WV News publisher Andy Kniceley presents Travis Foster (with his daughter, Caroline) the Generation Next Award. / Photo submitted by Travis Foster

Buckhannon entrepreneur Travis Foster receives State Journal’s 40 under 40 recognition, teases big plans for downtown

BUCKHANNON — Age is only a number for the State Journal‘s Generation Next: 40 Under 40 recipients, and this year, Buckhannon native Travis Foster was one of the select entrepreneurs awarded this prestigious recognition in mid-June.

The State Journal describes the Generation Next: 40 Under 40 awards as a “program that honors some of the state’s up-and-coming leaders in business, healthcare, education and government who contribute not only through their work efforts but their community efforts as well.”

Foster, 40, is Buckhannon’s very own up-and-coming leader as the owner and operator of several small businesses established in Upshur County, including Bacteria Busters Pro, Foster’s Marketing Group and TBF Land & Mineral Research.

Foster and the other 39 ’40 Under 40′ recipients — as well as the families and friends of those nominated — gathered for an awards ceremony and formal dining experience catered by Muriale’s Italian Kitchen of Fairmont on June 16. The evening was a celebration of the achievements of the 40 influential figures who live and work within the state and took place at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center located in West Virginia High Tech Park in Fairmont.

“To be in that room with all those people, it was awesome,” Foster told My Buckhannon. “Then, to be able to connect – the connections you made from that room and the energy from all of the younger people, those 40 and under – that are making things happen [was a big honor].”

Foster manages the responsibilities of those his multiple business endeavors as well as coaching basketball in Upshur County. As a small business owner in West Virginia, Foster has found that the stellar work ethic and high quality of his employees are a big part of what enables him to run his businesses smoothly.

“If you don’t put the right people around you, there’s no way you can do it,” he said. “It’s really building good people around you to be able to help, because if not, there’s no way I can do what I do.”

Foster also emphasized the importance of not putting all his entrepreneurial eggs in one basket, especially during tough economic times.

“We’ve been fortunate to stay steady through a lot of times when people haven’t,” Foster said. “We’re lucky in that area — trying to stay as diversified as possible to keep your guys and their families fed is really our main goal. Whether it’s basketball or business, we all come from the same background… our saying for basketball and leading with my guys is, ‘Hard work plus no excuses equals success.’ I’ve preached that for a long time.”

In the coming weeks, Foster and his team plan to host a grand opening of an outdoor beer garden located in Trader’s Alley in Buckhannon. This new spot will be open Fridays, with each week featuring a new, rotating menu from local restaurants, Appalachian craft beer and wine, and live performances from local musicians. Slated to open in August, Foster hopes the welcoming atmosphere of the outdoor beer garden will offer guests a unique experience in Upshur County.

“Main Street and down [Trader’s Alley] will be a really cool spot where you can have cocktails and sit outside,” he said. “It’s away from everything. It’s a cool environment.”

Also in the works, the former Fox’s Pizza location in Buckhannon will soon become the Appalachian Ale House, a pub with an outdoor seating area. Similar to the beer garden, the Ale House will feature West Virginia craft beer and wine with the use of a unique draft system similar to the popular BottomsUp Draft Beer System. A magnet is raised when rested on the tab where alcohol fills from the bottom of the glass to reduce waste and improve the cleanliness of the bar. Fosters hopes to open this location to the public in October, while the outdoor seating area is slated to open in spring 2023.

Many residents of Buckhannon have been asking what’s in store for the empty lot at the corner of Main and Spring streets after the former building was ruled a total loss and razed following the October 5 Main Street fire. Foster now has high hopes for this location as a “market square” space that will provide a versatile location to meet community needs.

The plan is for the lot to feature electricity and running water to allow potential vendors to use the space for food vendor set-ups, Christmas decor, car shows, private events and more. When events are not taking place in the lot, paid parking might be available. Architectural renderings for the lot’s design are currently in the drawing phases and will be released in the coming weeks.

“I’m thinking of things I can do for the town — the more people I bring to this spot right here, I can package [the experiences],” said Foster, hinting at exciting business plans still in the works.

As Foster and his team continue the development phases of their many projects, he encourages the community to be patient to ensure these endeavors will be shared at the peak of their potential.

“You have to be able to be diversified [in your business endeavors] to be able to put in a process,” Foster said. “We always say, ‘not only do you have to put in a good process, you can’t rush that process and you have to trust that process.'”

See the full list of the State Journal’s ’40 Under 40′ award recipients here.

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