Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 28, 2013

Better Living Show finale

Good weather brings large crowds out to Brushfork Armory

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BRUSHFORK — To see Better Living Show video click here

Nick Ameli had a big smile on his face as he visited some of the outside vendors Saturday morning at the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce’s 34th Annual Better Living Show. Ameli and the late Robert F. Hamilton organized the very first show when Ameli was chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors.

“Someone asked me how long ago that was, and I told them it had been about 20 years, but now I see that it was 34 years ago,” Ameli said. “Of course, back then I had the appliance stores, and we saw it as a way to display some of the appliances we had for sale. Back then, this show was a good opportunity for us and for other businesses in the area to show what we had.

“It was good for all the local businesses in the community, but now it seems to be so much more diverse than we were back then,” Ameli said. “This is great! There are great vendors and there is a great crowd.”

Scott and Erica Nystrom were strolling through the mezzanine of the National Guard Armory in Brushfork checking out everything there was to offer as Erica pushed their daughter, Lyla, 5, in a stroller. The Nystroms are both from Welch, but they live in Princeton now.

“We’re building a house, and we thought this would be a good place to see what’s out there,” Erica Nystrom said.

“We saw something we were interested in right after we got here,” Scott Nystrom said. “We saw an outdoor furnace distributor. We had been thinking about that because I’ve been clearing the land and I have a lot of fire wood cut, but I hadn’t seen that kind of a furnace before.”

David Yoder, owner of Outdoor Furnace Distributing, traveled from Floyd, Va., with his son, Eldon Yoder, to participate in the 2013 Better Living Show.

“We do a lot of business in this area because the units we sell can burn wood or coal,” David Yoder said. “A lot of people here either work in the coal mines or have access to coal. There’s a lot of coal in this area.”

“I like the show because as soon as I walked in, I won a prize,” Erica Nystrom said with a smile.

Phil Moye, a media spokesman for Appalachian Power, was at the show signing up area residents for APCO’s Home SMART Energy Assessment Program.

“During shows like this, I usually have people coming up to me and asking me questions about their rates, but here at this show, everyone I have talked to has wanted to learn more about this program,” Moye said. “Customers are very interested.

“I also received a totally unsolicited testimonial from one lady who came up and told me what a difference the energy efficiency assessment has made in her home,” Moye said. “That really made me feel good.”

The turnout on Saturday was impressive. “What do you think about this crowd?” Marc Meachum, president and chief executive officer of the Bluefield Chamber said as he squeezed his way through the packed house. The smile on his face answered his own question.

— Contact Bill Archer at