For the first time since ReInvent Wheeling launched the “Show of Hands” crowd-funding event, it’s all about business.
While several small Wheeling businesses have presented and won the event in the past, there have always been one or two non-profit organizations in the mix, but not this time, according to ReInvent Wheeling director Jake Dougherty.
“For the first time since we started ‘Show of Hands,’ we have four for-profit businesses that will be our presenters for the seventh event,” he explained. “We’re really excited about that fact because it shows that there is something very positive happening in both downtown and Centre Wheeling as far as restaurants and retail shops are considered.
“I think it’s a sign that people have been paying attention to the ‘Show of Hands’ because they have figured out what works with the people who make that decision to attend,” he continued. “It was easy for the members of the jury to select four great businesses who are already invested in the city of Wheeling.”
“Show of Hands,” which received a record-high 12 applications for next week’s event, is a showcase during which a local business or organization can gain funding for a particular goal that is explained in detail during each presentation at the Capitol Ballroom. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and the event will get under way at 6 p.m.
“We’re always nervous when we make that call out to our community for those who may be interested in participating,” Dougherty said. “We know there are a lot of great people in our community who have a lot of great ideas, but we really never know how many of them wish to participate.
“What’s really cool about these four businesses is that they all want to expand what they are already doing in the locations where they are right now,” he continued. “They just need a little help from their community, and the fact that they have chosen ‘Show of Hands’ is a sign of what’s been happening here the past few years.”
Each of the four presentations is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., and the four participants are allotted four minutes to make their pitches. Following the individual presentations, each participant will field four questions from audience members, and at the end the audience members are asked to vote for their favorite project. The one that collects the most votes wins the prize money.
International law firm Orrick, Sutcliffe & Herrington is donating $1,000 for each “Show of Hands” event, and the winner collects that amount plus what is generated by donations offered by those who attend.
Dougherty explained each presenter’s purpose for participating:
Tito’s Sloppy Dogs – 1068 Market St., downtown Wheeling – “What they are looking to purchase is a new cooler for the business, and they really want it to be a brand new cooler,” he said. “The owner recently combined two locations into one, and now they are looking for ways to improve what they do even more.”
Cat’s Paw Studio and Supplies – 2137 Market St., Centre Market – “This is a business that once was located in the Warwood section of the city, but they moved to Centre Market about a year or so ago, and now they are looking to get into the middle of Centre Market in a new location,” Dougherty explained. “What they wish to purchase is a wall-mounted glass cutter for the framing side of their operations, and if they are able to get that, they will be able to expedite that process much quicker than what they are capable of doing now.”
The Vintage Cottage – 2263 Market St. – Centre Market – “This is a great little store that offers all kinds of home décor, and they hold workshop all of the time so others can learn how to save the antique furniture that they may always own,” he said. “What they hope to purchase in order to expand is additional lighting that would really help with those workshops.”
Under The Elder Tree – 1904 Market St. – Centre Wheeling – “This shop is located along the bridge between downtown Wheeling and Centre Wheeling,” Dougherty explained. “The owner is looking to expand into more of the same building where they operate now, and that would lead to a new position with the business. The owner told me that right now she is scheduling her massage therapy eight weeks out because of how popular the services have proven to be.”
“The Weathered Road” will provide the live entertainment, and the staff of Vagabond Kitchen will return once again to provide the catering. Casa de Vino and the Wheeling Brewing Company will partner in providing an assortment of beverages for the public.
“Plus, we will have our most previous winner, George Kellas Jr., with us so he can explain to those in attendance how he used the winnings from the last ‘Show of Hands,’ and he will also have a station that will be able to play the videos that he’s been working on since,” the ReInvent Wheeling director added. “We’re pretty excited for the people of this community to see the documentaries that he’s directed and produced right here in Wheeling and about Wheeling.”
Those wishing to attend will be asked for a $5 donation that adds to the amount won by the presenter receiving the most votes. People who want to donate $10 will be offered a couple of minutes on the microphone to promote a business, event, or a project of their own.
(Photos by Steve Novotney)