Some good news to report out of Upshur County, where more than a dozen new businesses opened their doors last month. The Secretary of State's office is praising the county's efforts to bring commerce to the area.
For the last few years, owning a restaurant in North Central West Virginia has been a dream for Maggie Blonn and her husband, David.
"I just randomly was looking on Facebook one day, and I told Dave, 'Look at this opportunity!' To be able to be our own bosses, to do our own thing, was important to us," said Blonn.
So last month, Miss Piggies came to fruition in downtown Buckhannon, one of 17 new businesses to join the community in the month of July.
"We do fresh smoked meat every day. We do barbecue. We love the small town. We love the friendliness," said Blonn.
"It's a big win for Upshur County and the city of Buckhannon to have so many news businesses opening. Our community is a business-friendly community, and I believe that our chamber has really been instrumental," said Robbie Skinner, president of the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce.
The Secretary of State's office reports this as the highest number of new businesses registered in Upshur County over the last 12-month period. Business owners said a big reason for that is the heavy foot traffic that travels throughout Buckhannon's flourishing and active downtown.
"A lot of first-time people who've never been in here just want to come in and see what we have. People are getting exposed not only to biking, but our other gear that we have in the store as well," said Matthew Bennett, owner of Fat Tire Cycle and Adventure Supply.
Another reason for the downtown's success is the mutual support between business owners.
"I've had other business owners from downtown Buckhannon come in and eat at our place, just like I've eaten at their places before," said Blonn. "It's a little family - a business family downtown."
"It creates a buzz about the community as a whole, and everyone supporting each other, in the long run," said Bennett.
Come 2019, the growth will continue with the official grand opening of the Upshur County Innovation Center. Construction is set to begin in the next few weeks.