Town Of Bedford's Economic Development Coordinator hopes to bring new businesses to town

Mary Zirkle, Economic Development Coordinator in the Town of Bedford

BEDFORD Co., Va. (WSET) -- The Town of Bedford has someone dedicated to boosting their economy for the first time in nearly a decade: Mary Zirkle is the Economic Development Coordinator.

Zirkle said her goal is to have five new businesses each year in the town of Bedford and help those established business continue to grow, so she has hit the ground running trying to meet existing business owners face-to- face.

She says there are about 700 of them.

Zirkle credits the Town Council for making the development coordinator a position that the town values.

"Making someone available to their businesses, that's huge. Not every community has that," she said.

In her office she has a white board of the businesses that people around town want to come to town, including Chick-fil-A, Cracker Barrel, Bojangles, a movie theater, and a bowling alley.

Zirkle says a lot of people are looking for things to do in the town, she wants to fill those empty buildings, and she also wants to grow the base of employees.

Right now she has immediate and long term goals.

"Right out of the gate, what I'm working on is business retention and expansion program, working on getting certification for that right now to help me get a few more hints and tips on how to further increase the outreach to business to be more effective to them," said Zirkle.

Zirkle said in 2016, Town Council voted to increase the meals tax by .5 percent to 5.5 percent.

The $100,000 increase per year goes towards incentives for economic development, which Zirkle manages.

Zirkle said she is happy for business owners to stop by her office, or you can e-mail her at

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