Paul Fields, second from left, accepts a ceremonial check representing the $10,000 seed capital matching grant awarded to Yuma Storage from VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. Also on hand for the presentation were Scott County Economic Development Authority Director John Kilgore, left; and Small Business Development Center Director at Mountain Empire Community College, Tim Blankenbecler.

WEBER CITY, VA – July 25, 2018 – For years, Paul Fields drove back and forth on Yuma Road in Weber City, glancing over at a desolate piece of property as he passed it, thinking there must be something for which the property could be used.

He thought about it awhile and then purchased the property, building 25 storage units on it and opening Yuma Storage a little more than a year ago. Within 30 days, all of the units were rented and he was still receiving requests from the public interested in the rentals. With no more units available, he was forced to turn them away until with the assistance of a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, he was able to begin planning to add 20 more 10×10 foot units to the property. The new units will join the other units already on the property which include 5×10, 10×10, 10×15, 10×20 and 10×30 units.

“I’ve lived in this area for 50 years and I passed by this lot for 50 years and I always thought it was a good piece of property – it just needed a little attention,” Fields said. “I bought the land and then I began to think about what the community needed and that’s when the idea of the storage buildings came to me.”

“VCEDA was pleased to assist Yuma Storage in its plan to add more storage units to the new business through the VCEDA seed capital matching grant program,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Assisting entrepreneurs to start and grow their new small businesses is a key component of our overall economic development strategy for the region.”

Fields, who is a former member of the Scott County Board of Supervisors, said staying active and involved in the community is important to him and being able to provide a service needed in the community is one way he sees as achieving that goal.

“I am very appreciative of the VCEDA grant and the help we received from Tim Blankenbecler with the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College and John Kilgore with the Scott County Industrial Development Authority,” Fields said.

Already, he is looking ahead.

Another lot on the property, he said, he is thinking about setting up for outside vehicle storage rentals.

He has one more idea he is considering pursuing as well — a deli on the property “to sell the simple things, like hot dogs and chili chees fries, milk shakes and ice cream and maybe fried pies,” he said.

“We have a lot of good cooks in the area and it’s something I’d like to do maybe within a year,” he added.

Yuma Storage is located on 995 Yuma Road in Weber City and is open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The business has a Facebook page and may be reached at 423-530-0001.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and 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 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. or

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.