Why Wheeling: Mark Goodwin

In October of 2023, Mark Goodwin and his wife Stephanie decided to say goodbye to the Mississippi River and plant their roots in Wheeling. A St. Louis native, Goodwin is one of five children in a close-knit family. “Almost all my siblings and their families still live close to one another in St. Louis. I met my wife, and we got married in 2021 when she moved to St. Louis from Grand Rapids, Michigan,” said Goodwin.

“After we got married, we lived in St. Louis for a couple of years near my family.” Goodwin and his wife are more than just new Wheeling transplants – they also take part in community engagement and how they spent time during the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies this heartwarming fact about them. “During COVID, we both worked in the non-profit sector helping shut-ins and widows with repairs and meeting basic needs,” said Goodwin. While he and Stephanie were selfless during this harsh time, it was challenging for them in many ways too.

“I worked at an indie coffee shop in the early to mid-2000s during my college years and beyond where my love of coffee continued to brew. I participated in several national latte art competitions up until 2014,” said Goodwin. “After that, I started my own cafe that unfortunately did not survive COVID.” Eventually, the Goodwins felt the need for change. That change came with packing up their bags, but where to go?

Stephanie and Mark Goodwin.

“We decided we wanted to build our life and rhythms in a new location. When we thought about where that might be, we looked for places where we could still road trip to see family,” said Goodwin. “My wife’s family is in Florida, so we looked closer to the East Coast. We wanted a place that had a great community, arts, temperate weather, access to the outdoors and a good cost of living.”

Hmm, I wonder where they chose…

“We both had been through Wheeling separately and had great impressions of the place. My wife thought it was magical. So, we started looking online around this time last year, got connected with a realtor in the summer, came to Wheeling in August to look at houses, and moved in October!” Out of all the wonderful neighborhoods Wheeling has to offer, the couple settled on Downtown Wheeling.

“We live in the Virginia Apartments on Main Street. Last year they were awarded their national historic building status,” said Goodwin. The Virginia Apartments, designed by Wheeling Architect Edward Bates Franzheim, were built in 1902. Due to its unique location at the intersection of I-70, the building was not included within the boundaries of the adjacent Downtown Wheeling and Victorian North Wheeling historic districts. The building was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which now provides its collective owners access to grants and other incentive programs available to historic property owners so that the property can be maintained and protected for years to come. 

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Virginia Apartments (photo courtesy of the Ohio County Public Library).

“It’s a beautiful building with a great view of the river. Growing up mostly in farmland, I love having the scenery around. My wife loves being near the water and in a city that is walkable and in their revitalization era!” This location is bustling with an active walking trail, restaurants, street art and historic buildings.

Also close by to this historic building, is Goodwin’s new workplace. You may have heard of it…

“It’s great working at Sarah’s on Main with such a fun group of people and being able to meet and take care of so many people in town! The employees are a tight-knit group that feels like a family,” said Goodwin. As one of the newest team members at Sarah’s on Main, Goodwin has added his touch to the coffee bar offerings at Sarah’s. “I like being able to put my skills to good use and make someone’s day when they come in. I think there is a huge emphasis on community development and supporting local and small businesses which is really great.”

WATCH: Sarah’s on Main is Making the Best Bread in West Virginia

Stephanie is also making her mark on the Friendly City of Wheeling as well. “She loves it. Wheeling has a much-needed slower pace from the bigger cities she was in prior to moving here. She is currently setting up a space to work on stained glass, which is family artwork that she is excited to start back up,” said Goodwin.

The Goodwins see the charm of Wheeling and feel drawn in by it. They not only see its bright future, but the citizens building it up. “Wheeling offers a variety of activities. There’s a good core group of people who care about the community and it’s easy to get involved and become a part of that community,” said Goodwin.“We have felt so welcome everywhere we’ve gone.”

• 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.