By Steve Novotney
It’s something that’s become more personal to me the longer I live.
Call it an epiphany, of sorts, but at some point I realized that by spending the money I spend locally, those dollars flow in the direction of a common goal many have in the Upper Ohio Valley.
The first inquiry many pose is what could a consumer purchase from a locally owned business instead of from an anonymous, out-of-town, big-box retailer?
Plenty, and tomorrow is the perfect day to figure it out.
It’s called “Small Business Saturday,” and it’s the best way to keep the dollars we spend close to home. Joelle Connors from the Regional Economic Development Partnership offered Weelunk readers an impressive collection of creative ideas yesterday, and I thought I would add a few “package” ideas for you to consider.
They vary in price range, but they involve keeping your hard-earned cash close to home.
A Day for Two at Centre Market:
- The growth in this Wheeling district permits several different possibilities that depend on the interests of the person for whom you are buying, but this area’s staple businesses are easy to include. Gift certificates can be purchased at Coleman’s Fish Market, the Soup Shack, or Michael’s Beef House for lunch, and either Later Alligator or Market Vines for dinner. In between the meals, your friends can spend time shopping for antiques, locally produced works of art, astronomy equipment, wines, cheeses, and books.
A Visit to the Wheeling Artisan Center:
- The second floor of the Artisan Center features a hidden gem of downtown Wheeling, and that is the Gift Emporium. Local books on Wheeling history, a plethora of West Virginia-produced crafts, foods, and condiments, and works of art, pottery, and clothing can be had at very affordable prices. Plus, you can purchase a gift certificate from River City Restaurant so you friends or family members can dine before or after this shopping experience.
Saturday Morning Family Fun:
- Most of the alleys at the Rose Bowl Lanes are open for rental at this time, the facility has shoes of all sizes, and the owners will be happy to sell you a gift certificate for the number of games you believe your friends or family members would to roll. Also in this area of Edgington Lane and Carmel Road are a few places to eat lunch, including Ye Olde Alpha, Cilantro, and Miklas Meat Market. All three offer gift certificates.
The “Wheeling Feeling” Package:
- Many events are scheduled for venues in downtown Wheeling during the next several months, including professional hockey, the Broadway show series, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Travis Tritt, Rock n’ Roll Doo Wop, and “Hoodstock” – The Reunion of the Original Wild Cherry Band. To go along with the tickets, you can also book a hotel room at the McLure Hotel and purchase a gift certificate for the Vagabond Kitchen inside Wheeling’s most historic hotel or from any other restaurant located within the downtown district.
A Show and Dinner in downtown Wheeling:
- If an overnight stay is not possible the purchase of show tickets for a Capitol Theatre event and a gift certificate from the Bridge Tavern and Restaurant (located just across Main Street from the venue) is also another decent package idea.
The Oglebay Weekend:
- Wilson Lodge has been a popular destination for millions of visitors throughout its history, but local folks also enjoy getting away to Oglebay Park. The lodge features many different accommodations and also the Ihlenfeld Dining Room and the Glassworks Lounge, and each eatery sells gift certificates as does the West Spa.
Long-Distance Delivery of the “Tastes of Wheeling”:
- Do you know any native of Wheeling who constantly crave their favorites foods unique to the Friendly City? Well, Spry’s Mail Center Plus along National Road in the Woodsdale section of Wheeling offers overnight, long-distance delivery. Spry’s will dry-ice package trays of DiCarlo’s Pizza, Figaretti’s Pasta Sauce, Jebbia’s Market fruit baskets, or menu items from the Cilantro Grill.
There are many, many other possibilities and it will take you just a few minutes to figure out what can work best for you and the folks on your gift list. If nothing else, visit the stores at The Highlands along Interstate 70 in Ohio County or the Ohio Valley Mall and the Ohio Valley Plaza in Belmont County instead of using the clickity-click shopping on the World Wide Web so those tax dollars and those employees benefit from our shopping locally rather than sending our dollars out of the Upper Ohio Valley.