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The Stafford Focus is getting an upgrade! To complement the recent website upgrade, the Stafford Focus Newsletter has a new format too! Scroll down for a quick overview of this quarter’s articles and click through the hyperlinks for more information. For a more frequent compilation of news affecting the local business community, check out the Stafford Focus – Weekly Business Development News. This more frequent newsletter format will enable Stafford’s economic development office to share information relevant to the local business community in between quarterly newsletter publications. Read on to see what’s happening now!

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In This Edition

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Economic Development has a New Assistant Director

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Rick Cobert recently joined Stafford’s economic development staff as the new Assistant Director. Rick worked for twelve years with the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development where he focused on attraction, expansion, retention and business advocacy efforts. The primary responsibilities for the Stafford County Assistant Director include the management of the Economic Development & Tourism office, business attraction efforts, managing the budget and the Stafford County 10 Point Plan, and updating the Economic Development & Tourism Strategic Plan. Rick Holds a Certified Economic Developer designation with the International Economic Development Council indicating mastery in the field.

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Business Spotlight

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Congratulations to Access Eye Centers! The company will soon reopen its flagship location on Route 1 in Falmouth. First opened at the location in 1983, the Cambridge Street office is one of five regional facilities. With location in the Falmouth Redevelopment Area, the county is pleased to tout this project as additional advancement towards reaching Stafford’s redevelopment vision. Dr. Arash Mansouri, Ophthalmologist, Medical and Surgical Director of Access Eye Centers in the Fredericksburg, Va. region, has been acknowledged as a national leader in the implantation of intraocular lens on cataract surgeries. Bausch + Lomb, manufacturers of Crystalens, a lifestyle intraocular lens, recently presented Dr. Mansouri with its prestigious Center of Excellence Award.  This award recognizes Dr. Mansouri as a “surgically gifted ophthalmologist.”  Crystalens is a new FDA-approved intraocular lens that can eliminate or dramatically reduce the need for glasses after cataract surgery. Access Eye Centers is the only area eye surgery center to offer them.  “Being a doctor and caring for my patients is the fulfillment of a dream that I have had since I was 10 years old,” said Dr. Mansouri.  He graduated from George Mason University in 1991, from the Medical College of Virginia in 1995 and the Duke University Eye Center in 1999.  He held a faculty position at the Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 1999 to 2000. Dr. Mansouri lives in Stafford with his wife and family.

Visit the website.

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Stafford is Going Shopping – For Retailers!

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In 2012, Stafford conducted a Retail Study to detail local buying and spending power. The report also identified the gap between what goods residents consume and which of those goods are available in the county. As it turns out, more than $656 Million dollars is being spent on retail in communities to the north and south. During February, armed with the study findings, economic development staff will attend the International Council of Shopping Center’s Mid-Atlantic Conference at the National Harbor to meet with retail developers and representatives. While efforts to attract new and diverse retail to the community will be long-term and ongoing, this will be an important start to educating the market that we are ready to spend. Do you have ideas about local retail? Tell us what they are by taking this short questionnaire.

Provide Input

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Redevelopment Area Updates

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Recent months have seen an uptick in activity in all four of the county’s Redevelopment Areas. The construction of a new Panera is in the works in Southgate and a hotel and shops are under construction in Boswell’s Corner.  Attorney Anthony C. Williams celebrated a Ribbon Cutting in October in his newly renovated space where the Cedar Post once stood in the Courthouse Area. In Falmouth, Amy’s Café will soon get a facelift via facade improvements, and Access Eye Centers is preparing for a Grand Re-Opening of their Cambridge Street location. Find more information about Access Eye Centers above in the Business Spotlight.

Read More

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Business News

Preparing for the uncertain during the last quarter of 2012, Stafford’s economic development office teamed with a number of area partners to offer a Sequestration Series of workshops. Each of the meetings sought to provide some certainty to the unresolved budget issues in Washington DC that could have an effect on the local business community. Reaching more 150 representatives of local companies, the information offered was well-received. While the series was organized to address how local communities could prepare for dramatic defense budget cuts, the information provided is applicable across industry groups – and is accessible regardless of budget circumstances. Contact Bethany Miller, Business Retention and Expansion Manager to learn more. Companies that missed any or all of the series sessions can access all of the event materials on the GoStafford website.

Series Materials

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Business Development Assistance

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Constellation for Business Business counseling services offered through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) are available in the Stafford economic development office on the first Tuesday of each month. The services are made available through the SBDC's Constellation for Business Program. Appointments must be made through the SBDC, as usual. Stafford’s economic development office is located in the Stafford Government Building at 1300 Courthouse Road and offers a more convenient meeting location than the UMW headquarters location on the UMW Campus at Eagle Village.

More useful links

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Business Appreciation Week 2013

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The word is out! Business Appreciation Week will be celebrated June 3 – June 7 during 2013. This year’s theme is Advancing Workforce Excellence. Be sure to check the GoStafford website in the coming weeks and months for event updates and announcements. RSVP early this year for a seat at the EDA-sponsored luncheon scheduled for June 6th at the RIverside Conference and Events Center. We hope to see you there! Visit the economic development photo album from last year to see what you missed!

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Education & Workforce Development

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Activity is picking up at the Stafford Research Center at Quantico Corporate Center. After celebrating its Ribbon Cutting during fall of 2012, the second round of class schedules are shaping up. A collaborative effort of Stafford County, George Mason University, Germanna Community College, and the University of Mary Washington, the center will provide a diverse set of offerings to the business community. UMW has been tasked with orchestrating all course offerings at the center. On 10 January, the University hired Kris Stoneley as the new Professional Development Program Manager. The center also recently filed the articles of incorporation required to obtain official not-for-profit status allowing the entity to operate under a different tax status than its core partners. More updates about the new structure and next steps are forthcoming.

Read Kris's Bio

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Healthcare Got You Down?

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Healthcare Got You Down? With so many changes to the healthcare system, lots of small business owners are confused about what to expect and when to act. Senator Mark Warner’s office has provided some quick links that should help you get to the point. Find general information on http://www.healthcare.gov
- Specifically, Small Business can find general information here: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/information-for-you/small-business.html
- Frequently Asked Questions about employers can be found at this link: http://answers.healthcare.gov/categories/1701 On December 28th, 2012 the IRS issued proposed regulations regarding the employer shared responsibility: http://www.irs.gov/pub/newsroom/reg-138006-12.pdf
- IRS FAQ about the shared responsibility payments: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Questions-and-Answers-on-Employer-Shared-Responsibility-Provisions-Under-the-Affordable-Care-Act
- IRS information about the Small Business Tax Credit: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Small-Business-Health-Care-Tax-Credit-for-Small-Employers

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George Washington’s Boyhood Home

Stafford County Economic Development
1300 Courthouse Road • P.O. Box 339, Stafford, VA, USA 22555-0339
Stafford County Website

Contact Us: Tim Baroody (540) 658-8681     Contact Us     facebook-icon