By Kyle Lovern
August 14, 2013
GOODY, Ky. - Approximately thirty members of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce (TVCC) attended their monthly meeting which was held at The Steakhouse. Several topics of interest were discussed, with TVCC President Charlie McCoy taking the lead.
Wendy Hackney, the owner and operator of “American Pies and Cupcakes” was introduced and delivered a short description as to the items sold at her Southside Mall business and thanked everyone for their support.
The first item of discussion on the agenda was the 2nd annual Coal Dust Run, organized by TVCC Executive Director Natalie Young and David Hatfield, President of the Tug Valley Road Runners Club. The 5-K run/walk is scheduled to be held on Saturday, September 14, and chamber members were asked to volunteer to assist.
TVCC members were also requested to volunteer their time to man the Williamson Coal House on Saturdays and Sundays, as President McCoy voiced his concern that the business would no longer have the assistance of having a part time employee’s salary paid by the Mingo County Commission.
“Natalie is basically working alone throughout the week, and Cecil Hatfield will no longer be at the Coal House on the weekends and as we all know, the weekends are when we see our largest number of downtown visitors,” stated McCoy. “We need some of you members to agree to work the Coal House on the 17th and 24th of this month if at all possible.”
McCoy told the group that the chamber will probably have to hire a part time employee just for the weekends if the flow of tourists coming in stays the same as it is now.
Welcome packets were displayed to the group by McCoy, as he compared the brochures used in the past to the revamped version that contains more information about the famous feuds and sites connected to it. He voiced his pleasure that the updated versions will not only be available to tourists visiting the Coal House, but also at visitor’s centers throughout various locations within the state. This venture was made possible in part by a $5,000 contribution made to the chamber by the Mingo County Commission to assist in advertising.
Upcoming events were announced including the Magnolia Fair, the Hatfield and McCoy play “Blood Song”, the Delbarton Homecoming, the Pike County Hatfield and McCoy Heritage Days and the King Coal Festival.
The meeting ended with a group discussion about what the members thought of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s: White Lightning reality series that is now being featured on the History Channel. The topic of the vulgar cursing by cast members seemed to be a sore subject for all in attendance, as well as how members feel the show will affect the nation’s opinion of what Appalachian people are all about.
“I think it makes us look bad to the entire world,” stated former chamber President, June Blevins. “We’re not like that at all….the feud has been over for a long time.”
While most of the members expressed complaints about the way the reality show stereotypes our region, Adam Warren told the group he didn’t have a problem with that at all, saying that as long as it helped in promoting the area and increasing Mingo County’s appeal to tourists, he would play right along.
“I will buy bubba-teeth and put on my bibs and play the part to the hilt if that’s what the tourists want,” said Warren. “Because at the end of the day, what’s important to me as a business owner is that the tourists came and spent money in our area. That’s the bottom line.”
Although others in attendance strongly disagreed and said they weren’t about to sell their integrity and reputation just to make a dollar, everyone had to admit that Mingo County is in financial distress, with the situation seeming to worsen at an alarming rate of speed.
“We’ve got to take what we’ve got and go with it,” said Warren. “Let’s strike while the iron’s hot and make our mark. This may be our only chance to capitalize on the feed’s popularity and promote our area into becoming a hot spot for visitors who will come to the area and gladly spend money.”