Marion, Virginia

Hester’s Country Store & Fudgery Receives Small Business Loan from the Town of Marion

The Town of Marion will soon welcome another downtown anchor.  Karen Hester and Monica Guertler, owners of the popular Bristol gift shop Cranberry Lane,  are expanding their State Street business with a second location in Smyth County's courthouse town.

"We are so excited to welcome Karen home," said Marion mayor David Helms.  "As one of our own, we have watched her success, and my wife and I have helped contribute to it, I'm proud to admit, when we've shopped her great store in Bristol.  Having her and Monica open a location here in Marion is something we've been wanting for a good while."

Hester, a Marion native, and Guertler, also own Southern Churn, an ice cream shop, candy store, and fudgery next door to Cranberry Lane.  Their new location in Marion will feature a blend of much of the Bristol stores, with home accessories, unique gifts, old-fashioned candies, and their classic homemade fudge. 

Their store will be unique to Marion's heritage, with a special section devoted to Mountain Dew.  "We're even going to make a Mountain Dew fudge for our new store," said business owner Karen Hester.

Hester's Country Store and Fudgery is the tenth small business to benefit from Marion's Small Business Loan Pool.  The funds are provided by a grant from the USDA, and the initial grant pool of $75,000 first began helping new businesses in Marion in 2011.  Since then, Marion's office of Community and Economic Development has received an additional $75,000 allocation.  The small business loans are available to new and expanding small businesses within the Town of Marion, based upon employment and investment, and are repaid over sixty months at 2% interest, with a maximum of $15,000 loan per eligible business.  "These small business loans are 'last dollar in' monies, helping to bridging the gap between traditional financing and the business needs.  It's a great investment in our community, and as these existing loans are repaid, we replenish the pool for future new business growth."

Hester's Country Store and Fudgery will be located at 112 East Main Street, and will open this summer.  For updates on this and other exciting Marion business activity and events, visit or the MarionVA page on Facebook.

For additional information on Marion's Small Business Loan Pool and other resources to help, please contact Ken Heath, director of Community and Economic Development, at (276) 378-5026 email

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