POCAHONTAS, VA – MAY 9, 2022 – As Tom Wimmer watched Pocahontas, Va., continue to grow its tourism industry through the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and the Spearhead and Hatfield McCoy trail systems nearby, he saw the time was right to open a restaurant to meet the needs of residents and tourists alike. As a result, he began planning to open the Ole No. 3 Restaurant & Bar.
Wimmer’s new business, Ole No. 3 Restaurant & Bar was recently approved for a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund grant.
“VCEDA was pleased to assist Ole No. 3 Restaurant & Bar with a seed capital matching grant,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “It has already paid off as the restaurant recently reported to us that it has already exceeded its employment projections and currently has 13 employees, seven of whom are full-time and six of whom are part-time. Original plans had called for nine within three years to include four full-time and five part-time jobs. Since the seed capital program is all about creating jobs in the region, this was great news to hear.”
As Wimmer began planning to develop and open the new restaurant, he envisioned a place where the community could find a place to congregate and interact socially. In December, he officially opened the business in time to capitalize on some area Christmas party planning.
The restaurant, which is named Ole No. 3 as a tip of the hat to the prolific No. 3 coal seam found in the region, is located next door to the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum. The exhibition mine draws approximately 5,000 guests annually from May to October. The Spearhead Trails’ OP trail also draws visitation year round and the restaurant’s location is within a mile and a half of three ATV resorts and the nearby Hatfield McCoy trail system in West Virginia.
The restaurant is capable of seating up to 89 inside, including 16 at the full bar and five high top tables which each seat four. He also added a 26×20 game room which features pool tables, shuffle board, arcade games and indoor axe throwing.
Outside seating is also available and regular events and music are planned in the coming months.
The restaurant menu features burgers, sandwiches, tacos and wraps as well as steaks, ribs, seafood, pasta, chicken, pork, a large appetizer selection and a kids menu.
Having opened and operated through the winter months — traditionally a slow time for many businesses — Wimmer said he had learned a lot about the best ways to get through it and said as a result of that, he knew better how to plan for this coming winter.
“I am very appreciative of having been selected for the VCEDA grant,” Wimmer said. “It helped me get started up and to get my costs under control. Even though I did my homework on costs, I still underestimated it based on inflation. We would have really been in the red starting out without the grant and it also helped us open sooner than planned, which allowed cash flow to improve.”
Wimmer worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in developing his application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority.
“The combination of good food and historic preservation at Ole No. 3 Restaurant and Bar in the town of Pocahontas will continue to enhance the growing tourism industry in Tazewell County,” said SBDC Program Manager Margie Douglass. “The VCEDA Seed Capital Matching fund award of $10,000 will enable Tom to streamline the operation and make it more efficient and customer friendly. The SBDC is pleased to have provided Tom with assistance in preparing his grant application.”
The restaurant, located at 217 Shop Hollow Road in Pocahontas, is open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and from 10:30 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant may be found on Facebook and may be reached by calling 276-245-1255.
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.