LEBANON, VA – OCTOBER 7, 2021 – An upscale salon to cater to the hair styling and beauty needs of area women is what Natasha Hughes had in mind when she began planning for her new business, Trendy Belle Salon in Lebanon, Va. With the help of a $6,500 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant, she outfitted the business and officially opened it this past June.

Now, in addition to her, one full-time and one part-time stylist are working in the salon as growing the customer base remains a primary focus.

“Trendy Belle Salon had a plan for growth from the beginning and has already started well on its way to achieving initial goals set to hire two employees within two years,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher.

Hughes noted the VCEDA seed capital grant had helped her with purchasing needed supplies, a waxing table, hair products for inventory and a light up sign for the 459 W. Main Street, Lebanon, Va., location.

In addition to accepting appointments, walk-ins are also welcome.

“In addition to all hair styling services, we offer spray tanning, eyelash extensions, full body waxing, teeth whitening and ear piercing,” Hughes said. “When I opened the salon, I was going for something a little different, a little more upscale. The seed capital grant helped in every way possible.

“It’s hard to start up,” she continued. “If I had not had the grant, it would have taken more time to get to where I am now.”

Previously, Hughes has worked as a vocational school cosmetology teacher, but added she was at a point in life that she found herself ready for change.

“I’m ready to up my game and move on,” Hughes said of opening her own business. “You could say I am chasing a dream.”

Looking to the future, Hughes said she hopes to add additional services like massage therapy within six months.

Giving back to the community, Hughes said is also important to her and that’s why in August, Trendy Belle Salon offered free back to school hair cuts for kids returning to the classroom.

Hughes worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in the development of her application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Russell County Industrial Development Authority.

“The Small Business Development Center staff at SWCC was excited to learn that Trendy Belle Salon had been awarded a VCEDA Seed Capital matching grant,” said SBDC Business Advisor Misty Bandy,  The SWCC SBDC staff enjoyed working with owner, Natasha Hughes, to develop a business plan, pro forma financials, as well as business practices and strategies to open and sustain this modern salon that offers services to all members of the family.”

Bandy went on to note, statistics show the business survival rate of SBDC clients is dramatically higher than the average small business.

“With Mrs. Hughes’ willingness to take full advantage of all of the free and confidential services offered by the SWCC SBDC, she has set her business up to succeed,” Bandy said. “The SWCC SBDC appreciates the opportunity to help VCEDA applicants, like Trendy Belle Salon, to go into business and stay in business.”

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.