RAVEN, VA – NOVEMBER 30, 2021 – Serving the needs of their community is important to Hilary and Tony Deskins and utilizing Hilary’s pharmacy degree from the Appalachian College of Pharmacy in nearby Oakwood, Va., the Deskins’ opened a full-service pharmacy, HomeTown Pharmacy, earlier this year to do just that.

The new business was a recent recipient of a $6,500 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant.

“VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching Grant program was established to give entrepreneurs in the e-Region a leg up when it comes to getting established and creating jobs,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The program has successfully created hundreds of new jobs and in the case of HomeTown Pharmacy, five full-time and three part-time jobs are projected within three years.”

Hilary Deskins noted the new pharmacy’s location on Rt. 460, next to Eddie’s Exxon, offers residents in the area an option to meet their pharmacy needs without having to travel 12 miles further toward Vansant or 13 miles to Richlands.

In addition to offering a full selection of common over the counter medications as well as prescription medications, HomeTown Pharmacy offers a gift section complete with florals, wreaths, wooden signs, home décor, greeting cards, jewelry and more. Hand-made quilts, pot holder sets, placemats and baby hats made by Hilary’s mother, Beverly Albeke, are also offered and wheelchair back pockets and cancer turbans are also available.

Blister packaging services for medications are available to physicians and customers.

“We would not have been able to do this without the VCEDA grant,” Deskins said. “It’s a blessing and will help our business to be more successful.”

She noted the VCEDA grant was used primarily toward purchasing inventory, allowing the pharmacy to offer a greater selection of medications in differing strengths.

“Basically, we started from ground zero and this has been a good family project too,” Deskins said. “We treat our customers like family. Everything here is about family.”

The Deskins’ 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 Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority.

“The SBDC team at SWCC was excited to learn that HomeTown Pharmacy had been awarded a VCEDA  Seed Capital Matching Fund grant,” said Brittani Clarke Clayman, SBDC advisor. “The communities surrounding the Raven, VA drug store will benefit from this small business’s focus on quality customer service and care.

“By working with the SBDC (a requirement for any applicant of the Seed Capital Matching Fund), small business owners are better prepared to apply for funding and better equipped to make their business a success,” Clayman said. “When a small business owner works with the SBDC they receive guidance from experienced advisors and learn how to utilize available tools to evaluate their business and develop a formal plan of action.”

HomeTown Pharmacy may be reached by calling 276-498-4663 or by messaging through their Facebook page.

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.