VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, center, presents a ceremonial check to Wayne Johnson and Tracey Johnson, owners of Curklin’s Restaurant, representing the seed capital matching grant recently awarded to their new business. Also on hand for the presentation were, left, Tim Blankenbecler, of the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College; and Wise County Economic Development Director Carl Snodgrass, second from left.

BIG STONE GAP, VA – JUNE 6, 2019 — The historic Mutual Pharmacy building in Big Stone Gap will soon have new life as Curklin’s, a full-service casual dining restaurant, prepares to open its doors in early fall.

Wayne and Tracey Jordan are co-owners of the new business venture which was recently approved for a $10,000 Seed Capital Matching Grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

“VCEDA is pleased to assist Curklin’s through the Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The new restaurant will add employment numbers to the region and play an important role in the town of Big Stone Gap’s redevelopment efforts.”

As proposed, Curklin’s will be located on 314 Wood Avenue in what was once the historic Mutual Pharmacy building. The Jordans are renting the space from the Big Stone Gap Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Last year, VCEDA approved a $90,000 tourism fund grant to the authority to assist with renovations to the building. Currently, historical tax credits are being sought for it by the town.

Curklin’s was named using Wayne Jordan’s middle name, passed down in his family for six generations.

As planned, Curklin’s will feature a 170-seat restaurant and bar on the first floor with short stay lodging on the second floor to support local and regional tourism. The restaurant’s target market will be families, with affordable lunch and dinner options offered ranging from a selection of sandwiches and wraps at lunch to steak, chicken and pasta entrees at dinner. Cocktails will also be available to guests at the bar.

“For a small business, every dollar helps,” Wayne Jordan said of the VCEDA seed capital grant the restaurant is receiving. “The funds from VCEDA will buy most of the furniture – chairs and tables – that we will need. It’s a huge weight off our shoulders to have that taken care of and it provides us with some operating capital as we are starting out as well.”

The Jordans worked with Tim Blankenbecler at the Mountain Empire Community College Small Business Development Center to develop their business plan and application to VCEDA for seed capital matching grant funding.

Wayne Jordan has 21 years of restaurant management experience having previously served as the senior general manager for a steak house restaurant chain.

Jordan noted the tables in the new restaurant are being built locally which helps another small business and he added plans are to renovate space downstairs in the building for larger parties and events.

Within five years, it is anticipated the restaurant will employ 10 full-time employees and 30-45 part time employees.

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.