HURLEY, VA — JUNE 21, 2021 — Avid hunters, fishermen and outdoorsmen will find a one-stop shop at Blankenship’s Hunting Supply, Taxidermy & Deer Processing LLC in the Hurley area of Buchanan County. The new business, owned by Karen Blankenship, was a recent recipient of a $9,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.
“Creating jobs and helping businesses like Blankenship’s Hunting Supply, Taxidermy & Deer Processing LLC get started is the purpose of the VCEDA seed capital matching grant program,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The business projects one full-time and one part-time employee.”
”At the beginning of the year, we opened the new business which in addition to the taxidermy service also offers hunting and fishing supplies, including live bait, as well as meat processing,” Blankenship said. “We also obtained our firearms licensing and we now sell guns and ammunition.”
She added the business recently applied for another federal license which will also allow them to build firearms. Plans are also in the works to offer concealed carry classes at the store later this summer.
Blankenship’s husband, Mitchell Lee Blankenship, is the certified taxidermist. Life size mounts, as well as half-size taxidermy for bear, deer, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, raccoons and squirrels are available through the taxidermy side of the business and hunters also have the opportunity to bring their trophy kill to the business for skinning, cleaning and meat processing.
In addition to processing deer and other wild game, Karen Blankenship noted the business also processes hogs after deer season has concluded. All meats are vacuum sealed and refrigerated until the customer picks them up.
In addition to Mitchell and Karen, their son, Peyton, also helps out in the store.
“It’s always been something my family and I have wanted to do,” Blankenship said of opening the new store. “We used the seed capital grant for the meat processing side of the business – for the slicer and the vacuum sealer and a deep freezer. The grant really helped us do something that we had wanted to do forever and the grant put all that in motion.”
Located at 10173 Hurley Road, Blankenship’s Hunting Supply, Taxidermy & Deer Processing LLC, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The business is closed on Sundays. They may be reached through their Facebook page or at the store number at 276-528-2140. A website at www.blankenshipshuntingsupply.com is under development.
Blankenship worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College. The Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority provided a letter of support for the project.
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. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.
About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.