Business Intel: B&D Comics (copy) | Z-non-digital

One of Roanoke’s oldest comic book shops has settled into its new home after a looming infrastructure project displaced it from the address it had occupied for decades.

B&D Comics, which will mark its 40th anniversary this summer, has reopened its doors at 2937 Brambleton Ave. SW next to Deb’s Frozen Lemonade, a move prompted by the plans to replace the Wasena bridge.

That project, expected to start construction this year and end in 2024, includes installing a roundabout at what is currently a three-pronged intersection on Elm Avenue where B&D Comics used to sit in an eye-catching, log cabin style building.

The roundabout will consume part of that property, and the now vacant building is set for demolition. The city paid for the site, and offered B&D Comics relocation assistance.

It also gave shop owner Terry Baucom more than two years of advance notice, which she said afforded her the time to find just the right new location for the store.

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The new space, which opened March 29, offers a high-traffic road, proximity to several other shops and destination points, as well as about 2,600 square feet of space, compared to the prior location’s about 1,500 square feet.

Baucom said she’s capitalizing on the extra space to add new items to her inventory including art consignment pieces and superhero-themed decor.

Her first focus, though, remains on the comic book tradition on which her shop was built, she said.

B&D Comics has developed a loyal following since it debuted in 1982 as one of the first brick-and-mortar comic shops in the region. Many customers volunteered to help it with its move earlier this year.

“It was just great seeing that outpouring of community for this hobby,” Baucom said, adding of her first two months in the new store: “It’s been going really well. I love this new location.”

B&D Comics first operated on Williamson Road but had been on Elm Avenue for the past three decades. Looking ahead to the future, Baucom said she plans to hold more events and gatherings at the new address.

“Now, I’m kind of glad that I was forced to do this,” she said of the move. “Because it’s a brand-new adventure.”

B&D Comics is open from 10 am to 6 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Thrive 2027 surpasses fundraising goalThrive 2027, a five-year plan to boost economic development in the region, crushed its fundraising goal in a campaign capped off last month.

The strategic initiative from the Roanoke Regional Partnership raised just over $4 million to support innovation, workforce development, real estate/infrastructure planning and quality of life branding. That total, reached just three months after the campaign launched its public phase, surpassed an original goal set of $3.6 million.

Supporters anticipate the Thrive 2027 plan will help spur the creation of 3,000 new jobs, $350 million in capital investments and a 300% jump in certified economic development sites over the next five years.

“The Roanoke Regional Partnership is well positioned to continue its long tradition of generating significant economic wins and building a strong, diverse economy,” Executive Director John Hull said in a news release. “The economic progress that we have seen and will continue to enjoy is made possible by the leadership and investment of both the public and the private sectors working together.”

The regional partnership is a coalition of eight localities and business leaders created to bolster economic development.

Thrive 2027 builds on the work set out by a prior, four-year campaign dubbed Accelerate 2022. Over 122 businesses across the region pledged money to support the plan.

“I am very encouraged, although not surprised, to see the business community showing pride in the current state of our region and optimism about the future,” said Don Halliwill, a co-chair of the campaign and CFO of Carilion.

Goals of Thrive 2027 include creating a network of support for startups; strengthening workforce development connections between businesses and education leaders; growing the region’s reputation as a technology and innovation hub as well as an outdoor recreation destination; and gathering data to shed light on the region’s needs in transportation, broadband and other economic development priorities.

More information about the strategic plan can be found online at roanoke.org/thrive-2027.

Contact Alicia Petska at alicia.petska@roanoke.com

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