CEDAR BLUFF, VA – MARCH 8, 2021 — Small animal wellness checks, vaccinations, surgery, dentistry, hospitalization and in-house laboratory and radiology services are among the services offered at Valley Animal Clinic, PLLC. The Cedar Bluff, Va., clinic was a recent recipient of a Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) $9,000 seed capital matching grant.
The clinic is operated by Dr. Allison M. Sparks, of Cedar Bluff, a 2005 graduate of Virginia Tech, who finished her veterinary education at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and then returned to the area to open the clinic located at 1058 Cedar Valley Drive in Cedar Bluff in the former veterinary clinic space operated by the late Dr. Roy Wright. Sparks’ husband, Jason, assists with the business which officially opened in January, as its manager of operations.
“VCEDA was pleased to assist Valley Animal Clinic, PLLC in getting its new business up and running,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The business has utilized its seed capital funds to purchase equipment and supplies. It projects five full-time and two part-time employees as it continues to grow.”
Already, in addition to Sparks, the clinic employs one full-time technician, one part-time technician and one full-time receptionist. Supplementing veterinary services offered, products for flea and tick control and options for pet nutrition and diet are also offered.
Sparks, a native of Buchanan County, moved to the Cedar Bluff area in 1989. After completing her education at VT, she returned home and worked as an insurance agent for five years before returning to vet school to pursue her long-held dream of becoming a veterinarian.
“My sister remembers when we were growing up that I said I wanted to own the veterinary clinic in Cedar Bluff,” Sparks recalls. “When long-time veterinarian Dr. Roy Wright died, it just kind of fell into place.”
The seed capital grant from VCEDA was something Sparks said has assisted the clinic in upgrading equipment, from surgical monitoring to equipment to meet pet dental needs and digital x-rays. All of the equipment is costly, she said, but with the VCEDA grant available to assist in meeting those costs, Sparks said, “it helps us a lot to be able to provide better pet care for the community.”
Sparks noted the business currently has a Facebook page and is reaching out to past clients of Dr. Wright’s to let them know the new business is open. Sparks added that while appointments are encouraged, walk-ins are also welcome. The business may be reached by calling 276-963-9413.
Sparks worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College on the development of Valley Animal Clinic’s business plan and application to VCEDA. The Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority wrote a letter of support for the project.
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.