Philippi Main Street and the Philippi Convention and Visitors Bureau are the Barbour County Chamber of Commerce Members of the Month in January.
Tammy Stemple, left, is the Director of Philippi Main Street and Clerk of the City of Philippi. Karen Larry is the current President of the Philippi Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Stemple holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from West Virginia University and has worked with the Main Street program for 26 years. She is a Philippi native who lived in several locations when her father was in the military. She also serves as the Secretary for the Philippi Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Philippi Main Street is a non-profit revitalization program part of Main Street America,” she says. “The program is based on a four-point approach of organization, design, promotion, and economic restructuring that works to improve the quality of life in the community. Our goals include preserving local history and promotional events in the community.”
Philippi’s Main Street program was reorganized in 1997. Program Director Stemple held that position since its reorganization and relies on volunteers and grass-roots activities. “Reinvesting in older, historic downtown is challenging but the Main Street volunteers are committed to building a stronger community through preservation based on economic strategies,” she says. The office for Main Street is located at 344 South Main Street in Philippi’s City Hall, telephone (304) 457-3700 extension 226
The current President of the Philippi Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Karen Larry is a former classroom teacher and Director of the Barbour County Teacher Center. She was employed for 22 years by the West Virginia Department of Education, eleven years as Executive Assistant to the State Superintendent. She holds two Masters Degrees from West Virginia University and an Ed. D. from Marshall University.
“The nature of the Philippi CVB has changed since 1995 when the non-profit organization was written into the city’s charter” she says. “Our primary purpose is to enhance the economic climate of Philippi by developing and promoting tourist resources and convention attractions. This purpose has been enacted in many ways, from supporting local events to providing the Christmas lighting on city streets. This year for example,” she says, “the Philippi CVB financed the band for the Annie’s Smiles Jeep Run, and helped plan and publicize the Lurch Fest which brought over 1,000 visitors to the area.
“No other city group has the same purpose as the CVB,” she says. “We work closely with Philippi Main Street to enhance the economic climate of Philippi through tourism. Our volunteers meet monthly to plan, provide financial support, and implement activities that enhance the economic vitality of the city.” The CVB can be reached through Philippi City Hall or by contacting Larry at 669-9009
Larry is a member of the Board of Directors of Heart and Hand House, Secretary of the Ocean High Condominium Association, a Eucharistic Minister at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, volunteers at the Adaland Mansion, and is a member of the Barbour County Community Foundation.