The Business of the Year award is presented to Highland Landscaping owner Bobby Gompers (right) by Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner and Nathaniel Bonnell, president of 2022 honoree Citizen's Bank. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik / My Buckhannon)

Highland Landscaping claims 2022 Business of the Year accolades, BCT nabs Organization of the Year award

BUCKHANNON – A local business and organization were recognized for their longstanding service in the Buckhannon-Upshur community during the annual Chamber of Commerce awards dinner.

Mayor Robbie Skinner emceed the annual Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner March 16, where members and businesses of the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce were recognized for their work in Upshur County.

Every year the chamber recognizes a Citizen of the Year, Businessman of the Year, Businesswoman of the Year, Business of the Year and Organization of the Year.

Highland Landscaping was named the Business of the Year.

“Our 2022 Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year was established in this community in 2001 and has been beautifying the lawns and gardens of our community ever since with high-quality products and service,” Skinner said. “The owner was born in 1977 in Prince Georges County, Maryland, but moved to West Virginia in 1995 at the age of 17 to work with his brother in what has become a well-known family restaurant, not only here locally, but one that has garnered statewide recognition.”

Bobby Gompers began working for a landscaping business in the late 1990s called Highland Yard & Garden, which he would later purchase and name it Highland Landscaping in 2001, Skinner said. In 2011, he partnered with his mother and father to open Highland Nursery across town.

“The citizens and business owners of Upshur County have trusted Highland Landscaping and Highland Nursery for many years,” Skinner said. “At the nursery, you will find high quality annuals and perennials not found at other locations to give your yard that perfectly unique look. Bobby, Brenda, and the entire staff of more than 20 are true professionals who take pride in every project they compete and every plant they sell.”

Buckhannon Community Theatre was named the Organization of the Year.

“Our 2022 Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Organization of the Year award winner has been entertaining the citizens and visitors of Upshur County for the past five decades,” Skinner said. “What began in the halls of Buckhannon-Upshur High School, from the efforts of some of our alma mater’s most talented students and their vocal music director, and former Mayor of Buckhannon, James W. Knorr, the stage was set for the first time in 1971.”

The Organization of the Year award is presented to Buckhannon Community Theatre executive producer Rise Hanifan (right) by Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner and Jeremiah McCourt, representing 2022 honoree Upshur County Trails. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik / My Buckhannon)

In 1972, the organization was officially chartered as a nonprofit organization, created its bylaws and elected its first officers.

“This organization has remained strong throughout its history, offering annual summertime shows, cast by an all-volunteer [group], including high school and college students, business professionals and elected officials,” Skinner said. “The wardrobes have been stocked, and the sets constructed by donations and a whole lot of hometown spirit and pride. The members and friends of this wonderful community organization have always stepped up to the plate.”

BCT has operated out of several facilities throughout the years but never had its own place to call home – until now.

“Members and friends have stored equipment and apparel in their homes, sheds, garages, and even in the attics of downtown buildings,” Skinner said. “Shows have been held on campus at West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon-Upshur High School, and even in the middle of Central Avenue for a production of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ However, for the first time in five decades, this multi-talented group of artists will have a permanent home, right on Main Street, with the completion of the Colonial Theatre restoration project overseen by the City of Buckhannon.”

The Buckhannon Community Theater is prepping for a busy 2023 season at the new Colonial Arts Center and several other venues.

“As we look ahead, its 2023 season is full, starting with the production of The Red Velvet Cake War May 4 to 7 (including a Sunday matinee) at the Colonial Arts Center. The summer production is The Wizard of Oz running Aug. 3 to 6 (Saturday and Sunday matinees, with two shows on Saturday) at the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts at West Virginia Wesleyan College (auditions April 25 and 26 at Chapel Hill UMC),” Skinner said.

“In the fall, they are teaming up with the Chamber of Commerce to host a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre Oct. 13 and 14 at the Colonial Arts Center,” he continued. “They will close out the year with a production of A Christmas Story Dec. 2, 3, 8-10 (Saturday and Sunday matinees, and two shows on Saturday) at the Colonial Arts Center (auditions in late August or early September).”

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