CLINTWOOD, VA – JUNE 14, 2021 As Kevin O’Quinn, of Clintwood, looked down the road to retiring after a long career with the department of corrections, he was faced with trying to decide what to do to supplement his retirement income. The decision was easy when he took a skill set he had used for years working with K-9 officers and decided to open Caney Kennels.

Caney Kennels is a recent recipient of a $9,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.

The new business, as it matures, will breed, train and sell American Kennel Club registered Labrador Retrievers, as well as provide dog-related services including breeding, boarding and obedience training. Ultimately the goal is to offer training for both therapy dogs and narcotic detection dogs. O’Quinn plans to retire from his career in corrections next year and to devote all his time to growing the new business.

O’Quinn holds several certificates from the department of corrections for Basic Narcotics Detection K-9 School and Visual Tracking for Canine Handlers. It is that experience he plans to utilize as he further develops Caney Kennels.

“I’ve met a lot of people through the years and I have two retired trainers in the area who have already indicated they will work for us,” O’Quinn said.

“VCEDA was pleased to assist Caney Kennels in its launch as a new business in Dickenson County,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The business projects two full time and three part-time employees within five years.”

Work on upgrades to the kennels is already underway with four more kennel spots added and an office building constructed as well. O’Quinn plans to seek American Kennel Club certification through inspection of the new facilities, once that construction is complete. He also recently bought two additional female canines to be used for breeding purposes to add to the number of pups he will be able to offer for sale in the future.

“The VCEDA seed capital grant has been great,” O’Quinn said, adding it had been used for construction costs. “It really helped us out to put in the pipe needed to get water to the kennels and for the concrete, metal and chain link fencing needed for the kennels. We could not have done this without the VCEDA grant.”

O’Quinn worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College. The Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority provided a letter of support for the project.

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.