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Success Stories

Heather Coiner and Ben Stowe own Little Creek Hat Farm in rural Roseland, Virginia.  Sitting in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the farm produces vegetables, breads and baked goods that it sells via farmers markets throughout central Virginia. Even before getting married and moving to Virginia, the couple had discussed going into business together. Ben had considerable vegetable farming experience and Heather had run a bicycle-delivered bread subscription program in Toronto, Canada. Heather notes, “from the very beginning, we wanted bread and vegetables to be hand in hand… we were really clear on the products we wanted to focus on.” The couple started the business in 2013, renting land from an already operable farm. Heather and Ben immediately slipped into the previous farmer’s spot at three different farmers markets and were immediately able to earn a weekly income. Their start-up costs were low, but they were paying rent on much of their equipment. Slowly, they began... Read More

Jeff Meier had a dream to transition from his Army career to open a family-focused grocery destination. Jeff, along with his former business partner Alvin Esh, founded Battlefield Country Store in Fredericksburg, Virginia in August 2016 to offer unique and high-quality food and gifts, with much of its merchandise supplied by friends in the local Amish and Mennonite communities. Battlefield Country Store is also known for its made-to-order, big, bold, and flavorful sandwiches and healthy school lunches. As a small business itself, the store supports other small businesses, marketing merchandise from artisans and bakers. 

For the first few years in operation Jeff functioned as the store’s manager while his wife Crystal handled housewares. Aiming to take over full ownership of the store, Jeff approached six different banks to get assistance with his acquisition, but all refused his application

Growing weary of rejection, Meier finally reached Rappahannock Economic... Read More

Alkalicious Juice Bar opened its doors in 2016, supplying the Chesapeake area with healthy smoothies, bowls and alkaline water. While stationed in Bahrain with the Navy, married couple and business partners, Lisa and Justin Bey, often found themselves serving healthy and vegan food to their community.  The idea of turning their labor of love into a business first entered their radar while serving dinner to their friends. The couple enrolled in the enrolled in the entrepreneurship module of the Navy's “Transitions GPS”, a course for separating/retiring service members and their families, where they came up with the name, branding and business plan for their juice bar. 

 As the Beys moved back to the US and pushed forward with their plans to open their juice bar, they were challenged with finding funding and the perfect location for their storefront. Seeking counsel, the pair approached the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in Norfolk, Virginia and their local branch of... Read More

In its 15th year of business, Athena Construction Group, a contracting and construction company, employs 55 people, has four offices, three company vehicles, and operates in two-time zones. Back when the company started operating in 2003, it was serving a very different market, residential remodeling. The business was struggling from the get go, juggling zoning and safety regulations. Athena’s current president, Amber Peebles, then a government contract paralegal, was managing a gargantuan law firm merger that included a $20 million dollar construction project. In that role she learned about veteran set-asides.  When Athena’s founder, Melissa Schneider desired to grow the remodeling firm, she brought Peebles aboard as the firm’s president, and the pair turned its attention to government contracting. However, analogous to the chicken or the egg dilemma, government contracts were hard to come by without bonding and past performance.

Through what Ms. Peebles refers to as “... Read More

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