What are some of your favorite local businesses?
America wouldn’t be the country it is today without the hard work, fortitude, and resilience of small businesses. To this day, America is still seen as one of the few places where if you can go with enough determination and hard work, you can do anything.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), “small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms. Since 1995, small businesses have generated 64 percent of new jobs, and paid 44 percent of the total United States private payroll.”
Since Direct Online Marketing is also a small business, we want to take this opportunity to recognize how critical small businesses are to our economy as we celebrate Small Business Week 2017! While the SBA uses this time to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from across the nation through National Small Business Week, we wanted to share the love and take a look at our favorite small businesses.
Cilantro Latin Grill (Adriana’s pick)
Do you like South American cuisine? If you are passing through or live in Wheeling, you have to stop by Cilantro Latin Grill!
You can find burritos, salads, chips, soups, rice bowls and if you’re feeling adventurous, arepas – made with a corn flour. With Cilantro’s build-your-own style, you can choose ingredients made fresh each morning, making your dish exactly the way you want it.
My perfect combination is a Guadalajara Seak Bowl, Mexican rice, queso, onions & peppers. Don’t forget to add an order of Guasacaca & Chips to go along with your meal! Not familiar with Guasacaca? It’s a savory Venezuelan sauce made of avocado.
So, if you are ready to leave your food comfort-zone, you definitely have to try Cilantro Latin Grill. I love to go there and eat with Latin background music. Also, when my family is in town we have to stop there.
Drover’s Inn (Mike’s pick)
Located in Wellsburg, WV Drover’s Inn was originally opened in 1850 to provide rest to travelers along the toll pike. The inn was purchased and converted into a restaurant/bar in 1967 and is still serving up great food today.
The menu at Drover’s offers something for everyone, from bar favorites like hot pepper cheese balls to baby back ribs. The main staple and hometown favorite, however, are the jumbo wings served in a variety of sauces (my favorite is garlic parmesan with atomic. Try it!). With outstanding food and great service, Drover’s can’t be beat!
Harrisburg Wall & Floor (Bentz’s pick)
Harrisburg Wall & Flooring is my favorite small business on the planet. Why? Because my grandfather founded it in 1946, and it is still owned by the Bentz family today! “The store,” as those in the know call it, provides full-service sales and installation of flooring products for both residential and commercial projects across Central Pennsylvania. They also offer a complete range of wallcoverings and window blinds.
Some online reports indicate the store is so famous that the state capital of PA is actually named after the store. Debate still lives on about that… however, I can confirm that the icon of two men carrying a carpet roll (shown in the photo above on the awning) was designed by my mother. I’m totally biased, but for a totally good reason!
Hoppin’ Frog Brewery (Nikki’s pick)
Hoppin’ Frog is a small Akron, OH, craft brewery making high quality, flavorful beers. Their award-winning beers are always in our fridge from the year-round Silk Porter to my favorite seasonals – Turbo Shandy and Frosted Frog Christmas Ale.
There is also a tap room next to the brewery that delivers top-notch food and a fun, fantastic staff. We make a point to visit every Small Business Saturday for their special waffle brunch!
Lebanon Bakery (Blanche’s pick)
The first Lebanese to arrive in Wheeling in 1888 is recorded to be Roger Saad, a dry goods merchant. By 1900, Wheeling had approximately 300 Lebanese that called it home. At the time, they were called Syrians by both locals as well as the US Census.
They settled mostly in Center Wheeling between 20th and 23rd Streets, from Eoff Street to Main Street. The center of this Lebanese community today is the only Maronite Catholic church in West Virginia, Our Lady of Lebanon Church, located in the 2200 block of Eoff Street. The Maronite church is in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and is considered the most Latinized of the Eastern Catholic churches. Today, Maronites make up over 20 percent of Lebanon’s population, but there are thousands of other Maronites scattered throughout the world, including in Wheeling.
It was their mastery of retail that most Wheelingites think of when they consider the city’s Lebanese heritage. Everybody has come to love the Fadul family’s Lebanese Bakery still operating on Main Street in Center Wheeling.
Nate Smith Basketball School (Leland’s pick)
Located in Morgantown, WV, the Nate Smith Basketball School helps kids of all ages take their basketball game to the next level. From fundamentals to advanced skills, the instructors have the knowledge to help basketball players at any level.
The school holds a special place in my heart because I interned there during my senior year of college. I might be the worst basketball player to ever set foot in their gym, but the time I spent there giving lessons and helping coordinate the travel teams’ schedules was a fantastic way to spend my last semester of college.
The way Nate, Cody, and the rest of the staff give their all to improve each player that steps into the gym is impressive in its own right, but factor in the success of the travel teams and you can see why the school attracts players from all over WV, PA, and MD.
If you or anyone you know plays basketball and wants to improve their game, I highly recommend going to see Nate and his staff!
SMART Centre Market (Haley’s Pick)
Nestled between East and South Wheeling is a spectacular little strip called Centre Market. This area is a veritable treasure trove of locally owned businesses. Moving back to Wheeling after living in Columbus for the better part of a decade, I was thrilled to find this vibrant destination, oozing with local talent, pride, and food.
Strolling down the streets (adorned with brightly painted parking meters, courtesy of the locals), you can find antique stores, restaurants, a brewery, a gallery featuring local artists, quaint restaurants, mouthwatering pastries, a wine bar, hair studio, and so much more. Perched on the corner is one of my favorite places- and not just in Wheeling. Like, one of my favorite places ever.
SMART Centre Market is bursting at the seams with the wonder of science. As soon as you step through those glass doors, you are surrounded by dinosaur fossils and replicas, crystals, telescopes, geodes, and a spectacularly toothy Megalodon mouth. The owners, Robert and Libby, are easily two of the most delightful, enthusiastic people I have had the pleasure of meeting. Their passion and knowledge of science is contagious, and an afternoon can pass by in the blink of an eye.
Every Saturday, at 1:00 p.m., they do a science demonstration for the kiddos. This can range from building paper rockets the kids can launch in the alley to making a tornado in a bottle. The kids not only get to make super freaking cool experiments, they also learn the how and why behind their creations. Robert and Libby are top-notch at explaining the complexities of science in a way that children (and adults) can understand and get excited about.
If that’s not incredible enough, they also have an entire room dedicated to science-based games and toys, including surprisingly adorable germ stuffed animals. To further enhance your enjoyment, they even serve ice cream.
For the past 4 years, my daughter and I make a point to swing by to visit our buddies Robert and Libby regularly, and every time we walk through those doors we see something new to discover. Robert and Libby always take the time to answer any questions my daughter has (and she’s 7, so that equates to roughly 578 questions per visit) and demonstrate how things work.
I cannot oversell SMART Centre Market enough. It is awesome. They have, quite literally, everything – from fossilized dinosaur poop, to take-home experiments and beautiful hand-crafted jewelry. If you haven’t stopped in there, do yourself a favor and go. I promise you will not regret it.
PS – In the summer (and on First Fridays) they bust out the telescopes and you can star gaze. WHAT! Amazing. Also they have sweet jam sessions. Just… stop reading this and go there immediately.
Spicy Gringos (Christina’s pick)
Spicy Gringos is an authentic Mexican restaurant that has been serving fresh, local deliciousness since 2011. We visit this unique spot often and can’t get enough of their tacos (literally any of them), calzones, salads, chips & salsa – with a side of that fantastic garlic sour cream.
The staff is down to earth and ensure you have an awesome experience. They have a sign in their restaurant that reads “Love people and cook them tasty food,” so it really doesn’t get any better than that. 🙂
Ye Olde Alpha (Hoops’ pick)
Ye Olde Alpha, or simply known as “The Alpha,” has a special place in my heart. This unassuming bar and grill in the heart of the Woodsdale area of Wheeling looks like a relic of decades past. When I first moved to Wheeling, my fiance and I had no idea what the city had in store for us. So on our first night, we decided to give it shot and try out The Alpha. I had extremely low expectations and figured, “If this was the best Wheeling has to offer, I might as well give up on the whole city.”
Boy, was I wrong.
With an adventurous, exciting menu, I was floored. I mean, just who was crazy enough to think up The Blue Suede Burger? A glorious bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions and peanut butter.
My experience and subsequent (multiple) meals at The Alpha gave me hope about the potential Wheeling has with a storied past yet forward thinking enough to move into the future.
Virginia Lee (Anna’s pick)
I love it because the owner has similar taste in clothing to myself, the store offers discounts and promotions through both their website and in store, it is in a cute location of my hometown, and is owned by a young woman. They are a boutique retailer that offers women’s clothing, accessories, and eclectic items. The owner graduated with my sister and she also runs another business through the storefront named The Initialed Life. I think the business has done an impressive job maintaining social media engagement.
From all of us at DOM, Happy Small Business Week 2017!