Strength. … Sustainable. … Repurpose. … Delicious.

These are just a few of the words the Wheeling Heritage Show of Hands contenders use when talking about their business ventures.

Delicious: Billy and Stephanie Litman of Hangover BBQ want to purchase a walk-in fridge and maybe add some outdoor picnic tables.

Sustainable: Sarah and Vincent O’Leary from Honeycomb Salon would like to purchase eco-friendly appliances.

Repurpose: Lisa Nielsen wants to get Your Place or Mine Resale and Consignment Store up and running.

Strength: Zeke O’Connell of The Real Gym plans to add more equipment and better signage.

They will share more details at the Show of Hands live event set for Wednesday, May 22, on the third floor of the Wheeling Artisan Center, 14th and Main streets.

The four presenters were selected from 10 applicants, according to Alex Weld, project and outreach manager of Wheeling Heritage, the agency that created the crowd-sourcing event.

“It’s an interesting mix,” Weld said of the four contenders. “A salon. A gym. A restaurant —but not just a standard restaurant; it’s a roadside restaurant. And furniture resale. I think it’s a really cool mix.”

Weld also finds it interesting that the businesses are in different stages of operation.

“[Lisa Nielsen’s] resale store, she’s just signed a lease and hasn’t opened yet. The Real Gym has been open for a couple years; Hangover BBQ, they’ve been open for nine months; and Honeycomb, she’s worked there for a couple years but she just took ownership within the last year.”

Wednesday’s event is the 17th such opportunity for area business owners to take home funding for a project that will further their dream. The winning check will total at least $3,500. Thus far, Wheeling Heritage has bestowed $58,000 to Show of Hands winners.

Will Wallace, owner of Clientele Art Studio, was the big winner at the January Show of Hands.

Prize money comes from sponsors and from money collected at the door. Orrick is the event corporate sponsor, and Friends of Show of Hands include: Dave and Beth Weaver, Wheeling Volkswagen and Subaru; Dr. and Mrs. Dan and Debbie Joseph — Joseph Orthodontics; Brian Joseph — Touchstone Research Laboratory; Fuzz and Barb LaRue; H. Lawrence Jones; Kennen & Kennen Realtors; Warwood Armature; Rabbi Joshua and Rebecca Lief; and a private donor.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with music provided by Zoe Buccella. The four-minute presentations begin at 6:30 p.m. The audience may ask up to four questions of each presenter. Then, the voting begins. Attendees can pay $5 at the door and will be entitled to one vote. During tallying time, audience members who have paid an additional $5 at the door, can make a one-minute community announcement.

Show of Hands committee members include Jake Dougherty, Melinda Koslick, Steve Johnston, Michael Biela, Ron Scott, Devon Hepburn and Valerie Piko.

Prior to the event, join friends at a happy hour from 5-6 p.m. at River City, on the first floor of the Artisan Center.

HANGOVER BBQ: Billy and Stephanie Litman

www.hangoverbbq.com

Explain the concept for your business? What do you do? Who do you serve?

Our concept is to make delicious homemade quality food along with some awesome house smoked BBQ and sell until Sold Out. We own and operate Hangover BBQ, a roadside BBQ carryout. [We serve] everyone!

Ribs are a speciality at Hangover BBQ.

What main selling points will you be presenting to the audience at the Show of Hands? In other words, why should they vote for you?

Our main selling points are to expand our business, increase our volume and serve more customers. With more refrigeration and another hot holding unit, we are hoping this allows us to explore more avenues such as catering. We also are hoping to expand by adding some outdoor seating! At the request of our customers, we have been asked many times, when will you be expanding … or you need to make more food!

Why Wheeling? Why here for your business? How will your business enhance the city of Wheeling?

Seeing Wheeling grow over the last few years has really inspired us to take a risk, chase our dream and share our culinary vision with the rest of the community. Why move somewhere new when we know so many good people here and have the support of family and friends! We feel like our business has already enhanced the city by putting BBQ on the map of Wheeling. To our knowledge, we are the first roadside BBQ carryout.

Also, if you haven’t heard — we sell some delicious craft, made-from-scratch ice cream sandwiches from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, called Leona’s Ice Cream! We are the first business located outside of Pennsylvania and the first in the state of West Virginia to sell their product, plus they are lactose-free, which is unique in itself!  No one has anything like them in Wheeling.

Are you from Wheeling? Can you tell me a bit about your educational/professional background?

Born and raised in Wheeling, this has always been home to Billy. And now after being here 10 years, it’s mine [Stephanie’s] as well. My parents were also born here.

I grew up in southwest Virginia most of my life and attended college at Radford University majoring in English and minoring in Spanish. My professional background is fairly extensive, having a variety of jobs enhancing my interest and skills along the way. My most recent was as an advertising executive.  After 10 years, I quit, and am now at Hangover full time with my husband!

Billy is a self-taught chef and now pitmaster with many years of cooking under his belt working at multiple local restaurants.  His passion and dedication to cooking have led him to where he is today, owner of Hangover BBQ.

Billy and Stephanie Litman

Where is your business?

We are located in the Greggsville area of Wheeling at 39 GC&P Road.

If you win, how do you plan to use the winning funds?

Walk-in refrigerator, hot holding unit and plans for outdoor seating!

Has this been a longtime dream? Why?

It has been a longtime dream for both of us to own our own a business, work together as a team and to share something with the community that we have a passion for. We both enjoy cooking and knew a restaurant of some sort was what we wanted to do. After many travels, research and planning, we came up with the idea for Hangover BBQ and found the perfect roadside location.

A delicious platter ready to go.

Feel free to share any personal information you’d like — family, hobbies, etc.

Both of our families currently live in or around the Wheeling area while continuing to help and support us with the business every day.

We love going to Pittsburgh and trying new restaurants as well as walking along the strip and picking up ingredients here and there for new specials at the carryout. When we are able to, we love to travel and explore/visit new places. Gardening, live music and fine spirits are some favorites of ours as well.

HONEYCOMB: Sarah and Vincent O’Leary

honeycombsalonwv.com

Explain the concept for your business? What do you do? Who do you serve?

Honeycomb Salon offers a full range of salon services and products to make you feel beautiful and comfortable here in the Ohio Valley. The salon was founded by Sarah and Vincent O’Leary as a place to spread self-care throughout our childhood home of Wheeling. We invite you into our warm and friendly space with our highly trained, passionate beauty professionals that listen and provide exceptional results because we love what we do!

We bought the 20-year-old salon, “Hats Off Hair Care,” in January just this year and have reimagined it with our own branding, a modern renovation, and new local partnerships with other businesses, like Beeholding Acres, who supplies delicious local honey alongside our Aveda products, famous for their plant-based beauty care that is kinder to the planet. We also built on the strengths of Hats Off and the great stylists who have been here for decades and continue to work at Honeycomb Salon.

 

Sarah O’Leary, center front, is surrounded by her salon team, from left: Rita Wilcox, Denise Mull, Carol McLaughlin, Shirlee Kelly Holloway, Eileen McKee and Kay Knowlton.

What main selling points will you be presenting to the audience at the Show of Hands? In other words, why should they vote for you?

Honeycomb Salon is going to be a sustainable salon that offers a unique experience for our guests and stylists. This is a way for us, an environmental scientist and a hairstylist, to make a positive impact in our community by combining our passions. In becoming an environmentally friendly salon, we can be a model in the community to improve the planet as we grow the business.

Through the Green Circle Salon program, we will be able to recover and repurpose nearly all (up to 95 percent) of what was once waste from our services. We also want to replace the old appliances with energy- and water-efficient equipment to cut our energy and water usage by more than half. As a salon, we use a lot of water and electricity to provide the services we do while creating a comfortable atmosphere, so we want to make sure we are doing this in the best way possible for the planet and our community.

These changes will help keep our guests AND the community beautiful! With Aveda, you can already get the best of our hair and self-care products using natural ingredients and produced with renewable energy. With the community’s support, we will bring this ethos to the entire salon and give you, our guests, that amazing feeling of helping your community while pampering yourself. You get the services you love while showing love to the environment!

Why Wheeling? Why here for your business? How will your business enhance the city of Wheeling?

Since growing up in Wheeling, we have wanted to come back and help grow Wheeling to its full potential! We truly believe that the community deserves an outlet for self-care while making a difference. Wheeling is a hard-working city that takes pride in our history and how far we’ve come, and still continues to strive for better and support growth. We couldn’t imagine a better community to start our small business!

Are you from Wheeling? Can you tell me a bit about your educational/professional background?

Vincent and Sarah are both from Wheeling.

Sarah’s maiden name is Sarah Fultz. My father was a coal miner locally, and my mother taught at Wheeling Central Catholic High School. I went to Central, graduating in 2012, and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2014 to start my cosmetology education after going to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for two years. In Philadelphia, I trained at Jean Madeline Aveda Institute and continued learning as an apprentice stylist for over two years. In fall of 2017, I was lucky enough to return to Wheeling and work at Hats Off while getting to know and learn from the amazing stylists that have all stayed to work at Honeycomb Salon! Businesswise, I had the awesome opportunity to be in the first Co.Starters class in the spring of 2018. They helped prepare me to face many of the obstacles that have come up and the resources to know where to turn when I don’t know.

Vincent graduated from Central in 2013 and studied environmental science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, graduating in 2018. In Philly, Vincent worked to bring scientific advances into the daily lives of his neighbors by working at the Academy of Natural Sciences and developing a high school STEM mentoring program. He also spent six months in Colorado building maps for NOAA’s tsunami forecasts and moved to Washington, D.C., last summer to work for the committee advising the president on climate change. It was so exciting to be able to return home to West Virginia with his wife and begin a new business this year, and the city has been so supportive through programs like Show of Hands and Co.Starters. While the salon is a passion for both of them, Vincent also currently works at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh overseeing another high school mentoring program in their Fab Lab.

Where is your business?

Honeycomb Salon is located at 101 Washington Ave. in Wheeling. We share a building with Wheeling Coffee Shoppe.

If you win, how do you plan to use the winning funds?

We plan to use the money for our initial fees into the Green Circle Salon program, purchasing eco-friendly appliances, and installing shampoo bowls and hose systems that will reduce water usage and have a design to allow us to wash from behind the bowl to alleviate the aches we get after doing shampoos all day.

Has this been a longtime dream? Why?

Yes, it has been a longtime dream to be able to contribute to our community and combine our industries into a successful business! We are so lucky that it was able to happen so early in our careers and we have time to truly develop and grow!

Feel free to share any personal information you’d like — family, hobbies, etc.

At the O’Leary household, you’ll find our beagle, Macey, and our orange tabby, Louie! Macey loves cuddling up to Sarah, while Louie enjoys curling up on the couch near Vincent. Our favorite pastimes include listening to podcasts, playing board games and having The Office on almost any time we’re home! We enjoy spending time with family and friends and wouldn’t be where we are today without their love and support!

THE REAL GYM: Zeke O’Connell

strongestgyminthevalley.com

Explain the concept for your business? What do you do? Who do you serve?

The Real Gym was born out of a dream of opening a gym one day — way down the road; however, upon graduating college, it became more clear to me that instead of wasting my life at something that I am not passionate about, I chose to be a catalyst for change and find a way to open a REAL gym.

What I do and who I serve at the real gym is simple — I’ve created an atmosphere that is conducive for CHANGE.  Where you don’t get looked at funny if 500 pounds makes a loud sound as it hits the floor, where you can play loud music and get lost in the moment and what you’re training, a place designed for social interactions and conversations on how to be better today. Strength is NEVER a weakness. I serve the city of Wheeling and greater Ohio Valley area to provide a place that can create paradigm shifts in the lives of younger generations — that through lifting weights, pushing oneself, struggling and camaraderie, that REAL change is possible in the Ohio Valley.

What main selling points will you be presenting to the audience at the Show of Hands? In other words, why should they vote for you?

Some selling points of my presentation will include but not limited to:

    • Creating stronger, less injury-prone youth athletes;
    • Provide youth/high school/coaches with proper teaching tools in lifts such as squat/bench/deadlift;
    • Give kids constructive hobbies such as training;
    • Bridge the gap and teach our youth the RIGHT way to train while making it FUN (the 12-year-old who hates working out is also going to be the 18-year-old athlete who hates working out)

Why Wheeling? Why here for your business? How will your business enhance the city of Wheeling?

Wheeling has been my home for the past four years. I went to high school right up the river in Wellsburg, West Virginia, at Brooke High School and graduated college in 2015 from West Liberty University. I have always seen the Wheeling area as an area that has so much room for growth; that there is also so much opportunity. It’s always been a passion of mine to help those around me become better, and that’s why I chose Wheeling to locate my business. Wheeling is the epicenter of the Ohio Valley area, which I call home and where I am raising my kids.

The Real Gym will enhance the city by creating a better future for our area through STRENGTH, giving younger generations constructive things to do, giving older generations newfound life through lifting weights, and bringing the community closer together through competitions and events.

Are you from Wheeling? Can you tell me a bit about your educational/professional background?

Brooke High School and West Liberty University gradate — moved here in 2015. My daughter was born here in 2016, and we have raised her here ever since.

Graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in entrepreneurship. Began competing and training myself for NPC Men’s Physique Competitions in 2012 and through 2014 was nationally qualified three different occasions. Also:

    • First OPBA Pro (powerbuilding organization out of Columbus, Ohio)
    • Lifelong drug-free athlete
    • Certified nutrition coach (Pn1)
    • Coached Elite Powerlifters

Where is your business?

Business is currently located in the Fulton Area of Wheeling (close to Generations) at 225 McColloch St. Currently looking to expand in Wheeling in the next four to six months.

If you win, how do you plan to use the winning funds?

Upon winning, the funds will immediately go to expanding the breadth of equipment at the gym to be able to train groups of athletes at the same time making this more affordable for our local parents. Also including a better sign to make finding the gym easier (always has been an issue).

Has this been a longtime dream? Why?

This has been a longtime dream because gyms with this kind of atmosphere are few and far between, and in order to fulfill my own and help many others fulfill their fitness goals, it was a passion of mine to do it right in Wheeling.

Feel free to share any personal information you’d like — family, hobbies, etc.

Engaged to my beautiful fiancé Alex Thomas — currently living in Elm Grove along with my stepson Carter, our daughter Mia Elizabeth and our golden retriever Ace.

YOUR PLACE OR MINE: Lisa Nielsen

Explain the concept for your business? What do you do? Who do you serve?

The concept of Your Place or Mine Retail and Consignment is to provide an avenue for people who may be redecorating, moving, “right-sizing” their life, or simply living a life of reusing, recycling and repurposing. We all have been there. What do you do with home furnishings and decor that are nice, were expensive to buy and still have life left?  My consignment store will provide an opportunity to consign or buy outright higher end furniture, lamps, art and decorative items. It was also provide a location to purchase furnishings and giftware.

These two rooms were designed by Nielsen for clients.

What main selling points will you be presenting to the audience at the Show of Hands? In other words, why should they vote for you?

Simply, there is a need for this type of store. The concept is practical. Anyone, whatever budget, will be able to buy or sell their home furnishings and decor.

Why Wheeling? Why here for your business? How will your business enhance the city of Wheeling?

Wheeling is my home. I have been gone for 10 years living in Erie, Pennsylvania, and ecstatic to be back. I am elated at the new vibe Wheeling has and the community’s commitment to local businesses.

Are you from Wheeling? Can you tell me a bit about your educational/professional background?

I am born and raised in West Virginia, spending most of my years in Wheeling. My actual degree is in culinary and hotel restaurant management. I have been in sales and service the majority of my professional career. I am currently a licensed real estate agent who can provide home staging, decorating and home organizing, which only enhances a store such as mine.

Where will your business be located?

The business will be located at 105 Edgington Lane in Wheeling.

Your Place or Mine Retail and Consignment will be located at 105 Edgington Lane.

If you win, how do you plan to use the winning funds?

The winning funds will be used for opening expenses. Software program, signage, online sales and marketing setup.

Has this been a longtime dream? Why?

I have had a longtime dream of opening a needed business. Something that can provide a service in my community.  I feel strongly this is that needed business.

Feel free to share any personal information you’d like — family, hobbies, etc.

A little personal bio — I am married, two of my children live locally and am a proud grandmother. I am also very active with Yorkshire Terrier Rescue.

• After nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal has joined Weelunk as managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.



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