Donald Hitchcock and Paul Yandura are transplants from a very busy Washington, DC life. Donald has a background in public health policy, and Paul has a background in political science. They have been life partners for the past 23 years and built a vacation cabin in Lost River, WV, in 2008.

Since then, they have fallen in love with West Virginia, became real estate agents and opened the Lost River Trading Post in 2013 in the small town of Wardensville, WV. Now living full-time in Wardensville, Donald and Paul have turned the Lost River Trading Post turn into a thriving community hub and an informal West Virginia welcome center including an art gallery, over 100 local artisans, from-scratch food items, local beers and wine and a pop-up venue for elegant dinners and various workshops.

Since opening, the Trading Post has had visits from Sen. Capito and various state officials in tourism and the arts.

In addition to their work in real estate and the Lost River Trading Post, Donald and Paul spearheaded economic development in WV by founding a Main Street Initiative and coordinating the Wardensville Garden Market, employing and training over 45 local youth.

SHOW NOTES:

  • 2:56 Donald and Paul, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that brief intro and give us a little behind the curtain look into The Lost River Trading Post.
  • 4:32 How did you get started in this business?
  • 6:55 Are either of you originally from West Virginia?
  • 9:16 What is your 30 sec. pitch for Lost River Trading Post?
  • 12:23 What are you most excited about for Lost River Trading Post right now?
  • 16:35 PWV Commercial Break
  • 17:13 What has been your best business moment so far?
  • 17:38 What has been the worst business moment you’ve had so far?
  • 19:07 What is the long term vision you have for Lost River Trading Post?
  • 21:47 What is the geographic market that you serve?
  • 23:36 Can you tell us more about your website? Also, how’re you attracting new customers to your store and website?
  • 29:57 Aside from Covid-19, what’s one of the biggest challenges you’re facing right now as entrepreneurs and business owners?
  • 33:16 What is one piece of advice that you’d give to a young person looking to start up a business in a small town in WV like you guys did?
  • 35:21 What’s one thing that you do every day that you think contributes to your success?
  • 37:01 What is one book or podcast that you’d recommend for aspiring entrepreneurs?
  • 38:43 Is there anything else you’d like our listeners to know about your story or Lost River Trading Post
  • 41:17 How can our listeners learn more about Lost River Trading Post and maybe even get in touch with you?
  • 42:23 Outro 

Website 

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Book Recommendations: 

Going Horizontal: Creating a Non-Hierarchical Organization, One Practice at a Time by Samantha Slade

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Theodore B. Kinni