Centre Market Celebrates The Old Downtown Feel

By JOSELYN KING

Staff Writer

WHEELING — Wheeling’s Centre Market hearkens back to a time when people purchased their dinner at a fish shop, sought high-quality furniture pieces and enjoyed the open air feeling of walking down a city street.

It’s that feeling of nostalgia that brings people to the historic area, according to Centre Market Manager Kurt Zende.

“We have some natural advantages. We have two of the oldest market houses around,” he said. “There’s open air shopping, and that makes people nostalgic. They enjoy the downtown atmosphere and going shop to shop.

“It’s the old downtown setting that is the draw.”

Centre Market is comprised of about 10 tenants within the two market houses, and an additional 20 businesses in separate buildings neighboring the market.

The famous Coleman’s Fish Market is the destination attraction at Centre Market, and close by in the market house is a deli and cheese shop.

Across the street is a place to buy wine, and there are numerous antique shops in Centre Market.

There are places to buy dry goods and coffee and cookies, as well as hair salons and clothing shops.

Zende said clustering some businesses together — such as those selling antiques — creates “synergy” within the market and has proven successful.

“The antique shops and the eateries feed off of each other,” he said.

“They create foot traffic. They’re like businesses, but they do different things. That’s what creates synergy. If you’re looking for a specific item and one place doesn’t have it, go to the next. They might have it.

“We’re a destination location known for eateries. wine, cheese and fish. There are good shops and businesses that thrive by working together.”

And Zende said there is a certain aesthetic appeal at Centre Market.

During warm weather months, visitors can sit outside at the market in open air seating.

He is anticipating Centre Market having open air markets on Saturdays beginning in the spring.

“We will bring in outside vendors to sell handmade goods and food,” Zende said.

“It will be an upscale market with quality merchandise to bring foot traffic to other shops.”

“The Taste of Centre Market,” a food sampling event sponsored by the Wheeling Rotary, is being planned again for this year. And First Friday events throughout the summer will continue this year.

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