Wednesday was the big night for four area businesses, competing Wheeling Heritage’s “Show of Hands”.
The winner was Sarah’s on Main, taking home a record $5,865. The money comes from Friends of Show of Hands, sponsors and community members in attendance who donated $5 per vote.
Organizers said all four presenters benefited from the evening because they were able to network with the community and create some buzz about their businesses.
“We love to see people who are putting private capitol into our downtown coming up and saying hey we’re gonna make this happen and we’re gonna take on this initiative,” said Jake Dougherty, Executive Director of Wheeling Heritage. “Whether it’s a new restaurant, a new coffee shop, a t-shirt or a new coffee shop, these are all really fun things that people are creating and they’re making it happen. We want to see more entrepreneurship, more small businesses in our downtown.”
The four businesses presenting in front of a packed Wheeling Artisan Center were Mugshots, Sarah’s on Main, Stradwick’s Fade Cave and Wheeling Threads.
Sarah’s on Main has some big plans for the money to develop an outdoor courtyard ahead of its June opening.
“We want to add some shade sails and some table and chairs and some landscaping,” said owner Sarah Lydick. “We’re a new bakery and cafe, so we’ll serve breakfast and lunch and this will really help us expand out into the courtyard.”
Sarah’s on Main will be located at 2122 Main Street. Lydick also plans to have dinner options to-go as well as other treats.
Mugshots hopes to open its doors at the end of July in the former Keg and Kraut location in East Wheeling. Owner Grant Coleman wants to create an affordable lunch option, coffee shop and hang-out for all ages.
Stradwick’s Fade Cave will be located at 1902 Market Street when it opens its doors in July. Barber Chad Stradwick wants to create “the ultimate grooming experience” for men.
Wheeling Threads will continue to work to open a storefront, to add to its online business. It’s still looking for locations while continuing to serve the community.
While Lydick is excited to put the money back into her business, no one knows more about how transformative the funding can be than previous winners like Zeb’s Barky Bites.
“It enabled us to buy all new equipment for our kitchen,” said Zeb and Steve Helmick. “We bought a new oven, new mixers, and then we were able to take the money we were going to spend on that before we won Show of Hands and buy refrigerators, prep tables, new dehydrators. We’ve got a fully built out kitchen and we can make five, six times the treats we used to make.”