Success Stories of Southwest’s Small Business Development Center
Foxtail Orchards Cabins and Campgrounds
As Tazewell County, Virginia, continues to develop and invest in tourism initiatives, entrepreneurs such as Matthew and Amy Ratliff are realizing the opportunities to transform their visions into reality.
Matthew and Amy visited the Small Business Development Center-SW in April, 2015 advising that they owned property located on the Back of the Dragon. This motorcycle and sports car enthusiast trail, consists of thirty-two miles of winding, curvy roads on State Route 16 and attracts hundreds of visitors each year; however until now, there has been no lodging available along that stretch of highway to keep the visitors in the area.
Prior to visiting the SBDC, Matthew and Amy had researched many aspects of transforming a portion of their apple orchard into a campground which would offer rental cabins and primitive camp sites. Matthew’s family has provided a great deal of support in terms of business administration, site development and construction of the cabins.
The initial plans for the campground development includes 20 primitive tent sites and three fully furnished cabins which have themes. On June 28, 2016, Foxtail Orchards Cabins and Campground, LLC held a grand opening ceremony to dedicate the first cabin. The cabin, “The Fox Den,” was dedicated to the life and memory of a dear friend and colleague, Andrew D. Fox, a Virginia State Trooper and avid farmer, who lost his life in the line of duty. In honoring Trooper Fox, the interior of cabin is decorated to reflect his life and service to the Commonwealth. The front porch provides a natural view of farms that any farmer would appreciate. The owners have provided sitting areas on the grounds complete with barbecues/fire pits for campers to enjoy. The scenic location is perfect for relaxation after a long day of action-packed driving and sight-seeing.
Matthew stated, “Future plans for the spring are to add a couple of camp sites (primitive only) and continue exploring our financial options to continue adding more cabins and improve the space that we have now. The property boundaries have been fenced and will hopefully have some horses and cattle located on the back side of the cabin property for viewing pleasure”.
With the assistance of the SBDC, Matthew completed a business plan and secured funds through Ninth District Development Financing. “The assistance provided by Ninth District Financing made all our dreams possible, none of this would have been possible without the help and support of Ninth District Financing”.