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Coal Show to Bring Economic Stimulus




September 10, 2019 - About 200 vendors are bringing the latest mining technology and services to the 2019 Bluefield Coal Show, but it will also bring economic stimulus to the area when it opens Wednesday.

The 2019 coal show, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias, is very positive and very similar to previous shows, Coal Show Chairman Bob Ramsey said. As of Monday, the show had “north of 190 vendors.”


A crane is seen as workers and volunteers put the finishing touches on the grounds of the 2019 Bluefield Coal Show.

Photo by Jessica Nuzzo

“We’ve heard several indications that many of the coal companies will be represented here,” Ramsey said when asked about the people who are expected to visit Bluefield and the Brushfork National Guard Armory.

Jamie Null, executive director of the Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said business expositions like the Bluefield Coal Show bring in people who attended previous coal shows as well as attendees who have never visited the Mercer County area.

“I think the coal show is in a category by itself when it come to events that bring people in from other areas,” Null said. “We definitely have reservations at all the hotels. After this show, we’ll get a better snapshot of the figures.”

The fact people attending the coal show obtain lodging brings more spending to the local economy.

“Once you have somebody in a hotel, it increases the demand for food and gas, so the people here will see an impact as well,” she said.

The coal show is not open to the public, but unemployed coal miners will have an opportunity to find new jobs.

“The chamber has added a job fair element to the show,” Ramsey stated. “Any out-of-work miners who would be interested in attending the show can list themselves at the registration desk.”

A jobs fair will be on the armory’s upstairs level, he said.

“We just saw that there was a need and the coal community would be pulled together in one place,” Ramsey said. “It just seemed like a good fit with the current conditions of the mining industry.”

The Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias organizes the Bluefield Coal Show, but its volunteers help make it successful, he added. The 2019 show is Ramsey’s first as chairman.

“The thing that has impressed me is the passion and knowledge of these volunteers,” Ramsey said. “There are several volunteers who have been here for all of the 23 shows. We’re very excited. There’s a lot of excitement here on the show floor.”