Kieran Wilson, the co-owner of Queen's Point Coffee in Keyser, WV. Photo by Allen Siegler

KEYSER — Before the polls opened Tuesday, before even the sun had risen over Keyser, Kieran Wilson had started her work day. She and her husband are small business owners; they own and manage Queen’s Point Coffee, a five-year-old cafe that was ready to serve customers a few minutes before they officially opened at 7 a.m. Attached to the same building is North Branch Brewing Company, their bar that runs last call at 9 p.m.

“The pub is very, very new,” Wilson said, referring to North Branch’s January 2020 opening date. “We had to endure during the pandemic, which was a lot harder than when you have an established business already.”

Enduring the pandemic as a small business owner was challenging for Wilson. She and her husband wanted to follow all the local, state and federal COVID-19 rules — but she found it difficult to know what was the right way to operate.

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“Making sure we were doing right by people, also trying to make sure our employees were taken care of,” Wilson said. “It was very hard.”

Although Wilson doesn’t consider herself a political person, she hopes whichever candidates gain or keep political power catalyze small businesses like Queen’s Point and North Branch. But, with the current state of polarized politics locally and nationally, she doesn’t know whether either party has a straightforward platform for her priorities. 

“I feel like people are stuck in this, like, ‘Republican’ or ‘Democrat,’” she said. “I don’t vote Republican or Democrat or liberal or whatever. I vote for the person.”

Regardless of the election results, Wilson expects Tuesday to be a good day.

“People get time off of work to vote, and then they stop by for a cup of coffee,” she said. “Elections are always busy for us.”

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Allen Siegler is the public health reporter for Mountain State Spotlight. He can be reached at (681) 317-7571.