RIPLEY - A June opening is scheduled for the Ripley Convention & Visitors Bureau. This non-profit organization is funded through the city’s hotel/motel tax and governed by a 15-member volunteer board of directors. Local resident Mike Ruben has accepted the position as executive director of the Ripley CVB.

Ruben has been the editor of a West Virginia tourism publication for the past seven years. Country Roads Journal is a quarterly travel magazine produced by The State Journal.
“I’m looking forward to promoting the tourism-related activities in the Ripley area,” said Ruben, who will be based in the Law Offices of Harris & Holmes, PLLC on North Church Street. “Our goal is to attract visitors to local events such as the Ripley Fourth of July Celebration, the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair and the West Virginia Chocolate Festival.”
The Ripley area attracts thousands of visitors to nearby venues including Cedar Lakes Conference Center, Parchment Valley WV Baptist Conference Center and the Armed Forces Reserve Center. Recreational amenities in the area include I-77 Raceway Park and several popular fishing destinations.

The CVB concept is to encourage visitors to the community who will generate dollars by staying at local lodging, dining at local restaurants, purchasing fuel at local stations and shopping at local retailers.

“The great thing about a CVB is that we can promote the perks of the Ripley area and make a positive impact on the local economy at no expense to local residents,” said Ruben.

The Ripley CVB will be applying to become an accredited member of the WV Association of CVBs. The organization presently has more than 30 members in communities ranging in population from Charleston to Gilbert.
Maryann Rhodes of Country Rhodes Bed & Breakfast serves as president of the Ripley CVB. She says the organization will provide a means to share what the area has to offer.

“As individual businesses, we can only spread the word so far,” said Rhodes. “The establishment of a CVB gives us a louder voice and a wider audience.”

Ripley Mayor Carolyn Rader, who is also a board member, likes the CVB’s potential.

“It will be an excellent way to provide information to our visitors, market our events and promote our businesses,” she said. “My only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner.”

Other members of the CVB board are Vice President Luci Blake, Treasurer Pam Braden, Secretary Kathlyn Curry, Sally Blessing, Rev. Terry Deane, Tina Kuhn, Brenda Mobley, Mike Morris, Debbie Parsons, Jordan Tennant, Bryan Thompson, Carolyn Waybright and Dick Waybright.