McDowell County business closing after 24 years due hardships caused by COVID-19 pandemic

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WELCH, WV (WVNS) — After 24 years, a small business in McDowell County is closing its doors.

Frances Weaver and Fonda Walker are staples in not only Welch, but in the printing industry around the area as well. The two were among some of the first women to work at Superior Printing Company.

They worked together for more than a decade before the company shut down. Out of a job, the two women said the decided to stick with something at which they were good.

“I really didn’t know what else to do. I had been a printer for 20 years,” Weaver said.

In the late 90s, the printing industry was a male dominated business, and before even opening F & W Printing in 1996, the two women said they faced resistance from some in the community.

“We fought it. We fought it through everything, two floods, sickness,” said Walker.

The women said they have been fighting since they opened their doors. They run the business by themselves. Even when Walker was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, she continued to fight and came into work whenever she could.

However, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic might be too much for Walker and Weaver to take.

“But after 24 years, you know, we are in our 60s, and we are just tired of fighting,” said Weaver.

The price of printing supplies nearly doubled during the pandemic, and instead of taking a few days to receive these supplies, the women said the delivery sometimes took up to eight weeks.

Walker and Weaver said it became a lot more difficult to pay their bills when they only bring in two or three dollars a day. While they are grateful to those in the city of Welch who did everything they could to help, it just was not enough.

“We just appreciate everybody that’s gave us their business through the years and supported us, and been there for us,” said Walker.

While Fonda and Frances are closed for now, the two women said they do not plan on going out without fighting a little more. They said they are thinking about reopening in the spring, where they will focus on graphics instead of printing.

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