Pandemic spurs local couple to open new wireless internet service provider

Pandemic spurs local couple to open new wireless internet service provider

BUCKHANNON – A local wireless internet company has joined a slew of other small businesses on Main Street.

Lynx, a north-central West Virginia-based wireless internet provider, marked the official opening of the doors of its new office at 74 East Main Street with a Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Joe Hughes, the owner of Lynx, said he was familiar with the area because he received his undergraduate degree in management and a master’s in business administration from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to own a small business, especially in this state, this county and this region,” Hughes said. “I was in oil and gas, and then COVID came around. I think it was January of 2020 when Cindy [Hughes] and I got married, came back from Belize, and a couple of months later, COVID really hit and affected the oil and gas industry.”

From left, Cindy Hughes, Lynx owner Joe Hughes, UCDA Assistant Director Brandon Tenney and Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney pose for a photo by the company’s recently unveiled sign.

Hughes said he lost his job but soon found new employment at a wireless internet company.

“COVID really showed the need for internet and high-speed internet in communities, and my wife and I discussed it, and we said, ‘You know, why not?” Hughes said. “I started with the company as the operations manager and director, doubled the size of the company within six months of my employment, and we had an opportunity to go ahead and purchase that company.”

They changed the name of the company to Lynx.

“What is internet? It links everybody, so we want to link everybody to the world, to their family, to their community,” Hughes said. “There are a lot of topographical challenges here in West Virginia, but we’ve excelled with my team.”

Lynx utilizes line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight equipment with the goal of offering quality high-speed internet to rural areas.

“Currently, several counties in West Virginia are looking to expand, and this building is not only going to help us do that but also work right here on Main Street, and one of our biggest customers is just down the road over here,” Hughes said. “Not only are we a true wireless internet provider, but we are also nearly a full-service IT company; we do everything from servers, networking, email hosting and anything else you can imagine when it comes to the internet world.”

The Chamber of Commerce facilitated the official ribbon cutting and invited local residents to tour the new office Wednesday, while Upshur County Development Authority Assistant Director Brandon Tenney welcomed Lynx to Main Street. Tenney expressed how important it is to have reliable internet.

“We want to extend our sincere congratulations to Joe and the entire Lynx staff on this exciting accomplishment,” Tenney said. “This is certainly a wonderful day for our community, and we want to welcome you and your expansion to not only downtown but to serve the residents and business owners far beyond this location.”

“We’re extremely proud to celebrate with you as you continue to expand your broadband coverage throughout our community,” he added. “Thirty years ago, the most important utility to families or businesses was running water and electricity. In today’s terms, we add reliable internet connectivity to that, so we’re glad you’re here to expand and serve not only Upshur County, but the surrounding counties.”

Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney said she was happy to see Lynx grow in the Upshur County area.

“It’s such an honor to be here today and welcome Lynx to their new location,” she said. “Thank you, Joe and Cindy, for investing in Upshur County and surrounding counties. We truly appreciate your investment, and in just a few short years, we’ve watched Lynx more than double in this community, so we’re excited to see what you do in the future.”

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