Local economy moving forward

Last week was a high-water mark for the business community in Randolph County with not only the influx of a record-setting $5 million Small Business Administration loan, but also the grand opening of a confection shop by a female African-American entrepreneur.

The Isaac Jackson Hotel and Conference Center received the largest-ever SBA loan through Davis Trust Co. on Thursday, paving the way for future expansion and additions to the local workforce.

Construction on the hotel and its companion eatery – the 1863 Grill – has been ongoing for more than a year, thanks to new owners Kenny and Beverly Sexton, Jim and Elaine Douglas and Lloyd and Sharon Teter.

The group has transformed the business from a local point of interest into a statewide – even nationwide – destination. Countless hours of work and thought have gone into not only the design and layout of the hotel and eatery, but also details such as the restaurant’s menu and even how many pillows are in the rooms. Nothing has been overlooked.

The hotel and conference center is expected to be complete in time for the opening of the 78th Mountain State Forest Festival, giving the new complex an opportunity to shine for those who descend upon this small community for the annual extravaganza.

The Sextons and company partners deserve much praise for their work to complete such a monumental project – one that fills a tremendous need in our community. Many times during the year, hotel rooms are at a premium, and this new facility will help to alleviate that issue. In addition, the hotel will provide a much-needed conference center that will attract not just local groups, but also a variety of outside businesses and business owners. Again, another plus, is that infusion of dollars will help to boost the economy and truly put Elkins and Randolph County on the map.

Another site that will put Elkins and Randolph County on the map is Becky’s Donut Hut, located on the Beverly Five-lane.

Becky Marks and her brother, Lewis, have been toiling away with the help of Joe Walker to open a state-of-the-art doughnut shop, complete with all-homemade delights.

Marks decided to open the business because of her passion for cooking. She has taken that to the next level by going through the labor-intensive process of making everything from scratch. That, of course, assures she provides a top-quality product to her customers, and it adds another shining facet in our community’s ever-growing business market.

Dr. Carolyn Stuart, executive director of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs in Charleston, was on hand for the ribbon cutting Thursday, touting the many positives small businesses provide to not just the local economy, but also the state economy as well.

“To see a business open up, it extends far past the community because it’s a great thing for the entire state of West Virginia,” Stuart said.

We couldn’t agree more. The impact of Marks’ opening and the SBA loan will have a wide-ranging economic implications.

Kenny Sexton is a proven businessman, gaining a wealth of experience owning and running the American Mountain Theater, and while Marks is a new business owner, there’s truly something to be said about taking that chance on the American Dream. Thanks to Sextons, his partners and Marks, many more good things are on the horizon in Elkins and Randolph County.