BIG STONE GAP, VA – January 17, 2023 – If it’s chicken you’re looking for with a little dose of Southern hospitality, you’ll find it at Cluck Truck, LLC, a new mobile food truck primarily serving customers in the Big Stone Gap, Norton and Wise areas during the week and branching out to the Tri-Cities area and seasonally to fairs and festivals on the weekends.
Cluck Truck, LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant.
Micah Nida and Greg Kiser officially opened the new business this past July and through the business, they seek to cater to consumers from all walks of life offering everything from down home chicken biscuits to chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets and a variety of sauces — from Nashville Hot and Honey Hot to Blue Ridge. Regular fries and garlic-parmesan fries round out the sandwich combos available. Fried pickles have also been added to the mix.
“VCEDA’s seed capital grant program has continued to grow in popularity and in so doing has been a part of additional job creation within the region since the program was first started. Cluck Truck, LLC is one of the businesses recently approved for funding,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “The business projects one full-time and two part-time jobs within two years.”
Nida and Kiser bring unique skill sets to the business with a shared vision. Nida primarily handles food preparation and food service while Kiser primarily handles business development and operations. The food truck is set up on average three days a week now, but both agree as spring and summer approach, they would like to set up daily, Monday-Friday and on Saturdays.
The VCEDA grant, they said, is being used to purchase another fryer, which both agree will serve to enhance productivity. A high quality food warmer, they added, will be a game changer allowing them to prepare chicken in advance, improving customer service times. A logo wrap on the food trailer will also be added.
“It helped to solidify us as an actual business,” Nida said of the grant. “It’s validation of the business from outside and we are honored to have been chosen to receive it.”
Kiser agreed, noting the grant will further serve to help the business get on solid footing, allowing it to then grow and give back to the community.
One of their first ways to give back was through a free community meal with Santa last month. The Cluck Truck collected donations of toys, clothes and more to help families in the Coeburn area. Several other charity events are also planned for 2023.
Nida and Kiser worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) in developing their application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Wise County Industrial Development Authority.
“Mountain Empire Community College’s SBDC has enjoyed working with The Cluck Truck from idea to inception,” said Becki O’Quinn Purdie, SBDC program director at MECC. “It has been exciting to see the business launch and see the success it has received in such a short time. We’ve experienced seeing the large response to their food truck first-hand. The VCEDA Seed Capital Fund will give The Cluck Truck the ability to continue to operate and grow the business.”
“With the continued growth in the mobile food service industry, the unique offerings of ‘The Cluck Truck’ will be a great addition to Wise County and the entire region,” said Wise County IDA Executive Director Brian Falin. “The strong culinary backgrounds of Micah and Greg will ensure that the food is of the highest quality with the convenience of a mobile operation. ‘The Cluck Truck’ has already gained a loyal following and has a great opportunity to see continued growth. The Wise County IDA was proud to provide support for this application and is excited to see the owners’ continued success.”
Cluck Truck, LLC may be reached through its Facebook page.
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.