Stages Wins $1,550 During Event

A contest aimed at helping spruce up downtown Wheeling and its businesses culminated Thursday in the awarding of $1,550 to a downtown business owner.

Dubbed “Show of Hands,” the event was organized by Downtown Wheeling Inc. and held at the Living Word Church, 2112 Market St. Four people made presentations before a crowd of people who paid $5 to vote for their favorite pitch.

The winner was Gael Fincham, owner of Stages – a costume shop at 1063 Main St. Fincham said she planned to use the money for a facade renovation project that includes brick repairs, window replacements and repainting of her 1898 building.

Other pitches included: North Wheeling resident Susie Barnette, a Victorian Old Town mural; Zach Kovalski, 15, a drinking fountain at Heritage Port along the walking trail; and Richard Pollock, a solar-powered stage at the historic Second Presbyterian Church.

The award money consisted of $1,000 from Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe and $550 collected from the crowd.

Event organizer Jake Dougherty said the goal of Show of Hands is to foster community projects that may not be able to receive funding via more traditional avenues.

Those who compete for the money must fill out an application that is considered by Dougherty and other Downtown Wheeling Inc. members. The project also must be situated in or near the downtown and fill a need in the community, he said.

“It’s great to see the community come together and support this project,” Dougherty said of Show of Hands.

In addition to Orrick, Quaker Steak & Lube donated food, tables and chairs for the event, and the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley donated use of the space, as it is the museum’s future location.

Future Show of Hands events are scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 13 and Feb. 12 at the Capitol Theatre Ballroom on Main Street. For information on how to apply, call Dougherty at 304-232-3087, email him at or visit