CASTLEWOOD, VA – MARCH 30, 2020 — Carey and Tony Watkins originally purchased land in Russell County on which to camp and then to build a small home, but in 2012, they left their corporate lives in North Carolina and moved to their hobby farm on 115 acres in Castlewood, where they retired. In April 2019, they officially opened a mobile food truck business, Cheesy does it LLC, which recently was awarded a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant.
The food truck offers unique grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis, as well as tomato basil bisque in cooler months, cheesy chips and cheesecake. The business is focused on providing services to Wise, Russell, Tazewell, Buchanan and Washington counties and the City of Norton and in the past has booked lunches with employers throughout the region.
“VCEDA was pleased to be able to assist Cheesy does it LLC with a seed capital grant,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Their mobile food truck is providing food services in the region, taking their unique menu to various localities and businesses.”
“The VCEDA seed capital grant has helped us to be able to step up,” Carey Watkins said. “We opened on a shoestring budget and these funds have allowed us to improve the look and feel of the food truck with a real menu board and photos. We also purchased quiet generators and added a new awning.”
Watkins noted that in the future, Cheesy does it LLC hopes to expand its offerings to include catering services. Marketing materials are being worked on now, which she said will give the business the opportunity to obtain business in that arena. Additionally, the mobile food truck will be at various festivals and fairs once those are resumed later this year.
“We’ve got the food down pat and we’re now at a point where we can tweak our menu and even add new dishes, like queso mac-n-cheese,” Watkins said.
Bottom line? If it has cheese in the recipe, there’s a likelihood it may be a menu offering at Cheesy does it LLC.
The Watkins’ worked with Tim Blankenbecler, of the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College, in developing their application to VCEDA. The Russell County and Wise County Industrial Development Authorities both provided letters of support to VCEDA 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. 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.