By Jess Kleean
Tweetsie Railroad and Creekside Electronics were honored as recipients of the 2016 Watauga County Business-of-the-Year Award as Tweetsie took home the large business award, and Creekside Electronics the small. The nominations for both awards were brought forward by the community and the Chamber of Commerce, exemplifying the community spirit that has supported both of these businesses throughout the year.
“This year’s honorees quickly rose to the top of the nomination process for similar reasons,” said Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO David Jackson. “Both have been fixtures in the community for decades. They continue to evolve their offerings to customers and both have extended the branch of service to local non-profit businesses and organizations. They have invested significant resources in the community and continue to expand their personnel with an aim to provide an exceptional customer experience.”
Creekside Electronics is a third-generation family-owned business operating in Foscoe since 1976. After offering audio, video, and home theater installation at their inception, Creekside Electronics has expanded their service over the years to include fire and security systems and smart home designs. They focus on the importance of supporting the community that has always done the same for them by ensuring quick service after a sale, and standing by their message of “Safe and Sound in the High Country.”
Tweetsie Railroad, a staple in the High Country, is also celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2017 and the 100th anniversary of their signature #12 steam engine. The 200-acre Wild-West themed amusement park has added rides, live shows, and specialty programs over the years last 60 years and yet has still continued to expand. It is both a tourist attraction and an educational opportunity for many local school groups seeking to explore transportation methods implored in early America. On top of the countless visitors throughout the season, which stretches from April-November, Tweetsie Railroad employees over 250 staff members.
Chris and Cathy Robbins of Tweetsie Railroad accepted the Large Business of the Year award on behalf of the park. “This award is a testament to everyone that has played a part at Tweetsie Railroad over the past six decades, from our staff and vendors to the millions of visitors that have come through our gates,” said Tweetsie Railroad President Chris Robbins. “We are proud to accept this award on behalf of Tweetsie Railroad, and we plan to be a major employer and vital part of the community for years to come.”
Both businesses honored at this event have been major players in the High Country and can certainly draw a crowd. This is seen by the sellout audience of over 150 area business leaders in attendance at the High Country Economic Kickoff Breakfast at Appalachian Ski Mountain that was present for the presentation of the award. The event was sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and Chetola Resort of Blowing Rock and was presented by the Boone Area and Blowing Rock Chambers of Commerce.