WHEELING – Several businesses in the Friendly City have worked together to make Saturday a holiday shopping day in Wheeling for small businesses.
Small Business Saturday not only supports local businesses and stimulates the local economy, but also allows shoppers to get their hands on unique and special gifts that are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere.
“I think the small businesses are what make Wheeling so unique,” said Alex Panas, program director for Wheeling Heritage. “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, stores and other corner shops across the city will have extended hours this weekend for Small Business Saturday, as well as special events throughout the day.
Panas said shoppers can get ready for the day starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Artisan Center downtown, where a free yoga class for all levels is offered by Betsy Sweeny, before the second-floor Artisan Center shop early at 9 a.m opens First 30 customers get a free bag.
Photo of: Photo by Eric Ayres
Wheeling Heritage, the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED), the City of Wheeling and Wheeling Center Market, the Wheeling-Ohio County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority (OVRTA) and many locals Companies have worked together to make Small Business Saturday a special event this year.
A special attraction introduced by the City of Wheeling three years ago will return to the Plaza on Market in downtown Wheeling on Saturday when an ice skating rink will open to the public in conjunction with local shopping activities.
“We first brought the artificial ice rink to the field in 2019 and have done so every year since with an interruption in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wheeling Deputy Mayor Chad Thalman said. “We’ve always had great turnout and are excited to bring ice staking to our downtown area again this year.”
The synthetic ice rink will be available on Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Plaza on Market. The public is invited to skate for free, skates are available.
“We encourage people to get out, visit the town’s little shops and stop by the ice rink for some winter fun,” Thalman said.
An outdoor market in the square should be open from 11am to 5pm 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.
Adjacent to the Artisan Center and Plaza on Market Shops, Wheeling’s Center Market is open from 10am to 6pm with pop-up vendors and live music including performances by Ezra Hamilton from 10am to 1pm and Ananga Martin from 2pm to 5pm The array of unique local boutiques and shops in and around Center Market is open on Saturdays when many have daily specials.
East Wheeling will also be hopping on Small Business Saturday as a pop-up sales market is scheduled at the Clientele Art Studio at 4pm-3pmth H. from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. The space offers artists and other local vendors without traditional store fronts the opportunity to sell their unique items.
The Clientele Art Studio also hosts live music with Adrian Niles and Logan Seidler in the evening from 8 p.m
Other local shops in downtown and neighborhoods throughout Wheeling will also be open during Small Business Saturday for holiday shoppers looking for unique gift ideas that may not be available at large retail outlets.
To make the shopping experience even easier, the City of Wheeling and OVRTA have partnered to offer free downtown bus tours on Saturday.
“Small Business Saturday is a very important event and the availability of free public transportation is certainly a benefit for the day,” said Robert Herron, Wheeling City manager. “The dedicated downtown bus route is not only important for those who need public transport to attend the event, it also adds a very convenient aspect to take shoppers around Center Market and downtown.”
The bus departs from Center Market at 9:30 am. It then stops at the Plaza on Market and the Wheeling Artisan Center until 5:00 p.m. The bus waits five minutes at each stop before moving on to the next stop.
The full timetable for the Free Saturday Small Business Bus in Wheeling is as follows:
– Center Market
9:30 am; 10 am; 10:30 am; 11 clock; 11:30 a.m.; Midday; 12:30 pm; 13 o’clock; 1:30 p.m.; 2.30; 3 pm; 3:30 p.m.; 4 p.m.; 4:30 p.m.; and 5 p.m
– The plaza in the 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 am; 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