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Contact: Cat Ulrich, (202) 630-7839

April 28, 2021—Virginia’s minimum wage will increase to $9.50 on May 1, the first step in the raise signed into law last year. Business leaders around the state are welcoming the raise, saying it will increase consumer spending, strengthen Virginia’s workforce and help build a shared economic recovery.

“We advocated for raising Virginia’s minimum wage, which was long stuck at $7.25 an hour, and  look forward to the economic boost from this increase,” said Alissa Barron-Menza, vice president of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Businesses depend on local customers who make enough to buy what they are selling. And business models built on fair pay, low employee turnover and reliable customer service deliver more lasting success.”

Bruce Grossberg, owner of Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue in Richmond, said, “We’ve long paid far above the current minimum wage. Low wages produce higher turnover, and that converts into bad customer relations. Our strategy is to pay fairly, train people, and retain them. It’s about time the minimum wage is going up. People couldn’t live on $7.25 an hour. Raising the minimum wage across the board will help level the playing field for businesses.”

Victoria McKoy, owner of Glamystique Hair Studio in Norfolk, said, “My business isn’t just a bottom-line operation, it’s my community. And like my business, my community could use the economic boost that will come from raising the minimum wage. It will help us recover from this awful pandemic.”

Scott Nash, CEO and founder of MOM’s Organic Market in Herndon, Merrifield, Woodbridge, Alexandria and Arlington, said, “Raising the minimum wage will help the economy and my business. I can’t hire anyone unless people buy our products. There is no higher return on investment than investing in people. Customers love shopping at places with engaged employees.”

Gina Schaefer, owner of Old Town Ace Hardware in Alexandria, said, “Raising pay at the bottom is good for the bottom line. We couldn’t succeed without our dedicated employees and the customers they serve every day. Customers have a choice – and they choose us! Raising the minimum wage will help Virginia businesses and make it more possible for all our communities to thrive.”

Alan Smith, co-owner of Lamplighter Coffee Roasters in Richmond, said, “We welcome this overdue increase. Virginia’s minimum wage has not increased with the cost of living and it is abhorrent that minimum wage workers cannot make a living even when working full time. We want our employees to be able to afford things. It’s good for our community and our business. Higher wages save money in the long run by reducing employee turnover and the costs of onboarding and training.”

Michael Lastoria, CEO of &pizza, with Virginia shops including Arlington, Potomac Yard, Reston, Springfield, Tysons and Richmond, said, “When you take care of your people, they take care of your customers, and your business thrives. As a result of fair wages, we’ve seen higher employee productivity and retention. Our employee morale has skyrocketed and, with it, our customer experience and our bottom line.”

Sarah Mason, owner of Poseidon’s Pantry in Chincoteague, said, “It’s terrible that some businesses pay so little that people can’t live off of it. It’s not how we do business. It’s not how anyone should do business. That’s why we need to raise the minimum wage – to assure a decent standard of living for workers and a stronger wage floor under our customers and the economy.”

Virginia’s minimum wage will increase again to $11 on Jan. 1, 2022 and to $12 on Jan. 1, 2023. It will increase to $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2025 and to $15 on Jan. 1, 2026 if the General Assembly reenacts those increases prior to July 1, 2024.

The District of Columbia and eight states have already enacted a $15 minimum wage: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. The Delaware Senate passed a $15 minimum wage in March and it is under consideration in the Delaware House.

To speak with business owners supportive of raising the minimum wage, please contact Cat Ulrich at or (202) 630-7839.


Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a network of business owners and executives and business organizations that believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.