You see a building. We see opportunity.

Potential: West Virginia has a lot of it. Especially when it comes to our historic structures.

As part of a sweeping movement to revitalize industrial towns, open-air markets have been popping up all over the Mountain State— many in restored once-forgotten buildings.

Centre Market

Centre Market in Wheeling paved the way. The market has stood in Centre Market Square since the mid-1850s. But the once-thriving area experienced a period of decline, but the Aetna Life and Casualty Foundation and the City of Wheeling joined forces in 1982 to get the market back on its feet.

Today, Centre Market is a cornerstone of Wheeling’s downtown revitalization. The bustling spot still welcomes local farmers to sell their goods like in its golden era, while a slew of new restaurants, eateries, a deli, art gallery, and boutique shops attract new types of customers.

Just a stroll down the street, and you’ll stumble upon more distinct cafés and shops like Coleman’s Fish Market, The Lebanon Bakery, Paradox Books and many more.

Capitol Market

In the late 1900s, the Charleston community decided to bring life back to the city’s former center of commerce— an old rail yard. And the Capitol Market was born.

Now, business is thriving. The original transfer dock boasts a year-round outdoor market, with a partnership of local farmers selling seasonal plants and produce, including holiday trees and goods in the winter.

Inside, the long building is lined with a collection of unique shops with fresh fish, sushi, meat, produce, books, artisan works, wines, chocolates, local foods and one of the city’s most popular restaurants, Soho’s. Cooking demonstrations and special events keep the scene fresh and exciting.

Heritage Station

Much like its counterparts across the state, The Shops at Heritage Station in Huntington was originally an industrial site. This charming railway station was a stop on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

Over the last 40 years, Heritage Station was home to several restaurants, but it wasn’t until the Cabell Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau moved in during the late 2000s that things really began to take off. With the CVB anchoring the former depot, more businesses moved in along the station platforms.

You can explore variety of specialty shops in the square, including Summit Beer Station, Brown Dog Yoga, Sip Wine Bar, River and Rail Bakery, Finds & Designs vintage clothing and Butter It Up cafe.

Plan your visit around an event like Cinema Under the Stars, with movies in the courtyard every weekend during the summer. The pop-up Artisan Market brings together wares from talented artists.

It pays to think outside of the box. Though reinventing former industrial sites from by-gone eras is risky, the ingenuity propels our economy forward, while honoring the history left behind.

West Virginia may be a work in progress, but with entrepreneurs embracing creativity, agriculture and downtown revitalization, there is only more to look forward to.

How many of these markets have you visited?

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This post was last updated on July 23, 2020