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About us

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We are proud to present our new Executive Director, Mary Tolson. Mary is a passionate supporter of our community and locally owned businesses. She will work with our Board of Directors as we develop new, interesting & exciting ways to help us "Go Local" in Virginia!

Born and raised in the Western Branch area of Chesapeake, Mary works to build relationships between small business owners and the surrounding community.  A task that Mary was groomed for and understands all too well coming from a family of small business owners. Combining that life experience with her passion for all things local makes her the perfect fit for our team. She holds a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Chowan University, an M.S.Ed in Library Science from Old Dominion University, along with an Ed.S. in Educational Technology from Walden University.  

We have a passion for small and locally owned business and our mission is to support and promote these businesses that make our state so special. We work to educate the community on the important role that they play in our local economy and how they give a community a distinct character. Norfolk’s historic Ghent would not be the same without the Naro Cinema or Doumar's, Virginia Beach without the Cavalier Hotel at the Oceanfront and Portsmouth without the Bier Garden and the Commodore Theater in historic Old Town... to name just a few unique locally owned businesses.

Go Local began in 2012 and since then we have conducted many events, seminars, workshops, Meet The Brewer events, Downtown Norfolk Wine Walk and our popular Ghent Craft Beer Fest. 

It’s time to “GO LOCAL” and help small and locally owned businesses grow and thrive!

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