VCEDA Closes $400,000 Loan for Project to Tazewell County IDA

TAZEWELL, VA – MARCH 18, 2021 — The Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park in Tazewell County will be getting its first tenant later this year when locally owned Bruneaux Bait, a manufacturer of eco-friendly crawfish and crab bait used in traps mainly in Louisiana, becomes the first business to locate there, bringing with it 12 full-time jobs.

 An up to $400,000 loan from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) to the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) was closed recently to be used to finance site development, site grading, building construction, the installation and extension of utilities and other improvements to assist with the expansion of Bruneaux Bait and its location to the Bluestone.

“The Tazewell County IDA has been working for several years with Dr. Stephen Munsey, who is currently the sole proprietor of Bruneaux Bait, on planning for the expansion,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The project brings with it a projected $100,000 in private investment by the company and a projection of up to 12 full-time jobs within five years. VCEDA is pleased to assist in the project and is further pleased to see the Bluestone get its first tenant.”

Tazewell County IDA Chairman Kyle Hurt agreed, noting, “the Tazewell County IDA is excited with the expansion of Bruneaux Bait to locate in the Bluestone Technology Park. This company has been manufacturing baits in Tazewell County for several years and have decided to stay in Tazewell County by building a new facility in the Bluestone and hiring more people. How great it is to see a local business expand.”

In addition to crawfish and crab bait, the company has also made and sold lobster bait for use in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. Its primary customer base, however is in the Southeast. Bruneaux Bait has developed its formula in different markets, as well as a mass manufacturing and packaging system and cost-effective logistics to get raw materials and finished products to and from their destinations.

The Future Home of Bruneaux Bait.

Previously, Munsey has been making the product in the basement of his veterinarian clinic in North Tazewell.  With the need for a larger facility, talks began with the Tazewell County IDA and VCEDA.

“This has truly been a team effort,” Munsey said. “Demand for our product has been growing so quickly and we contacted County Administrator Eric Young and the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority for their help. They did a fantastic job of lining up things and facilitated our project working through VCEDA which was very user friendly for us.”

Munsey noted site work for the project was finished Monday and he added the building is expected to arrive on site in early April.

“By mid-summer this year, we expect to be in the new building and we hope to be up and producing by next summer,” Munsey said. “Not only has the IDA, VCEDA and others been enthusiastically supportive of the project, but we’ve had the support of others including the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

“We would not be where we are today without the support and assistance of our team of family, friends, employees and some we coaxed out of retirement,” Munsey added. “It’s a real turning point for us and a dream come true.”

“I strongly advocated for this project and I am excited to see it come to fruition,” said Virginia Delegate Will Morefield. “A lot of research has gone into developing a quality product and I am confident it will be a success. We are making every effort to help diversify our regional economy. This project would not have been possible without the support from Tazewell County, the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority and VCEDA.”

“What a blessing for Tazewell County to have one of our very own,  Dr. Stephen Munsey,  as our very first, long-awaited tenant in The Bluestone,” said Maggie Asbury, a member of the VCEDA Board and the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors. “We congratulate him and our Industrial Development Authority, as well as our board of supervisors and VCEDA for staying the course to make this happen.”

The new 6,000-square-foot metal building at the Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park to which Bruneaux Bait will expand will be constructed by the IDA. Bruneaux Bait has a lease-purchase agreement on the property with the IDA and will oversee its construction.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. or