Back on Track

By Carrie Stambaugh

The revitalized Shops at Heritage Station are a unique destination for shopping, dining and entertainment.

A collaborative effort has returned an heirloom gem in the heart of the Jewel City to its rightful splendor as a center of commerce and community.

After years of decline, Heritage Station has recently emerged as a vibrant destination for one-of-a-kind shops, dining and entertainment. The local entrepreneurs who operate the Shops at Heritage Station say they are driven by a desire to create the Huntington they want.

“We have an amazing mix of shops and a full calendar of events. It really is very, very exciting,” says Thomas McChesney, who first helped in the transformation as an employee of his wife Stacy’s consulting firm Firefly, which was hired to create a marketing strategy and plan for the retail complex. The couple are now dedicated volunteers.

The project was spearheaded by the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation District, which owns the site; help was also solicited from Create Huntington and Unlimited Futures, Inc.

The former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad passenger and freight depot, constructed in the early 1880s, has a history of grassroots support. In the 1970s, it was slated for demolition as part of a multi-block urban renewal project, but Huntingtonians came together to save it. The beloved Heritage Station Restaurant opened inside the passenger depot in 1978 but it eventually sold and closed, as did subsequent ventures, beginning the most recent decline.

When revitalization efforts began again in 2010 there were several empty spaces. Organizers envisioned filling them with a mix of unique artisan-centric businesses that would attract locals and out-of-town visitors alike. Today there is a waiting list, with each new business carefully selected to complement existing ones.

Visitors to the Shops at Heritage Station can find an array of craft and artisan goods produced locally and around the globe. They can take a yoga class, order custom-designed items and shop for vintage and new clothing, housewares or art. They can dine on handmade foods and imbibe carefully selected craft beers and wines.

“It’s really just an interesting cornucopia of pursuits for everyone,” says Red Caboose manager Andrew Hankins. Owned and operated by the CVB, it features the work of more than 200 local and regional artists and craftsman.

“Everyone is talented, and they are using their talents, exploiting them and offering them to Huntington,” says Let’s Eat owner Janet McCormick. “We’re like a family.”

The Heritage Station Shopkeepers Association brings them all together to pool resources and plan events including the Rail & Ales festival, Cinema Under the Stars and its newly launched Artisan Market. For up-to-date event listings visit The Shops at Heritage Station on Facebook.

“We just think that by working together it makes us all stronger and better,” explains Sip Wine Bar owner Nicole Perrone. “We just enjoy being a part of the community of people like us that wanted to take on the monumental task of running their own business because they have a product they believe in and want to share.”

That energy and passion coalesces to create a place that “people just want to go,” McChesney says. “The goal all along was to create that urban recreational environment that ends up supporting the economy and small businesses.”

The Shops at Heritage Station

All About You Hair & Nail:

A full service hair and nail salon, owners and friends Kim B. Berry and Darlene Lewis first opened their salon at Heritage Station in 2000, making it the oldest business there. Appointments and walk-ins are accepted.

All About  You Hair & Nail

Birds of A Feather Boutique:

Owned by sisters Lindsay Ellis and Whitney Epling, this unique boutique features fashion and formal jewelry, including new trendy fashions with a vintage feel. The clothing selection changes weekly. Open Thursday and Friday 5 - 9 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bottle & Wedge:

Offering 200 varieties of regional and imported beers, patrons can create their own four and six pack selections. Fine cheeses, sauces, crackers, jams and preserves are also for sale. Owned by Blaine Crabtree, the shop is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Bottle & Wedge

Brand Yourself:

A full service print and design studio, Brand Yourself is owned and operated by Chris Wallace. T-shirts with West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky designs along with an array of other apparel and promotional items are for sale. Custom printing of signs, banners, apparel and a wide range of promotional items is also available.

Brand Yourself

Brown Dog Yoga:

Specializing in hatha yoga, Brown Dog invites students of all levels who are seeking peace and well-being to its classes offered seven days a week. Postures, breathing and meditation are emphasized. Private and group fitness classes are also available. It is founded and owned by Katrina Mailloux. The class schedule is online at BrownDogYoga.com

Brown Dog Yoga

Butter It Up:

Coming soon to the former Wild Ramp space, this combination coffeehouse and health store will feature grass-fed beef, local meats, Paleo foods, nut butters, fruit smoothies and more.

CommonGround Shoppes:

An eclectic collaboration between four shop owners, it offers unique gardening tools and accessories, upcycled vintage finds, small furniture, art, jewelry, housewares and other repurposed items. Co-owned by Kristi Moss Ruggles, Laurie Fields, Denise Poole and Candi Bogren, it is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

Finds & Designs Vintage:

A vintage clothing, accessories, furniture and art shop, it is run by mother-daughter owners Claire Nudd and Lauren Herman. It specializes in retro items dating from the 1950s to 1970s. Open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.

Finds & Designs

Lamb’s Gate Market:

Offering fair trade gifts, jewelry, art and housewares, all proceeds of this volunteer-run nonprofit support its namesake orphanage in Nicaragua. Artisans in developing nations who are ensured a living wage for their work handcraft every item. The inventory changes weekly. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lamb's Gate Market

Let’s Eat:

This fresh fast food eatery serves up healthy sandwiches on homemade breads loaded with vegetables, locally grown herbs and natural meats along with infused waters, side items and desserts. Everything is made fresh daily by owner Janet McCormick and her staff. Open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

River and Rail Bakery:

A café and bakery offering artisan breads, pastries and lunch items owned by Kim Baker. River and Rail also offers many vegan and vegetarian options. Open Tuesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served until 2 p.m.

River and Rail Bakery

Sip Wine Bar:

The 22-seat wine bar owned by husband and wife Josh Dorsey and Nicole Perrone features flights of three 2 oz. groupings of wine varieties along with glasses and bottles, and food pairings of bread, cheeses, charcuterie and desserts. Soft drinks and beer are also available. Sip is open Tuesday through Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.

Tap House:

Huntington’s only craft beer bar features an ever-changing selection of draft and bottled beer from around the world procured by owner Jeff McKay. Open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Red Caboose Artisan Center:

The shop features crafts and artwork created by more than 200 West Virginia and Tri-State artisans along with a selection of post cards and souvenirs. The inventory changes weekly. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Red Caboose Artisan Center

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