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Community Spotlight: Staunton Stories

September 15, 2022 | Community Spotlight: Community Spotlight: Staunton Stories | By: Greg A. Beam, Executive Director at Staunton Downtown Development Association |
Greg Beam (SDDA Executive Director) chatting with Ms. Sarah Lynch, owner of Baja Bean Co. and founder of Staunton’s Queen City Mischief & Magic festival which brings thousands of Harry Potter fans to downtown each fall.

Staunton Stories is a collaboration between the Staunton Downtown Development Association (SDDA) and 106.3 WQSV. During the program, SDDA Executive Director Greg A. Beam interviews a local business owner or community member. These are the voices of the folks who contribute to Staunton’s vibrant and unique downtown community. Listeners enjoy hearing the stories, strategies of these individuals and their goals for the future. Ben Leonard, WQSV station manager records and edits the conversations to air for the station.

When I stepped into the role of executive director for the Staunton Downtown Development Association in 2019, I wanted to find ways to showcase what makes Staunton so special — the people behind the scenes. I had been kicking around the idea to host a pod-cast or casual type of radio show that would shed the spotlight on Staunton's business and nonprofit community. I have limited knowledge of podcasting, so I reached out to Staunton's independent radio station WQSV's Ben Leonard to see how to make something like that possible. Ben was open to the idea of WQSV partnering with the SDDA.
Each guest has been interesting. Some are, by nature more serious, others more playful and witty. It’s always interesting to see where the conversation goes and what folks chose to share during the hour. Upcoming guests include Mr. John Metheny, owner/operator of Nu-Beginning Farm Store, Ms. AnhThu Nguyen, Executive Director (and founding member) of the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center and Staunton Pride festival, and Mr. Jeremy West, owner/director of Silver Line Theater.

If you are interested in sharing out stories from your downtown, we recommend you reach out to your local radio station and/or folks that know how to create podcasts. Partner with the people, organizations or businesses in your downtown. The process should be about working together to tell the stories of your downtown and community.

Staunton Stories helps us continue to promote, highlight and celebrate the people who live, work and play in our downtown. We’re not the only community that has an old train station, businesses that sell ice cream, tacos or antiques. It’s the people behind all of those businesses, behind all those logos, graphics and beautiful buildings that makes Staunton special. Staunton Stories is a way to get to know those wonderful, hardworking and dedicated people. Staunton Stories has helped us to share our belief that “downtown is home.”