Refreshing Radford and Making Main Street POP!

Reprinted from New River Valley Livability Initiative:

Boosting the curb appeal of local shopping and business districts is a cornerstone of any revitalization effort. Radford businesses are currently sprucing up their storefronts all over The River City by taking advantage of a program that aims to help them do just that. Radford POP! is a façade enhancement program that encourages business owners to invest their hard earned dollars into improving the appearance of their storefronts by matching that investment dollar for dollar up to a maximum reimbursement of $2,000.

POP! stands for paint, optimize and plant. The program is rooted in the belief that small improvements can make a big difference, and focuses primarily on tackling painting, signage, landscaping, and repair projects that can sometimes seem overwhelming. No project is too small, and there is no minimum project amount to apply.

Created by the Radford Economic Authority, the Radford POP! program began with a $30,000 grant pool dedicated to assisting hard working business owners complete the little exterior touches that add up to huge changes in overall appearance. To date, over a dozen Radford businesses have already taken advantage of Radford POP!, completing projects ranging from innovative, self-watering planter installations, all the way to complete exterior refacing.

The spark that set the program in motion was a private $10,000 donation by First NRV Credit Union, who has also been a major partner with volunteer efforts on several projects.  

“When all things are considered, if that small contribution will help support the businesses and residents of the city, then we’re doing our part,” says First NRV CEO Owen McKinnie. Radford POP! has served as such a shining example of just how impactful a community driven public/private partnership can be, that the program was awarded an additional $7,000 Virginia Main Street Grant in July.

Businesses interested in more information about Radford POP! may reach out to Economic Development Director Kim Repass at . Applications are available online at the city of Radford website under Economic Development at

Learn more about the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s Commercial District Affiliate grant opportunity here. The next round of grant applications are due March 16, 2021.