City of Bluefield CREATE Opportunity Resource Guide

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CREATE Opportunity Resource Guide

Bluefield … Nature’s Welcome to Bluefield! Founded in 1889, and located in Mercer County on the southern border of West Virginia, the City of Bluefield was built on the coal and rail industries. Bluefield was the retail, medical and financial center in the region. The City is the southern gateway to the Hatfield McCoy Trail System. Other nearby attractions include the Town of Bramwell (once home to the most millionaires per capita of any town in America), the Appalachian Trail, Winterplace Ski Resort, Pipestem Resort State Park, and the historic Greenbrier Resort, home to the PGA’s Greenbrier Classic.

Location and Accessibility

The City of Bluefield, in Mercer County, lies in the ridge and valley region of the southern border of West Virginia, approximately 100 miles from Charleston, the State Capitol. Two major cities in the county are Bluefield and Princeton, the County Seat. Located along a number of major highways, there is easy overland access to the eastern U.S. seaboard.

Major Highways

Major City/State Access

I-77 & I-79 North

Cleveland & Pittsburgh

I-77 South & I-81

Virginia & Charlotte NC

I-64 West & I-81

Louisville, KY & St. Louis, MO

U.S. Rte. 460 & I-81

East Coast, North & South

Bluefield is also served by major rail, the Norfolk Southern Railway , the Mercer County Airport (asphalt runway , 4,743 ft.) and interstate shipping and parcel services: SHIPPING: Consolidated Motor Express , Heavy Hauling Overnight, Yellow PARCEL SERVICES: Airborne Express, DHL Worldwide Express, FedEx, United Parcel Service, Wells Fargo

Bluefield is within a 500 mile radius of 50 % of the U.S. population.

Air-Conditioned City Which state offers the biggest bang for your buck? $120.00




















According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, West Virginia ranks 9th overall in the value of goods that $100 can buy compared to the national average. The City of Bluefield has a proactive and aggressive vision for its future which includes a three prong approach to economic development. First, to support our existing businesses and help them grow. Second, to attract new industry to the City and region, and third, to cultivate entrepreneurship through the CREATE Opportunity Initiative. The Commercialization Station and Bluefield State College Research & Development Corporation’s Center are a key part of the initiative. True economic development is a team effort. To learn more about our team of partners and the services they offer, see the CREATE Opportunity Resource Guide on pages 6-7.

Start, Expand, Relocate The City of Bluefield and the State of West Virginia offer a number of incentives for new and relocating businesses expanding into the area. From B&O tax reductions to veteran-owned business fee waivers, sales tax reductions, energy incentives and one-stop online business registration, city and state are continuously striving to assert our commitment to a global, growth economy rooted in the mountaineer spirit, pride and passion that still runs through our people. Whether you are starting, expanding or relocating a business in Bluefield, the City’s Office of Community & Economic Development (CED) will guide you through the process and be with you every step of the way. Need to find the optimal location for your business? Learn more about the Bluefield Historic District? Want to network with other businesses or just need some basic assistance? Let the CED office work for you.


§ Contact CED Office Director, Jim Spencer at or (304) 3272401 Ext. 2405 to learn more about local permit and license requirements, zoning and other federal and state obligations. § The West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC) “Business Ask Me! Line,” is available by calling (888) 982-7232 or emailing § The CED office will facilitate a meeting with Harold Patterson ,the WVSBDC Manager at Bluefield State College, or call him at (304) 7670532. The WVSBDC provides free one-on-one business coaching services as well as advice on potential funding options.


§ Complete an application for a State Registration Certificate with the WV State Tax Department. § Visit, a one-stop-shop to pay registration fees and employer deposits online.  Print and sign the filing report, and fax to (304) 558-8089.  Use the website to file annual reports and more. Alternatively, you may apply at the West Virginia State Tax Department located at 407 Neville Street, S te 109 Beckley, WV or call (304) 256-6764. § Please note there are other State licenses that may apply. The WVSBDC and CED can help you through the process.

…We’re Working For You 3

Big Whiskey BBQ

• Complete an application for a City of Bluefield business license. • Turn in the completed form with a copy of your state registration to the Bluefield City Clerk. General business licenses are valid from July 1 to June 30 and must be renewed in July of each year. The cost is $20. • Depending on the type of business you intend to operate, other licenses and fees may apply. The City Clerk will be happy to assist you in determining if those additional licenses and fees apply to your business. Download a Business License Application.

Starting in 2018, West Virginia exempts military retirement pay from state income tax.


§ Meet with the City of Bluefield Treasury Department to establish the following taxes and fees. The CED Office can help facilitate the meeting for you. • Consider your B & O taxes. All persons engaging in business activities within the city limits, unless specifically exempted by city code, are required to file a quarterly Business and Occupation (B&O) tax return. Your taxes will depend on the range of business activities. Contact the CED office to determine.

vINCENTIVES Are you locating in the downtown Historic District? You may be eligible for significant reductions in B & O taxes. Lesser discounts are still available outside of the historic area also. Click here for details and a list of additional benefits. Once these items are taken care of you are licensed to do business in the City of Bluefield. We welcome your business!

CREATE Opportunity Resource Guide

The City of Bluefield, WV is positioned for growth and has all the necessary tools for your business to succeed in our community. We are working with over 22 partners that can provide specific business assistance to meet your needs. Put our team to work for you!

Partners City of Bluefield

Contact Information Jim Spencer (304) 327-2401 Ext. 2405

American National University

Denver Riffe (304) 431-1600

Bluefield State College

Dr. Ted Lewis (304) 327-4161

Center for Applied Research & Technology

Bruce Mutter (304) 327-4220

Community Action South Eastern WV

Brenda Elmore (304) 772-3381

Concord University

Dr. Susan Robinett (304) 384-5321

Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce

Josh Cline (304) 325-3085


Guy Peduto (877) 363-5482

Mercer County CVB

Jamie Null (304) 325-8438

Mercer County Development Authority

John O'Neal IV (304) 431-8523

Mercer County Technical Education Center

Rosemary Mitchell (304) 425-9551

Natural Capital Investment Fund

Kevin Kevin O’Connor (304) 333-6742

New River Community & Technical College

Richard B. Pagan (304) 929-5493

Region One Planning Development Council

Jason Roberts (304) 431-7225

Robin Morgan (304) 255-3932

Region One Workforce Robert C. Byrd Institute TechConnect WV Valley College

Charlotte Weber (304) 781-1655 Anne Barth (304) 444-2918 Laura Belcher 304-579-8767

WV Development Office

Chris Pauley (800) 982-3386

WV Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Gerry Biser (304) 290-8425

WV Small Business Development Center

Harold Patterson (304) 327-4406

Wyoming County EDA

Christy Laxton (304) 732-6707

Bluefield College

David Hite 276-326-4230

Consider the Right Pl The City of Bluefield is ready to assist you with property and land development. Explore all of the options from your computer, tablet or phone via where you will find a detailed database providing a wealth of information including video tours and informational brochures. Let our knowledgeable staff in the Office of Community and Economic Development help guide your business to match your needs with the best facility or lot to build or expand in Bluefield.

Commercialization Station Located at 1642 Bluefield Avenue the Commercialization Station is a mixed-use incubator focusing on manufacturing. helping them survive and grow during Once renovations and upgrades are complete, there will be 5 bays, each approximately 8,000–10,000 SF and 17’ ceiling height, the start-up period, when they are most vulnerable. These programs provide their client for business incubation. companies with business support services and resources tailored to young firms. The Commercialization Station is part of the CREATE Opportunity initiative, a network of strategic partners working together to support new business growth and entrepreneurship. The partners are geared to helping new businesses survive that critical startup period, while other programs provide business support services tailored specifically to young firms.

Creating Resilient Economies by Assisting Transforming Entrepreneurs (CREATE) Through member partners like the Center for Applied Research & Technology (CART), and federal and private funders, the CREATE Opportunity Initiative has received more than $3 million for renovations to the Commercialization Station in 2016-17, as well as providing technology assistance at no cost for new and expanding businesses locating here.

COMING SOON IN 2018 Bluefield recently received a grant to develop a public private partnership to deploy a wireless network in the downtown with speeds in excess of 1Gig. If you thought green meant “Go”, try Blue!

ace for Your Business

Whether you are looking for a small office to start a business, a suite of offices, an 8,000 SF bay to start a manufacturing company, 45,000 SF move in ready for a high tech company, 54,000 SF of manufacturing space, 112,000 SF for retail, land near Interstate 77, or anything in between we have it here. Let us help you find the right location to grow your business.

A Great Place to Live, Nestled along the base of the East River Mountain Range, Bluefield is a mountainous community of 10,473 residents spread across 6,000 households located in the southern part of West Virginia bordering Virginia. According to renowned urbanist Richard Florida, what’s there, who’s there and what’s going on defines quality of place. Bluefield is defined by those interrelated experiences and authenticity: real buildings, real people and real history. Bluefield derives its name from the blue chicory flowers that color the landscape a purplish blue hue during the summer. Known as “Nature’s Air-Conditioned City,” it’s the kind of place where, since 1938, lemonade is distributed throughout the community when the temperature reaches 90 degrees. Bluefield is home to a diverse population, unique dining, boutiques, galleries, outdoor recreation and great small town hospitality. Business leaders look forward to welcoming you and your business.


From secluded mountain hideaways to stately city residences, unique historic homes, townhouses, condominiums, apartments or mobile-home dwellings, Bluefield has just what you are looking for. There are a variety of residential housing types and price ranges to choose from.

Did you know that Bluefield’s median home price at $74,900 is 57% lower and the median rent is 39% lower than the national average?


Bluefield is served by several major medical facilities, including excellent eye and dental, senior care and rehabilitation centers.

Bluefield Regional Medical Center offers inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, medical, surgical and emergency care. It is a major acute care hospital and a teaching facility for osteopathic medicine. Princeton Community Hospital is a regional leader in minimally invasive surgery and joint replacement technology adding a Women's Center offering family-friendly birthing suites, secure nurseries and a private setting for women's diagnostic services. The Behavioral Health Pavilion of the Virginias, an affiliate of Princeton Community Hospital, provides a comprehensive continuum of psychiatric care.

Learn, Work & Play! Arts and Culture

The City of Bluefield is a burgeoning arts community in Southern West Virginia. Together with Princeton, WV, the communities formed a Certified Arts Community in West Virginia. With local music groups, resident artists, museums, galleries, and theater troupes, Bluefield is a wonderful place to see a show, listen to a concert and experience great art work. The Bluefield Arts Center, located in the downtown, is a focal point for the arts serving Bluefield and the surrounding region. The Bluefield Arts Center provides two galleries; a neoclassic performing arts center, craft shops, studios and a restaurant with a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

Consider a recreational mecca ‌

with many options for the sports enthusiasts. Bowen Field at Bluefield City Park has been home to professional baseball since 1939. Currently, Bowen Field is home of the Bluefield Blue Jays, a Minor League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The park offers a variety of attractions like the Winter Holiday of Lights and the Ridge Runner train as well as tennis, a horse rink, picnic shelters, and numerous hiking and biking trails. Nearby state parks and trails, like Pipestem and the Hatfield McCoy ATV Trail System, and Appalachian Trail, provide hiking, biking, and camping experiences. The Greater Bluefield Community Center is a full service, family-focused community center, promoting strong partnerships and empowering individuals to achieve their fullest potential. For a detailed list of the many yearly events and programs, please visit us at

Bluefield High School is the 2017 State AA Football Champions adding its 11th title overall.

Quality Map

Bluefield is centrally located within 50 miles of 15 higher education institutions and over 500,000 people.

Consider a place‌ where education is encouraged inside and outside the classroom. The Office of Community and Economic Development launched the Millennial Ambassador Program to bring together local business entrepreneurs and young millenials with high school and college students who are committed to putting the City of Bluefield’s best foot forward. Networking is a natural by-product as social media skills are engaged in telling Bluefield’s story.

Education One of the most affordable schools in West Virginia, located within the City, is Bluefield State College. Originally known as the Bluefield Colored Institute, the college was founded in 1895 as a “high graded school” for African American youth in the nearby area. Known for their excellent and award-winning programs, such as nursing, biology, and engineering, Bluefield State is committed to offering high-quality and career-oriented education.

Bluefield State College placed 2nd overall in the International Ground Vehicle Competition (robotics) in 2016. Center for Applied Research, Inc. (CART) is a non-profit organization Center for Applied Research, Inc. (CART) is a non-profit that operates industrial design studios and laboratories to enhance organization that operates industrial design studios and the competitive position of Bluefield State’s School of Engineering laboratories to enhance the competitive position of Bluefield Technology and the City of Bluefield, WV for applied research State’s School of Engineering Technology and the City of opportunities in the current environment for research and Bluefield, WV for applied research opportunities in the current environment for research and development such as: development such as: Improve the success rate for technology-based • •Improve the success rate for technology-based entrepreneurial entrepreneurial business development business development Designed to foster and support applied research for • •Designed to foster and support applied research for engineering engineering students, graduates, and faculty of BSC students, graduates, and faculty of BSC • Provide Evaluation, prototype development, product • Provide Evaluation, prototype development, product design, design, patenting support, management and patenting support, management and marketing services marketing services

Mercer County Public Schools 1:13 Teacher to student ratio

Employs over 1,300

27 Pre-K, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Schools

Over 9,000 Students

Small Businesses, Big Successes Bluefield, WV is positioned for growth as the region’s thriving economic environment attracts more and more investors to do business in the area. Take a look at some great investments that businesses have made in Bluefield. "As a new business owner in Downtown Bluefield, WV there was a lot for me to take on and many questions I had about taxes and getting started. The City of Bluefield was very helpful with pointing me in the right direction! The support I have received from them has been outstanding. They've worked alongside me to increase business and showed support by dining in and advertising! The City is on board to making the Downtown District more successful!“ - Nicole Coeburn, Owner of the Blue Spoon Cafe

“As the brand manager for one of the few online businesses that started in Bluefield, WV, I was unsure about how to do “Pop-Up Shop” events and abide by commerce rules within city limits. The City of Bluefield and their Community and Economic department assisted me with this process. They are a great resource for our team, our growth and plans moving forward. We believe in their vision of a Gigabit City and so much more!" - Ansel Ponder, Owner of 3Up2Up

“Douglas Equipment has been in business for 31 years and has grown to 40 employees. We are ranked in the top 50 Food Service Equipment Dealers in America and supply customers with a wide range of products from the best brands in the industry. We provide coast to coast sales with 35 percent of our business on E-Commerce, 55 percent to State and Federal government agencies and 10 percent local as well as providing sales and service. The business is living proof that a company can grown in a rural area by using technology.” - Larry Douglas, Owner of Douglas Equipment

Why Bluefield? Consider a place ‌ where natural beauty is abundant while having access to 21st-century infrastructure and workforce. A place with move in ready space to serve your needs. A place where you are located in close proximity to Interstates I-77, I-64 and I-81 and rail owned and operated by Norfolk Southern Railway. A place centrally located within 50 miles of fifteen higher education institutions and over 500,000 people. A place where the community and its leaders embrace and support business development. A place where you have direct access to your local, state and federal leaders. A place where military pensions are not taxed by the state. To learn more, please contact: Jim Spencer, Community and Economic Development Director City of Bluefield, WV 200 Rogers Street, Bluefield, WV 24701 (304) 327-2401 Ext. 2405

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