Within days after crude MCHM spilled into the Elk River, multiple local efforts were under way to promote businesses impacted by the emergency.
Charleston's East End Main Street launched a reHYDRATE campaign, where businesses in the district offered promotions and specials to customers and patrons. Charleston's West Side Main Street promoted ‘Eat West, Shop West, Go West' and the Charleston Area Alliance created ‘Back to Business Charlie West,' a way for businesses to let customers know they were opened.
"Those kind of campaigns help put out a positive message and a positive message to the exterior," said Matt Ballard, president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance.
Although local businesses have participated in these promotions, traffic is still slow, according to Adriane Wright, the owner of Dem 2 Brother and a Grill on Charleston's West Side.
At noon on Thursday, Jan. 30, the restaurant was empty.
"We'd be packed by not but hopefully they will come," he said while slicing ribs.
Wright's restaurant closed for six days after crude MCHM leaked into the Elk River. He said his businesses lost $10,000 that week and he would like to see the state step in and help.
"The government should help us out," Wright said. "Major corporations got money to get started and to keep going but we don't. They should do something for us."
The West Virginia House is currently working on a water emergency bill for businesses. If passed as is, it would provide loans and grants to businesses, particularly small businesses, which are impacted during a state of emergency.
Until then, Wright says he will continue cooking his food with bottled water hoping for his customers to return.