Liberty Hollow Sweets ribbon cutting event

On December 15, 2021, Nottoway County celebrated its newest Main Street business with a ribbon cutting event for Liberty Hollow Sweets in downtown Blackstone. Jeannie Nelson, owner, completed our CO.STARTERS Core program earlier in 2021 as part of the Downtown Blackstone Inc. (DBI) Community Business Launch (CBL), which awarded Liberty Hollow Sweets a $25,000 startup grant. Making this event even sweeter, Jeannie’s fellow CO.STARTER Carl Bassfield of In-Depth Productions, who celebrated his own grand opening last month, was present to capture photos. The image shared above includes Justin Sarafin of Downtown Blackstone, Inc.; Brandon Hennessey of the Longwood Small Business Development Center; and Jeannie and Dale Nelson of Liberty Hollow Sweets.

A grand opening represents a major milestone for any business, and Jeannie’s journey is the perfect example of how “it takes a village” to get there.  In addition to the local support she received from Downtown Blackstone, Inc.’s Community Business Launch, Jeannie was a member of the first cohort of CO.STARTERS presented by RISE Collaborative. Through the CO.STARTERS model, Jeannie completed interactive, business training sessions and fieldwork to lay a solid foundation for future success. She had support from her peers in the cohort and coaching from CO.STARTERS certified facilitators from the Longwood Small Business Development Center. Going forward, she is part of the RISE Collaborative’s growing, regional network of entrepreneurs and business service providers throughout Southern Virginia. 

If you’re dreaming of your own grand opening someday, there is a community of support available to you through RISE Collaborative. We hope you’ll sign up for our third cohort of CO.STARTERS Core. The application deadline is February 7, 2022. The 11-week program will begin March 1, 2022, and continue for 11 consecutive Tuesdays, 6pm-9pm, online using ZOOM. 

To learn more and apply, visit Not sure if your business or idea is a fit for our program? Email us at

Ready to join the CO.STARTERS movement?

Apply by February 7, 2022 to begin March 1, 2022