Strasburg hires economic development, marketing manager

Michelle Bixler

STRASBURG – Strasburg has hired a New Market native as its new economic development and marketing manager.

Michelle Bixler, 38, joined staff two weeks ago to work with the town on a host of business-themed endeavors, including business relations, retention and marketing. Her hiring marks her return to the valley following a career in public relations.

Bixler said she thinks most people think of economic development in a broad, long-term frame of mind, and she’s hoping to help local businesses take little steps the whole way there.

“I feel like my job is to pull people together and to take that big vision, and create little steps to get there and help people take those steps,” she said. “We’re all in this together, and my success is tied to the success of people in this community.”

Town Manager Ryan Spitzer said the town brought on Bixler mostly to work on business retention, maintaining positive relationships with downtown businesses, and the Community Development Block Grant.

The rest of the work will be focused on the potential Northern Shenandoah Business Park.

“Michelle was brought on because we had a gap in economic development, and that relationship with not only our downtown,” he said. “… (She) had a really good resume and she has a passion for marketing businesses in a small town. She’s from this area so she knows how people act and she knows a lot of people in the area, so we just thought it would be a good fit.”

Before she digs her heels in too deeply, Bixler said she’s just working on getting her bearings and meeting people around town. As time goes on, she’s hoping to work more with businesses to learn where they want to be five years down the line, and then work to facilitate those goals.

As it stands, Bixler is posted up on the second floor of Town Hall. Although she only started two weeks ago, she’s already looking decades into the future.

“My goal is 15 years down the line, when people have family in town, instead of taking them to Winchester or D.C., to see them take them downtown instead,” she said.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com