McPherson’s Farm Equipment, LLC receives a ceremonial check for a Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant. In photo, from left, Aaron Fee, economic development director for Lee County; Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel; Bobby McPherson, owner of McPherson’s Farm Equipment; and Tim Blankenbecler, director, Small Business Development Center, Mountain Empire Community College.

ROSE HILL, VA. – December 22, 2018 –A  long-time farming family in this Lee County community, Bobby McPherson and his father wanted to give fellow farmers in their area more options to buy and service farming equipment. In February, 38-year-old Bobby McPherson created a new business, McPherson’s Farm Equipment, LLC, one of the latest recipients of a Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.

The new business offers new and used tractors and farming equipment along with a full line of parts and service.

“Parts and service keep any business going, “ said McPherson, and McPherson’s will be offering Branson tractors which he describes as “well built, heavier, a simple tractor for repairs, and anyone can use it.”

McPherson said he plans to use the $10,000 VCEDA seed capital matching grant to buy equipment to add to his inventory at his new business located along U.S. Rt. 58 on a two-acre plot fronting the family’s 60-acre Lee County farm, near the Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park.

McPherson worked with Tim Blankenbecler, director of the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College, to prepare his application to VCEDA for the seed capital matching grant program, which is designed to assist VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees.

The fields surrounding the new business serve as the showroom for larger equipment such as tractors and hay equipment. In addition to the Branson tractors, brands that will be offered for sale include Titan implements, Samasz hay equipment and Makita power tools.

Being able to take trade-ins and to sell used equipment is an important part of his new business, says McPherson, and auctions for used machinery will start up in February or March. Peak business time for sales, service and repairs is summer, he says, and spring is pre-maintenance time for farmers. McPherson’s Farm Equipment is open Monday through Friday, 8-5, and Saturday 8 a.m. until noon.

“We went with Makita hand tools because this company is the largest manufacturer of battery-operated hand tools, anything from drills to large chain saws, tools for homeowners and for commercial contractors,” said McPherson.

McPherson said he has to get the public in through word of mouth and advertising and let them see how Branson tractors operate and “prove themselves.” Getting the word out about this new Lee County business is a family affair according to its owner. When he opened, his daughters, Sarah, 12, and Hannah, 9, lovingly made signs and marched along U.S. 58 to advertise the new business, he said. A Thomas Walker High School graduate, McPherson is married to wife Jessica, an x-ray technician who works at Stone Mountain Health Services in Jonesville.

Daily operations of the new business will be handled by McPherson and his father, Lee. As the business grows, McPherson said he may need to hire qualified mechanics and salesmen.

“I am very grateful for the seed capital grant. It will help us be more efficient and grow,” said McPherson.

“A brand new business supplying the agriculture industry with options for sales and service fits perfectly with VCEDA’s seed capital matching grant program,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel.  “Entrepreneurship and agriculture are two target areas identified for further growth and development in the region.”

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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. www.vaceda.org 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.