Norfolk, Virginia


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Norfolk Business Signs

The Powhatan Confederacy inhabited the Atlantic coast of what would become the US state of Virginia prior to European colonization.  Britain ‘bought’ the land from the confederacy in the 1680s.  Before this, however, in 1636, British monarch Charles I granted Adam Thoroughgood land in the area along the Lynnhaven River.  Thoroughgood hailed from the original, English Norfolk, and so he suggested this new world land be named after the old world land.  English Norfolk’s name, of course, refers to that of its ancient peoples, the ‘North Folk’.  The city of Norfolk, Virginia, however, wouldn’t be officially founded until 1682.  It was then incorporated in 1736.

Today, according to a 2013 US census estimate, the population of modern Norfolk, Virginia is 246,392.  Norfolk is considered an independent city and is the 78th most populous city in the country.  It is also the second most populous city in Virginia, after Virginia Beach.  The Norfolk metropolitan area has a population of 1,672,319 people, according to that same census estimate.  This makes the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (or Hampton Roads) metropolitan area the 37th most populous metropolitan area in the United States.

According to Global, the Norfolk area is a vital strategic location at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.  Its channels “serve as major trade arteries for the import and export of goods from across the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West, and internationally.”

Indeed, the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is headquartered in the city and operates three major port facilities in the larger Hampton Roads area.  One of these facilities is Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), which is home to the world’s largest and fastest container cranes.  According to Hampton Roads Economic Development Authority, all together, VPA’s three facilities “handled a total of over 2 million TEUs and 475,000 tons of break bulk cargo in 2006, making it the second busiest port on the east coast of North America by total cargo volume after the Port of New York and New Jersey.”

Norfolk is internationally known as the site of Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval station.  Naval Station Norfolk has been in operation since 1917, and is located on Sewell’s Point Peninsula.  Currently, the naval station serves as the headquarters for the United States Fleet Forces Command (which used to be known as the Atlantic Fleet).  Naval Station Norfolk is also the homeport for the Second Fleet, which contains “approximately 62,000 active duty personnel, 75 ships, and 132 aircraft.”  Allied Command Transformation (NATO) and the United States Joint Forces Command are also headquartered at Naval Station Norfolk.

Norfolk and the larger Hampton Roads area is also known as being the site of many major private shipyards such as Huntington Ingalls Industries, BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair, General Dynamics NASSSCO Norfolk, and Colonna’s Shipyard Inc.  Norfolk also serves as the home for four Fortune 500 companies: Smithfield Foods, Norfolk Southern, Dollar Tree, and Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Norfolk also boasts the Chrysler Museum of Art, which has often been considered the region’s prominent art museum.  Nauticus, which is Norfolk’s National Maritime Center, opened on the downtown waterfront in 1994 and features various aquaria and the decommissioned battleship USS Wisconsin.

As for sports, Norfolk is home to two professional teams.  The International Baseball League’s Norfolk Tides play their home games at Harbor Park and have won five league titles.  The Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League play in Norfolk Scope and have one championship to their name.

Own a small business in the Norfolk area?  Considering it?  These resources could prove useful to you:

Apply for a Business License in Norfolk

City of Norfolk: Business

Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce

Searching for Norfolk business signs?

Get the word out there about your small business!  Contact one of our authorized members:

Any and All Graphics
Virginia Beach, VA
Michael Uhler