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Businesses sprucing up store fronts

May 9, 2009
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

It's beginning to look as if Ruth Lynn Schoonover and her husband, Gary, have started a storefront renaissance with the addition of the awning over the front of their antique store, Granny's Attic. Elaine Griesel has followed suit with a great looking addition to the front of Ceramics with Class.

Ed Griesel, president of the Downtown Merchants Association, told those at Tuesday's meeting that the owner of the McManus buildings has given him permission to decorate the structure to make it more esthetically appealing.

C.J. Rylands announced some three or four weeks ago that he's planning to renovate the front of his restaurant, C. J. Maggie's, and "fix it so people can enjoy lunch on the sidewalk." That's a great idea - adds a touch of European custom and class. Folks, Elkins is on its way to being all it can be.

Griesel and other members of the Merchants Association worked with two students in Davis & Elkins College Professor Harry Henderson's marketing research class this semester and discovered at least one very important fact. The students conducted a survey of their classmates and learned that they seldom if ever shop downtown. One of the students is a senior and will graduate Sunday; the other has agreed to continue the project next year, if possible, to see if the reason for this anomaly can be determined. The students mentioned that their classmates go to Buckhannon and Clarksburg to shop, but not downtown Elkins. That's an astonishing discovery - merchants, take notice.


Elkins Operations Manager Bob Pingley commented at Tuesday's Merchants Association meeting on the progress of the new traffic lights installation and upcoming street improvements planned for this summer. He said that the traffic light installation should be finished by the end of May or no later than early June.

Some attendees voiced their concern regarding the placement of the new light posts "smack in the middle of the handicapped access ramps at the street corners." Pingley responded saying that the placement of the light posts is dictated by the geometry of the streets and that those handicapped access ramps being blocked by the new poles would be modified so as not to create a problem.

Bids, according to Pingley, for the downtown storm water separation project were opened on May 1 and they hope to get started on this project in June.


With the tourist season about to get into full swing, Anne Beardslee, secretary of the Elkins Depot Welcome Center, invites you and/or your associates to attend a workshop titled "Hospitality Management: Making Customers Feel Welcome and Appreciated." Melanie Campbell, instructor of hospitality management and executive chef at Davis & Elkins College's Mingo Room at Graceland Inn, will present the course.

The workshop will begin at 5:15 p.m. May 18 in the Elkins depot Caboose Room.

According to Beardslee, space is limited and she asks that those who wish to attend reserve a space by calling the Welcome Center at 304-635-7803.


A great crowd of folks was on hand at the Elks Club last Saturday evening to enjoy the music and comedy of Lucky Enough. More than 30 fans enjoyed a lively and varied program of music including country and western, rock 'n' roll, pop and gospel.

On the off chance that some in the crowd might be a "little down in their spirits" lead guitarist Danny Kendrick brought them, and everyone else, to life with his opening number - a lively instrumental with a different sound. The volume could have been a few decibels, several in fact, lower for the size of the room. However, that didn't take anything away from his dexterity on the strings. His talent on the guitar is unquestionable. He is a good vocal artist as well.

Linda Lee was, as always, in great form singing lead and back-up vocals. She is still recovering from an injury that occurred last fall but she didn't allow a minor physical problem to interfere with her tremendous singing prowess. She has great vocal range and puts no small amount of emotion into her singing, to wit her rendition of "Grandpa," one of Wynonna and Naomi Judd's biggest hits, and "Ain't You Even Gonna' Cry," written by Johnny Russell. You just have to hear her to experience the emotion that she puts into her singing.

Jim Harris did his usual great job on such popular hits of the 1950s and 1960s as "Burning Old Love Letters," "Excuse Me, I Think I've Got a Heartache," "I Never Go Around Mirrors" and several others, all while playing bass guitar. He also does a wonderful job on "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down" made famous by Faron Young in the late 1950s.

Harley Wood gives the keyboard a great workout producing wonderful sounds both as back-up and lead. He has great singing talent, too.

Stixx, on drums and vocals, rounds out the group. I'm not sure from where he takes his name - whether it's his dexterity with the drum sticks or his physical stature.

The band's emcee, Ralph Bennett, was on a trip to California. Harris said, "Without Ralph, some of our show's comedy is missing. Some people just seem to have a gift for gab and believe me, Ralph's got it!" He told me at intermission that doing the show without Ralph was difficult.

The group has several special dates coming up. On June 13, they will be performing at the Relay for Life event at the Elkins High School Track and Soccer Field. They will be a part of the entertainment scheduled for the downtown July 3 Cruise-In. On July 10, they will be in Petersburg with the Country Store Opry at the Arts Center Theater.

Reservations may be made by calling 304-637-2009. For more information, log on to



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