GILMER COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) - Evan Merical, a senior student at Glenville State Colleg, is a busy 21-year-old. Evan takes 26 credit hours, plays in the band, is the secretary of the campus's professional business organization, and to top it all off, he decided to start his own business.
"Whether you're a teenager or a young adult, you kind of have this dream of being your own boss," said Evan.
Evan is the owner of J and E Liquidation and Wholesale, an online retail shop that opened in November. He mainly sells women's clothing and studies market trends to determine what inventory to purchase.
"If it's something that will sell, I will make that purchase and market my product," said Evan.
"In today's market, you need innovative thinking and Evan is an example of innovative thinking," said Timothy Henline, an assistant business professor at GSC.
The business has grown to ten times the size of Evan's original investment.
"I started with $50 from a college refund check and a dream, I never expected it to turn into what it has," Evan said.
His success as a businessman got him recognized by the Secretary of State's office and on January 30, Evan was invited to speak at the grand opening of West Virginia's One Stop Business Center in Charleston.
"Four years ago, public speaking for me, would not have happened," he said.
He continued, "But throughout my time here at Glenville State, I've found that it's something I like to do."
The business "One Stop" in Charleston is made up of a seven-person call center and allows citizens to take care of all their business needs including business registration, licensing, tax issues, and unemployment compensation.
For now, the student says he plans to stay in the state and hopes to grow this business and build additional companies in the future.
“West Virginia had the fastest growing economy of any state in the nation in 2017, so now is a good time for possible business owners. Additionally, the Young Entrepreneurs Act offers great benefits to those who are under the age of 30 and looking to open a business in the state,” he said.
Evan has some advice for other young entrepreneurs.
"Take that first step. I spent months deliberating if I even wanted to open my own business and it's [ended up being] one of the things that have motivated me the most."