HAYSI, VA – MAY 6, 2021 — The opportunity for a unique lodging experience is what O’Quinn Rentals, LLC provides for its customers who choose to book a renovated train caboose to stay in the Haysi area while there to enjoy the Spearhead Trails or a quiet getaway to the river. O’Quinn Rentals, LLC was a recent recipient of a $9,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant.
Jarrod and Audrea O’Quinn purchased two train caboose cars and a three-bedroom, two-bath home with the intention of renovating all of them into short-term rental units. One of the cabooses is now complete and being offered for rent at the Haysi Caboose Inn — a one-bedroom, one bath location. Renovations are ongoing to ready the second caboose and the house as rentals.
“O’Quinn Rentals, LLC proposed a rather unique concept with their utilization of train cabooses for short-stay lodging,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Building off of visitor traffic created by Spearhead Trails, another group VCEDA has approved funding for in the past, O’Quinn Rentals, LLC projects one full-time and two part-time employees.”
For the O’Quinns, it was a leap of faith to purchase the property and the cabooses. They are using the VCEDA seed capital grant for renovations, inventory, utilities and equipment.
The cabooses are 1929 models marketed by the O’Quinns for rental through airbnb. The house is also being renovated and will be offered for rent to larger groups.
“We saw an opportunity to do this when the house was put up for sale,” Audrea O’Quinn said. “We both work other jobs, but saw this as an opportunity to invest in our future. The seed capital funding was a great boost to us.”
River trails run alongside the property which is parallel to the river and O’Quinn said she and her husband saw it as an opportunity to get people to stay locally and to offer them a unique experience through staying in a caboose.
“We also thought it would be fun to get to meet people from all over who chose to stay there,” O’Quinn said. “So far, all of our guests have come to use just because of the cabooses.
To reach O’Quinn Rentals, LLC interested persons may visit https://www.airbnb.com/h/haysicabooseinn.
The O’Quinns worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College on their business plan and application to VCEDA. The Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority provided 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.