BUCKHANNON – Want to help a community-oriented nonprofit organization, shop at a local business, and find a product that may ease your aches and pains all in one stop?
Endo Solutions, which sells a full line of CBD and hemp oil products, is donating 10 percent of its proceeds from sports-related items to the Upshur County Recreation Complex, a local nonprofit whose goal is to build a full-scale recreational complex for athletes and the general public in Upshur County.
Endo Solutions owner Tom Thacker recently became a general member of UCRC and wanted to know how he could help raise funds to fulfill UCRC’s mission. That’s when he messaged UCRC President Mitchell Shaw with an idea: 10 percent of Endo Solutions’s sales of sports products – including CBD balms and warming/cooling balms from Buckhannon-based Rx Remedies and Moon Flower Hemp and Bridgeport-based Whispering Winds Naturals – would be donated to UCRC.
Now, Thacker is challenging other local businesses in Buckhannon and Upshur County to do the same.
“There’s probably a lot of businesses in town that would like to pitch in somehow, and they may not have a lot of money, especially this year, so I was thinking they could take one menu item like what we’re doing – any of the sports products – and give 10 percent of sales [of the item] to UCRC,” Thacker said. “If anybody purchases any of those sports products, 10 percent of that will go straight in a jar, and I’ll hand it over to UCRC.”
Shaw said such initiatives from private businesses are especially welcome, given the nonprofit can’t apply for grant funding until it’s pinpointed a location for the complex. Although several potential areas are being considered, the exact location (or locations) for the recreation complex has yet to be decided.
“The bottom line is, we have to have a location before we apply for grants,” Shaw said. “Plus, grants can’t be our only funding. We’re trying to get more private donations around the community, and that’s where Tom (Thacker) came in and had a really great idea for us.”
Thacker was inspired to join UCRC as a general member in January because he believes a recreation complex – not just for year-round for athletes but also for the general public – would be a boon to the community.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “After living in Roanoke, Virginia, and that whole area down there using the YMCA was just a whole different world. Roanoke and Salem, even though they’re only five miles apart, each of them had different YMCAs, different pools, indoor and outdoor and all kinds of facilities, and they’re just a pillar in the community – really, a hub – and we need something like that around here.”
Thacker said other businesses don’t even have to donate 10 percent; any amount would help.
“Even if it’s just one item, and even if they can’t afford to do 10 percent — maybe they can’t do 10 percent, but they can do 5 percent – it’s way better than getting online and ordering stuff from out of state or out of the country,” Thacker said.
Shaw said businesses that support UCRC will likely see a return on their investment.
“Every time I pitch what we’re trying to do, what I say to business owners is, ‘what we’re trying to do will only help you in the long run,’” he said, “ and I mean it wholeheartedly because I know for a fact that there are various communities who have done what we’re trying to do that started out like us — small areas of maybe 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 people – that are now hubs for athletics. Salem, Virginia now hosts the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Softball Tournament every year. Think about how many millions of dollars that adds to the economy – and that’s just one tournament.”
Shaw said UCRC is in the midst of having an economic impact study performed by a West Virginia Wesleyan College student under the supervision of Professor Kelly Sharp, director of the School of Business at Wesleyan.
“We’re going to find out what kind of economic impact what we’re trying to do could really have on the community,” he said.
UCRC is also in the midst of assessing community athletic and sporting needs.
“Some people have said, ‘we have a high school and a middle school, both with an indoor gym and football field, tracks and baseball fields – why do we need all this extra stuff for the community?’” Shaw said. “Well, the answer is, the kids need those facilities. Those facilities are for them first, and their sports first, and if you open that up to the general public, you run into insurance issues, the issue of having janitorial services and more. There’s just lot of logistical issues. The hope is that we could have something that the general public could use, whether it be in one place that has everything that we dream of … or a piece of property that we found that we could put a soccer facility on, and have that there, and another piece where we could put an indoor facility and a football field.”
Shaw stressed that simply because there are an adequate number of facilities for games doesn’t mean there’s enough space to hold practices. Shaw said the shortage of practice space is actually what launched UCRC back in 2016, when the late Shawn Tucker was coaching soccer.
“Shawn Tucker and Joe DeGroff started this whole idea because Shawn was coaching multiple soccer teams and was running into problems with finding places to practice,” Shaw said. “There’s just very few spots that are full-size gymnasiums that can support a variety of athletic needs, so, that’s really what our goal is — to find and cover all of the bases as far as all of the sports having something they can use and having it be open to the general public.”
Shaw said supporting Endo Solutions’s efforts to raise money through selling sports-related product is a triple win.
“You’re buying a product that is not only going to help [you] personally but can help an organization that [you] believe in, which would then help local businesses by getting people in the door,” Shaw said.
Any businesses interested in accepting Thacker’s challenge should contact Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or message him on Facebook Messenger on his personal account or the Upshur County Recreation Complex’s account.
He also wanted to remind residents that they may support UCRC with Amazon Smile by visiting smile.amazon.com and selecting the Upshur County Recreation Complex, Inc. as their organization of choice; Smile accounts can now be linked to the Amazon app.