May 20, 2012
Shopping in the Ohio Valley has never been more diversified than it is today. From mom-and-pop stores to big box retailers, the local area has been blessed with a wide variety of choices. In a tough economy, the most tried and true locally based, family owned companies have been able to survive on their grassroots reputations, and the national chains of stores and businesses that have thrived are the ones that provide the best products and services to their customers … at the right prices. Interstate 70 has helped the Ohio Valley become a mecca for retail shopping over the past few decades. The Ohio Valley Mall put the valley on the retail map, followed by the Ohio Valley Plaza and now The Highlands in Ohio County. These major retail outlets are among the many shopping destinations to which consumers flock. But there are many other stores and shopping opportunities that shine in the valley. Some are located in downtown areas, while others can be found off the beaten path. Some of the most grassroots shopping opportunities come the home-grown sources - literally. Local farmers and gardeners have farmers markets weekly in communities throughout the area, selling a variety of crafts, baked and canned goods, meats, and a bounty of home-grown, fresh produce. The Guernsey County Farmers Market takes place from May through October in downtown Cambridge, and the Ohio Valley Farmers Market operates from June to October in Bellaire on Saturdays and in St. Clairsville on Tuesdays, when the market will be moving this year to the Ohio Valley Mall. And speaking of the mall, the shopping complex is home to several great stores and dining locations. From jewelry to apparel, shoes, furniture, electronics, crafts and much more, the Ohio Valley Mall remains one of the largest and most versatile shopping centers in the region. Major retailers such as Macy’s, Sears, Kmart are anchor stores along with Crafts 2000, with a host of national chain, regional and local stores inside the mall. The mall and the Ohio Valley Plaza in St. Clairsville today are among yet another major shopping center destination, with The Highlands in Ohio County continuing to grow. What started out a few years ago with Cabela’s sporting and outdoors headquarters, the site instantly became a shopping destination. Local businesses like Nini’s Treasures have set up shot in The Highlands, doing business alongside major retailers like J.C. Penney, Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Old Navy, Kohl’s along with a myriad of other brand new stores on a growing list of retail locations. Locally owned shops like Wilson’s Furniture in Bridgeport also offer competitive deals and provide that hometown touch sometimes lost at bigger, chain retailers. While the major retail hubs attract shoppers in mass, there are plenty of other shopping destinations throughout the region. Downtown Wheeling many years ago was the shopping capital of the Ohio Valley. Over the years, the landscape of the downtown areas changed. Downtown Wheeling is now home to unique shopping destinations like The Wheeling Artisan Center. Additionally, there is a wide variety of stores located outside the downtown areas in communities throughout the Ohio Valley. The farther off the beaten path a business may be, the more likely you are to find that unique treasure. From hometown grocery stores like Riesbeck’s to local stores that specialize in everything from jewelry to clothing, toys, crafts, sporting goods and more, the area is home to businesses that have started out as small local ventures and have continued to grow over the years. Several area new and used car dealerships, like Doan Ford in Morristown, have thrived over the decades and even through the recent tough economy. Economy Auto Sales in Bridgeport and Martins Ferry has built a solid reputation by selling quality vehicles at affordable prices.