RICHMOND — Three members of the Richmond Economic Development Commission met Monday in what ended up being a workshop, since the meeting lacked a quorum.
The commission has had to cancel several meetings lately for that reason, but Chairman David Woodmansee, member Meredith Westner and the newest member, local business owner Johnna Devereaux, agreed that their priority was attracting new members.
They also agreed on the need to complete two ongoing but stalled initiatives: a guide on how to do business in the town and a map showing Richmond’s retail, dining and natural attractions. It is hoped that the map will entice visitors to get off Interstate 95 and visit the town.
Woodmansee explained that two seats on the commission are currently vacant. One must be filled by a resident but the second can be filled by the owner of a Richmond business who does not live in the town.
“We have a vacancy for a resident and a vacancy for a business owner at large,” he said.
The lack of a quorum prevented the group from taking any votes, so they used the time to bring Devereaux up to speed on the projects they were working on.
Devereaux, who owns the Fetch R.I. pet supply and accessory store, said she wanted Richmond to attract visitors from other towns.
“The people we want coming into this town and spending their money are people like that live, eat and breathe in one town and want to get away. They want a little vacation,” she said.
Woodmansee said he hoped the commission, once it was reinvigorated with a full complement of six members, would complete and distribute the business guide.
“We’ve done 90 percent of the work on ‘How to do Business in Richmond,’ where you can go to get permits, licenses, who to contact for the utilities, where the transfer station is,” he said.”I want to get some of the stuff we’ve been working on done, deliver it, and then move on to the next thing that both we and the [town] council feel is the way to go to make business work in Richmond.”
Westner said the second project, the Richmond attractions map, would be made available to visitors in places such as rest stops.
“It’s mostly an awareness document to be distributed to places where tourists may see it and say, ‘Hey, maybe there is something that I want to visit off of Exit 3,’” she said. “The welcome center [rest stop], of course, being one place, but it could go any number of places.”
Devereaux, who was attending her first-ever commission meeting, said she had agreed to join the group because she wanted to contribute to the town where she lives and does business.
“I came on board to make the town that I live in and where my business is run a better place for myself and the community at large,” she said. “What I would like to see is more of a business community. I think right now, we have a lot of individual businesses and there’s no central thread that ties us all together, that makes us a place that people would come for a day trip.”
The commission meets on the fourth Monday of each month. People wishing more information can contact Woodmansee at 401-539-9000, extension 9.