CLINTWOOD, VA — (JANUARY 10, 2020) — While their mobile food truck is in storage for the winter, Neil Mack Fleming; his wife, Melanie; and daughter, Tori, are making plans for the spring when Frost Bite LLC, based out of Clintwood, will once again hit the festival circuit providing shaved ice dessert options for those looking to add a sweet treat to their day. Frost Bite LLC is a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.
Owning their own business has long been a dream the family has had, according to Melanie Fleming, who said the seed capital matching grant is allowing the family to continue to realize and grow that dream.
The sweet treat sold at Frost Bite LLC is shaved ice, which the Flemings describe as smoother than crushed ice. A large selection of flavors are available – 25 in all. Strawberries and cream remains as the biggest seller and flavor offered. By next winter, they hope to add gourmet coffees and hot chocolate to their offerings to allow them to open during the winter months as well.
“VCEDA was pleased to assist Frost Bite LLC in growing its new business which is exactly what the seed capital matching grant program is designed to do,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Frost Bite’s business plan projects employment of two full-time and eight part-time employees within five years.”
The business started in April 2019 when the Flemings leased a concession trailer from a friend and set up for their first event at the Dickenson Center for Education and Research. After that, they purchased a new concession trailer which they plan to use the VCEDA grant funds for to build out and equip the trailer.
“Getting the seed capital grant is a game changer for us,” Fleming said. “It is allowing us to fix the new trailer we purchased and to build it out to meet our specific needs.
“There are so many festivals and places to be and we would like to expand,” Fleming added. “It’s been a learning process to locate those and research them. Last summer, we did a trial run and this year, we plan to focus on festivals, horse shows and the Town of Haysi.
“We’d like to do at least two events per month plus our normal set-up,” Fleming continued. “We accomplished what we have so far through a lot of hard work and a lot of prayer and I give all the glory to God.”
Fleming credited Dickenson County Economic Development Director Mitzi Sykes and Mountain Empire Community College Small Business Development Center Director Tim Blankenbecler for their help in working on the VCEDA application. She also acknowledged assistance from the Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce and Dickenson County residents Doris Rife and Matt Owens, all of whom she said have gone above and beyond in helping the business to get up and running.
For additional information about Frost Bite LLC, interested persons may visit their Facebook page, or call them at 276-926-2144.
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.