APPALACHIA, VA – NOVEMBER 8, 2021 — With the growth of tourism through motorcycle tours and others coming to enjoy the beauty of the region and all it has to offer, lifelong Appalachia resident Chris Williams saw opportunity. Seeing that opportunity, he decided to open Black Bear BBQ which will officially celebrate its grand opening on November 9 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Black Bear BBQ, located on 516 West Main Street in Appalachia, opened earlier this fall and was a recent recipient of a $6,500 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) grant.

“Assisting small businesses like Black Bear BBQ to pursue their business plans of providing services and creating jobs in our communities is what the VCEDA Seed Capital Grant program is all about,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Black Bear BBQ projects creating eight full time and six part-time jobs within five years.”

“I hope our new restaurant will add to the community and provide a place for tourists and residents alike to stop in Appalachia and stay awhile,” Williams said.

Black Bear BBQ opened earlier this fall in Appalachia.

The business is located in an Appalachia building built in the 1940s and newly renovated. It has the ability to seat 70. The new restaurant offers a varied menu of barbecue and grill items from pulled pork, ribs and brisket to chicken and burgers. A variety of sides are also offered — from fried okra and coleslaw to mashed potatoes and BBQ creamed corn and everything in between. A daily country plate special is also offered and catering services are available for large groups upon request. Another special is the Bear Claw Burger — two all beef patties, two slices of pepper jack cheese, pepper jelly, topped with onion rings.

“The VCEDA grant helped me tremendously,” Williams said. “The cost of everything has gone up and I had some huge overruns as a result of that. We used the grant to purchase two rugs and stainless steel tables and other small equipment pieces.”

Black Bear BBQ may be found on Facebook and may be reached by calling (276) 565-6099.

Williams worked with the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) in the development of his application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Wise County Industrial Development Authority.

“Chris Williams is dedicated to betterment of the community of Appalachia,” said Becki O’Quinn-Purdie, director of the Small Business Development Center at MECC.VCEDA assisted Black Bear BBQ with funding through the seed capital fund to bring a much-needed restaurant to Appalachia.”

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. or

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.