas for shoppers. MICROSCOPIC TECHNOLOGY MAKES BIG IMPACT A converted tobacco factory might not seem the logical spot for a hightech nanotechnology facility, but Luna nanoWorks has shown that the old can be made new again, very successfully. “We moved into this building in January 2005 and had been in the incubator here prior to that,” says Bob Lenk, president of Luna nanoWorks, a division of Luna Innovations. “This is an 1870s tobacco factory, and now we’re doing state-of-the-art nanomaterials

research and manufacturing in it. We bring a lot of collaborators here for business, and when they see the building they’re just stunned. It’s an incredible space.” As it launched and grew, Luna began recruiting more highly trained scientists. Lenk says attracting them to Danville has been anything but difficult. “We’ve brought 15 PhD’s here so far, most of who were unaware of Danville before coming and are now delighted to be here,” he says. “We just hired a woman from Los Angeles who was so excited after she saw what rush hour was like in Danville!” Luna nanoWorks has between 30 and 40 employees and plans for continued growth, both internally and as a community presence. “We’re very proud of what we’re doing here, and we want the general community to understand that exciting things are happening down here,” Lenk says. “We have a strong sense of responsibility to the community, and we think we’re good for Danville and the rest of the area.” – Joe Morris

ONE-STOP SHOPPING A collection of more than 75 retailers within Danville’s bustling Piedmont Mall provides a diverse mix of shopping opportunities for residents and visitors alike. The mall’s newest anchor tenant is Boscov’s department store, the first in Virginia, which in 2005 joined current retailers such as Belk, J.C. Penney, Sears, American Eagle, Aeropostale, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works and Pacific Sunwear. Other new businesses at the Piedmont Mall include Ruffino’s Pizza, Kay Jewelers and Hat Shack. In addition to regularly drawing consumers from Danville and Pittsylvania County, motor sports fans visiting nearby Martinsville Speedway, VIRginia International Raceway and South Boston Speedway contribute greatly to the mall’s success, says Natalie Skelley, Piedmont Mall marketing manager. “Piedmont Mall is situated in the hub of new retail development in the Danville area, with more than 24,000 DA N V I L L E

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Carter Bank & Trust 141 Westover Dr. • Danville, VA 24541 • (434) 793-3321

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Business | Chamber Report

They’re Building Bridges WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS UNITE BUSINESS AND CIVIC COMMUNITIES

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workforce development.” Preparing local residents for the growing number of jobs coming to the region is a priority for the chamber, Moran says. The organization works closely with new and existing companies as well as with the area’s economic development offices and area schools to foster a smooth transition for workers between jobs of the past and highly skilled positions of the future. “Based on the information we’re getting from our partners in the business community, we’re able to identify challenges in the market and develop ways to help fill the skills gap with the local workforce. The system we’re putting together will not only benefit employers but the region as a whole,” Moran says. Ron Bunch is the former director of the office of economic development for the city of Danville. In his six years with the office, he helped recruit several new industries to the area and says the chamber’s efforts in workforce development are critical to building a successful economy.

“There are so many more diverse options for employment in the Danville area today. We have positions in everything from nanotechnology and making circuit boards to food processing and cabinet making. The chamber is critical in bringing together privatesector employers and ensuring they get what they need in the way of training for their employees to succeed in these new positions,” Bunch says. For companies like Yorktowne Cabinetry, which in 2006 opened a 256,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Danville, help from the chamber and other local agencies has been key to the hiring and training of hundreds of employees during the company’s first year of business. The chamber is also working with Danville Community College to prompt the development of an advanced wood manufacturing curriculum at the school. The specialized courses will benefit Yorktowne Cabinetry, Swedwood North America and other wood manufacturing companies in the area. – Valerie Pascoe

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hen community leaders Laurie Moran and Larry Campbell first met during a session of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at Virginia Tech two years ago, their discussion about workforce development led to a plan that ultimately connected more 2,500 job seekers with a long list of local employers. Moran, who is president of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, and Campbell, an elder and associate pastor at Danville’s Bible Way Cathedral, wanted to bridge the gap between the business community and urban residents. In 2006, they organized an employment summit to benefit both groups. The event also attracted Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. “We touched quite a few people that day, and we’re hosting another summit where we’ll do more with developing individuals for jobs that are already here or coming to the area,” Campbell says. “The chamber is a great institution and is doing a good job of reaching out and connecting with the community for

The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber staffers, consisting of (from left) President Laurie S. Moran, CCE, Office Manager/Executive Assistant Donna W. Ashworth, Membership Account Executive Judy P. Keesee, Program Manager H. Lynnette Lawson Lackey and Accounting Technician Barbara Barksdale, are a solid team advocating area business.

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Business | Economic Profile

DANVILLE AND PITTSYLVANIA CO. BUSINESS CLIMATE Danville and Pittsylvania County have some of the most innovative incentives and business development programs in the nation. These programs encourage growth and prosperity within the region’s existing economy and bring new business investment to the area.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME Danville $26,900 Pittsylvania County $46,600

HOUSING COSTS Median Home Value (Owner-occupied)

MEDIAN RENT Danville $404 Pittsylvania County $398

TRANSPORTATION

DANVILLE MSA LABOR FORCE

Airport

May 2007 Civilian Labor Force 51,596

Danville Regional Airport, 799-5110

Employed 48,560

Highways

Danville $71,900

Unemployed 3,036

Pittsylvania County $80,300

Unemployment Rate 5.9%

Industry Group

Estab.

Accommodation and Food Services

177

3,217

An excellent highway system coupled with easy access to Interstates 40 and 85 make Danville extremely well suited to reach mid-Atlantic markets and international shipping facilities.

Admin., Support, Waste Mgmt, Remediation

109

2,812

BUSINESS RESOURCES

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

41

226

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

27

343

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

34

Employees

Better Business Bureau (540) 342-3455 Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, 793-0884

Construction

287

2,061

Education Services

32

4,539

Finance and Insurance

138

1,047

Health Care and Social Assistance

213

5,542

Information

30

375

Danville Community Market, 797-8961

Management of Companies and Enterprises

18

332

Danville Economic Development Office, 793-1753

Manufacturing

102

Mining

N/A

N/A

Other Services (except Public Admin.)

244

981

Professional, Scientific & Technical Svc

138

625

Public Administration

69

1,490

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

79

405

Retail Trade

442

Transportation and Warehousing

77

749

Utilities

11

226

Wholesale Trade

108

TOTAL

2,344

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6,783

6,627

1,354 39,735

Dan River Small Business Development Center 793-9100

Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce 836-6990 Danville Welcome Center, 793-4636 Downtown Danville Association, 791-4470 Longwood University SBDC: Dan River, 793-9100 Pittsylvania County Economic Development, 432-1669 Social Security Administration (800) 772-1213

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MAJOR EMPLOYERS Company

DISTANCE TO MAJOR CITIES No. of Employees

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

2,400

Danville Regional Medical Center

1,555

Pittsylvania County School System

1,506

Danville Public Schools

1,250

City of Danville

1,221

Telvista

580

Nestle USA Inc.

575

Wal-Mart

575

CIT

53 miles

Lynchburg

50 miles

Richmond

140 miles

Roanoke Washington, D.C.

68 miles 279 miles

400

Danville Community College

373

Roman Eagle Memorial Home

350

Unique Industries

312

Dan River Inc.

300

Intertape Polymer Group

300

A.C. Furniture Inc.

275

Columbia Forest Products, Flooring Division

263

Yorktowne Cabinetry

260

Columbia Forest Products

248

LOCAL TAXES Property Real Estate (Market Value)

Tax Rate $100

City of Danville

.77

Pittsylvania County

.50

Town of Chatham

.22

Town of Gretna

.21

Town of Hurt

.14

Machinery & Tools (Original Cost) City of Danville at 80% Pittsylvania County at 10%

$1.50 $4.50

Automobiles (Market Value) City of Danville Pittsylvania County at 30%

$3.00 $7.75

Town of Chatham

$4.50

Town of Gretna

$2.00

Town of Hurt

$2.50

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Greensboro, N.C.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Pittsylvania County Economic Development 34 N. Main St., P.O.Box 1122 Chatham, VA 24531 Phone: 432-1669 Fax: 432-1709 www.pced.com City of Danville Office of Economic Development 427 Patton St. P.O. Box 3300 Danville, VA 24543-3300 Phone: 793-1753 Fax: 797-9606 www.discoverdanville.com E-mail: econdev@ DiscoverDanville.com Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce 8653 U.S. Highway 29 P.O. Box 99 Blairs, VA 24527 Phone: (434) 836-6990 Fax: (434) 836-6955 www.dpchamber.org E-mail: chamber@ dpchamber.org

Sources: www.discoverdanville.com www.dpchamber.org www.pittced.com http://velma.virtuallmi.com

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Education

Great Summer Reading STUDENTS PRODUCE YEARLY LITERARY WORK WITH STRONG COMMUNITY SUPPORT

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ith the publication each June of Euantes, George Washington High School’s award-winning literary arts magazine, the concept of summer reading takes on a whole new meaning. The 80-page publication, the result of a year’s work by a dedicated staff of 38 students in grades 10-12, showcases fellow students’ creativity, including features, short

George Washington High School’s literary arts magazine, Euantes, carries on a tradition of more than 30 years.

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stories, poetry, art, photography, a play, cartoons and an original comic strip. The 2007 publication also included an original song. “Euantes incorporates a lot of the different arts,” says Sharon Leigg, heading into her third year in 2007-08 as faculty adviser. “Every child who wants to find a way to express himself artistically can usually find a way to do it. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of time – as much time as a sport would take. But the students are learning things they might not learn until later in life.” The staff’s commitment and their fine product have not gone unnoticed. During 2006-07, the magazine was one of nine high school publications among nearly 500 in the United States to receive the Highest Award from the National Council of Teachers of English. In addition, Euantes was named Most Outstanding High School Magazine for 2006 by the American Scholastic Press Association and won the Gold Medalist Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. For the 20th consecutive year, Euantes was awarded Trophy Class honors at the Virginia High School League’s Championship Journalism Competition. The opportunity to work on the magazine is competitive as well. Students apply for positions on the staff, and participation consists of a five-day-a-week credit class, Leigg says. “The first year they may focus on general requirements, learning how to use computer programs, for example. The next year, they may come back as editors,” she explains. Responsibilities cover the gamut from working on student submissions and production tasks to raising funds to publish the book. The spot- and process-color magazine, in publication for more than three decades, costs about $12,000 to produce, Leigg says. Subscriptions are $5, and students hold fundraisers and solicit pledges to help defray the production costs. “It’s a lot of fun for the staff, but the magazine is something that makes them grow. Learning how to be a team player is something they’ll use for the rest of their lives,” Leigg says. The Euantes staff offers another creative outlet for students with the introduction of its Coffeehouse Celebration at the North Theatre, produced for the first time in March 2007. The free event features music and displays of students’ artistic works. “I’m surprised sometimes at how resilient the kids are. They have an ‘it can be done’ attitude at all times,” Leigg says. “It’s very invigorating for a teacher.” – Anne Gillem DA N V I L L E


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Music teacher Janet Hullender pulls from various subjects to convey to her kids the impact music has had on history.

Teaching Music and So Much More EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR HULLENDER AIMS TO OPEN EARS AND MINDS

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n her classroom decorated with a mirror, sconces, Victorian curtains and artwork, Janet Hullender shares her love of music with her young students – along with a little social studies, reading and language skills. Hullender, who in the fall of 2007 is entering her fourth year as music teacher at Twin Springs Elementary School and her 33rd year in teaching, is passionate about her work – a fact recognized in the community. The Danville Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce named Hullender the 2006-07 Pittsylvania County Elementary School Educator of the Year. Twin Springs has 850 students in grades Pre-K through five, and Hullender enjoys teaching kids

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across a range of ages. “I can teach anything and put it to the [educational] level of a child,” Hullender says. “You give preschool or kindergarten a taste of something – like xylophones, for example. We looked at them and saw what they were made of, played them and matched them to pictures in a book. By the time you get to fifth grade, you give them more information and question them more.” Hullender, a former kindergarten teacher, strongly believes in integrating all subjects into her music instruction. Her classroom is decorated in a nontraditional way to give students a taste of culture. “I use any opportunity to help them with their language, their

social studies,” she says. “I keep a map in the room, and we talk about every country a composer or instrument comes from. Because I’ve been in the regular classroom, I know what the other teachers must cover. I feel I’m a real support with helping them.” Hullender says she wants children to respect all types of music. The curriculum includes learning about composers, listening to music, dance, choreography, making instruments, a voluntary fifthgrade chorus, and much more. “I’ve been here three years, and I’ve been on a honeymoon for three years,” Hullender says. “I know I’m in the exact spot I’m supposed to be.” – Anne Gillem

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Arts & Culture

Making a Return to Glory RESTORED NORTH AND GRETNA THEATRES BRING BACK MEMORIES, CREATE NEW ONES

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or those who recall the flicker of old film reels on the screen, the North and Gretna Theatres bring back memories. For the kids lining up to see the latest Disney movie, it’s all about creating new ones. The North Theatre in Danville and the Gretna Theatre 30 miles to the north both have been restored carefully, imbuing a sense of nostalgia as they serve new generations of audience members in the Danville-Pittsylvania County area. Area residents are thrilled that the two historic theatres once again answer the call of those looking to experience live theatre, music performances and the latest Hollywood blockbusters, as well as classic and foreign films. Gretna Theatre owners Donald and Marie Young spent eight months renovating the 1950s movie house and cut the ribbon on the refurbished facility in 2006. Gretna Theatre is open mostly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and offers entertainment geared toward the whole family. In addition to presenting current box office hits, the theatre has hosted performances by Elvis impersonators, AC/DC tribute artists and other musical groups. The Youngs also lease the building for special events and meetings. “We love music and seeing and being with people,” Marie Young says. “Everyone has enjoyed coming. We get all ages and we’ve had a good turnout.” In Danville, community leaders halted plans to bulldoze several properties by spearheading the renovation of the North Theatre in 2003. The group also remodeled two nearby buildings to house a restaurant, as well as an art gallery and accommodations for visiting performers. Built in 1947, The North Theatre was intended to be a venue for vaudeville performances. However, this was the time when “new” television technology was beginning to draw families into their living rooms for entertainment. Therefore, the theatre never staged a vaudeville show, but featured other types DA N V I L L E

of live theatre performances and motion pictures until it closed in 1976. From that time until 2003, the building was home to an auction house, several churches and most recently, a flower shop. Then, with the nurturing of Artistic/ Managing Director Jerry Meadors and Board President Roy Gignac, the theatre underwent dramatic restoration over the course of two years. “At the time it opened, The North Theatre was probably the most modern small stage in America,” Gignac says. It was the mission of this duo to restore it to its former glory. All 488 seats were filled – including 116 in the commodious balcony – when

noted jazz combo The Heath Brothers performed for the theatre’s opening in February 2005. Since then, the theater has featured performances by the Danville Concert Association and local school and dance studios as well as screenings of classic and foreign films. It also anchors The Little Theatre of Danville, which has been entertaining audiences with dramas, comedies, and classics of the stage for more than half a century but had lacked a permanent home. “Once people learn about the theater, once they come and hear the Surround Sound, they come back,” Gignac says. – Piper Reilly

Restored from 2003 to 2005, the 60-year-old North Theatre now features two new 35 mm projectors, a digital projector and dual sound systems – one with Surround Sound for movies and a second for theatrical productions.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID CROSS

Sports & Recreation

American Legion Post 325 Field at Dan Daniel Memorial Park is the home of the 2006 Appalachian League champions, the Danville Braves. League officials consistently rank the field as one of its top facilities in the nation.

Digging In at the Plate THE DANVILLE BRAVES CELEBRATE 15TH SEASON OF APPALACHIAN LEAGUE PLAY

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urrent Atlanta Braves baseball players Andruw Jones, Jeff Francoeur and Chuck James played here. So did major leaguers such as Jermaine Dye, Rafael Furcal, Marcus Giles and Kevin Millwood. American Legion Post 325 Field at Dan Daniel Memorial Park has served as the home stadium for the Danville Braves since 1993. That was the year when the franchise was established as a minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. “We compete in the Appalachian League, which is a rookie-advanced league primarily for players ages 18 to 20 who are just starting out in pro baseball,” says David Cross, general manager of the Danville Braves. “For example, outfielder Jeff Francoeur was drafted by Atlanta in 2002, and Danville was his first stop. We’ve had a lot of good players come through here over the years.” Danville has produced a lot of good teams, too – especially in recent times. “We won the Appalachian League championship for the DA N V I L L E

first time ever in 2006 and were also in the championship series in 2004 and 2005,” Cross says. “Fans are now expecting the team to fight for the title every year. Those fan expectations are especially high given the fact that we’re affiliated with the Atlanta Braves, a team that always seems to be in the hunt for the World Series every year.” Danville fans have the luxury of watching home games in one of the nicest stadiums in all of minor league baseball. “Even though American Legion Post 325 Field is 15 years old, it remains one of the top facilities in our league,” Cross says. “The city owns the stadium and does a great job maintaining it, and the field is always rated No. 1 or No. 2 by Appalachian League officials each year.” The stadium seats 2,588, and recent improvements include a permanent roof that covers the reserved seating area and an expansion of the concession stands. The team also installed extra safety netting in certain areas to protect spectators from fast-traveling foul balls. As for the season itself, Danville plays 68 games (34 home, 34 away) from mid-June to early September. “We’ve had good attendance over the years, with nearly 40,000 fans out here during our 2006 championship season,” Cross says. “Our goal as a professional organization is to provide a fun family atmosphere while being a responsible corporate citizen that supports the area. The Danville Braves strive to have a winning team on the field and run a highquality business away from the field.” – Kevin Litwin DA N V I L L E P I T T S Y LVA N I AC O . C O M

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Health & Wellness

Not Just Everyday Heroes MANY RESIDENTS COUNT LIFESAVING TECHNIQUES AMONG THEIR PERSONAL SKILLS

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Danville Mayor Wayne Williams credits his involvement with the lifesaving crew for his decision to pursue a career in medicine.

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IAN CURCIO

s a teenager, Danville Mayor Dr. Wayne Williams wanted to make a difference in his community. At the age of 16, he began training for certification as an emergency medical technician and joined the Danville Lifesaving Crew, a volunteer organization that provides free emergency response when local residents call 911. Williams says his two-year experience with the crew led him to pursue a degree in medicine at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. “Being a member of the lifesaving crew had a profound inf luence on my life. I had the opportunity to see firsthand what it takes to help others in an emergency situation and help save lives. These are extremely dedicated and well trained individuals who provide an essential service to the community,” says Williams, an ear, nose and throat physician who has served as Danville’s mayor since 2006. During his time with the lifesaving crew, Williams worked side-by-side with Jim Mullins, another volunteer who has been responding to emergency calls for more than 26 years. Mullins is one of 125 local residents who donate their time and skills to keep the lifesaving crew going strong. “You’d be surprised how many people think we get a salary. But we’re not motivated by money. We’re motivated by the service we provide to the community and the lives we save along the way,” says Mullins, a certified searchand-rescue diver whose 20-year-old daughter also is trained as an EMT. Funded largely by corporate donations,

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Health & Wellness

There’s no place like home the Danville Lifesaving Crew was formed in 1944 and is headquartered on Christopher Lane, with an additional station on the north side of town. Each August, the lifesaving crew hosts a charity golf tournament to help cover its annual operating budget of $500,000. The crew also offers a ride-along program for medical and fire and rescue professionals in the area as well as for citizens who have no emergency response training. The purpose of the program is twofold: to recruit new members and to educate members of the community about how the crew operates in responding to emergencies. Observers must be at least 16 years old and follow a strict set of guidelines to participate in the program. Once the various requirements are met, Mullins says, the experience is the best way to comprehend the real scope of the program and the true commitment of its volunteers. “Until you’ve ridden along on a call, it’s hard to understand just how much these volunteers dedicate in the way of their time and themselves for the community,” says Mullins. “Whenever people see that white and orange truck speed by, what they might not realize is that the people inside may have jumped in from their home or office to respond to the call.” Mullins’ employer, Goodyear, also has a program in place to ensure first responders are on the scene quickly in the event of an emergency. The company’s Emergency Response Brigade comprises more than 40 Goodyear employees who are certified as EMTs and cross-trained to fight fires. According to Ronald Knight, former manager of safety and health for Goodyear’s Danville plant, the Emergency Response Brigade serves as its own nontransporting emergency management agency at the basic life-support level and is classified as a registered fire brigade in the state of Virginia. “I always say the Goodyear plant is one of the safest places to be in the city. More than 80 percent of the calls the brigade takes are non-occupational in nature, such as respiratory or heart problems in employees,” Knight says. – Valerie Pascoe DA N V I L L E

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Community Profile

DANVILLE AND PITTSYLVANIA CO. SNAPSHOT Danville and Pittsylvania County offer a host of simple pleasures and cultural opportunities. Danville is a place where the city’s “past decorates its neighborhoods and whose Main Street mansions are a display of Victorian architecture.”

Sylvan Learning Center www.educate.com/ centers/24540, 799-6900

EDUCATION Public Schools Danville Public Schools www.web.dps.k12.va.us 799-6400 Pittsylvania County Schools www.pcs.k12.va.us/public/ 793-1624, 432-2761, 656-6248 Private Schools Abundant Life Academy www.alwoc.org, 799-8542 Carlisle School www.carlisleschool.org (276) 632-7288 Chatham Hall www.chathamhall.org 432-2941 Faith Christian Academy www.fcavirginia.com 324-8276 Hargrave Military Academy www.hargrave.edu 432-2481 New Horizon’s Christian School, 793-1744 Sacred Heart School www.sheartschool.com 793-2656 Seventh Day Adventist Elementary, 822-0356

Westover Christian Academy www.westoverministries.org 822-0800

Average July Low Temperature, 65.7 F Mean Annual Temperature, 52.0 F Average Annual Rainfall, 34.7 inches

Woodlawn Academy www.woodlawnacademy.net 432-9244

Average Annual Snowfall, 3.30 inches

Higher Education

UTILITIES

Averett University www.averett.edu, 791-5600 Danville Community College www.dcc.vccs.edu, 797-2222 DRMC School of Nursing www.danvilleregional.org 799-4510 Institute for Advanced Learning & Research ww.ialr.org, 766-6700 National College www.national-college.edu 793-6822 Old Dominion University www.odu.edu, 791-5334

Cable Comcast, (888) 683-1000 Chatmoss Cablevision 685-1521 Electricity American Electric Power (800) 956-4237 City of Danville, 799-5155 Dominion Virginia Power (888) 667-3000 Mecklenburg Electric 656-1288 Southside Electric (800) 552-2118 Natural Gas

CLIMATE

City of Danville, 799-5280

Average January High Temperature, 45.4 F

Columbia Gas of Virginia (800) 543-8911

Average January Low Temperature, 23.2 F

Telephone

Average July High Temperature, 89.2 F

Peoples Mutual Telephone 656-2291

EMBARQ, (276) 223-6291

Industry Week magazine named Danville one of its Top 25 World-Class Communities out of 310 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas based on its recent manufacturing prowess.

The area code for Danville is 43 4 .

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Community Profile Verizon, 954-6222 Water City of Danville, 799-5280 Pittsylvania County Service Authority, 836-7135 Town of Chatham, 432-9515 Town of Gretna, 656-6572 Town of Hurt, 324-4411

MEDICAL FACILITY Danville Regional Medical Center www.danvilleregional.org 799-2100

WDVA – Great Gospel 797-1250 WKBY, 432-8108 WMNA, 432-4730

GOLF Ringgold Golf Club State Road 734 off U. S. 58 East, 822-8728 Caswell Pines Golf Club County Home Road off U.S. 86 South in Yanceyville, N.C., (910) 694-2255

Cedars Country Club Anderson Mill Road, Chatham 656-9909, Open to the public on weekends.

ATTRACTIONS American Armoured Foundation Tank Museum 836-5323 Carrington Pavilion, 773-8160 Cooper’s R/C Racecenter 724-4182 Danville Association of Arts & Humanities, 792-6965

LIBRARIES Danville Public Library, 799-5195 Danville Law Library, 799-5118 Danville Library-Westover 799-5152 Pittsylvania County Library 432-3271 Pittsylvania Library – Gretna 656-2579 Pittsylvania Library – Brosville-Cascade, 685-1285

MEDIA Newspapers Danville Register & Bee (daily) www.registerbee.com 793-2311 The Star-Tribune (weekly) www.chathamstartribune.com 432-2791 Television Stations WDBJ 7, www.wdbj7.com 799-1700 WGSR – Star 39, 791-3440 WSET-TV Virginia’s 13, ABC www.wset.com, 797-9713 WSLS 10, www.wsls.com (540) 981-9126 Radio Stations News Radio 1330 WBTM www.wbtm1330.com, 793-4411 WAKG FM 103.3 www.wakg.com 797-4290 WILA Radio, 792-2133

The area code for Danville is 43 4 .

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DANIEL, MEDLEY & K IRBY, P.C. ATTORNEYS AT LAW

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(434) 797-4007 428 Piney Forest Rd. Danville, VA 24540

(434) 432-3009 Chatham Centre • USWY 29 Chatham, VA 24531

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JAMES A. L. DANIEL MARTHA WHITE MEDLEY WILLIAM L. KIRBY, III JANINE M. JACOB M. BRENT SAUNDERS AMANDA M. MORGAN BRIAN R. CHARVILLE MARY SCOTT SWYERS H. CLAY GRAVELY IV MARTINSVILLE OFFICE: 106 E. Main St. • 2nd Floor Martinsville, VA 24112 (276) 666-1585 Fax: (276) 666-4046

DANVILLE OFFICE: 110 N. Union St. Danville, VA 24541 (434) 792-3911 Fax: (434) 793-5724

www.dmklawfirm.com

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Community Profile Danville Braves, 797-3792

Garbage Collection

Danville Concert Association,

City of Danville, 799-5245

432-3374

First Piedmont Corp. 432-0211

Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History, 793-5644 Danville Parks, Recreation & Tourism, 799-5200 Danville Pittsylvania County Fair Association, 822-6850 Danville Science Center 799-5160 Danville Symphony Orchestra, 799-0494 Estelle H. Womack Museum of Natural History, 791-5160 Gretna Theatre, 656-3377 The North Theatre, 792-2700

Police (Non-Emergencies) Chatham Police Department 432-9515 Danville Police Department 799-5111 Danville Sheriff’s Office 799-5135 Gretna Police Department 656-6123 Hurt Police Department 324-8511 Pittsylvania County Sheriff 432-7800 Virginia State Police (800) 553-3144 Voter Registration:

South Boston Speedway, 572-4947 Tomahawk Mill

Danville, 799-6560 Pittsylvania County 432-7971

Winery, 432-1063 Veteran’s Memorial Wall & Walkway, 793-0884

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

VIRginia International

AUGUST

Raceway, (888) RACE-099 Virginia Museum of Natural History, (276) 666-8600

3, 17

NUMBERS TO KNOW

FRIDAY AT THE CROSSING CARRINGTON PAVILION AT THE CROSSING AT THE DAN

City of Danville, 799-5100

17, 18

Pittsylvania Co., 432-7700 Town of Chatham, 432-9515

RODEO AT DANVILLEPITTSYLVANIA COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS

Town of Gretna, 656-6572

822-6850

Town of Hurt, 324-4411

SEPTEMBER

Animal Information Animal Control – Pittsylvania

5

County, 432-7937

SHRIMP FEST DANVILLE COMMUNITY MARKET

Dog Licenses – Danville 799-5140

836-6990

Humane Society, 799-0843 Building Codes/Permits

7

City of Danville, 799-5261

FRIDAY AT THE CROSSING CARRINGTON PAVILION AT THE CROSSING AT THE DAN

Pittsylvania County, 432-7755

The area code for Danville is 43 4 .

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CORKS & FORKS DANVILLE SCIENCE CENTER STATION 791-5160 29

SORGHUM FESTIVAL AT CLIMAX 432-9679

OCTOBER 6

CALLANDS AUTUMN POTPOURRI FESTIVAL 20

FALL CLASSICAL DANVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM www.danvillesymphony.net

20

GRETNA OLD TIMERS’ JUBILEE

NOVEMBER 3

AAF TANK MUSEUM CAR SHOW 836-5323

DECEMBER 1

I spy something green.

RIVERVIEW ROTARY’S CHRISTMAS PARADE 793-4636 9

GRETNA CHRISTMAS PARADE 15

Everyday moments can be learning moments with your kids. For more tips, visit bornlearning.org

CHRISTMAS CONCERT DANVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM www.danvillesymphony.net

The area code for Danville is 43 4 .

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MARCH 15

SPRING CLASSICAL DANVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM www.danvillesymphony.net

MAY 17

SPRING POPS CONCERT DANVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM www.danvillesymphony.net

questions

answers

FOR MORE INFORMATION Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce 8653 U.S. Highway 29 P.O. Box 99 Blairs, VA 24527 Phone: (434) 836-6990 Fax: (434) 836-6955 www.dpchamber.org chamber@dpchamber.org

©2002 American Cancer Society, Inc.

8 0 0 . A C S . 2 3 4 5 / c a n c e r. o r g

Sources: www.dpchamber.org www.visitdanville.com

The area code for Danville is 43 4 .

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Baldwin & Associates Realty www.lindabaldwinrealestate.com

Goodwill Industries www.goodwilldanville.com

Bankers Insurance

Goodyear

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Ben David Jewelers www.bendavidjewelers.com

Institute for Advanced Learning and Research www.ialr.org

Blair Construction www.blair-construction.com Century 21 – Manasco Realty www.manasco.com City of Danville Parks & Recreation www.discoverdanville.com

Johnson CPA www.cpa-johnson.com

Nationwide Insurance – W.A. Wells III & Associates www.nwagent.com/w_a_wells.html

Coldwell Banker – Michael Scearce/Gaynelle Crowder

Office Plus Business Centre www.opbizz.com

Courtyard Conference Centers www.courtyardconference centers.com

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Available in over 20 colors of enamel. We invite you to view the award-winning

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Daniel, Medley & Kirby, P.C. www.dmklawfirm.com

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Sleep Inn – Inn & Suites www.choicehotels.com

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State Farm – Terry Blakely www.terryblakely.net

Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber www.dpchamber.org

Suntrust Mortgage www.suntrustmortgage.com/lshields

Danville Regional Medical Center www.danvilleregional.com

Select names or important dates and Hidalgo will be happy to make them exclusively for you. Start your collection today!

Loyalton of Danville www.emeritus.com

Clement & Wheatley www.clementwheatley.com

Daly Seven www.dalyseven.com

Introducing Hidalgo’s new collection of 18K gold, diamond and enamel personalized rings. The rings are great for bridal, anniversary, new mothers and grandmothers, graduation, young adults and pet lovers.

The Scruggs Company www.sugartreemanor.com

Danville – The Heart of Southern Virginia www.visitdanville.com

URW Community Federal Credit Union www.urwfcu.org

Dewberry www.dewberry.com

Wilkins & Co. Realtors www.wilkinsandco.com

ERA Holley & Lewis Realty Co. www.eraholleyandlewis.com

Yorktowne Cabinetry www.yorktownecabinetry.com

Visit Our Diamond Superstore Mt. Cross Rd. • Danville, VA Between First State Bank & Wal-Mart (434) 792-6561 www.BenDavidJewelers.com 66541rc110806

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DA N V I L L E P I T T S Y LVA N I AC O . C O M

DA N V I L L E


Laura Lewis

Janet Holley

203-0556

836-1868

Real Estate isn’t just about property. It’s about people. www.eraholleyandlewis.com

ERA HOLLEY & LEWIS R EALTY CO. INC. 339 Piney Forest Rd. • Danville, VA • (434) 791-2400 Independently Owned & Operated Office

Teresa Edwards-Moody (434) 728-5363 www.TeresaMoody.com Danville’s Residential Specialist Relocation and New Construction Specialist

Looking to buy? For expert real estate advice, give me a call today!


PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

34 N. MAIN ST. P.O. BOX 1122 CHATHAM, VA 24531 (434) 432-1669

(800) 491-2842 PITTCED@PITTGOV.ORG WWW.PITTCED.COM

CITY OF DANVILLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

427 PATTON ST. P.O. BOX 3300 DANVILLE, VA 24543-3300 (434) 793-1753

ECONDEV@DISCOVERDANVILLE.COM WWW.DISCOVERDANVILLE.COM

Images Danville-Pittsylvania County, VA: 2007  

Located in south-central Virginia along the border with North Carolina, Danville and Pittsylvania County are home to approximately 108,000 r...

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