Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel, right, presents a ceremonial seed capital matching grant check to Nick Jackson, second from left and Matt Villiard, second from right, co-owners of Wise Rx. Also pictured at left is Carl Snodgrass, Wise County Industrial Development Authority.

WISE, VA – APRIL 6, 2020 Matt Villiard and Nick Jackson combined their 24 years of pharmacy experience to open a hometown pharmacy in Wise, Va. Their new business, Wise Rx, was the recent recipient of a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

Wise Rx offers all the traditional things one might expect in a pharmacy, but also has plans to incorporate niche services including immunizations, long-term care, weight loss management and disease management programs, Villiard said. The new pharmacy officially opened in early December 2019.

An on-site nurse practitioner, Luke Kiser, is located in the same building as the pharmacy, offering healthcare services to those in need.

“Assisting entrepreneurs like Matt and Nick to pursue their plans of creating new business in their community is what the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant program is all about,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “The business projects five full-time jobs and one part-time job within five years.”

Villiard, a Wise County native, noted the VCEDA funds were invaluable to Wise Rx.

“Opening an independent pharmacy in Wise was something we wanted to do. Having a hometown pharmacist to go to with questions, especially right now, is important and a way for us to give back to the community,” Villiard said. “We really appreciate the VCEDA seed capital grant funds. They have been invaluable and have helped us get things set up and going and to further help the Wise area to grow and prosper which is what we wanted to do when we started.”

Villiard and Jackson also operate Spartan Drug in Coeburn. Between the two pharmacies, they employ six people and have plans to add additional employees as the business grows, Villiard said. They worked with Margie Douglass of the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College. The Wise County Industrial Development Authority provided a letter of support for the project.

Wise Rx is located at 426 West Main Street in Wise, across from the Town of Wise municipal building and may be reached at 276-321-0088. The pharmacy is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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.