Storm Young – Author of “The Pen Pal”
Purchase your copy at the Chamber Office or on
The Pen Pal follows the story of Shiloh Ray, who is a military wife, new mother, and college student. Shiloh also suffers from postpartum depression and overall loneliness from living in rural Alaska far away from any family or friends. Shiloh then breaks out of her comfort zone and signs up for a Pen Pal. Weeks pass and she is matched with Penelope Young, this is where her whole life will change. Shiloh and Penelope become the best of friends and write letters every week. Until one day the letters just stop. Penelope had vanished. Shiloh cannot handle the thought of losing her best friend, so she flies across the country to figure out what she did wrong, or what happened to Penelope. Once she gets there, she finds out from Penelope’s husband that she is missing. Shiloh takes matters into her own hands, finding out the truth of what happened to her friend. Shiloh will follow clues and figure out the truth no matter what the cost. She also meets a few unexpected friends along the way to help her. Shiloh and her friends will face many challenges and have to race against the clock to find out the truth before someone else covers it up.
I hope that everyone is staying safe and warm. Due to inclement weather and COVID-19 we find ourselves being more cautions in our outside activities. That’s the smart thing to do. However, as far as COVID is concerned, it’s imperative that we embrace new ways of keeping businesses going and our spirits high. While a number of us may be tired of Zoom meetings, they have afforded us opportunities to connect that would not have been possible without that platform and other similar technology. I have personally shared holiday meals, my oldest son’s marriage, baby reveal parties, baby showers, family funerals, seminars, workshops, and trainings, all virtually and no less meaningful. My point is that life can and does go on regardless of what is happening around us. 

That brings me to the point of optimizing technology to promote your businesses and organizations. Having an online presence has never been more important. Keeping that presence up-to-date is critical to keeping your business or organization going. If you are a restaurant, take pictures of your best dishes and rotate those photos. If you are an organization with activities to promote, keep an updated calendar on your social media. Also, don’t wait until the event is about to take place before promoting it. In this time of COVID, let the public know that your venue is safe to enter. Engage the public that you are hoping to attract. Social media sites are the easiest way to do that. If you have an event to promote that is open to the community, make sure that you send a notice to the Chamber. We will promote it in this newsletter and on our Events page. We are expanding our readership daily!

There are a few planned activities that I want to highlight for everyone and hope that you have an opportunity to participate. The first is our series of meetings called the “Small Business Breakfast Club”. The meetings are open to the community. We’ll meet at local restaurants and diners and will also present on Zoom. Please take a look at our flyer for participants and locations. It will be helpful for us if you express your interest on our Facebook page so that we have an idea of those attending in person.

The Virtual Visitors Center (VVC) is a collaborative effort between the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Wetzel-Tyler Chamber of Commerce. The first year has been fully funded by the New Martinsville City Council. What the VVC will do is pull in all of the activities, eateries, hotel/motels, attractions being offered in our area. This is an opportunity for both Wetzel and Tyler counties to really highlight our area for anyone living here or passing through as a visitor. This platform will be up and running within the next several weeks. You will need the following to take advantage of this opportunity:

1.      Create an events page within your social media and keep it updated.

2.      Google your business. Once you’ve found your business on Google, check it for accuracy and claim your business.

3.      Check your Google listing for accuracy. Update as needed.

4.      Use hashtags (#) i.e. #wetzelcountywv, #tylercountywv, #wildandwonderfulwv, #newmartinsvillewv, #sistersvillewv…you get the idea!!

This is a wonderful opportunity for our areas to be seen, visited and appreciated. Please don’t miss out! If you need help, email Brian Rogers at:
Celebrating Black History Month with West Virginians