Public Market Hires Manager, Prepares for Grand Opening

The Public Market, a project of the nonprofit Grow Ohio Valley, will host a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Oct. 19, which will piggyback on the Grow OV’s popular Harvest Festival.

There will be a full lineup of live music and unique local food offerings, in addition to the mainstays of Harvest Festival — pumpkin decorating, face painting, scavenger hunts and more.

The Grand Opening Harvest Festival, from noon to 7 p.m., will span 14th Street at the corner of Main Street across from the Public Market.


Oct. 19 coincides with the first home game for the Wheeling Nailers at the WesBanco Arena. The Nailers will host additional festivities in conjunction with the Public Market. In addition, the Wheeling Symphony Auxiliary is sponsoring a 5K race on Oct. 19 at Heritage Port, featuring volunteers dressed as zombies and encouraging runners to wear costumes. There will be a mini-monster dash at 8:30 a.m., and the race begins at 9 a.m.


Grow OV has hired Dean Sparks to lead the Public Market initiative as the store manager. Sparks, who relocated to Wheeling from rural Vermont, has made a career launching food co-ops and local and natural food retail stores. The Public Market will be his fourth store start-up.


The Public Market, opening in the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Center on Main Street, has a dual mission of growing opportunities for local farmers while creating a space for community health, for all.

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The market will offer local food from over 40 area vendors, along with natural and health food items. Additionally, the Public Market will feature a deli offering seasonal and healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and grab and go items.

“We’re thrilled to open our doors to the downtown community to share the local harvest bounty. We’re expecting the Public Market to grow into a community meeting place where the public can learn, share and experience the health and economic benefits of supporting our local farm shed,” said Sparks.


Prior to launch, Grow OV is offering Early Bird Memberships for $5 off, costing $30 until the market opens on Oct. 19.

Members’ support will provide crucial contributions to bring the market to life by funding final construction costs, including electrical upgrades and basic plumbing to support the refrigerator display equipment and kitchen.

Grow OV has already raised almost 90 percent of project costs, and the membership campaign will help to fund the remainder.

“Community support for the Public Market helps us to keep our costs low, so we can give back as much as possible to the local farmers we support,” said Grow OV co-founder Danny Swan.

“Your contributions will help us to create a space for community health that is accessible to all people in the Ohio Valley.”

Public Market members will receive in-store benefits. There are also Founding and Lifetime memberships with additional benefits. For more information about Public Market memberships, or other questions, contact or call 304-233-4769.