The Loudoun County Economic Development Authority and the Department of Economic Development have established the “Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown Marketing Fund” to support the viability and success of farms and rural businesses.
The fund will help rural businesses establish better roadside marketing that promotes direct-to-consumer sales of Loudoun products.
Grants of up to $5,000 would be available to eligible businesses and would be earmarked to assist with marketing costs, including legislative applications for sign programs or sign permit fees.
Additionally, the selected rural businesses will be required to attend the department’s monthly “Seeds for Success” workshops, which focus on marketing and business best practices. These workshops were specifically created to help participants of the “Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown” program.
Regulations on promotional business signs are enforced uniformly across the county, which can put rural business owners at a disadvantage. Unlike businesses with traditional storefronts or a commercial office building, potential customers could drive past a farm and never know it was open to consumers.
“Just as farmers need unique tools to grow their crops, they need unique advertising solutions to encourage customers to buy their products,” explained Loudoun’s Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer. “The sale of agricultural products requires unique advertising considerations, and roadside marketing plays a significant role in attracting customers to ‘Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown’ products.”
To qualify for the grant, applicants must fill out a form or provide a letter to the Department of Economic Development addressing the request and compliance with the criteria listed below:
- The applicant must be selling locally-sourced products and be participating in the “Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown” program. The program logo must be displayed at the place of business as a component of any marketing plan for which funds are requested.
- The applicant must be in good standing with all Loudoun County ordinances and regulations. If there is an existing sign violation, the applicant must be actively working with the Department of Planning and Zoning to remedy the situation.
- The applicant must attend a “Seeds for Success” marketing workshop and/or meet with a department representative about marketing practices.
- The applicant must provide a realistic and clearly-articulated budget for the requested funding.
- The applicant must agree to participate in the program’s “end-of-season” survey.
- The recipient of the funds commits to utilizing the grant toward marketing costs and legislative applications for sign programs or sign permit fees within Loudoun County.
Each application will be reviewed by the Department of Economic Development, which will make a recommendation to the EDA, which will make the final determination. Department staff will be available to work with businesses throughout the application and implementation process.
“The goal of this marketing fund is to provide farmers with every opportunity to succeed,” said Business Development Officer for Agriculture and Business Services John Magistro. “This helps address a real pain point for our rural business owners while increasing the value of participating in our ‘Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown’ program.”
All signs must comply with County (or Town) ordinances and regulations. Sign usage is still subject to regulatory approval and receipt of the grant does not guarantee approval of a proposed application.
Each application should address the above criteria as well as any other pertinent information and associated documentation. Applications may be submitted in one of three ways:
- By filling out the form below, or at biz.loudoun.gov/ruralmarketing;
- By emailing DED@Loudoun.gov;
- In writing to any member of the department staff, using the address:
Loudoun County Economic Development
43777 Central Station Drive, Suite 300
Ashburn, VA 20147