Heartwood recently got the gift that keeps on giving when Virginia Tourism Corporation’s vice president of research estimated the center’s economic impact at $8 million during its first year.
Elizabeth McLaughlin attributed the figure to a Chmura Economics & Analytics economic impact study she commissioned. The analysis estimates both the economic and fiscal impact of Heartwood during its first full year of operation, from June 15, 2011 to June 14, 2012. It also addresses Heartwood’s impact in promoting the regional creative economy.
Of the total impact, $3.1 million is attributed to facility operation and the remaining $4.9 million to visitor spending in Southwest Virginia.
Estimates are derived from a combination of direct, indirect, and induced effects that supported 108 jobs throughout the region. The study indicates state and local governments also benefited from tax revenues in the amounts of $296,079 and $100,018, respectively.
A total of 74,438 guests are reported to have visited Heartwood during its first year, with an average expenditure of $37.19 per party. Just under half (44 percent) said visiting the facility was their primary motivation for the trip.
Annual sales per artisan were estimated at $1,196 for the 299 `Round the Mountain artisans juried into Heartwood. Artisans also reported an increase in visitors to their business, additional sales due to the exposure of Heartwood, and a stronger network of artisans.