VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, presents a ceremonial check for $400,000 to Melanie Protti-Lawrence, president of Lawrence Brothers, Inc., representing the loan made by VCEDA to Lawrence Brothers Inc. for the company’s latest expansion project in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region. Following a tour of the plant, participants removed their masks briefly for this photo. Pictured from left (front) are Kyle Hurt, Tazewell County IDA chairman; Belcher; Protti-Lawrence; Maggie Asbury, Tazewell County Board of Supervisors and VCEDA board member; Joe Gillespie, Virginia Economic Development Partnership; Roseann Jones, Cumberland Plateau Planning District; and (back) Eric Young, Tazewell County administrator; Senator Travis Hackworth, 38th district; Pam Warden, Tazewell County economic development manager; Denise Harmon, Tazewell County; Jim Baldwin, CPPD executive director; and Brandon McCracken, COO, Lawrence Brothers, Inc.

Lawrence Brothers, Inc. Expansion in Tazewell County to Create 40 New Jobs

Forty new jobs are projected to be coming to Tazewell County as Lawrence Brothers, Inc., an industry leader in battery tray fabrication and manufacturing of motive power trays, ground support systems and transformer components, further expands its operations in Bluefield, Va.

The company will invest $3.2 million to expand its operations, upgrading and modernizing machinery and equipment to increase capacity and double production at its facility.  The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) provided a $400,000 loan to help purchase equipment for the expansion. At the time of the application to VCEDA, Lawrence Brothers, Inc. employed 70. The new expansion will see the company’s employment numbers grow to 110 within five years. 

“The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority was pleased to provide a $400,000 loan to Lawrence Brothers, Inc. to assist with the purchase of equipment for this expansion project. This is the second time VCEDA has assisted the company with expansions in the last two years. Lawrence Brothers’ ability to diversify and grow their business is a true testament to the strength of its owners, employees and the favorable business environment found in our region.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about Lawrence Brothers, Inc.

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VCEDA Grant to Town of Tazewell I/EDA Will Help Advance Lodging Development Project

An up to $100,000 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund was closed recently for the Town of Tazewell Industrial/Economic Development Authority to be used to help advance the development of a short-stay lodging facility in downtown Tazewell.

The new project seeks to develop the former Sunnyside Manor apartment complex, which is just a short distance away from the Back of the Dragon Welcome Center, into a 12-unit short-stay lodging property with 34 beds. Plans call for the town to lease the facility to Dragon Property Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Back of the Dragon Properties.

Funds will be used to finance the purchase of real estate to assist with the development of the project located on Main Street in Tazewell.

“The Industrial/Economic Development Authority of the Town of Tazewell had been looking for some time to develop a hotel or short-stay lodging facility in the downtown area. The Sunnyside location is just a short distance from the Back of the Dragon Welcome Center — which VCEDA helped to finance with a $150,000 loan approved in 2019 — and seeks to capitalize on the tourist traffic generated in the region as visitors come to drive the Back of the Dragon motorcycle and sports car route.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about the Sunnyside Lodging Project.

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VT Study Finds VCEDA Seed Capital Program Has Enhanced Diversification, Created Jobs

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority’s (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Fund program has had a very high return on investment and has created and retained 300 jobs in the three years the program has existed, according to a study of the program recently completed by Virginia Tech’s Center for Economic & Community Engagement.

In its short time of operation, the VCEDA program has been recognized for its importance in diversifying the region and enhancing community assets from stakeholders and business entities. According to the VT analysis of the program, VCEDA’s investment of $1 million has resulted in a $34.2 million impact on the region’s economy in the course of three years.

The study noted that data shows for every year the program has existed, job numbers have exponentially grown by 10-20 positions. Since the program started, the study found VCEDA has played a critical role in the development of small businesses and in support of entrepreneurship.

“We asked Virginia Tech to take a look at our seed capital program to help us evaluate its effectiveness and what they found was that the program — which is designed to give entrepreneurs a head start in developing their business ideas into viable entities creating jobs in our region — has been effective in doing both.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about the VT Seed Capital Program Study.

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Robert and Elise Bloomer operate Clinch River Life, LLC, which provides river tubing experiences on the weekends and offers camping as well.

Clinch River Life, LLC Approved for VCEDA Seed Capital Grant

Area residents and those traveling to the area to enjoy the great outdoors have a new option for water fun as Clinch River Life, LLC in Scott County offers inner tubes and kayaks to float the Clinch River in the spring and summer months. Camping is also available. Clinch River Life, LLC is a recent recipient of a Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) $9,000 seed capital matching grant.

The new business, which began active operations in June 2020 is owned by Robert and Elise Bloomer, of Big Stone Gap. Within the first four weeks of its opening, nearly 1,000 tubes were rented, exceeding initial goals of 200 tubes per week during the months of June, July and August – primary vacation times. Long term goals for the business include expanding its kayaking offerings.

“Outdoor recreation is a business sector in our area that has seen significant growth in recent years. As more businesses have opened drawing tourists to the natural beauty found in our region, additional opportunities have been created for entrepreneurs to capitalize on that and start businesses of their own. Clinch River Life, LLC is a perfect example of that. The business has one full time and four part-time employees and projects an additional six part-time employees within two years.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about Clinch River Life, LLC.

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