Chamber Honors Local Businesses
On Tuesday, October 8th, The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce held a special dinner to celebrate the local businesses and business owners who have helped to build the local economy. The dinner was held at the Mollohan Center and featured speeches by several local business owners, culminating in a keynote speech by the 66th WVU Mountaineer, Tim Eads.
The night began with a social hour from 5-6pm. The theme for the event was “Blue & Gold” and the room was decorated accordingly with tables adorned with yellow mums and blue and gold place setting and place cards.
Guests and other attendees began to arrive, each dressed in their WVU blue and gold regalia, as Ezra Hamilton serenaded the crowd with the dulcet tones he is best known for. As 6PM approached, Tim Eads arrived standing out stalkily, dressed in his tailor-made buckskin suit, head topped with the Mountaineer’s signature coonskin cap and welding his period musket and power horn.
Wesbanco Bank President, Eric Vincent and United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley Executive Officer, Jessica Rine kicked off the event with a little bit of banter and Eric offered the invocation.
The dinner, which was catered by B&B catering out of Middlebourne, was served by the Magnolia High School cheerleading squad who wore their blue & gold uniforms. As dinner was being served, Carla McBee, Executive Director of the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce, introduced a short video of Bill Witschey, owner of Witschey’s Market on North st. in New Martinsville. Mr. Witschey was not able to be in attendance, but after the video, Denny and Rose Witchterman, store managers at Witschey’s, said a few words and accepted a plague on behalf of Mr. Witschey.
The emcees for the event then recognized Don Riggenbach of Riggenbach Tile and Carpet, located along Rt 2 in New Martinsville. Mr. Riggenbach spoke about his father starting their business and about his son, Matthew, who he hopes will take over someday.
Beth Ann Shreve was the next speaker to be introduced. She spoke about being a teenager in high school and starting to learn about the insurance business well before most kids knew what insurance was. From there, she went to school and studied and applied to work for Wetzel Valley Agencies and started working there right out of school. She also told us the story of how Wetzel Valley Agencies was formed with two separate companies, one insurance and one real estate, combined their two names as well, one Wetzel, the other Valley, thus Wetzel Valley Agencies was formed.
J.C. Mensore Distributing as the next honoree. John J. Mensore first spoke about how important his employees are to making his business what it is today and asked those who attended the event with him to stand and be recognized. Then he talked about how J.C. Mensore Distributing was formed. He then told the story of how his father passed away just 4 months after he married his wife Tulane and how he was thrust into the position of running the company when he wasn’t planning to do so. He rounded out his speech by telling those assembled about how integral Tulane has been to his success and without her and his four children, he would never been the man he has become.
Diane Kline Powell, Owner of The Flower Basket and Park Laundry Mat and Car Wash also spoke about being a woman in business & Sherrie Stalder of Stalder’s Family Creamery also spoke about opening their new shop on main street in New Martinsville.
It was then time for Tim to get give his speach. Tim told us about his path to becoming the WVU Mascot and about the path he took to get there. He shared some stories about what it is really like to be the Mountaineer. In addition to the football and basketball games he is frequently seen at, there are also a number of appearances like the one he was making this night, his 218th as the Mountaineer.
Wetzel County is a home to lots of hard-working people and locally owned businesses. The Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who has worked and sacrificed to build our local community. One night is hardly enough time to dedicate to all these individuals and the hard work they have put into our community and it’s impossible to recognize everyone who has struggle and sacrificed to make Wetzel/Tyler county the wonderful place to live we all enjoy, but from time to time, it’s important that we look back and celebrate what has been accomplished here in the valley.