WHEELING - Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge planned to be one of the first to sign up for a Peebles credit card as the store opened its newest location Thursday morning at the Warwood Shopping Plaza in Wheeling.
"Don't tell my husband," she said.
Delbrugge was one of many who turned out for the retailer's 9 a.m. grand opening. Peebles is located near Kroger at the plaza, in the space formerly occupied by True Value Hardware. Officials held a ribbon cutting Thursday just before letting the public inside for the first time to check out the store's selections of everything from shoes and apparel to men's and women's fragrances, jewelry and housewares.
PEEBLES SHOPPER — Wheeling Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge browses a display of purses at the new Peebles department store in Warwood, which celebrated its grand opening Thursday morning.
-- Ian Hicks
Warwood resident Robert Slabaugh was one of the first in line to enter the store and has been looking forward to shopping there since he heard Peebles was coming to town.
"They needed something here. We needed to go to Moundsville, up to the Highlands or to St. Clairsville" to shop, he said. "We don't do a lot of big shopping, but we go to Kroger several times a week."
Also turning out for some early morning retail therapy was Wheeling Island resident Lee Hetzel. She's a regular shopper at the Peebles in Moundsville and is happy to have an option closer to home.
Hetzel agrees Peebles is a much needed addition to the Friendly City.
"What else is there? There's nothing like a department store in Wheeling," she said.
Store Manager Mark Patrick is a Wheeling resident and has seen firsthand the impact of department stores and clothiers leaving city limits or closing altogether over the past decade or more. He's excited to be a part of bringing retail shopping back to Wheeling.
"We have one goal - to be the store with quality fashions, great prices and the best service you can find anywhere," he said.
Mayor Andy McKenzie also was on hand to welcome Peebles to town.
"Warwood is a little unique," he said. "We're a little north of the rest of the city, so I would encourage all of Wheeling to come and shop at Peebles."
The store employs about 30 people, but District Manager Randy Kriegel said more could be hired depending on sales. He believes the store will do very well, given its proximity to two schools and a high-rise apartment complex right across the street. And Kriegel believes Brooke County residents who work in Wheeling will find Peebles' location along state Route 2 quite convenient when they need a quick gift or household item on their way home.
Peebles' parent company, Houston-based Stage Stores Inc., operates more than 800 stores in 40 states under five trade names, including Bealls, Goody's, Palais Royal and Stage. According to its website, the company's focus is on bringing department stores to small to mid-sized communities.
Peebles also has a store in Moundsville in addition to its Wheeling and Moundsville locations.