Molasses Grill named one of "The 30 places to eat in Virginia before you die"

Molasses Grill, Chef SteveIn 16 weeks the Virginia-Pilot newspaper reviewed 200 restaurants throughout the state to name "The 30 places to eat in Virginia before you die," and local restaurant Molasses Grill was named to the list. Their review follows:

"In the vast expanse of central Virginia, towns are like islands surrounded by rolling farmland. It's impossible to guess where gourmets gather. That's the case in Halifax. Across from the pillared courthouse, circa 1777, the Molasses Grill has been pleasing refined palates since 2005. That's when chef Steven Schopen, an English chap with worldly roots, and his wife, Karen, opened this restaurant. Inside, brick walls and burnished pine lend a sense of calm, but opening the menu causes palpitations. Schopen pairs Southern staples with locally sourced ingredients and turns out house-made sausages, breads and dishes such as grilled pork tenderloin with a shellac of bourbon and molasses. Or how about fried chicken and some pimento mac and cheese? Worth the 5-mile or so detour from the straightaway."

Read the full list here.

Prizery taps new managing director

The Prizery has hired Pat Anderson-Flowers as its new managing director.

For the past 27 years, Anderson-Flowers has worked at Birmingham Southern College where she started as a faculty member in the Theatre Arts department and ended as an assistant vice president of Institutional Advancement for the college.

Her professional experience also includes time as the Artistic and Educational Outreach director of the Birmingham Children's Theatre.

"We are very lucky to have found Pat," said Matt Leonard, vice president of The Prizery, who led the search. "It took a year and national reach to make sure we had the right person.

"Pat brings the critical mix of organizational management, fund raising and development and the experience we need to build on the hard work and progress of our already dedicated staff and volunteers."

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New Brick Historic Lofts to cut the ribbon March 20

New Brick Historic LoftsRehab Development, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based developer specializing in downtown Main Street revitalization, historic preservation and successful public/private partnership formation, has completed construction on New Brick Historic Lofts in South Boston, a project that included both state and federal historic tax credits.

Rehab Development is inviting the public to a ribbon cutting and open house celebration, which will include tours of the lofts, on Thursday, March 20, 2014 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. To attend individuals must RSVP to info@newbrickhistoriclofts.com.

Located at 701 Jefferson Avenue, New Brick Historic Lofts afford premier residential spaces in the heart of downtown South Boston. During construction, state of the art green building techniques were incorporated to provide a desirable environment for residents. The building features twenty seven apartments for lease, fourteen of which are spacious two bedrooms, two bath townhouse lofts. The remaining thirteen units are beautiful one bedroom, one to one and a half bath flats.

"This project was a lot of fun. We believe the effort of the entire project team, at every level, shines through when you walk through this building," said Patrick Reilly, Principal at Rehab Development. "The original constructors of this building should be commended for their fine work all those years ago, as well as the Town of South Boston's leadership for their vision and support. We look forward to continuing to work on buildings in the area and helping preserve more of the incredible architectural history of Halifax County."

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IDA Completes Rebranding Designs

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has completed its new branding designs for its properties and programs. "Halifax County has worked hard to build out the critical assets that business and industries look for when deciding to expand. What we haven't done is present them in a way that shows how they go together," says Matt Leonard, the IDA's Executive Director. "We have been working for the last year to build a brand that tells a fuller story to those inside and outside of our region."

The IDA will build off of the more recognizable "Southern Virginia" identity already used by its critical mission partners such as the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Tobacco Indemnification and Communities Revitalization Commission, Southern Virginia Regional Alliance and Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation. The IDA used the new logo and tag line it unveiled at the end of 2012 to complete its rebranding. The chart shows the changes being made.

"When we market Halifax Virginia to prospect industries, they need to quickly recognize the advantageous positioning and collaborative nature of our community and our assets," says Kristy Johnson, the IDA's Manager of Marketing & Business Development. "These immediately paint a picture, which we can then readily guide our prospects through to show them how Halifax County in Southern Virginia brings it all together in a way that meets their needs – from its placement logistically to its workforce training to its R&D, business and product support assets."

The IDA has already reworked its website and marketing materials using these new brands. Over the next few months the IDA will be changing its property signage to complete the rebranding.

Halifax County IDA rebranding

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Celebrates Their 10 Year Anniversary

Open-access fiber optic network continues to help regional economy grow

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC), a successful wholesale fiber-optic open-access network transport provider, is celebrating their 10 year anniversary today. Many things have changed over the last ten years, but MBC has remained steadfast in working to fulfill its core mission areas of promoting economic development, lessening the burdens of government, bridging the digital divide, and reinvesting in our communities.

The initial investment in 2004 from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission funded the build out of the first 800 miles of fiber throughout Southern Virginia, connecting every single industrial, business and technology park in the region. MBC recently completed three Federal grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which included the construction of over 700 additional miles of fiber to the original network. Those projects included extending open-access fiber to all K-12 schools in Southern Virginia, extending the fiber backbone west to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and extending network builds to southeast Virginia/Hampton Roads market in partnership with Old Dominion University. Today, MBC maintains a regional fiber network of 1600+ route miles with over 300 buildings and 70 towers on-net, including direct connectivity to the largest Internet peering hubs in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic region.

As MBC's network has grown, so has the MBC team. Mid-Atlantic Broadband now has fifteen full-time employees dedicated to managing the $100 million organization. Since its inception in 2004, MBC has directly enabled the creation of over 900 full-time jobs and attracted over $1.3 Billion in private sector investments from companies expanding their presence in rural Southern Virginia. MBC recently opened an office in Silicon Valley, California to promote Southern Virginia and enhance our economic development recruitment efforts for companies looking to expand to cost effective east coast markets.

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Enterprise Zone Payments Made to 6 Companies

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has distributed over $133,000 in Halifax County Enterprise Zone grants to six different business and industries for their capital investments made.

"These are real investments made by our strong and stable corporate partners in Halifax County," says Matt Leonard, the IDA's Executive Director. "These investments broaden the County's business and industrial tax base, generating more revenue over time which helps keep down the tax rates for our citizens."

Enterprise Zones are allowed in select communities by the Commonwealth of Virginia. They allow localities to offer grant-backs of a portion of the increased tax revenues County's receive when businesses and industries invest more in their community. In any five-year period, and on average, the amount granted back is approximately 50% of the increased revenues received. The IDA administers the program for the County because of its close ties to the County's industries.

"We track their needs, and work to help meet them." says Leonard. "Our existing and new industries appreciate that we appreciate them. We form long-lasting partnerships with them. The Enterprise Zone program is an aspect of that partnership; and part of the reason why they come to Halifax, and stay and grow in Halifax. The distributions made this week went to companies that have been in Halifax County from five years to 30 years."

"Based on the information the IDA gathered from County industries regarding near-term plans, we anticipate awards of nearly $140,000 in 2014," says Marissa Jackson, the IDA's Operations Manager who will take lead on the EZ program this year. "That's more than 2013 and that means there's still measurable growth."

Riddle set to rejoin Chamber

The Halifax County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Mitzi Riddle will be joining the Chamber as vice president of Business and Program Development effective Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Riddle worked for the Chamber from 2000 to 2011. Most recently, she worked for Averett University as director of special events.

She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in business administration from Averett University. She is a 2005 graduate of the US Chamber's four-year Institute for Organization Management program through which she earned the chamber industry's IOM designation.

"I am very excited to return to the Chamber," Riddle stated. "I am passionate about what the Chamber does for businesses and the community. I look forward to working with the Chamber's board and volunteers to grow the organization and serve the membership," she continued. Riddle's major responsibilities will include marketing, membership, and programming.

"The Chamber is very fortunate to attract someone with Mitzi's credentials and experience. Having worked at the Chamber for eleven years, she brings a strong background in organization and volunteer management. Add to that her education and experience at Averett, the Chamber is going to benefit tremendously. She's coming back at a good time because March is the end of our fiscal year. Planning for 2014-15 is beginning.' stated Chamber President, Nancy Pool.

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