COEBURN, VA – DECEMBER 6, 2021 – Shopping until you drop just got easier when Ruby Bea’s Boutique opened earlier this year, including with it a mobile option for ease of customer shopping. “We stop and you shop” is the mobile store’s motto as it goes from location to location bringing with it the latest styles in women’s clothing.
Ruby Bea’s Mobile Boutique is a recent recipient of a $6,500 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.
“We’ve seen entrepreneurs apply a mobile concept to their new businesses before, but this is the first time we’ve seen a clothing retail shop apply for funds to operate in a mobile setting,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The seed capital grant program was established to encourage entrepreneurship and innovative thinking when it comes to creating jobs and this certainly meets that bill. The company projects three full-time and four part-time jobs within four years.”
Co-owners Kristen McGreggor and Shelley Richards launched the venture earlier this year as an e-commerce business and then decided to incorporate pop-up on location sale events. The events are held in customer’s homes and in public locations, bringing what McGreggor and Richards said is a full luxe boutique experience to any location.
The mobile boutique is size inclusive, offering women’s apparel in sizes extra small to 3X, in addition to accessories and various décor items.
“We also provide our customers with access to our merchandise in a rented booth at the Orchard Barn in St. Paul,” McGreggor noted.
“With our business model, we take the clothes where they need to go,” McGreggor said of the mobile boutique concept.
The seed capital grant, McGreggor said was helpful in getting Ruby Bea’s mobile trailer wrapped, a point of sale system and a shipping label printer purchased.
“It definitely gave us a leg up,” McGreggor said of the grant, noting Ruby Bea’s has also been able to add dressing rooms to the mobile unit.
Ruby Bea’s has a website at www.rubybeasboutique.com and may also be found on Facebook where livestreams are routinely a feature of the business page.
McGreggor and Richards worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) in the development of their application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Wise County Industrial Development Authority.
“Ruby Bea’s passion for their business and energy is infectious,” said Becki O’Quinn-Purdie, director, Small Business Development Center at MECC. “The MECC SBDC enjoyed working with Ruby Bea’s Boutique. The VCEDA Seed Capital Fund helped Ruby Bea’s expand to add mobile shopping. They have been creative and persistent in meeting their customer’s needs.”
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.