'Coolest Small Town': Lewisburg Shows The Potential Of Every West Virginia Town and City

By David M. Kinchen
Looking for the "coolest small town in West Virginia?"  How about the "Coolest Small Town in America?" They're the same place,  Lewisburg, West Virginia, the county seat of Greenbrier County. (Link to my February 2011 story: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/1652

Budget Travel Magazine recently dubbed the city  "The Coolest Small Town in America"  and features it in the September 2011 issue.  West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant  this week presented a proclamation to Mayor John Manchester honoring that achievement.

The votes have been tallied. (link: http://mountainmessenger.com/lewisburg-wins-americas-coolest-small-town-...) Lewisburg was voted "America’s Coolest Small Town." The top winners will be featured in the September 2011 issue of Budget Travel magazine.

Final votes: Lewisburg, WV - 139,016, Astoria, OR - 127,748; Clayton, NY - 25,334; Eureka Springs, AR - 19,362; La Pointe, WI - 17,429; Phoenicia, NY - 15,439; Newtown Borough, PA - 15,079; Cedar Key, FL - 14,302; Ripon, WI - 12,313; Greensburg, KS - 10,680.

Traveling through this Greenbrier County community one notices busy shops, bustling sidewalks, and streets filled with eager people looking for a place to park. Several outstanding restaurants, at least two bakeries, Carnegie Hall for entertainment, live theater, a really cool and authentic Irish Pub on Washington make downtown Lewisburg a special place. Add in the State Fair of West Virginia, held every August in adjacent Fairlea, and The Greenbrier, one of the nation's outstanding resorts, in nearby White Sulphur Springs, and you have a magical place.

“This place is really something special,” Tennant said. “And it can serve as an example to every other city and town in West Virginia. Every city and town can be like Lewisburg and have a strong economy that attracts people from all over – especially out of state.”

With a population of around 3,800 Lewisburg isn’t one of West Virginia’s largest cities, but it does boast an extremely low violent crime rate. Pair that with bold entrepreneurs with unique business ideas and strong municipal and county leadership, and Tennant – who was a small business owner herself before being elected Secretary of State – says all the ingredients exist for something special to occur.

“The economy of West Virginia depends on small businesses. It is business owners like the ones in Lewisburg who have a great idea that they believe in and are brave enough to start that business. They generate money for the state, they employ local people, and they reinvest that money back into their business. It’s a process where everyone wins – the business owner, the employee, the local economy, and the state economy.”

Tennant said her office has several tools small businesses can utilize to increase productivity. Every year businesses such as limited liability companies and professional limited liability companies are required to file annual reports with the Secretary of State. By utilizing the online filing website www.business4wv.com, the business owner can file their annual report quickly and easily online. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“That allows the business owner to focus on their product and not paperwork,” Tennant says. “The best part about running a business is running that business – not filing a bunch of paperwork.”

Business owners can also utilize the business entity search feature on the Secretary of State’s website, as well as obtain certificates of existence and authority.

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