Small business initiative in Chesterfield County

By Beth Danziger - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A new small business initiative in Chesterfield seems to be working in this recession. The county usually gets around 12 applications for start up businesses a year. In the past month it's already received five.

It was just a month ago that county leaders lowered the cost to apply for a permit to run a business out of a home. Now, with the cheaper fee and more people out of work those same leaders believe they could end up with a record number of applications by the end of the year.

Cheryl Parrish has owned Bellgrade Hair Salon for more than 17 years. But with the economy slowing she wants to move her business from a rented space to this home she owns off Robious Road.

With a home business permit application fee costing up to five-thousand dollars, she just couldn't make it happen until January. That's when the county planning commission agreed that fee was hindering start ups and lowered it to just one-thousand dollars.

"We have large size and mid size business in the county that started off as a mom and pop operation and they have grown to be successful and that is what we are trying to encourage," said Chesterfield Planning Director Kirk Turner.
Since the change, five businesses have applied for a permit and Turner believes his department could see triple that number by the end of the year. By lowering the fee the county is losing money but leaders hope if they encourage these business to grow now it will bring in more money in the end.

"These small businesses are the future of the county it compromises a large percent of our tax base so this is a good thing," said Turner.

And with bad economic news coming out nearly everyday Turner says small businesses like Bellgrade Hair are quickly becoming not just the backbone of the county, but the heart that's keeping it alive.

Now that application fee is just to get the permit request in front of the planning commission. The request could still get denied if it will affect a neighborhood too much. Cheryl Parrish's case will go before the commission in April.

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