BY JACKITA D. BASS — Last fall, the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (CDC) held a free series of eight workshops and one-on-one consultations to support local businesses. The series titled “Serving the Emergent Market” was funded by the Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development and focused on business planning, marketing, branding and product pricing.

By educating small business owners in the Hyattsville area, the Hyattsville CDC hopes that it will foster economic growth for the City of Hyattsville, the Route One Corridor, and surrounding communities.

According to the Hyattsville CDC website, “Consultants will educate small business owners, help them identify and develop efficient methods, and in the process, grow the economic capacity of the City of Hyattsville, the Route One Corridor, and surrounding communities.”

Through the Hyattsville CDC’s Small Business Assistance Program, a total of 22 local businesses participated, including artists, massage therapists, a dance studio, a dog trainer and more.

One of those massage therapists was Wil White of WhiteSands Massage Studio. “Granted, having been in business for a few years already and always striving to learn more by taking training classes and workshops, some of the information was not new to me, “White said. “However, I did pick up some great tips.”

Launched in Jan. 2012, WhiteSands Massage Studio has gained a strong following in the Hyattsville area, according to White. Being very popular with the neighbors, he said, has continued to generate word of mouth promotion for the local establishment.

The group workshops helped small business owners like White identify and develop efficient business practices and provide information on increasing business by using tactics like social media.

He said has already instituted some of the tips learned at the workshop like using keywords on websites and creating social marketing sites but he was most impressed with the consultations with local business professionals. White said, “It was beneficial that we were offered free counseling on whatever we felt our business was lacking and that too has proved itself to be a great source of support.”