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Wellsburg welcomes new businesses

Warren Scott NEW BUSINESSES — The Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce welcomed attorneys Jake Polverini and Josh Norman to the city at their office at Commerce Street Commons at 1511 Commerce St. Among the many on hand for the occasion were, from left, front, Polverini; Melissa Taylor, the attorneys’ office manager; and Norman; and back: Evan Cuomo, owner of Cuomo Storage Units, which also has opened at Commerce Street Commons; Ashley Otto; Nanci Walker; Jacie Ridgely; Rise Katnik-Cilia; Tresa Thomas; Robin Snyder; Chamber President Dan Otto; and Joe Mullenbach.

WELLSBURG — Three new businesses have opened in the former Cuomo Law Office at 1511 Commerce St., and members of the recently re-organized Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce were on hand to welcome them.

Renamed Commerce Commons, the building is home to the offices of attorneys Jake Polverini and Josh Norman and RC Testing LLC, a business serving the natural gas industry, and Cuomo Storage Units.

The building is owned by Evan Cuomo, who also has established 11 climate-controlled storage units in the bottom level.

Cooled and heated through newly installed air ducts and secured with a computerized keypass system, the units are available in three sizes and for three months or more, with rentals starting at $70.

The units are managed by Cedar One Realty, for which Cuomo is a Realtor.

The building once housed the law offices of Frank and Jason Cuomo, Evan’s grandfather and father, and he said he’s happy to see it in use again.

He has placed a plaque there in honor of Frank, who died in 2016 after practicing law for more than 50 years and serving the community as Follansbee city attorney for 22 years and as an organizer and coach for youth sports programs.

“It was good to be able to do that,” said Cuomo, a 2018 graduate of Brooke High School who earned his real estate license and began working for Cedar One Realty while attending West Virginia Univerity, from which he graduated last year.

Of returning to Brooke County to live and work, he said, “I like staying here. My grandfather had done a lot in the community and I’m happy to carry on that legacy.”

Polverini and Norman said they will specialize in criminal defense and civil litigation, having experience in both areas.

A Wheeling native, Norman is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he studied criminal justice and history, and the West Virginia University School of Law.

He lives in Belmont County with his wife of 10 years and their child.

Polverini said he lived in Steubenville, Mingo Junction and Wintersville while growing up in the Ohio Valley.

He studied English and broadcast journalism at the University of Pittsburgh before going on to obtain his law degree at WVU.

Polverini lives in Pittsburgh with his wife of 13 years and their three dogs.

While the two attended law school at the same time, they didn’t get to know each other until they were practicing law in Wheeling courtrooms, including one case in which they were on opposite sides.

“We used to joke that maybe we should practice together,” said Norman, who noted the jest proved to be prophetic.

Polverini said he was drawn to Wellsburg because he has served in the 1st Judicial Circuit Court, which includes Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall counties his entire career.

Norman said the city offers “a good central location” for their practice.

The pair are licensed in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania and see the upcoming completion of a new Ohio River bridge just south of the city as a boon to their operations.

Joining them at their Wellsburg office is Melissa Taylor, who serves as office manager. A graduate of Ohio University, she worked for several years as West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Region 4 coordinator.

Staff with RC Testing have moved into another office in the building, complementing operations established in Follansbee in recent years.

General Manager Tony Northrop said the Montrose, Pa.-based business provides to natural gas companies such services as hydrostatic pressure testing, rig washing, roustabouts and rental equipment.

From its Follansbee location, it has served natural gas operations from Sardis, Ohio to Western Pennsylvania to Doddridge County, W.Va.

“We’re pretty centrally located here,” said Northrop, who is aided at the office by assistant manager Cody

The business employs 50 to 75 people throughout the Ohio Valley.

A business after hours and ribbon cutting held at Commerce Street Commons was one of the first events involving the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce’s new leaders, who were joined by Mayor Dan Dudley and other city officials as well as many other supporters.

Headed by Dan Otto, the chamber’s new president, the organization’s board of directors includes Tresa Thomas, serving as secretary; Rise Katnik-Cilia; Robin Snyder; Della Serevicz; Ashley Otto; Nanci Walker; and Joe Mullenbach.

Dan Otto said there’s room for others on the board, and a few have expressed interest in joining it.

To entice new members, the chamber is waiving membership fees for the remainder of the year, allowing local business owners and others to become familiar with the group.

Otto said the chamber is using its Facebook page to promote members through a Business of the Week feature and there are plans to offer informational programs for them.

A program covering the use of the Internet and other technology to reach potential customers is in the works, he said.

“I really want the chamber to give back to businesses, and I think education is a big way to do that,” said Otto.

He added a business after hours involving the Follansbee and Weirton chambers of commerce also is slated for October.

Otto said there also are plans next year to revive the Entrepreneurial Pitch contest, in which aspiring or existing business owners compete for cash prizes to develop their ideas for a new venture or expansion of a current one.

Otto said the board met recently with Eric Fithyan, a chamber member who has organized its Christmas parade in recent years, to hear his plans for this year.

“We could not be happier to have him involved,” he said.

Otto noted the chamber’s membership isn’t limited to businesses operating in Wellsburg, with members “pretty much from all over the Tri-State Area.”

He said those interested in joining or learning more about the chamber can visit its Facebook page or website at wellsburgchamber.com or call (304) 479-2115.

(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])

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