Chamber holds annual members meeting

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Sen. Charles Trump (left) speaks to the crowd while fellow legislators Del. Ruth Rowan and Sen. Randy Smith listen at the Mineral County Chamber of Commerce Members Meeting and Legislative Update.

FORT ASHBY - The Mineral County Chamber of Commerce re-elected three board members and heard from three of the county’s state legislators during the chamber’s annual members meeting held recently at Brookedale Farm.

Nominated and elected to continue to serve on the board were Ashley Centofonti, Kevin Clark, and Penny Blackburn-Riffle.

Centofonti, who is the executive director of Mineral County Tourism, was originally appointed to the board to fill a vacancy and has worked closely with the chamber for over two years to help grow tourism in Mineral County.

Clark, the executive director of the Economic Development Authority, has also worked closely with the chamber for approximately 2 1/2 years and was recently appointed to fill a vacancy on the board. Clark and the EDA have worked hard to get additional businesses to join the chamber.

Riffle, president of Blackburn Family Corporation, which operates several successful ventures in Mineral County, has served as a member of the board since the chamber’s restructuring three years ago.

The three were re-elected to the board by paper ballot at the dinner.

In addition, the chamber members were able to hear a “state of the chamber” address by president Randy Crane, who said his initial fear that the pandemic would destroy many of Mineral County’s smaller businesses did not come to pass.

“I was really afraid we’d lose, especially the little ‘mom & pop’ shops,” he said. When that didn’t happen, Crane commented, “That just shows how resilient the people of Mineral County are. … I’m not saying they’re wasn’t any pain; there was plenty of pain for everybody. But we pretty much held our membership over the past year and the chamber will continue to grow,” he said.

Lucas Taylor gave an update on WVU Potomac State College, urging the county businesses and professionals to work together with PSC to help keep the college strong.

The floor was then turned over to Senators Charles Trump and Randy Smith and Del. Ruth Rowan, who each spoke about various bills they worked on during the 2021 legislative session.

The legislators also fielded a number of questions from the audience.

The dinner was catered by The Candlewyck of Keyser.

The Chamber of Commerce is made up of businesses, professionals and individuals in Mineral County and the surrounding area who join together for the purpose of networking with each other and with local and state officials, as well as business leaders from other areas. They also support one another through Chamber After Hours and other events, including the upcoming Mountain Streams Music and Arts Festival in August.

Other chamber-sponsored events include the annual Summit Awards, where business leaders and first responders are honored for their efforts.

For further information on the chamber, call 304-788-2513.

Liz Beavers is managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune and can be reached at