Center Wheeling has myriad wholesale, retail and service establishments within its bounds. Here is the center of the wholesale fresh fruit and produce business which serves the upper Ohio Valley in a radius of more than fifty miles. With the produce yards of the railroads located near Twentieth and Main Sts., the fresh fruit and produce business has concentrated in this area even though half of the foodstuff arrives in Wheeling by rail and half by truck.
It is conservatively estimated that slightly more than forty million pounds of produce is handled by Center Wheeling in a year's time. This represents practically all that is handled in the city as there is only one major wholesaler outside the district and this one is just across the Creek Bridge on Main Street.
In addition to the fruit and vegetable wholesalers, there are numerous tobacco and novelty wholesalers and one of the largest Plumbing Supply houses in the city. Groceries, cheese, feeds, lumber, soft drinks and other wholesalers also have their places of business here.
Retail stores abound with almost every kind imaginable in the Center Wheeling district. Mens and ladies clothing stores, hardware and plumbing shops, grocery stores, pharmacies, radio, electrical appliances, dry cleaners and used furniture establishments are all found here, together with a furniture store, a department store, a mortuary and innumerable confectionary and delicatessens.
Center Wheeling's Marts are of course led in age by the Center Wheeling Market. Established 127 years ago, the Center Wheeling Market, even though in a disreputable state of repair, offers a place for farmers to bring their produce to sell directly to the people. Fridays and Saturdays in the Market are the shopping days when the farmers of the district meet the shoppers of the area at Center Market. Notwithstanding its age and dis-repair, the old Market attracts thousands on Market days and serves a definite need of the city.
Center Wheeling has a wide range of manufacturing activities which add greatly to the industrial welfare of the Upper Ohio Valley.
Plastics - Wheeling Stamping Company is the largest producer of plastic caps and containers in the Upper Ohio Valley.
China - Warwick China Company manufactures hotel chinaware known throughout the nation. It is the largest pottery in the area only exceeded in size by the ceramics plants of Chester and East Liverpool some 50 miles to the north of Wheeling.
Tile - Wheeling Tile Company operates a huge plant covering several blocks between 31st and 33rd Sts. Here is manufactured floor and wall tile in many designs and varieties.
Chemicals - Ohio Valley Chemical Company maintains a large operation on 20th St. in the manufacture and distribution of chemicals.
Soft Drinks - Coca Cola Bottling Company of Wheeling has a large bottling plant and garage at 2217 Main St. Dr. Pepper is bottled at 28th St. in a large plant.
Paints - Blue Ribbon Paint Company with office and plant at 2321 Main Street are makers of Blue Ribbon Quality Paints.
Cut Nails - One of the last Cut Nail plants in existence is operated in Center Wheeling by the Wheeling Steel Corporation. Once known as the Nail City, this La Belle plant is the last nail mill in Wheeling.
Printing - Wheeling's printing industry is well represented in Center Wheeling with Commercial Printing Co., Steinmetz Autokraft Box Co., Smith and Sons and others operating here.
Castings - The foundry industry is represented in this part of the city by the Nail City Bronze Company, makers of bronze, iron and aluminum castings.
Baked Goods - Continental Baking Co., operates the old Stroehman Bakery at 22nd and Main Sts., and Supreme Bakery has a plant at 2245 Market, while Nolte Baking Company has a large plant on 29th St.
Dairies - Dairy Products Company have a modern dairy plant at 20th St.
Tubes - Wheeling Stamping Company operates what is said to be the largest plant in the United States making Collapsible tubes for tooth-paste, Shaving Cream, Glue and all sorts of things.
Building Materials - With the large Klieves Lumber Company planing mill at 33rd St., Center Wheeling plays a large part in the manufacture and fabrication of wood products. City Building Supply, Community Supply Co., and Cash and Carry Lumber Co., conduct large wholesale building material operations in the area in addition to the Klieves wholesale and retail departments.
Sand & Gravel - Standard Sand and Gravel Company and Contractors Supply Corporation dredge Sand and Gravel from the Ohio River bed and sell the sand and gravel and ready mixed concrete from their offices and plants.
Miscellaneous - Sheet metal work, leather goods, tobacco products, plumbing contractors, hardware, carpenters, electrical contractors, etc., are numerous in the area bringing the manufacturing activities in the relatively small Center Wheeling area to an amazing total.
Service provided by the staff of the Ohio County Public Library in partnership with and funded in part by the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation.