Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel, right, presents a ceremonial seed capital matching grant check to Eric Brown, of P & E Wholesale LLC, a new floral supply business in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region.

HONAKER, VA – JULY 31, 2020For Eric and Pamela Brown, of Honaker, the floral business has been in their backgrounds for decades. Earlier this year, they took things one step further, opening P & E Wholesale LLC and in July, they received a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), to assist them in growing their new business.

P & E Wholesale LLC is a wholesale floral supply business which sells to retail floral and gift shops in southwest Virginia, southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. Weekly, sales calls and deliveries are made to shops on the route in the three-state area. The Browns own a cargo trailer which is stocked with items ranging from silk flowers and vases to gifts and other home décor items often used by flower shops in the design of floral bouquets and by gift shops for outright sale items.

“VCEDA was pleased to assist P & E Wholesale LLC with a seed capital matching grant,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The business projects up to three full-time employees and one part-time employee within four years as it continues to grow.”

Brown, a retired coal miner, noted the floral business has been in his background since he was a child. His mother operated a floral business in Honaker for more than 20 years and he helped her out making deliveries, picking up merchandise and dealing with vendors through the years. She ultimately sold the flower shop, but Brown said he and his wife bought it back several years ago and Pamela began operating it as Honaker Florist.

As Brown began eyeing retiring from his career as a miner, he looked at ways to grow a business in Honaker and settled on opening P & E Wholesale LLC. He noted there are few businesses that make deliveries door-to-door in the region, which is something P & E Wholesale LLC does. He purchased a mobile cargo trailer and stocked it with merchandise for his customers to choose from when he visits their locations, bringing the opportunity to select items on-site without having to leave their own businesses to get the items they need.

Growing the inventory of available items in the cargo trailer was critical, Brown said, adding that’s where the VCEDA grant came in handy.

“We used the seed capital grant to purchase additional inventory to increase the stock of items we have available for our customers,” Brown said. “It helped us tremendously.”

P & E Wholesale LLC is located at 335 Fairmont Street in Honaker and Brown may be reached at 276-329-5144 or through their Facebook page.

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  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.