Market a ‘Happening’ Place
By CASEY JUNKINS
WHEELING — In the Centre Market area, one can do everything from eating made-from-scratch crepes, to drinking freshly brewed craft beer, to getting a stylish new haircut, to sifting through vintage vinyl records, experiencing fresh flowers or expressing oneself through visual art.
The Centre Market area of 2018 is profoundly different from the one Later Alligator owner Susan Haddad said she found upon opening her restaurant at 2145 Market St. in 2006.
“It was a struggle at first,” she said. “When we started here, most of the buildings outside the Market House were vacant. Now, almost all of them are full. And if there is a vacancy, it doesn’t last very long.”
Haddad’s spot features plenty of personality, as well as a variety of unique foods and beverages. However, she said her signature item is crepes. She believes her restaurant is the only one in the Wheeling area that prepares them from scratch.
After the slow start, Haddad said her business has grown every year. The restaurant is now open every day of the week.
“Centre Market certainly seems like a happening place. It is the place to be if you want to open a business in Wheeling,” Haddad said.
Just down the street, Wheeling Flower Shop co-owner Howard Nikolaus said he has seen the Centre Market area grow a great deal since initially moving to the location in 1979.
“It’s most definitely on the upswing,” he said of the business vibe of the Centre Market area. “There are a lot more businesses, more shops, more things to get people excited about coming down here.”
At the Cirque de Cheveux hair salon, owner Laurie Carr and stylist Stephanie Davis said they believe the business climate and general atmosphere of the entire area continue to improve.
“It’s absolutely better than when we started down here a few years ago,” Carr said.
“We had a lot of traffic down here during the holiday season,” Davis added. “It seems to be the happening part of town.”