North Wilkesboro, N.C. — Eight local small businesses were announced as receiving Entrepreneurial Grants from the Wilkes Economic Development Corporation at the EDC’s board meeting on Friday, June 11, 2021. This is the eighth year of the Entrepreneurial Grant Program competition awarded by the EDC. Twelve local businesses of various types applied for this year’s program, including hospitality, retail, agriculture, taxidermy, and film services.
Applicants were asked to submit a Video Pitch in addition to their business plans and financial summaries this year to give the judges insight into their proposed use of funds. Submissions were judged based on potential funding impact to the business, and the sustainability of each respective recipient. Grant amounts totaling $13,500 were distributed between four existing and four new businesses.
Dylan and Deanna Prevette own New Castle Farm, a new You-Pick Farm located at 3378 Clingman Road in Ronda. For their first harvest season, the Prevette's planted 18,000 strawberry plugs by hand. They plan to offer seasonal selections, like pumpkin picking in the fall, to allow families and individuals a unique experience without having to drive outside of Wilkes County. New Castle Farm was awarded $3,000 to purchase a Rain-Flo Water Wheel 1600 Series planter and additional wheel that will allow them to efficiently plant double rows at once. To learn more about New Castle Farm visit their website www.NewCastleNC.com or follow them on Facebook.
Castello Barone, a new vineyard located at 475 Groce Road in Ronda, is owned by Scott and Elizabeth Barone. This Veteran-owned small business plans to use their $1,700 to purchase grape vines they will use in their first planting of the grape varietals Vermentino and Montepulciano. They will begin constructing their Tasting Room and hope to open by 2023. For more about Castello Barone, visit www.castellobarone.com.
Reavis Skull Works is a taxidermy-based business owned by Jody Reavis of 176 Pennington Road in North Wilkesboro. Reavis Skull Works specializes in a unique cleaning service of bones using dermestid beetles. Reavis also offers articulations of full skeletons of small mammals and custom laser cut metal hangers for sportsmen to display their trophies. The Wilkes EDC awarded Reavis Skull Works $2,000 to go toward marketing efforts and the purchase of inventory. Contact Jody by visiting his website. www.ReavisSkullWorks.com.
Elyse and Dustin Serrano, owners of Serrano Film Co. received $2,000 from the EDC to go toward purchasing an additional camera for their business. Serrano Film Co.is located at 118 Piney Top Drive in Millers Creek. Elyse and Dustin provide custom, personal story-basedvideography services primarily for weddings. They also serve small businesses by providing commercials, training or real-estate videos, and more. Visit Serrano Film Co. by following them on Facebook or on their website https://serranofilm.co.
Sew Blessed Quiltworks, located at 201 Sparta Road, Suite A in North Wilkesboro is a small fabric and quilting shop. Owner Libby Whittington specializes in making quilts using a long arm quilting machine to the specifications of her clients. She has been awarded $1,200 to go toward training sessions for herself and a new employee to create more complex custom designs on quilts. Whittington says that the training will broaden the detailed designs offered by her shop and build her client base. Contact Sew Blessed Quiltworks by calling 336-818-0852 or visiting their website.
Robin Hamby, Vice President of Wilkes EDC shared her sincere thanks to all the program sponsors for contributing to this year’s program. “Without our funding partners, this program would not be possible. After a year of uncertainty, our team was inspired by the need to hold the grant program again in 2021. I have had the pleasure of watching this program help businesses in Wilkes County for eight years and each year I am increasingly impressed at the innovation and dedication of our local entrepreneurs.” Hamby also expressed thanks for the judges of this year’s competition. “We had a great group this year. Everyone collaborated to problem solve and distribute funds in a way that benefitted as many businesses as possible.”
This year’s judges were Crystal Keener, Town of Wilkesboro; Thomas Salley, Wilkesboro TDA; Bill Roberts, Duke Energy; Johnny Harold, First National Bank; and David Henson, Small Business Technology Development Center. Special thanks to Laurie Brintle-Jarvis of the Wilkes Community College Small Business Center for helping applicants with their Business Plans and Financial Summaries.
The Wilkes EDC has already started to receive funding to hold the Entrepreneurial Grant Program again in the Fall of 2021 with a contribution from the Wilkes Community College Small Business Center. The future of this program relies on sponsorships to grow. Sponsorships are available at various levels with private and in-kind donations also accepted. All of our program sponsors receive free promotional marketing on the Grant Webpage, an announcement in the EDC’s Monthly Activity Report, and are honored guests at our Annual Meeting. Each level above Bronze gives the donor an opportunity to be recognized even further. If you are interested in entrepreneurship and economic development in Wilkes County, please contact our office or visit our website for more information.