BLUEFIELD, VA – JANUARY 28, 2022 – Developing a place for residents and visitors alike to enjoy sweet treats and to have a place to gather, socialize and eat are the primary goals Laura Hrovatic had in mind when she decided to pursue her dream of opening a bakery, Snuckle Butter, LLC, in downtown Bluefield, Va.
Snuckle Butter, LLC is a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.
“Helping to revitalize downtown areas in VCEDA’s e-Region has been one of the added benefits to our seed capital matching grant program as a number of the businesses awarded grants have chosen to locate in downtown areas,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Snuckle Butter, LLC is locating in an historic section of Bluefield, Va., and projects three full-time jobs and six part-time jobs within five years.”
Snuckle Butter will sell a large variety of made fresh daily yeast donuts, cookies, brownies and specialty cakes when it opens this summer and already has plans to expand to offer breads in its second year and gelato in its third year of operation.
“While we renovate the downtown space, we are also looking into the variety of equipment we will need and are checking options on suppliers,” Hrovatic said. “Turning the building into a modern bakery is taking an incredible amount of work. We have to replace the roof and the floor needs to be stabilized as well before we can move in heavy commercial bakery equipment.”
She noted plans call for the VCEDA grant to be used for renovations and equipment purchases.
“By transforming the over 120-year building in downtown Bluefield that we are renovating into a bakery, the end result will be truly amazing,” Hrovatic said. “Exposing the original brick wall on one side of the dining room, while preserving the original wood flooring where we can, our customers can become immersed in the fascinating history of the building and the area.
“It took me a couple of weeks to wrap my head around the fact that we were successful in getting the grant,” Hrovatic said. “It was a tremendous gift to be able to have access to that. As a small business, it’s just huge.”
Hrovatic worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in the development of her application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority.
“The ladies at the SBDC were amazing to work with,” Hrovatic said. “I think they are the best. There is no way I could have done this without them.”
“The Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College was happy to learn that Snuckle Butter Bakery was awarded a seed capital matching grant,” said Margie Douglass, SBDC program manager. “It was the pleasure of the SBDC staff to assist with the development of the application packet for this grant and we look forward to continuing to work Laura Hrovatic, as she sees her dream become a reality.
“Bluefield VA, the surrounding area and the regional tourism economy will surely benefit from this business through offerings of great products, the renovation of a 120-year-old building downtown and the expansion of employment opportunities to the residents of the area,” Douglass added. “The SBDC expects Snuckle Butter Bakery to become a staple of the region with their notoriety reaching far beyond local residents and out to those traveling into the area to partake in the many outdoor activities the region has to offer.”
Snuckle Butter LLC is located at 542 Virginia Avenue in Bluefield.
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.