BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Each year the West Virginia Hive selects one individual to be their Entrepreneur of the Year award and today, December 19, 2022, that winner has been announced.

The West Virginia Hive has selected Dr. Marcus Thomas, owner of Fat Bottom Coolers, as its 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year. Fat Bottom Coolers was born three years ago when Thomas became annoyed with strapping and unstrapping traditional coolers while enjoying rafting, riding, and hiking outdoors in the New River Gorge region.

“We didn’t set out to make a cooler that holds ice for long periods, we wanted to create a product that was easy to use, easy to strap down, allow access to the cooler without any additional add-ons — and looks great doing so. I believe we have succeeded in this. And yes, the Fat Bottom Cooler will hold ice as long as our competitors.”

– Dr. Marcus Thomas, owner of Fat Bottom Coolers

Dr. Thomas, a chiropractor, participated in the Southern WV Pitch Competition in September to showcase his Fat Bottom Cooler. Although he did not win that competition, the Fat Bottom Cooler gained a lot of notoriety from the event and even more so after the cooler was showcased at the WV Hive Tent during Bridge Day 2022.

“Marcus is a thinker, an inventor and a bit of a perfectionist. He had an idea for a product that would revolutionize an industry and enhance customers’ active lifestyles. All of us at the Hive have enjoyed working with him and seeing his innovative curvy design come to life.”

– Judy Moore, Executive Director of the WV Hive and Deputy Director of the NRGRDA

The WV Hive has provided technical assistance funding to help support design of a logo that showcases the product.