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Building a vibrant community through impact investment

As a continuation of last week’s article, we are asking our local businesses to answer the question, “Why did you invest in Elkins and why do you continue to invest?”

At a time when high school students strutted down the street with their letterman, specialty shops filled every store, and President Jimmy Carter graced Elkins for the Mountain State Forest Festival, Virgil and Dolores opened Broughton’s Sports in downtown Elkins in 1978. The downtown economy was in a strong position and the Broughton’s found a way to bring together several products under one roof while mapping their own destiny.

Dolores started embroidering earlier in the 70s. As the letterman jacket trend continued, so did the need for a business in Elkins! The community asked and the Broughton’s listened.

For over 30 years, Jeff and Chris Broughton have continued the family tradition of creating personalized products for local businesses and customers. “I give all the thanks to my parents for having the vision and desire to start this business” said Jeff.

Through five locations, changes in family staff, and the ups and downs of the economy, Broughton’s Sports has held strong with its commitment to its customers and the community. “They (Virgil and Dolores) taught us to respect people and give of yourself to others.” Buying local and supporting other local businesses is the how and why they continue their business in Elkins.

For Broughton’s Sports, it has always been paramount to support other businesses. Their first engraving machine was purchased in the mid-80s from Richard and Ruth Humphrey when they owned Tygart Valley Jewelry on Third Street. Years later, their daughter, Beth Anne, had the privilege to order the first letterman jacket from Broughton’s printed with the year 2000, at the turn of the century. Now in 2021, I continue the Humphrey tradition to support Broughton’s Sports like so many other families in our community.

Family traditions, local support, and a friendly atmosphere has stayed constant for their business. However, 2020 and the pandemic has brought on unexpected challenges. The cancelations in sporting events, tournaments, reunions, and ceremonies led Jeff to look at other products and services due to the major loss in traditional orders.

As Broughton’s Sports opened back up, customers called for different products. Orders came in for personalized masks, travel mugs, local products and more. That continued support from local businesses, artists, and customers is why they are still open during the pandemic, despite the strain on their industry.

Jeff’s hope for the future is to survive through the challenges of the pandemic so he can continue to support the community as they have supported him. “You will help keep us going if we all buy locally.”

Broughton’s Sports is a perfect example of continuing to invest in the community of Elkins to ensure a vibrant future. What impact investment will you make?

Compliments of Tygart Valley Orthopedics, the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber has free copies of “Building A Vibrant Community” available to those who are interested. Call us today to get a copy of the book, or, better yet, to join the Vibrant Community movement, at 304-636-2717.

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