Four Small Businesses to Compete in Wheeling Heritage’s ‘Show of Hands’

Four small business owners will each make a pitch at Wheeling Heritage’s Show of Hands event on March 30. The event, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Artisan Center, 1400 Main Street, invites attendees to pay $5 to vote for the project they feel is the most worthwhile. The winning presenter will leave with about $4,000, including all the funds raised at the door, for his or her business expansion.

At the event, owners of the following businesses will be making presentations:

Art’s Old Town Bicycle Repair: This North Wheeling bicycle repair shop is conveniently located off of the Wheeling Heritage Bike Trail. Art’s Old Town Bicycle Repair will provide walk-in repair services, as well as limited “mobile” trailside repairs and repair pick-up and delivery services.  Owner Art Burnside has been slowly preparing his shop for a grand opening in April of this year. Show of Hands would provide funds to help Art purchase additional repair equipment and inventory for his shop, including a compressed air station.

Backyard Escapes: DeSean James founded his landscaping company in 2021 as “a small company with a big heart.” Backyard Escapes offers traditional landscaping, hardscaping, maintenance, tree removal, and snow removal services. DeSean plans to incorporate a “180 Program” into his business, which would provide opportunities to previously incarcerated youths or adults to explore the field of landscaping, along with the other trades his business provides. Show of Hands would help DeSean purchase additional equipment to continue to grow his business.

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The Cheese Melt Bar and Grill: The Cheese Melt is a local food truck that is transitioning into a permanent brick-and-mortar restaurant in Warwood. In addition to the familiar menu of grilled cheese sandwiches and smash burgers, the new restaurant will have expanded hours and offerings, including a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Owner Thomas Gilson would use funding from Show of Hands to help purchase equipment to complete a new kitchen build out for the restaurant.

Lucky Candies 2: Anton Drake recently opened a new, family-owned candy store in downtown Wheeling. Lucky Candies 2 offers a variety of novelty candies, including international, nostalgic and Tik Tok-trending treats. However, they are best known for their $5 fill-up box section, which has over 95 different candies to choose from. Anton wants to expand his business by purchasing a freeze dry candy machine, which would allow him to turn his candy into light, crunchy treats with a longer shelf life. Show of Hands would also provide additional money to purchase cotton candy and snow cone machines do they can offer even more sweet treats to customers during community events at Market Plaza where his business is located.

This program is generously funded by several community sponsors. Orrick, the program’s corporate sponsor, donates $1,000 to each event. The Friends of Show of Hands, which consists of community members and business owners, contribute $250 to each event. Friends of Show of Hands include Dave and Beth Weaver of Wheeling Volkswagen & Subaru, Dr. and Mrs. Dan Joseph of Joseph Orthodontics, Brian Joseph of Touchstone Research Laboratory, Fuzz and Barb LaRue, H Lawrence Jones, Ed.D., Kennen & Kennen Realtors, Warwood Armature, and Rabbi Joshua Lief and Rebecca Lief.

So far, Show of Hands has given more than $89,000 to support small businesses and projects in Wheeling.

About Wheeling Heritage
Wheeling Heritage is a catalyst for the revitalization of Wheeling. Through historic preservation, community development, and the arts, we help to tell Wheeling’s story and shape its future. We seek to improve the quality of life in Wheeling by preserving and investing in our city, collaborating with others, and engaging the citizens of Wheeling in our work.