The number of women-owned businesses are on the rise in West Virginia. The state has an estimated 38,000 women-owned firms and the number is growing.
Many of your favorite eateries and clothing stores in the Friendly City are owned by women. A majority of them sit in Center Market, like Vintage Cottage, who just celebrated their one year anniversary in April.
Owner Amy Cordy said for her everything just fell into place once she decided she no longer wanted to be a teacher.
“I actually spoke with someone down here and said ‘I would love to have a shop down here one day and if you ever know of a space available’ and she knew of a space available,” Cordy said.
For lifelong Wheeling native and co-owner of Avenue Eats, Lara Graves just wanted to bring a place that served fresh grown food to her hometown.
“We just wanted to stay here. Wheeling is a great town so why not bring a little more that’s community-oriented to the town that we grew up in and we plan to raise kids in,” Graves said.
After two short years, her business has taken off with great success. Avenue Eats has received three national awards and also serves what is known as the best burger in the state of West Virginia – the diner.
Running a business is nothing new for Carrie Anderson, owner of Full Circle Wedding Consignment Shop, who started when she was 8-years-old.
“I ordered a suit case out of the back of a comic book and went door to door and so I guess I’ve always been a business owner, always been an entrepreneur, always on that edge,” Anderson said. “This has been my first opportunity to have an actually store front.”
All of these women had similar answers to why they think more women are becoming business owners.
“Women are encouraging others to be brave and do courageous things and to be in control of your own destiny,” Cordy said.