Creating a vibrant place to live, work, play, and stay!
January 2021
Dear Chamber Members,

What a year we've had! A year ago, the Chamber was busy planning a multi-day "vibrant" event the first week of March. Quint Studer, author of Building A Vibrant Community, came to Elkins and led a Vibrant Conversation Workshop on the campus of D&E March 5th and served as guest speaker at that evening's Vibrant Celebration at the Phil Gainer Community Center for the Chamber's Annual Awards Dinner. Quint set the Chamber and our community on a path that not even a world-wide pandemic could derail!

Since March, things have been a little different for all of us. We have had to learn to social distance, wear masks, and attend virtual meetings. Programs and events have been cancelled or delayed, fundraisers have been turned on their heads, and networking with colleagues and friends has been stymied. Nonetheless, we persevered. Elkins and Randolph County are still here, still strong, and still planning for a vibrant future!

In the early part of the pandemic, the Chamber had to refocus our priorities. We worked with other organizations as Randolph Together to publish and post pertinent information for businesses and the community. We connected our members with information and help whenever possible, including a set of Reopening Roundtables in May for restaurants and other businesses, and a Q&A virtual event with Quint Studer to talk about our new reality and how to keep moving forward. Our efforts included the creation of Vibrant Response Teams to tackle community needs in early childhood development, small business growth, messaging, etc. These efforts garnered our community the "Laying a Foundation" Award at the EntreCon Business Summit last fall following our own Vibrant Refresher Workshop in October. The Inter-Mountain graciously printed 38 Vibrant Articles in their LifeStyles section every Saturday since May. (They're all available here.)

In June, the Chamber and Elkins Main Street collaborated to begin a series of socially-distanced, two-week events. These Roamin' Randolph Events were hosted in the WEES neighborhood, downtown Elkins, Coalton, and South Elkins. The Roamin' Randolph: Christmas Edition brought us the new Christmas Lights Display Contest hosted by the Chamber and sponsored by the City of Elkins and the Randolph County Commission. $7,000 in prize money was awarded to six businesses and residences in our community. Our hope is that this extremely popular event will continue next year as we welcome back The Polar Express and the annual Christmas parade. Plans to promote our county as "WV's Christmas Community" is already underway! Click to see Light Displays Photo Album

September brought the first of two virtual Social Media Workshops from LMC & Associates. The two events were extremely informative and provided participants with tools and ideas to help their businesses and organizations enhance their social media efforts. At the end of September, the Chamber participated in the Ready event to kick off the start of the two-year initiative with the WV Hub in the "Communities of Achievement Program" (HubCAP). For more information, go to

While we were able to be in-person for our Bi-Monthly Coffee & A Conversation gathering in February to learn what was happening with Broadband, we held virtual Bi-Monthly gatherings in June, August, and October. They focused on dealing with Covid-19 and Tourism, as well as an informative meeting with our Economic Vitality Collaborative members who provided assistance with issues ranging from marketing to on-line sales during a pandemic.

In September, the Chamber brought back our Spotlight Business of the Month. Those businesses honored in 2020 were The Doerr Corporation, Seven Performance, Greenfield Cabinetry, and Beander's Restaurant and Tavern. We're always seeking recommendations for our next Spotlight Business, so send them to us!

In November, the Chamber and Elkins Main Street partnered again to promote Shop Small Saturday. We created a fun video of many of our small business owners that received thousands of views. To watch the video, click here.

Through all the aforementioned events and programs, the Chamber was engaged in conversation with the Randolph County Development Authority (RCDA) and Elkins Main Street (EMS) to establish an informal, collaborative relationship. This collaboration allows all three organizations to work together intentionally as economic drivers for our community. EMS's office has joined us at the Wood Tech Center with the RCDA. With Elkins-Randolph County Tourism's Marketing Office and the United Way Office also in the building, the Wood Tech Center is buzzing with synergy!

Although many of 2020's events and programs offered at the Chamber were different from previous years, we were still able "to advocate, educate, and network to enhance business opportunities in Elkins and Randolph County." That's our mission - our plan - and we're sticking with it!

May this year bring you good tidings, new possibilities, and endless opportunity! The Chamber is glad you're here, we appreciate your membership, and we're honored to serve you and this community.

Lisa Messinger Wood
Executive Director
Congratulations Beander's Restaurant & Tavern and the Randolph County Development Authority - The Chamber's December 2020 and January 2021 Spotlight Businesses of the Month!
Beander’s began in 1992 as a nine-table restaurant and tavern. Elkins residents welcomed a spot that was a fun and laid-back – a spot to relax and have a good time. In 1997, Andrea and William Kniffen purchased it as an addition to Masterpiece, Inc. It was a great fit with their catering and rental company they had begun in 1995. Within a few years, the couple purchased the building next door allowing them to add an additional 55 seats. Andrea Kniffen says, “We pride ourselves in being able to provide a relaxed dining experience with simple cocktails and fun events in a casual atmosphere. We are blessed to have the most amazing staff, regular customers, and friends in Elkins supporting Beander’s! “ Beander’s joined the Chamber in 1996 and currently employs a staff of 22 – all of which they consider “a family.”

The mission at Beander’s is to strive to be a place for friends to gather and for memories to be created. Kniffen added, “Providing simple food that people enjoy is such an honor.” The staff hopes that their customers have hundreds of memories when they think of Beander’s. They love when they hear that Beander’s is a place that friends met, couples were introduced, and families enjoyed a relaxed gathering. They hope all their regulars have a menu favorite and a great memory of a special time spent in the restaurant. They offer great weeknight specials, monthly specials, and a $3 cocktail of the week. Plus, the food and events are served in a clean, friendly, casual atmosphere where you can arrive a new customer but leave a friend.

Beander’s also recognized the importance of being involved in their community. The believe in giving back, supporting community events, and participating in worthwhile fundraisers. They were instrumental in establishing the Community Table in downtown Elkins. They have also supported Warriors in the Field, CommUnity Bonfire, Elkins Classic Car Club, Randolph County Animal Shelter, Shoe-box drives, Toys-for-Tots, Cancer Center fundraisers, and many school and sports teams.

Have you spotted the adorable gnomes in front of Beander’s made from real pine branches? Beander’s prides itself on helping to make downtown Elkins a beautiful place by dressing up the front and sides of their building with seasonal décor and artwork. In addition, they are conscious of litter. They recycle all glass, tin, plastic, and carboard that the restaurant produces.

The coronavirus has taken its toll on Beander’s like so many other small businesses. They are grateful for the support and love shown to them by their customers and the entire Elkins/Randolph County community. They use a sanitizing fogger system and all employees where a mask. They aim to provide the safest, cleanest environment possible. Beander’s offers a side door, drive-thru service and on-line ordering.

The Chamber again congratulates Beander’s as our December 2020 Spotlight Business of the Month and expresses our gratitude in being an asset to our community. The Chamber also congratulates Beander’s for over 20 years of membership in the ERCCC.
The Randolph County Development Authority serves as the lead economic development organization for Randolph County. Established in 1977 by the Randolph County Commission, the RCDA is governed by a board of directors and has a staff of three. Staff includes Kris Wilmoth, Office Manager, Mike McCauley, Training Coordinator, and Robbie Morris, Executive Director. The board of directors is led by Gary Clay and is comprised of a diverse group of individuals from various industry sectors, backgrounds, and areas of the county.

The organization’s primary focus is to recruit, retain, and expand businesses in our region. They work to grow an already diverse economy through a variety of marketing and attraction efforts. Randolph County is home to a variety of industry sectors including hardwoods, tourism, healthcare, governmental services, financial services, and many more. The RCDA has worked to locate and expand several businesses within those sectors. In addition, this group has been responsible for many tourism projects including replacement of the railroad bridge, renovation of the railroad depot, development of the Elkins Railyard, development, and expansion of the Allegheny Highlands Trail, along with several other projects.

The RCDA’s mission also encompasses workforce and community development. The WV Wood Technology Center, operated by the RCDA, serves as the workforce development arm of the organization. The Wood Tech provides safety and technical training to individuals, businesses, as well as hobbyists, and has helped to launch several entrepreneurs into their own successful businesses.
In addition to its efforts to improve our County through business growth, the RCDA works to expand infrastructure necessary to grow the economy. Recently the RCDA has been working to expand broadband infrastructure through a $3,000,000 USDA Community Connect grant. RCDA executive director, Robbie Morris, leads many regional and state-wide organizations with the mission of growing the economy and developing related infrastructure. Mr. Morris serves as chairman of the WV Broadband Council, chairman of the Robert C Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority, president of the West Virginia Economic Development Council, and has a seat on the boards of directors for the WV Hardwood Alliance Zone, and the Southern Economic Development Council.

“The RCDA board and staff are passionate about working continuously to improve the economy of Randolph County for every business and every resident,” says Mr. Morris. “We thank the Chamber for this opportunity to share a little about what we do. We’re looking forward to a vibrant and prosperous 2021 for Randolph County.”

Again, the Chamber congratulates the Randolph County Development Authority as our January 2021 Spotlight "Business" of the Month!
Chamber Board of Directors Elects Officers and New Members
Three New Members bring Chamber BOD Total to 21
At the Chamber's December Board of Directors meeting, the Board voted to add three additional directors. Newly elected directors for a three-year term starting January 1, 2021 were Anne Beardslee, Executive Director of the Elkins Depot Welcome Center and Elkins-Randolph County Tourism CVB, Adriana Channel, Marketing Officer for Davis Trust Company, and Shane Jones, Community Relations Director at Colonial Place Assisted Living & Memory Care. Look for interviews with our newest board members in upcoming Chamber Connection newsletters.

The Board of Directors also elected the following individuals as officers for the 2021 calendar year: Jonathan Kyle (Mountaineer Insurance Services) - President; Mike Bell (Davis Health System Foundation) - Vice President; Wendy Morgan (D&E College) - Secretary; and Mark Doak (Common Door) - Treasurer.
Building A Vibrant Community 2020 Report
Even through a Pandemic, a lot happened in Elkins & Randolph County last year!
Click the link below to view the Vibrant Community 2020 Report. It provides a detailed summary of the many projects, initiatives, and plans completed last year.
First Cash Calendar Winner Drawn January 1st for $500!
Tickets still available for remaining 23 drawings.
Debbie Shaffer was our first winner in the 2021 Cash Calendar Contest. She won $500. Congratulations, Debbie! There are 23 remaining opportunities for ticket holders to win either $100, $250, or $500. If you'd like to purchase a ticket for the remaining drawings, there are still tickets available. The cost will go down $1 after each drawing. Call the Chamber to purchase your ticket!
SBA and US Treasury Offer Guidance on "Second Draw"
Loan Information and Details Provided
On January 7, the SBA/US Treasury released the interim final rule and new guidance for the re-opening and “second draw” of the Paycheck Protection Program. Here's the release:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, announced today that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. Updated PPP guidance outlining Program changes to enhance its effectiveness and accessibility was released on January 6 in accordance with the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act.

This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

“The historically successful Paycheck Protection Program served as an economic lifeline to millions of small businesses and their employees when they needed it most,” said Administrator Jovita Carranza. “Today’s guidance builds on the success of the program and adapts to the changing needs of small business owners by providing targeted relief and a simpler forgiveness process to ensure their path to recovery.”

“The Paycheck Protection Program has successfully provided 5.2 million loans worth $525 billion to America’s small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This updated guidance enhances the PPP’s targeted relief to small businesses most impacted by COVID-19. We are committed to implementing this round of PPP quickly to continue supporting American small businesses and their workers.”

Key PPP updates include:
  • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;
  • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
  • The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. 
  • A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:
  • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
  • Has no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

The new guidance released includes: (click each for link)

For up-to-date information, go to PPP Info at SBA.
Reminder to Members:
Your Chamber membership includes social media posts and four email blasts each year. Our email list includes 950+ contacts. If you would like to promote your business or a special event, contact the Chamber today!

Elkins - Randolph County Chamber of Commerce