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Help the Alliance shape the future

ALLIANCEWith more than 600 members representing 40,000 employees, the Charleston Area Alliance is a multi-faceted economic and community development organization, as well the largest regional Chamber of Commerce in West Virginia.

As part of our mission of inspiring an economy that provides sustainable jobs in the Kanawha Valley, the Alliance created Vision 2030. This 20-year plan for creating jobs and strengthening the economy of the Kanawha Valley is a long-term blueprint for the future.

We are gathering stories from community members who have been involved and impacted by Alliance events, programs, and outcomes.

Help us shape the future by completing this brief survey HERE.

We want to show the real connections and opportunities that have resulted from taking initiative in the community and the cumulative impact they can have on our economy and society.

These answers will be displayed on the new Vision 2030 website.

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admin in Announcements,In the News,Vision 2030 on December 18 2014 » 0 comments

Get your last minute gifts at ArtWalk this Thursday

aw.logo.cmykDowntown ArtWalk
Thursday, Dec. 18
5-8 p.m.

Downtown ArtWalk closes out its twelfth season with a special holiday edition on Thursday, Dec. 18 from 5-8 p.m.

ArtWalk, a Charleston Area Alliance program sponsored by Masters Law Firm, is a monthly event that draws hundreds of residents and visitors to downtown Charleston for a festive evening of culture and commerce.

The purpose of ArtWalk is to help revitalize downtown and to promote economic development through the arts.

For more information, visit www.ArtWalkCWV.com

Check out what’s in store for the December ArtWalk:

Charleston Ballet
100 Capitol Street, Suite 302, Mezzanine Level

A preview will be held for “Carnaval Roaring ’20s,” the annual benefit for the Charleston Ballet and The Clay Center. Stop by the ballet studio for early bird tickets, and join them at 7 p.m. to learn how to perfect your dance of “The Charleston,” with Ballet Director Kim Pauley.

The Art Store
233 Hale Street

Small sized works of art will be displayed in the “Totally Awesome Stuff” exhibition. Local artists include Helen Chilton, Ellie Schaul, Jan Griffin and Susan Poffenbarger. New invited artists of interest include Sandra Reed, director of Marshall University’s School of Art and Design, Bruce Hyer and John Spurlock. There will also be gift-worthy fine crafts made in North America on display, including bird’s eye maple cutting boards, handmade jewelry, oil lamps by Wolfard Glassblowing, ceramic serving dishes, wooden utensils, and holiday ornaments of all shapes and sizes.

Capitol Conference Center
815 Lee Street

The Tamarack Artisan Foundation will conduct a sealed bid auction of beautiful handcrafted items made by artisans throughout West Virginia for the benefit of future programming.

Art Emporium
823 Quarrier Street

Art Emporium will feature two special gallery exhibits..The Charleston Calligraphers Guild will be showcasing new gift-sized works, and doing demonstrations throughout the evening. Frank Ceravalo of Vista Landscapes will be signing his new book, “West Virginia: A Wider View,” and will be displaying the photographs included in the book.

Romano & Associates, PLLC
230 Capitol Street 

The firm will feature a recap of the artists who have been exhibited throughout the 2014 ArtWalks, with works from Robby Moore, Bob Wojcieszak, Josh Martin, Liz Turner, Laura Alvis, Wesley Eary, and Gregg Oxley.

Uncork & Create
1031 Quarrier Street

Participants will paint “A Child is Born,” with instruction from artist Cheryl Thaxton.

Gallery Eleven
1025 Quarrier Street

Each of the gallery’s participating artists will feature works during the ArtWalk.

Tony the Tailor
822 Virginia Street

A special trunk show of high-quality clothing and accessories will be featured at the store.

Delfine’s Jewelry
245 Capitol Street

The store will feature “Department 56 Christmas in the City” display with a Lionel Polar Express Train” and Santa will be on hand.

Other participating venues include:

Taylor Books
The Purple Moon
Stray Dog Antiques
Mission Savvy Café & Juice Bar
Chet Lowther Studio
Only One Look
The Boutique by B.Belle Events
Timothy’s/Quarrier Diner

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admin in Announcements,Downtown ArtWalk,Events on December 16 2014 » 0 comments

Member Market: Downtown Charleston property available for lease

Member Market:
By Alliance Members for Alliance Members

This “Member Market” is a paid announcement sent by the Alliance on behalf of a member to business and community leaders and young professionals.

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admin in Announcements,Member Market on December 15 2014 » 0 comments

Alliance VP Mike Aeiker to retire after 22 years

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a 22 year career that began by accident.

That’s how Mike Aeiker describes his tenure at the Charleston Area Alliance.

Aeiker, who serves as the vice president of real estate services, will retire from the organization at the end of December. It’s the end of an era for a man who’s been very influential in local economic development.

“I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure to work on many projects over the years that have come through the organization; projects that affected many lives throughout the Kanawha Valley,” Aeiker said.

In the early 1990’s, Aeiker worked for a local engineering consulting firm that was retained by Business and Industrial Development Corporation (BIDCO) to perform a land study for a new business park. BIDCO was one of the three groups, along with the Charleston Chamber of Commerce and Charleston Renaissance Corp., which merged to create the Charleston Area Alliance in 2004.

This selected site consisted of several tracts of land totaling over 560 acres.  The land adjoined another large tract owned by the Rashid family, who expressed strong interest in developing a new retail center on US 119 (Corridor G).  This was a perfect partner for BIDCO to work with and take on such a large development project, now known as Southridge Centre.

During the early years of the Southridge development, Aeiker was directly involved in the purchase of over $2 million dollars in land. He also oversaw various levels of conceptual designs and master planning. It was working on this project with BIDCO that convinced Aeiker to switch careers.

“I was meeting with BIDCO management to discuss the final construction drawings and to inform them of my decision to leave the engineering firm,” Aeiker said.  “They quickly stated if you want a change, we will offer you a position here for a year to help us through the construction of phase one of the BIDCO portion of the development.”

That one year became more than two decades with the organization. After overseeing more than $5.6 million dollars in construction, Southridge became home for projects such as the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority, United States Postal Service distribution center, Kanawha County Metro 911 Operations Center and others all totaling more than $10.7 million dollars in land sales. The area also became a retail mecca of big box stores and restaurants, such as Walmart, Cabela’s, The Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

With BIDCO and the Alliance, Aeiker’s work and technical assistance has been key in the recruitment of businesses to the area, such as Toyota, NGK Spark Plug, Capital Area Services Co., Inc. (CASCI), Kureha and many others.

He’s also managed the Alliance’s Small Business Incubator, which helps nurture and grow start-up companies and entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 1986, the incubator has housed over 149 small businesses creating over 380 jobs. Under Aeiker’s guidance, the success rate for incubator tenants is over 75 percent, compared with the national success rate of 25 percent.

“I have taken pride in supporting and managing the facility as if it were my own,” Aeiker said.

During his tenure at BIDCO and the Alliance, Aeiker worked under four presidents and CEOs.

“They all have provided me with the greatest respect and support during my tenure with the organization,” Aeiker said.  “Being involved with the organization over the past 22 years has allowed me to further my experience and knowledge while enabling me to meet such great folks.”

Matthew Ballard, the current Alliance president and CEO, said Aeiker will be sorely missed within the organization.

“He has served the Charleston Area Alliance with the goal of creating jobs for our community,” Ballard said.  “Most importantly, he served with the utmost focus on sincerity and integrity. He has served our community with his skills and talents and we wish him well in his retirement.”

Bill Goode was the president and CEO of BIDCO and the Charleston Area Alliance from 1994 to 2006. Goode worked closely with Aeiker and said his projects were artfully planned.

“Working with Mike everyday was very rewarding,” Goode said.  “He knows so much about areas that I know so little about. Every day was a learning experience and a visit to sites or facilities with him was like going to a classroom.  He treated you, and everyone else, with respect and honesty. It made being around him so enjoyable.”

Harry Mills, senior vice president at BIDCO and the Alliance from 1993 to 2006, said Aeiker was always a joy to work with.

“He has been the BIDCO/Alliance ‘secret weapon’ since the day he arrived,” Mills said. “He’s a very talented and modest thinker, doer and economic developer.”

In retirement, Aeiker plans to spend more time with his family. He also wants to travel more with his wife, Brenda. Although he’s looking forward to his departure, Aeiker said he will miss the day-to-day economic development work.

“What I will miss most about my job is assisting small startup businesses and working on large projects that create jobs and investment for the whole region,” Aeiker said.  “I have always believed in regional support for all of the Kanawha Valley.”

On Dec. 17, the Alliance will host a retirement open house celebration for Aeiker at its offices at 1116 Smith Street. The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 3-5 p.m. For more information, contact Jeri Adkins at JAdkins@CharlestonAreaAlliance.org.

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admin in Announcements,Events,Statements on December 11 2014 » 0 comments

Come and GROW with the Charleston Area Alliance

The Charleston Area Alliance is now accepting applications for its upcoming class of GROW.

GROW is the Alliance’s six-month entrepreneurial “boot camp” that connects local small business owners to the people and resources they need to grow their businesses. The program is designed to foster entrepreneurship in the Kanawha Valley.

GROW3wtagParticipants commit up to four-hours per month for in-person activities, offering entrepreneurial education, support and network building through:
  • Monthly educational lectures led by University of Charleston and West Virginia State University professors and successful regional entrepreneurs
  • One-on-one business coaching sessions with a GROW business coach
  • Entrepreneur peer group meetings with GROW classmates
This will be the fourth installment of GROW, with more than 25 entrepreneurs already completing the program.
Additional value-add benefits of GROW include:
  • A one-year Alliance membership ($365 value), which Includes access to Alliance networking events (Business After Hours, First Friday)
  • Access to room “415 at the Alliance,” a collaborative office-space in the Alliance’s incubator, which can be used for work, meetings, and everything in between.
  • Get pro-bono advising from Charleston professionals on a variety of topics including: marketing, legal, creative, insurance, banking, and more.

Entrepreneurs must meet eligibility requirements, submit a completed application and commit to six months of engaged participation.

To learn more about GROW, click HERE.

Deadline for applications is January 7, 2015.

Click HERE for the application.

GROW members will also receive access to free consulting from business professionals in an array of fields including legal, accounting, banking, graphic design, and human resources, in addition to being connected to a professional mentor.

Tuition for the program is $250, with $100 being reimbursed at the conclusion of the program. The program fee also includes a complimentary one-year membership to the Alliance ($365 value).

For questions regarding GROW, contact Cody Schuler at CSchuler@CharlestonAreaAlliance.org or at 304-340-4253.

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admin in Announcements,GROW,In the News on December 09 2014 » 0 comments

Alliance looking for eager ‘agri-preneurs’ for SAGE

SAGE_withCAAThe Charleston Area Alliance’s farmer-training-program, SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurs) is looking for 10 committed “agri-preneurs.”

SAGE educates participants on how to grow large amounts of sustainable produce in urban spaces. The program also teaches how to sell this produce as a stream of household income.

Right now, SAGE is looking for qualified candidates for the 2015 class. The class includes a four-hour commitment per month for workshop-related activities. These workshops are typically held on weekdays, post business hours and weekend mornings.

Additionally, during the growing and market season of May-August, SAGE involvement will be an average of 20-25 hours per month. This commitment includes at least one Saturday per month to sell at the market.

Apply HERE.

Applications are due by Thursday, Jan. 15. The first SAGE workshop will kickoff at the end of January.

For more information, contact by Kathy Moore by e-mail at SAGE@CharlestonAreaAlliance.org.

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admin in Announcements,SAGE on December 08 2014 » 0 comments

It’s a merry Business After Hours on Dec. 11

holiday innHoliday Inn & Suites
Business After Hours
Thursday, Dec. 11
5-7 p.m.
400 2nd Ave SW
South Charleston

Join the Holiday Inn & Suites Charleston West and the Charleston Area Alliance for Business After Hours on Thursday, Dec. 11.

Enjoy delicious catering in a festive atmosphere with holiday music. Network with area businesses while enjoying the sights and sounds of the season.

Business After Hours offer fantastic opportunities to meet the region’s leaders in a relaxed setting, all while enjoying food, drinks and entertainment.

Click HERE to register.

Early bird rates are $15 for Alliance members and $25 for future members. Early bird rates expire on Dec. 10 at 5 p.m.

Prices at the door are $25 for Alliance members and $35 for future members.

The Alliance will be able to invoice only for groups of 10 or more. The Alliance cannot issue cancellation refunds within 48 hours of the event. Thank you!

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admin in Announcements,Events on December 02 2014 » 0 comments

Add a little color to your Black Friday

aw.logo.cmykDowntown ArtWalk
Black Friday Edition
Frida
y, Nov. 28
5-8 p.m.

After a long day of post-Thanksgiving activities, enjoy a nice fall evening with friends and family on the streets of downtown Charleston.

Don’t miss the annual Black Friday edition of ArtWalk on Nov. 28 from 5-8 p.m.

ArtWalk, a Charleston Area Alliance program sponsored by Masters Law Firm, is a monthly event that draws hundreds of residents and visitors to downtown Charleston for a festive evening of culture and commerce.

Check out what’s in store for the Black Friday ArtWalk:

Art Emporium
823 Quarrier Street

Art Emporium will feature photography by Clayton Spangler. Spangler is an award-winning photographer and certified photographic consultant. His images have been featured in “Wonderful West Virginia,” “Paddler,” and “Southern Living” magazines; advertising and marketing projects nationwide.

Uncork & Create
1031 Quarrier Street

Uncork & Create will showcase “Joyful Snowman,” for the November ArtWalk. An artist will guide participants step-by-step in the creation of their own 16 inch x 20 inch work of art on canvas. No experience is necessary and all materials will provided. Guests are welcome to bring adult beverages and snacks. Visit www.uncorkandcreate.com for more information.

The Art Store
233 Hale Street

The Art Store will feature an exhibit titled, “Totally Awesome Stuff.” It focuses on gift-sized artwork by represented and invited artists, including works by Barry Vance, Harold Edwards, Andrea Donnelly, Maggie Starcher, Jim Gibson and Diane White. The exhibit will feature fine crafts, holiday and Hanukkah decor, blown glass, wood, jewelry and ceramics.

Tony the Tailor
822 Virginia Street

Tony the Tailor will showcase artists Kelly Bryant and Morgan Richards. Richards is the designer of Morgan Rhea Bespoke Leather Goods. Established in 2014, the company depicts personal journeys by inscribing individual stories onto one of kind bespoke accessories with personalized designs and superb craftsmanship.

Charleston Ballet
100 Capitol Street, Suite 302, Mezzanine Level

Charleston artist Lynn Payne will be featured at the Charleston Ballet for ArtWalk. Payne has been working as an artist for over 20 years and her work is collected throughout the country. Many pieces featured at ArtWalk are sized perfectly for gift giving.

Mission Savvy
Cafe and Juice Bar
202 Hale Street

Pottery by Susan Maslowski will be the ArtWalk showcase at Mission Savvy Cafe and Juice Bar. Maslowski has been the owner of Mud River Pottery since 1975. She is a juried member of Tamarack, Southern Highland Craft Guild and the West Virginia Art and Craft Guild. Her work has been featured in local and national exhibitions. It’s has also been purchased by and/or, is in the collections of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, John Denver, Davis Grubb and Jennifer Garner.

Delfine’s Jewelry
245 Capitol Street

Delfine’s Jewelry will feature a Department 56 “Christmas in the City,” display with a Lionel Polar Express train.

Gallery Eleven
1025 Quarrier Street

Linda Charles-Stone will be the featured artist at Gallery Eleven for the November ArtWalk.  Additional works from the students of Sharon McClanahan will also be displayed.

Taylor Books Annex Gallery
226 Capitol Street

Taylor Books Annex Gallery will showcase art from Kathleen Loomis, Charles Ott, Tom Acosta, Ashley Hoey, Joshua Miller, Eva King, Robert Villamagna, Joseph Lung, Brett Kern Ceramics, and Michael Doig, Great selections of hand crafted pottery, woodwork and jewelry will be available for purchase.

Other participating venues include:

The Boutique by B.Belle Events
Chet Lowther Studio
Ivor’s Trunk
Modern by Design
Only One Look
The Purple Moon
Stray Dog Antiques
Timothy’s/Quarrier Diner

For more information, visit www.ArtWalkCWV.com

As the holiday shopping season kicks off, the Charleston Area Alliance also encourages the public to consider supporting local businesses on Small Business Saturday, which will be held this Saturday, Nov. 29 in Downtown Charleston.

The occasion offers the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed environment, find unique gifts, and help sustain our local economy.

For more information on Small Business Saturday, click HERE.

 

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admin in Announcements,Downtown ArtWalk,Events on November 25 2014 » 0 comments

Member Market: Start the season for a reason on Dec. 6

Member Market:
By Alliance Members for Alliance Members

This “Member Market” is a paid announcement sent by the Alliance on behalf of a member to business and community leaders and young professionals.

JBR_2014_Email_Graphic_11-18-2014 small

 

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admin in Announcements,Events,Member Market on November 24 2014 » 0 comments

The lifeblood of a strong economy

Print“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

Throughout Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’ve highlighted the efforts of three entrepreneurs working to make their dreams a reality in West Virginia.

After countless hours of hard work, these three – Jill Watkins, owner of Watkins Design Works; Nikki Bowman, owner of New South Media, and Alice Ruhnke, owner of The Grant Advantage, – took a leap of faith to launch a business that encompasses their passions and utilizes their skill set.

And it’s worked.

We understand that not all entrepreneurial endeavors will experience extreme success. The path of an entrepreneur is a tough one filled with risks and high costs. But that’s why we are here.

The Charleston Area Alliance is dedicated to serving the needs of businesses – both large and small – working in the Kanawha Valley region. Not only are we working to attract large employers to the area, but we’re also working to give our small businesses the tools they need to achieve a high level of success.

The Charleston Area Alliance’s small business programs include:

Small Business Incubator Program – This program is the perfect fit for start-ups and entrepreneurs in the Kanawha Valley region looking for affordable office or warehouse work space. Located on Smith Street in Charleston, the 70,000-square-foot-converted warehouse offers offices for rent in varying sizes as well as office amenities and business consulting.

To provide a one-stop shop for success in the incubator program, other helpful organizations located in the building include: the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, the Charleston chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Office and the Regional Contracting Assistance Center.

GROW – Designed to enhance the skills of entrepreneurs while simultaneously building an entrepreneurial ecosystem, GROW takes up to 20 entrepreneurs through a six month program to grow their businesses and build their networks. GROW participants receive a structured, stimulating environment founded in entrepreneur education, coaching and peer feedback.

SAGE – Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurs (SAGE) is a year-long program designed to teach participants how to grow sustainable produce in urban spaces and how to develop those growing efforts into household income. It takes growing to a new level by giving participants the knowledge and skills they need to make urban farming a viable entrepreneurial endeavor.

THRIVE – This crowd-funding initiative supports local entrepreneurs by giving them an infusion of seed capital in a fresh, inventive way. Held annually, THRIVE brings community members and business leaders together to act as investors for one night. Every attendee has the opportunity to hear the business pitch of the selected entrepreneurs who are chosen in a prior screening process. At the end of the night, one business will be chosen to receive the seed capital that will help them grow their business.

West Virginia Regional Technology Park – The Charleston Area Alliance continues its involvement at the “Tech Park” where unique equipment and facilities provide the type of entrepreneurial environment necessary for new start-up companies to commercialize their new technologies. Tenants  the park such as MATRIC, which also got its start at the Alliance, as well as the new “Chem-Ception” chemistry based incubator and the Advantage Valley Advanced Training Center, are pushing the Tech Park into the future.

Innovation is the driver of any strong economy and entrepreneurs are its lifeblood. At the Charleston Area Alliance, we are working to create an ecosystem that supports a community of innovative entrepreneurial pursuits through our programs, partners, and resources.

To learn more about these programs visit www.charlestonareaalliance.org or to speak with a representative contact us 304-340-4253.

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admin in Announcements,Events on November 21 2014 » 0 comments
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