April 19, 2017



Press Release

June 1, 2015



People Incorporated Financial Services announces the winners of the Russell & Tazewell County Entrepreneur Challenge at the Tazewell Spring Expo – top prize of $5,000 to Betsy & Vincent Gilmer, owners of Melody Acres, and second prize to Susan Carr, owner of Donut Diva in Tazewell, VA.

Abingdon, Virginia – People Incorporated is pleased to announce that it awarded the top prize of $5,000 to Betsy and Vincent Gilmer, owners of Melody Acres at Vincent’s Vineyard in Lebanon Virginia. Melody Acres will be a year round venue for events held in Lebanon including weddings, receptions, concerts, reunions, etc. It will feature a rustic barn and courtyard adjacent to Vincent’s Vineyard as well as the bucolic view of their working sheep farm. This marks the beginning of a three-year project that will conclude with a 4,500 square foot, climate-controlled rustic barn on 5.75 acres. The Gilmer’s hope is that this business will attract tourism that will support other local businesses. Their mission is to “provide a venue with reliable customer service and provide a safe, beautiful environment where people can gather for special occasions and experience the serenity of alternative farming in Southwest Virginia”.  The Gilmers said they “thoroughly enjoyed the Challenge” and look forward to working with other local tourism initiatives such as Back of the Dragon and Spearhead Trails to bring collective prosperity to Southwest Virginia.


Susan Carr won second prize of $500 for her business plan detailing the “Donut Diva”, a food trailer business which is already in operation in the heart of the business district at 203 E. Fincastle Turnpike in Tazewell. Donut Diva offers more than 25 varieties of freshly made cake donuts along with fried croissants, pastries and coffee. Its mission is to “change the way food is presented and delivered in local hometown communities and to provide delicious food using the highest quality ingredients available”.


Betsy and Vincent Gilmer and Susan Carr attended the Russell and Tazewell Entrepreneur Challenge hosted by People Incorporated Financial Services that was held for eight weeks at the Appalachian One Stop Workforce Center Business Incubator in Richlands for business owners/entrepreneurs in Russell and Tazewell Counties. Of the 31 participants, 12 submitted and presented business plans for the Challenge. All prize money awarded is to be used as working capital for the businesses. “We firmly believe that by encouraging and supporting small business owners, our communities will be revitalized and provide sustainable futures for our residents” stated Rob Goldsmith, President and CEO of People Incorporated.  Workshops were facilitated by People Incorporated Financial Services and were funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Revitalization Commission and Wells Fargo Bank.


About People Incorporated of Virginia

People Incorporated is a non-profit Community Action Agency and Community Development Corporation committed to providing opportunities for people to reach their goals in order to enhance their lives, families, and communities. People Incorporated develops programs and strategies that are designed to move people and communities into the economic mainstream. In 2014, People Incorporated provided services to more than 6,400 clients and generated an economic impact of over $59 million in communities throughout Virginia. For more information about People Incorporated’s programs and services contact the Abingdon office at 276-623-9000 or visit us at“>“> .


About People Incorporated Financial Services

Headquartered in Abingdon, VA, People Incorporated Financial Services is a non-profit, certified Community Development Financial Institution that promotes economic self-sufficiency and access to capital for low-income residents and communities by providing business development and lending services, technical assistance, financial and credit literacy training, and marketing services to help businesses attract private investment and create jobs.  Since 1992, People Incorporated Financial Services has deployed over $47.3 million in loan funds, and has helped to create and/or retain over 2,600 jobs in low-income communities.


People Incorporated Financial Services is an affiliate corporation of People Incorporated, one of the nation’s most successful and innovative Community Action Agencies. For more information about People Incorporated’s programs and services visit People Incorporated on the web at“>“>