CLINTWOOD, VA – April 1, 2024 – Turning his long-held love of cooking barbecue for family and friends from the dream of operating his own small business into opening one is something Wesley Rose has been working on since late 2023 as he began the process to outfit a food truck in Clintwood, VA and to complete necessary certifications to open Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC later this spring. The new business will offer a unique take on classic barbecue with a fair food twist, using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible.

Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant. Seed capital grants are funded from regional funds received by VCEDA which are paid by the natural gas industry.

“Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC, will add to the food service options in Clintwood, enhancing dining experiences available to locals and tourists alike,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “The business projects two full-time and one part-time employee within five years.”

The food truck was purchased by Rose last year and work since then has been targeted at upfitting the truck and getting it ready to open for business.

“We are working to get the food truck ready to include a vent hood and fire suppression system,” Rose said. “I’ve always liked barbecue and began cooking for family and friends. I like to watch stuff on barbecue on the Food Network and get some ideas for different takes on recipes there. We look forward to being able to serve fresh, home-cooked barbecue and side items.”

Rose’s girlfriend, Heather Keen, is also working with the business as will his sister, Kayla Taylor.

Keen noted Rose will work in the pit and make the barbecue and that she and Taylor will serve on the front-end customer-facing operations of the new food truck business.

Initially, the truck will be open on weekends and will be found at special events in the region. A primary spot in Clintwood has been secured for the truck to be set up at any time, giving more lunch options for local residents and tourists alike. Catering services will also be available.

Menu items will include pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, smoked mac-n-cheese, coleslaw, mini cornbread waffles, smoked cream cheese dip and baked beans. Desserts on the menu will include a cream cheese dip coated in cinnamon sugar and topped with fruit and served with graham crackers; deep fried peanut butter and jelly; cheesecake jar desserts; and other assorted cheesecake options.

“We are more than grateful for the VCEDA seed capital grant,” Rose said. “It is definitely helping us to take care of some of the equipment/outfitting needs for the truck. The whole process has been good — from working with the IDA to Becki at the SBDC at Mountain Empire Community College. I came in with an empty food truck and a dream.”

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

“Heather and Wesley’s journey from perfecting their barbecue skills and sharing their culinary passion with family and friends has now blossomed into a remarkable venture that extends their love for food to the entire community,” said Becki O’Quinn-Purdie, SBDC director at MECC. “Bona Fide Barbecue is set to become a hub for locals seeking delicious barbecue and a destination that treats visitors to the authentic flavors of Southwest Virginia’s home cooking. Heather and Wesley’s unwavering commitment to the Clintwood and Dickenson County community exemplify their dedication to their community. Bona Fide Barbecue is poised to be an valuable addition to the local landscape. Mountain Empire Community College’s Small Business Development Center is delighted to have collaborated with Bona Fide Barbecue in bringing their food truck vision to life.”

“The Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) recognizes that a potential barrier for new business in the community is access to seed capital,” said Dickenson County IDA Executive Director Dana Cronkhite. “We are pleased to work in collaboration with the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) to assist Dickenson County entrepreneurs with educational and financial support to encourage entrepreneurial growth.  In an area such as Dickenson County, incremental growth that is attributed to small businesses, such as Bona Fide Barbecue, is vital to our community development and economic diversification.”

Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC may be found on Facebook and as the business opens later this spring, scheduling locations will be posted there.

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, within qualifying business categories, 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.