Stokes Co. grows businesses with free websites, networking events

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Dave Hoskins sits in the living room of the Southwyck Farm Bed & Breakfast in Lawsonville. Hoskins helped his mother, Diana Carl, set up the website for the B&B several years ago, with help from a Stokes County business development program. (David Rolfe/Winston-Salem Journal)

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. — When Alan Wood assumed the position of Stokes County economic development director in February 2008, he didn’t have a folder full of off-the-shelf strategies designed to jolt area businesses awake.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that a five-year stint at the same job in Caldwell County taught him to shelve any preconceived notions before opening the door to his new office – otherwise it wouldn’t be his office for long.

“Each locale is different, and if you try to make something fit, it usually doesn’t work,” Wood said, according to The Journal. “So I try to come in with an open mind.”

Sure enough, the challenges he encountered in Stokes County were indeed different, if not downright unique, and required innovative solutions.

That includes a website building program to help existing and incoming businesses build, develop and maintain an Internet presence, social events to allow business leaders to rub elbows and share ideas and finding creative ways to stretch the county’s economic development advertising budget.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal.