New businesses boom in Williamson amid pandemic
WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Williamson business owner Tonya Webb took a chance this year.
“The thing I love about Williamson is we are different we are unique,” Webb said.
Even though COVID slowed the process, her business is one of 10 new small business in the city since COVID. The city posted to social media outlining the new small businesses that opened in the past year.
All 10 of these businesses powered through a pandemic to open their doors.
Webb said Williamson business owners are feeling a renewed sense of hope in 2021 about their city.
“I don’t want to be a Charleston, a Logan, a Pikeville. I want to be Williamson and if that means offering different things for people to come and see then I am all for it,” Webb said.
That is why Webb and her partner bought the vacant hospital on Mulberry St. in Williamson where she was born before it closed.
With a passion for all things spooky and a splash of history, the business offers haunted hospital tours and other events.
“The very first event that we are going to have is a Valentines dinner.” Webb said.
The Old Hospital on College Hill is already garnering lots of attention from locals and outsiders. Webb said it feels good to give back to her city through something she is passionate about.
Williamson is known for bringing in trailriders but Webb said the city has much more to offer. The new businesses in town range from restaurants serving BBQ to a Yoga studio, even an exotic pet store and a Dermatology center.
“In the midst of COVID in your city I think speaks a lot about the town and the mayor and what’s going on in Williamson and the change that’s happening,” Webb said.
Another new business formed in 2018 but started selling their produce during COVID.
Sol Wind Energy uses renewable energy to harness and sell power back to the local electric company.
But Sol Wind also uses that power to grow year-round produce in greenhouses at the old airport in Williamson.
“It creates jobs and we create a local food production,” CEO and Owner Dan Hicks said.
Hicks said the jobs are filled by displaced coal miners and provide fresh produce for a community with limited access.
According to statistics from the Rural Health Information Hub some parts of the city and the surrounding county is considered a food desert. Access to fresh produce is limited and the county ranks 54 out of the 55 counties in West Virginia in health outcomes.
Sol Wind is working to fix the gap as they sell fresh produce on the weekends from their greenhouses.
“All this: the solar systems, the building, the wind system, everything was built by coal miners,” Hicks said.
The small businesses that opened amid COVID in the past year include:
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