VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, second from left, presents a ceremonial check to Fired Up Pottery Owner Krissy Charles, representing the seed capital matching grant funding recently approved for the Grundy business. From left are Scotty Wampler, Buchanan County marketing director; Belcher; Charles; and Small Business Development Center Director Margie Douglass.

GRUNDY, VA – DECEMBER 20, 2019 — A love of pottery and the desire to open her own business combined to lead Krissy Charles to open Fired Up Pottery, a paint-your-own ceramic pottery shop, at the Market Place in the Grundy Plaza in Grundy, Va.

Fired Up Pottery was one of 18 businesses recently selected to receive an up to $10,000 Seed Capital Matching Grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

“Assisting entrepreneurs in growing their new businesses is the primary goal of VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching Grant program,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Fired Up Pottery offers a unique experience activity for its customers with the closest such experience being some 90 miles away. One full-time job is projected in the business application.”

Fired Up Pottery offers ceramics of all sizes — from Christmas ornaments to large vases; snowmen to santas; pumpkins to animal figurines. Piece prices range from $4 to $55, depending on size. Paints of all colors are available and for a $3 sitting fee, customers can paint the pieces they purchase on site. Charles will apply a drying spray to a customer’s finished product which takes about 30 minutes to set and then customers can take their painted treasures home the same day. Charles does the clean-up.

Many of the ceramics available for purchase are poured from molds Charles and her husband, Benjie, own and make themselves. Other pieces are purchased and offered for sale to be painted. A new service offered, Charles said, are “Keepsake Hands,” which are replicas of a person’s hands formed as a person dips their hands in a gel-like substance, which then hardens to create a mold of the hands. It is poured and dried to create the hands which can then be finished in a silver, pearl or gold finish and mounted on a wooden plaque.

“I’ve always had a love for pottery,” Charles said. “When we went on vacation through the years, I always tried to find a pottery shop and to spend some time painting. It’s not just about the painting – it’s about making memories.”

Charles said she has always liked art and is known throughout the community for face painting at various events. She also offers air brush tattoos at the shop.

“I started thinking about how great it would be to open up my own shop where people in the community could come in and paint,” Charles said. “The VCEDA grant is allowing me to further grow my business. I have used it so far to purchase shelving, to order supplies and to get new stock. It’s been a real big help.”

Charles encouraged families and friends to visit with her in the shop where they can sit down and choose their paints and create their finished pieces there. She offers group rates, noting the activity is one well-suited for children’s birthday parties, family or church outings, or a girls’ night out activity.

If multiples of the same piece are needed, she asks customers to let her know two weeks in advance so she has time to make them.

The business is open on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Charles noted if people would rather purchase a piece and take it home to paint, that’s an option too. Additionally, she will stay late or come in on weekends if customers will let her know by asking for an appointment or booking a sitting or party.

“We want to offer our customers a good experience and the chance to have some fun while spending time with friends, family members or their kids,” Charles said.

Fired Up Pottery was previously recognized as the first place start-up business winner in the Buchanan County Business Challenge. For more information about Fired Up Pottery, interested persons may visit www.fired-up-pottery.com or the Fired Up Pottery Facebook or Instagram page. The business may also be reached by calling 276-312-5614.

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.vaceda.org  owww.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.