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Business Person of the Year Encourages Community Involvement

Congratulations again to the 2010 Business Person of the Year Dave Miller of Dave’s Downtown Taverna. Dave is a community leader and has been instrumental in forming a Downtown Dining Alliance and the Chamber’s Member-2-Member Program.

By: Dave Miller, Owner of Dave’s Downtown Taverna, 2010 Business Person of the Year

I have loved the Harrisonburg area since I came to visit Eastern Mennonite University for the first time in 1978.  Eventually, I attended both EMU and then JMU where I met my wife Julie.  After Julie and I got married I took a job with a regional restaurant chain that took me out of the area for four years.  We returned in 1994 to take over the operations of Gus’ Taverna. And, becoming a member of the local Chamber of Commerce was near the top of the list just, behind getting a health permit and a business license.

In the beginning, my goals for Dave’s Taverna were simple:

  1. Create the best restaurant experience possible by applying all that I had learned during my journeyman trek to restaurant owner/operator; and
  2. Find ways in which I could help better our community.

Over the years, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce has provided me with the necessary support and direction needed to achieve these goals.

Community involvement and good works translate into a better life and business for my family.  I got to know people who helped me make a difference.  I honestly feel that a local business must give of itself to have any chance of making it in the long term.  What better organization than the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce to help promote my personal and business values.  I mean the mission is in the name.  The Chamber of Commerce has been toiling away on my behalf for 15 years and continues to impress me with its relevance.

Member-2-Member Program

A great example of this relevance is the Member-2-Member program, which I helped create, to reward employees of businesses for supporting other local businesses.  In my opinion buying local is an obligation.  Now, as a result of the Member-2-Member program, supporting local business is a cost saving, employee benefiting, community building and warm fuzzy feeling program.

More than 50 businesses have signed on to the program to offer discounts to their fellow Chamber members, from restaurants and hotels to attractions and travel agencies.

Thirty years into this journey I am still learning of new ways that can help make my business and community better.  I didn’t know that Dave’s Taverna could or would have the impact that it has had on the Harrisonburg community, but I feel that the Chamber knew what could be if we worked together.

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