Coal Helping Eastern Kentucky Business

By: Matt Barbour Email
By: Matt Barbour Email

With the poor economy, businesses and industries nationwide are taking financial hits. However, that does not seem to be the case for everyone.

Theresa Johnson says things are not looking so good for the restaurant business.

“The overall industry as a whole, quick service is probably flat. Casual dining, it's down six points. Six percent of your business, that's enormous,” said Theresa Johnson, President of Neighborhood Hospitality and Neighborhood Restaurants.

Johnson owns the Applebee's in Hazard. It is just one of the many restaurants she runs across the country. She owns more than fifty restaurants from Nashville to Pittsburgh.

“We are running at least twenty-five percent less in sales in the Nashville market than we do in our Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia restaurants,” said Johnson.

She says it all comes down to the strength of the coal industry.

“Coal is what's driving my business here. I have to have that to keep my business going,” said Johnson.

Scott Brashear knows that first-hand. He owns a local mining supply company.

“When the coal industry's good, of course the money funnels down, it's distributed out to the area businesses and everyone profits from the coal business,” said Brashear.

Kathy Sumpter is looking to start her own business and says the local economy gives her confidence to do so.

“I don't feel like our local economy's been affected like the big cities. Coal's still here. Most of the people here either work in medical or in the coal business,” said Sumpter.

“If the coal company lays off people, then they quit eating out, I cut jobs,” said Johnson.

That is why she hopes the coal industry stays strong so the local economy will too.


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