By CASEY JUNKINS
Cadiz, Ohio - Teresa Posada said when she and her family arrived from the Chicago area earlier this year, Main Street in Cadiz looked "a little sleepy."
Now it is hard to find a parking space along the route, as the village is bustling with activity because of the Utica Shale natural gas rush sweeping across eastern Ohio.
"When we came here in January, it looked like the town had been left a little bit behind," Posada said.
As MarkWest Energy continues work on its $500 million natural gas processing plant just outside the village, the company also now maintains an office along Main Street. Across the street, the Harrison County Courthouse is busy because abstractors are searching through property records in an effort to lease land for drilling.
Posada said her husband, Josh Posada, is a welder who works in the natural gas fields on projects such as compressor stations and processing plants. After traveling to work in places like Texas and Pennsylvania, Teresa and Josh found themselves headed to Cadiz.
"In this field, you have to follow your work," she said of her husband's craft. "It is just the way the job works."
After settling in Cadiz, Posada said she got the idea that the town did not have anywhere for natural gas workers and pipeliners to purchase equipment they may need in the field. So instead of waiting for someone else to open a supply avenue, she decided do it herself.
Now, in a building that had been vacant for several years, Posada is running the "Utica Safety Apparel Work Gear and Supplies" store.
"We opened Oct.1. Business has been pretty good so far," she said.
From steel-toed boots to fire-proof coveralls - and from safety helmets to wrenches and rain gear - Posada's store has just about everything the typical industry employee may need.
"We sell to some individual pipeliners and welders, but we are also working with some companies," she said.
In addition to the gas industry apparel, Posada said she is also carrying other work ware, as well as hunting and fishing gear. She is also looking at adding several new items.
"This is really a neat thing - we are trying to meet the needs of the community," she added.
"The whole world is a chain. We have to fit as links in that chain," added Posada's father, Rudy Delgado.
Down the street, Vickie Beetham is seeing a significant increase in traffic at her restaurant, Vickie's Place.
"It has definitely been a benefit to my business," she said, noting that many of the pipeliners and other gas workers stop in to eat breakfast in the mornings on their way to their job sites.
"The one problem is that there is not enough parking. A lot of my regular customers complain that there is nowhere to park," Beetham said.
Beetham also said her son is an attorney who recently returned to Cadiz after living in other areas. She said landowners wanting him to review their lease agreements have kept him busy. A lifetime resident of Cadiz, Beetham recalls the heyday of the coal mining industry in Harrison and Belmont counties. She said this industry is similar in that there are some concerns in the community.
"Some people are concerned about the water supplies from the fracking. But overall, people seem to see it as a plus," she said.
Another issue Beetham acknowledged is that Cadiz does not have a lot of short-term housing options, so those who own rental units are doing quite well because of the high demand.
"We are not like St. Clairsville or Steubenville or Wheeling. We don't really have any place for these people to go, so the rental business is high because they need places to live," she said.
As a 25-year village resident, Dale Plant has seen people come and go in Cadiz. He said the business has really picked up since the drilling industry hit the town.
"Rentals are way up. The restaurants are full. Sometimes, you'll see 20 pickup trucks lined up along the street when the guys are stopping in town to eat," he said.
Beetham acknowledges the rush for Cadiz may still be in its infancy stages.
"From what I have heard, it could get even busier. I guess we'll just have to see."