Greenbrier Dairy: WV Young Entrepreneur of the Year Builds a Thriving West Virginia Business

Jun 2, 2020 | Entrepreneurs, Positively West Virginia

Trey Yates, Owner of Greenbrier Dairy, LLC, located in Rainelle, West Virginia, has just been named 2020 Young Entrepreneur Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) West Virginia. 

Yates believes that West Virginia youth must stay home to rebuild our great state. With that thought in mind, Yates formulated plans for Greenbrier Dairy, LLC, while still a junior in high school in 2014. After attending West Virginia University for two years, Yates returned home in 2017 to southern West Virginia to begin the diverse food production company that Greenbrier Dairy has now become. Yates owns other entrepreneurial ventures as well. 

Yates was a guest on the Positively West Virginia Podcast. He talked with host Jim Matuga about his motivation to become a business owner, how he was named West Virginia Young Entrepreneur of the Year and his advice to budding entrepreneurs. 

What is your 30-second pitch for Greenbrier Dairy, LLC? 

“Greenbrier Dairy is an array of different food manufactures ranging from butter to specialty mustards, soups and sauces to wine Greenbrier Dairyslushie mixes,” said Yates. 

What motivated you to be a business owner?

“Whenever I looked at becoming a dairy farmer, the lack of making money because no dairy farmer is making money, I had to dive in and ask myself how I could make this work,” explained Yates. “How can I make these cows profitable, and not just a tax deduction each year.”

How did you get designated as “WV young entrepreneur of the year” by the SBA and what did you take away from that experience?

“I got nominated by my business coach from the small development center in Charleston, Shannon Mitchel. I worked with her on many small business plans for each entity. Then, the banker who did the Up the Creek deal for Greenbrier Dairy was nominated. Those two have supported me through all these ideas I’ve had, and they nominated me for the award,” explained Yates. 

“It feels good, and I want to see more people get the same award,” said Yates. “It means that I need to keep working for the next thing.” 

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to young entrepreneurs? 

“You have to submerge yourself in this. You can not just put your toe in the pool and say, ‘look, mom, I’m swimming.’ You have to be in the deep end, right in the middle of the pool,” advised Yates.

“I heard someone say, ‘make sure to burn your boats,’ and there is no turning back once you start this,” said Yates. 

Yates was a guest on the Positively West Virginia podcast. Listen to his full podcast here.


  • ONE ACTION THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YATES SUCCESS: “Make sure all the ducks are in a row, and things that need to be done are getting done,” said Yates.
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