Wheeling Entrepreneurs Gear Up for Small Business Saturday Sat
WHEELING — Several entities in the Friendly City have collaborated to help make Small Business Saturday a marquee holiday shopping day in Wheeling.
Small Business Saturday not only helps support local businesses and invigorate the local economy, but also allows shoppers to get their hands on some unique and special gifts that can be hard to find – or impossible to find – elsewhere.
“I think the small businesses are what make Wheeling so unique,” Alex Panas, program director for Wheeling Heritage, said. “Local artisans offer some really unique, one-of-a-kind items, and we’re excited about a lot of special things happening in town on Saturday.”
Many boutiques, shops and other mom-and-pop businesses throughout the city will be operating on extended hours this weekend for Small Business Saturday, and special events will also be taking place throughout the day.
Panas said shoppers can get prepared for the day starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Artisan Center downtown, where a free, all-levels yoga class by Betsy Sweeny will be offered before the Artisan Center Shop on the second floor opens early at 9 a.m. The first 30 customers will receive a complimentary bag.
photo by: Photo by Eric Ayres
Wheeling Heritage, the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED), the city of Wheeling and Wheeling Centre Market, the Wheeling-Ohio County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority (OVRTA) and many local businesses have collaborated on efforts to help make Small Business Saturday a special event this year.
A special attraction introduced by the city of Wheeling three years ago will once again return to the Plaza on Market in downtown Wheeling on Saturday, when an ice skating rink will be made available to the public in conjunction with the local shopping activities.
“We first brought the synthetic ice rink to the plaza in 2019 and continued to do so every year since with a break in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wheeling Vice Mayor Chad Thalman said. “We’ve always had a great turnout, and we are excited to bring ice staking back to our downtown again this year.”
The synthetic ice rink will be available from 3-8 p.m. Saturday at the Plaza on Market. The public is invited to skate free of charge, and ice skates will be available for use.
“We encourage people to come out, visit the city’s small businesses and stop by the ice rink to enjoy some winter fun,” Thalman said.
An outdoor market on the plaza was scheduled to be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with local vendors, along with the So Nuts 4 Donuts truck. The outdoor market may be moved to the Artisan Center in the event of rain, organizers noted.
In addition to the Artisan Center and the Plaza on Market Shops, Wheeling’s Centre Market will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with pop-up vendors and live music, including performances by Ezra Hamilton from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Ananga Martin from 2-5 p.m. The array of unique local boutiques and shops in and around Centre Market will be open for business on Saturday, when many will be offering specials for the day.
East Wheeling will also be hopping on Small Business Saturday, as a pop-up vendor market is slated at the Clientele Art Studio at 43-15th St. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The space will offer opportunities for artists and other local vendors without traditional storefronts to sell their unique items.
Clientele Art Studio will also host live music in the evening with Adrian Niles and Logan Seidler beginning at 8 p.m.
Other local businesses downtown and in neighborhoods throughout Wheeling will also be open during Small Business Saturday for holiday shoppers looking for unique gift ideas that may be beyond the realm of offerings from the big box retail stores.
To help make the shopping experience even easier, the city of Wheeling and OVRTA have teamed together to offer free downtown bus rounds on Saturday.
“Small Business Saturday is a very important event, and the availability of free public transit is certainly a benefit to the day,” Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron said. “Not only is the special downtown bus route important to those who need public transportation to participate in the event, it also adds a very convenient aspect to shuttling shoppers around Centre Market and downtown.”
The bus will start running at 9:30 a.m. at Centre Market. It will then proceed to make stops at The Plaza on Market and the Wheeling Artisan Center until 5 p.m. The bus will wait at each stop for five minutes before moving on to the next stop.
The full schedule for the free Small Business Saturday bus in Wheeling will be as follows:
– Centre Market
9:30 a.m.; 10 a.m.; 10:30 a.m.; 11 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; noon; 12:30 p.m.; 1 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 3:30 p.m.; 4 p.m.; 4:30 p.m.; and 5 p.m.
– The Plaza on Market
9:40 a.m.; 10:10 a.m.; 10:40 a.m.; 11:10 a.m.; 11:40 a.m.; 12:10 p.m.; 12:40 p.m.; 1:10 p.m.; 1:40 p.m.; 2:40 p.m.; 3:10 p.m.; 3:40 p.m.; 4:10 p.m.; and 4:40 p.m.
– Wheeling Artisan Center
9:50 a.m.; 10:20 a.m.; 10:50 a.m.; 11:20 a.m.; 11:50 a.m.; 12:20 p.m.; 12:50 p.m.; 1:20 p.m.; 1:50 p.m.; 2:50 p.m.; 3:20 p.m.; 3:50 p.m.; 4:20 p.m.; and 4:50 p.m.