This year has offered nothing but growth and positive change throughout Wheeling. From the new construction of downtown housing complexes, the launch of new transportation thanks to Bird scooters, and several new businesses popping up around town, there is plenty to be excited about!
Another addition to the Wheeling scene has been the hiring of Brooke (Stull) Price as the new Centre Market Manager. Brooke is a Wheeling local with big plans to build on the previous success of Centre Market, a hub for arts, entertainment and food in Wheeling. We checked in with Brooke to learn more about her goals since assuming this new role, and her hopes for the market’s future.
“To me, Centre Market is special because it is generational. As a child, I came here with my parents and grandparents,” said Price. “Now, I see other families here with their young ones. It makes me smile to think about those kids having the same fond memories of the Market that I did as a child. Centre Market is truly a beautiful piece of history in Wheeling, and the stories that people share with me about it tell how special it is.”
Price holds a bachelor’s degree in international business, marketing, and economics from Marshall University and is a graduate of The Linsly School. She is currently in the master’s program at West Liberty University studying grant writing and fundraising, among other things.
“Although my program is a master of education, I chose the program because it focuses on topics such as community programming and non-profit management,” Price stated. “I have already learned so much about grants, proposals, and determining proper programming for a community’s needs that I think will be so beneficial down the road for me at Centre Market.”
Price’s background before joining Centre Market includes being the operations coordinator for the Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED) and client services manager for the Wheeling Nailers. Most recently, she was an enrollment services advisor at Belmont College, which entailed attracting new and potential students, representing the college throughout the community, and constructing enrollment events.
Her previous work experience is a big reason why she was chosen for her position in addition to her love for the community and charismatic charm.
“My past work as an enrollment coordinator contributed to my ability to interact with a wide demographic of people, as well as learning recruitment techniques, which is helpful when networking to find businesses to fill open spaces,” said Price. “As an operations coordinator, I served as a point of contact for multiple commercial buildings regarding utility, maintenance, and lease issues. I do all the same things here at the Centre Market, just with a smaller group and just in the market houses.”
Price’s plans for Centre Market focus on bringing the community together for family fun in addition to more events going into the evening hours.
“I would love to see Centre Market expand the ‘night life’ — and I use that term lightly — to include longer evening and dinner hours to accommodate the afterschool and after-work crowds,” she explained. “While some of the businesses in the area offer evening hours, many do not. In the meantime, I plan to add some programming, particularly during our Saturdays at the Market, that draws interest of the 16 to 35 crowd.”
That is just one of Price’s ideas. She has countless plans in store, the first of them being getting the 150+-year-old market house spiffed up.
When outlining her plan, Price stated, “I have focused a lot on cleanliness and improving appearance. We have had the air ducts cleaned, a full cleaning of the lower market house from top to bottom and are scheduling a full cleaning of the upper market house.”
In addition to this, she also spoke on business recruitment and the already existing shops and restaurants in Centre Market, such as Puddleducks, The Paradox Book Store, Wheeling Flower Shop, and many more.
“I’ve also been working to recruit businesses that I think add diverse goods and services to the area,” Price stated. She is excited about the Market’s expansion, claiming that “The potential that Wheeling has and the opportunity in the area drives my passion for the city. Anyone can look at an area and say, ‘this could be better, that could be better,’ but I was fortunate enough to work at a place where I was able to see the betterment happening behind the scenes.”
Price even attributed her enthusiasm to others in the community. She added that “Seeing the passion that others had for the area and how involved they are made me more passionate to help Wheeling grow and become more vibrant.”
But Price isn’t just passionate about making Wheeling shine brighter, she is also interested in taking part in what it has to offer.
“My favorite thing to do in Centre Market is obviously to eat, or to shop around on my lunch break. The food down here is unmatched and on the days that I don’t go home for lunch, I try to follow a rotation of where to get food in Centre Market next,” said Price. Some of these restaurants include, but are not limited to, The Market Vines, Later Alligator, For the Love of Pierogies, Brew Keepers, Micheal’s Beef House, and the famous Coleman’s Fish Market.
Additionally, Price hopes those who have never ventured through Centre Market will do so with changes she plans to make in the coming months.
“A goal of mine is to make Centre Market a destination not only for those that are traveling through or to Wheeling, but also for those residents of Wheeling and the Ohio Valley that may overlook the area,” she explained, “I would love to grow our reach and be able to host events for those of all ages — children and families as well.”
When asked about her plans, Price commented that “First Fridays and the Summer Concert Series are a huge hit, but shutting down the street with live music and alcohol is not the draw for everyone. This fall, we will be starting Saturdays at the Market where each Saturday something special will be going on at Centre Market and hopefully carry it on through the holidays and beyond.”
With all her success, she has a lot of people to be thankful for that have rooted for her along the way.
“There are so many incredibly passionate and inspiring people in Wheeling, but to name a few that have inspired me; I would have to say Craig O’Leary from RED, Jessica Rine of the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley and Betsy Sweeny from Wheeling Heritage,” said Price. “Some of the people who have cheered me on along the way are my husband Zarley, Valerie Piko and Don Rigby from RED, Sharon Welsch from the Moundsville Rotary Club and of course my mom, Teresa.”
• With a background in journalism and being a true Wheeling native, Jessica Broverman was destined to work with Weelunk. She holds a degree in journalism with a minor in criminal justice and works with Williams Lea Tag as a legal proofreader. When she isn’t typing away for Weelunk or WLT, she is enjoying a coffee at one of her many favorite spots in Wheeling, spending time with friends, or having fun with her husband Zachary and their two cats, Proctor and Max.