More Than 200 Jobs in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region Projected from VCEDA First Quarter Activity

Grants Approved for Two New Workforce Development Projects

Two workforce development grants which combined totaled $300,000 were approved for projects in Russell and Wise counties in April during a meeting of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) board in Lebanon.

During the meeting, Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel, provided board members with an update on activity in the first quarter of the year, noting that to date, there have been four new projects and expansion/retention projects announced, which are projected to create 158 full-time and 50 part-time jobs.  Belcher also informed the board that VCEDA is currently working more than 40 active projects considering the region for new business or business expansion.

Belcher noted the VCEDA board has approved seven loans and grants totaling $6.8 million in new funding in the same time period and he added that coal and gas severance receipts which fund a considerable portion of VCEDA’s work are on the uptick.

Read more about the April VCEDA meeting.

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VCEDA was represented at the AUVSI conference by Charlotte Mullins, VCEDA marketing ambassador, left; and Susan Copeland, VCEDA marketing coordinator, right.

VCEDA Attends AUVSI Xponential Conference

VCEDA Marketing Coordinator Susan Copeland and VCEDA Marketing Ambassador Charlotte Mullins attended the AUVSI Xponential conference with representatives of the state of Virginia in late April. The conference was focused on creating connections across markets — from energy to transportation, construction to defense and medicine to agriculture. Billed as the place where autonomy meets society, ideas, changing policy, innovations and partnerships were all a part of the sessions at the Orlando, Fla. conference. To see more, check out

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Paul’s Fan Company owner Todd Elswick offers remarks at the ribbon cutting event.

Paul’s Fan Company Holds Ribbon Cutting at Southern Gap

VCEDA was pleased to take part in the ribbon cutting for Paul’s Fans at Southern Gap in Buchanan County in April. The event celebrated the company’s decision to expand its operations in Buchanan County.

In 2019, VCEDA approved an up to $5.6 million loan to the Buchanan County IDA which saw Paul’s Fan Company sign on to occupy the shell building under construction at Southern Gap at that time, bringing with it 40 new full-time jobs and the retention of 42 additional full-time jobs over a 10-year period. The addition of the BEAST Company manufacturing line of aluminum trailers at the new location is projected to add another 15 jobs.

VCEDA Funds Administrator Jean Jordan delivered some brief remarks on behalf of VCEDA, its board members and VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher.

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Members of the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority Board met in Grundy with Sen. Tim Kaine. Pictured, from left (front), are J.H. Rivers, Jay Rife, Sen. Tim Kaine, James Keen, Peggy Kiser, Bonnie Bates and Jonathan Belcher, Virginia CFX Authority executive director; and (back) John Schoolcraft, Sen. Travis Hackworth, Scott Mullins and Keith Viers.

Sen. Tim Kaine Joins Discussion with Virginia CFX Authority Board About Expressway Future

The Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority (CFX) board was joined by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine to talk about the future of the expressway project and what $1.995 million in new federal funding appropriated for the project will mean to advance it during a meeting of the board in April.

Also discussed were ways to continue to move the project forward which saw the authority agree to a motion to seek further congressionally directed spending to pave 2.2 miles of U.S. 121 (CFX) within the Corridor Q project to four lanes. Current paving funds allocated call for paving of just two lanes and a truck climbing lane.

Corridor Q is adjacent to the industrial park at Southern Gap in Buchanan County.

“From an economic development standpoint, it would be very beneficial to have four lanes adjacent to the Southern Gap industrial park.” 

Jonathan Belcher, CFX Executive Director/VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about the Virginia CFX Authority.

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Attendees at the recent ESEM meeting listen to a presentation about the state of the workforce.

VCEDA Co-Hosts ESEM Meeting

VCEDA was pleased to be a co-host of the Energy Storage and Electrification Manufacturing (ESEM) jobs project community advisory meeting in April. The team took a closer look at project goals and strategies which include to diversify and create market expansion opportunities for local manufacturing companies in the ESEM field; to attract new national and global companies to the region; and in so doing to expand tax base, capital investment and job creation in the region.

A data-based targeted technical assistance approach and leveraging and growing relationships with established companies nationally and globally to support connections to regional manufacturers were among the items discussed.

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Members of the SWVA e-Region team attending the Data Center World Conference included, from left, (front) Susan Copeland, VCEDA marketing coordinator; Natalie Chapman, Wise County; and Richard Johnson, Lee County; and (back) Brian Falin, Wise County; John Kilgore, Scott County; and Tim Danielson, Tazewell County.

VCEDA Exhibits at Data Center World Conference in Texas

VCEDA was pleased to be an exhibitor at the late March Data Center World Conference in Austin, Texas. The conference is the leading data center conference for IT infrastructure and data center facilities professionals. While in attendance, members of the Southwest Virginia e-Region team had an opportunity to meet with IT and data center facilities professionals and to talk with them about the benefits of locating in or expanding to the region. 

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Jeff Tatum’s new business, the Route 19 Hot Dog Shop at Wardell, Va., is a recent recipient of a VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant.

Seed Capital Grant Approved for Route 19 Hot Dog Shop

When it comes to hot dogs, the Route 19 Hot Dog Shop not only has all-beef hot dogs, but the homemade slaw and chili to go with them. Sweet tangy pulled pork BBQ and fresh cut fries are two other specialties on the menu which also features grilled cheese sandwiches and more.

Owner Jeff Tatum noted both dine-in and drive-thru service is available at the restaurant which is located on Rt. 19 between Claypool Hill, Va. and Lebanon, Va. in the Steelsburg Plaza.

Tatum’s new business, LECOWATIPA LLC, doing business as the Route 19 Hot Dog Shop, was recently approved for a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund grant.

“The Route 19 Hot Dog Shop is another example that entrepreneurship is alive and well in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region. Through the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant program, we strive to create a mechanism to assist entrepreneurs, like Jeff Tatum, in realizing their dreams of owning and operating a small business, while at the same time, creating jobs in the community. The Route 19 Hot Dog Shop is projected to create six full-time and 10 part-time jobs within three years.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about Route 19 Hot Dog Shop.

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The Coffee Station LLC Approved for Seed Capital Grant

More than just a full-service coffee shop, The Coffee Station in St. Paul, Va., also calls itself a mini-bakery and when it opens in early summer, it will also offer baked goods as well as space for local artisans to display and sell their goods. From its exclusive Clinch River Blend black coffee to espresso, lattes, frappes, smoothies, frozen lemonades and more, there will be a little something to appeal to everyone, according to owner, Andrea Hicks, who added gluten-free options will also be available.

Hicks’ new business, The Coffee Station LLC, was recently approved for a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund grant.

“The VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund was created to encourage entrepreneurship in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and we have seen that happen since its inception. The seed capital grant recently approved for The Coffee Station is projected to create three full-time and two part-time jobs within three years.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about The Coffee Station.

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Amy Cook’s new business Hand in Hand, PLLC, an outpatient therapy clinic, was a recent recipient of a VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant.

Outpatient Therapy Clinic Approved for Seed Capital Grant

Helping area children reach developmental milestones and working with adults to help them regain their independence after an illness or injury are two of the primary areas in which Hand in Hand, PLLC focuses. Amy Cook opened the outpatient therapy clinic to work with children and adults and to provide specialized hand therapy services.

Cook’s new business, Hand in Hand, PLLC applied for and was approved for an $8,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund grant.

“VCEDA was pleased to assist Hand in Hand, PLLC through its seed capital matching grant program. The seed capital program is designed to assist entrepreneurs in starting and growing their new businesses while creating jobs. In the case of Hand in Hand, PLLC, not only are those objectives met, but at the same time, a needed service to benefit the community is also being provided. The business projects three full-time and two part-time jobs within three years.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about Hand in Hand, PLLC.

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Matthew Mullins’ new business, American Muscle Detailing, LLC was a recent recipient of a VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant.

Seed Capital Grant Approved for American Muscle Detailing, LLC

Matthew Mullins’ love of fast cars and luxury vehicles translated into a business recently as he opened American Muscle Detailing, LLC  in Dickenson County. The new business provides exterior and interior detailing, as well as waxing and ceramic coating vehicle service options. Additional service options are also planned.

American Muscle Detailing, LLC, is a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.

Services offered by American Muscle Detailing are available to both individual car owners and to automobile dealers located in the vicinity of the shop, according to Mullins.

“Matthew Mullins’ plan for American Muscle Detailing, LLC is one that includes not only meeting the needs of car owners to keep their vehicles clean, but also growth for the future to provide services not currently widely available to individual vehicle owners and other businesses. The business projects two full-time and three part-time employees within three years.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about American Muscle Detailing, LLC.

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