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CVB notes good year

December 13, 2012
By Anthony Gaynor - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Randolph County Convention and Visitor's Bureau Board of Directors President Chelley Depp highlighted the organization's successes of the past year during the quarterly Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday.

Depp, a Randolph County Schools employee, worked for Rich Mountain Battlefield for 13 years to bring more tourists to the area.

"Our job was not just to create a museum," she said. "You have to get people to come. You get the information out there to make sure people know what they can do."

Depp said Randolph County has excelled at providing top notch entertainment for visitors.

She said she learned at a seminar that to attract tourists, "you have to make yourself number one."

"That is what we have done in Randolph County," she said. "I watched the railroad, the theater (American Mountain Theater) and the hotels grow."

Depp said the RCCVB strives to share the attractions in Randolph County with the world.

"If you can't find something to do in West Virginia you simply are not leaving your house or hotel room," she said. "There is something to do all the time."

She said success is not only measured by the number of visitors that come to the area, but by the number that return.

"I hear a lot of visitors say they didn't get a chance to see everything and they are going to come back," Depp said.

Depp said the RCCVB's success can be attributed to not only advertising campaigns, but the staff of the bureau. She said Executive Director Brenda Pritt has held her position for 20 years.

"I couldn't ask for a better executive director," she said. "People will tell you in business that you don't see the fruits of your labor in the first year It took this long for the CVB to find its rhythm."

Depp said the RCCVB has been advertising the area in national markets. This year advertisements were placed in the Pittsburgh Steelers', Pittsburgh Pirates' and Cincinnati Bengals' official programs.

"We are circling the state with our advertisements," she said.

Depp said partnerships with the Randolph County Community Arts Center and the Riverside Blues Fest have helped the RCCVB better spend grant funding used to attract tourists. She said $101,000 was spent over the course of the year in marketing and advertising.

"Partnerships are going to be more important than ever with cuts in grant funding," she said.

Wednesday's luncheon was the last for Ray LaMora as chamber president.

"This is my last official function as chamber president," he said. "The chamber is on good footing and (Chamber Executive Director Kate Reed) is doing a great job."

Reed and the chamber board of directors presented LaMora with a plaque at the conclusion of the luncheon.



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