Local Businesses honored at luncheon

The Coalfield Progress  – June 6, 2014

The Wise County/Norton Chamber of Commerce recognized several local businesses May 28 during a luncheon at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to the following businesses for new business by expansion or job creation, as well as the dedication they have given and the impact they have made toward the stability and well being of the area:

  • Small Business of the Year: Clinch River Adventures of St. Paul. The business has served more than 700 customers from 14 states. It employs owner/operator Terri Anne Funk, husband Brock and a part-time employee. Funk expects to hire two more seasonal employees.
  • Collins Auto & Towing, owned and operated by David and Kim Collins in Coeburn and Wise. The business held a grand opening in Wise in early July.
  • Magnolia Kitchen restaurant in Norton, which opened in June 2013 and specializes in New Orleans-style food.
  • New Beginnings Pulmonary Rehab, a privately owned physician office-based facility staffed by a registered nurse, a full-time registered respiratory therapist and a physician who is available for emergencies.
  • Norton Cinema City. The theater, built by Mountain Entertainment Inc., consolidated the Plaza Cinema in Wise and the Coeburn Cinema, while the company has kept open the Central Drive-In in Norton. Cinema City opened in May 2008 in a remodeled grocery store. In 2011 the theater completed a conversion to digital.
  • OptaFuel. The biofuel and biomaterials research and development company is located in the old Buster Brown building in the Esserville industrial park and employs 40 people, with expectations of expanding the workforce this year.
  • Spearhead Trails, the marketing persona of the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority. Since its first trail system, Mountain View, opened in June 2013, St. Paul and Wise County have seen more than $1 million in private investment and more than a dozen businesses have been created, expanded or enhanced. By 2017, Spearhead Trails will have opened more than 600 miles of trails and expects annual permit revenue exceeding $750,000 and merchandise sales topping $300,000.
  • Thompson & Litton, established in 1956 by William A. Thompson Jr. and John W. Litton. The architectural and engineering firm now employs more than 120 people in seven offices.


Two special recognition awards were given to companies with more than 100 years of service to our communities:

  • Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Norton was incorporated on May 18, 1914 as the T.M. Pepper Bottling Co.

The name changed in February 1925 to Stone Mountain Bottling Co. upon its purchase by George W. Vernon. At that time or shortly thereafter H. P. Hunnicutt and T. R. Hunnicutt became stockholders and officers.

In 1936, the company secured the franchise for Pepsi-Cola after having previously offered Seven-Up and Orange Crush. In 1948, the name changed to Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. Inc. after George Hunnicutt Sr. acquired a majority of the stock. This year, the company won the coveted Caleb Bradham Presidential Quality award from Pepsi-Cola.

  • Powell Valley National Bank is celebrating 125 years in business, having begun operations in 1888 in Jonesville. The bank later expanded to Pennington Gap, Wise, Big Stone Gap and Duffield.

In 2014, the bank created Powell Valley Investment Services to offer investment, securities and financial planning services. Powell Valley National Bank is the oldest bank in far Southwest Virginia and Virginia’s fifth oldest bank.

The awards luncheon was sponsored by Norton Industrial Development Authority, Wise County Industrial Development Authority and the chamber.

Pictured left to right: Dick Houchins (T&L-Wise), Dan Minahan (Wise County Chamber of Commerce Former President), Steve Brooks (T&L-Wise), Kim Clisso (Wise County Chamber of Commerce President), Ron Helton (T&L-Wise).

Pictured left to right: Dick Houchins (T&L-Wise), Dan Minahan (Wise County Chamber of Commerce Former President), Steve Brooks (T&L-Wise), Kim Clisso (Wise County Chamber of Commerce President), Ron Helton (T&L-Wise).


Plaque presented to T&L.