Woodlands Community Lenders, Inc., and the Barbour County Development Authority are the Barbour County Chamber of Commerce Members of the Month in October.

Cheryl Wolfe, left, is the Director of the Development Authority.  Janet Preston is the Assistant Director of Woodlands Community Lenders.

Woodlands Community Lenders is a certified Community Development Financial Institution that provides loans, business development services, and finance packaging for small businesses and real estate projects that are otherwise “unbankable”.  Woodlands takes an alternative approach to assessing and mitigating risk, supporting small business development in ways that traditional lenders cannot.

Woodlands Development Group, a sister organization, helps build healthy, viable communities in the same region by developing sustainable, affordable housing and supporting economic  initiative.  One example of their work is the restoration of the Golden Rule Department Store in Belington which, when complete, will host a group of small businesses and provide two floors of ten new apartments.  Woodlands Development Group and Woodlands Community Lenders are led by Dave Clark, Executive Director and Certified Planner.

Woodlands Community Lenders focuses its support for small businesses located in Barbour, Randolph and Tucker Counties.  They are located at 316 Railroad Avenue in Elkins, telephone (304) 404-2907, although Preston will be available every Friday (after Covid) at the Barbour County Development Authority. She holds a law degree from West Virginia University and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and was a practicing attorney for thirty-three years with Cooper & Preston, Attorneys at Law, in Parsons.

The Barbour County Development Authority (BCDA) is a public corporation created by the Barbour County Commission in 1981, and is charged with promoting Barbour County and encouraging economic development for the benefit of its citizens.  Their strategy has been built around making Barbour County a destination, building partnerships, developing entrepreneurs, and encouraging small, incremental increases in employment.

Recent efforts have involved partnering with the Barbour County Commission to expand the availability of high speed intenet in the county, working to attract new businesses to the Belington Indusrial Park, providing grant-writing assistance to public and non-profit entities, and collaborating with various goups in the community to obtain a county-wide housing study.  Many planned activities were cancelled, including the “Pitch Contest”, Air BnB workshop, small business classes, and a community mentor program, due to Covid concerns.

The Barbour County Development Authority is located at 33 South Main Street in Philippi, telephone (304) 457-1225,  Due to Covid issues, they are open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and others by appointment.  Their web address is www.barbourwveda.org  Current staff includes two part-time employees, Cheryl Wolfe, Executive Director, and Reg Trefethen, Manager of Business Development.  Wolfe is retired from the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development as a Business & Cooperative Programs Director.  Trefethen has a background in sales, including serving as Vice President of Sales for Rubbermaid.