WEIRTON - A sneak peek at an advance copy of the newest Fun Map produced by The Weirton Daily Times and the Herald-Star drew giggles and a lot of finger pointing from Amber Nest and Patty Soplinski, employees of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce.
"This is so great," Nest said as they ticked off the faces and places brought to life on the 36-inch-by-24-inch Weirton Fun Map, the latest in a series of custom community snapshots designed by local artist Lillian Brue.
"Look at the flowers on top of McCauslen's (Any Occasion Florist)," Soplinski said. "That's the detail you have to look for."
FUN MAP — Patty Soplinski, left, members services/programs coordinator of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Amber Nest, chamber office manager, get an early look at the new Weirton Fun Map, which will be released this week. - Linda Harris
Brue has worked her graphic magic on more than 80 community landmarks and more than 45 "characters" from the Weirton, New Cumberland and Chester communities, infusing her work with a sense of the personality and humor that flavor the community.
Among Brue's targets: A Gus's Goodies-bedecked Gus Monezis, Weirton Geriatric Center's Rhonda Quattrochi, J.J. Guida Airport Realty's Jamie Guida, Lauttamus Communications' Al Lauttamus, Hancock County Savings Bank's Cathy Ferrari and Weirton Knights of Columbus caterers Todd and Kassie Piergallini.
"You can't help but smile when you look at Lillian's work," said Alex Marshall, publisher of the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times. "Her Weirton Fun Map is light-hearted and engaging, and the perfect vehicle for businesses and institutions to promote themselves and their community."
Framed copies of the map will be delivered this week to the community leaders, businesses and institutions that are depicted on it. Limited copies will be available at participating businesses. Additional copies will be available for $1 at the Herald-Star/Weirton Daily Times offices, 401 Herald Square, Steubenville, while supplies last.
An online version will be available soon, allowing consumers to point their mouse at one of the many businesses or institutions on the map to find out more about it.
"It's a professional piece full of humor and fun," said Brenda Mull, president of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce. "You're supposed to have fun in business, and she characterized the businesses and people really well. I think she put a lot of time and love into it."
Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, said the map is a true conversation piece.
"Our fun map series has been extremely popular," he said. "The Weirton edition is a great continuation and really shows off some of the great businesses that serve the community."
Craig Howell, managing editor of the Daily Times, agreed, noting there are many long-standing Weirton area landmarks as well as a few more recent additions to the local business community included.
"Our series of Fun Maps has received a great response from our area communities," Howell said. "I can't wait to see the response from our Weirton residents and look forward to what will come in the future."
A fun map featuring Brooke County businesses and institutions is in the works, Marshall said.
Participating businesses include Arcelor Mittal; Belmonte's Pizza; Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle; Busy B Muffler; Capital Funding Title Agency; Carolyn's Florist; C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc.; the city of Weirton; Comfort Inn; Connie's Corner; Cove Presbyterian Church; Crow Dental Associates; DiCarlo's Pizza; Dr. Mitchell Sagan; Fairfield Inn & Suites; Ferguson Tire; Fujiyama Japanese Steakhouse; Fuscadaro's Above the Collar; Giovanni's Restaurant; Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home; Gus's Goodies; Hancock County Savings Bank, Chester; Hancock County Savings Bank, New Cumberland; Hancock County Savings Bank, Weirton; Hancock County Sheltered Workshop; Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley; the Holiday Inn; Howard Hanna Mortimer Real Estate Services; Irish Pub; Jack Fowler State Farm; JJ Guida Airport Realty; Joe's Lawnmower Repair; Joyia A. Lytle Allstate; Knights of Columbus/Piergallini Catering; Krazy 'Bout Sportz; Lauttamus Communications; Mainstream Physical Therapy; Mario's Italian Restaurant; Mary H. Weir Public Library; Mayor George Kondik; Mazur Kraemer Business Law; McCauslen's Any Occasion, Weirton; Med Express; Mercy Baptist Church; Mountain State Lending; Newbrough Photo; Nick's Auto Sales; Papa John's; Penn-Way Pharmacy; Premier Technical Services; PS Marketing, Inc.; R.E. Saxon Jeweler; Rine Karate Studio; Robinson & Son Construction; Serbian-American Cultural Center; Serra Village; Smith Oil; St. Michael's Holistic Natural Health Center; Steel & Wolfe Funeral Home, Main Street; Steel & Wolfe Funeral Home, Penco Road; SteelOaks Investment Advisers; Street of Dreams; Strip Steel Federal Credit Union; Stuff with Attitude; Summit Gallery at the Top of West Virginia CVB; the Art Works by Rebecca; Tom's Family Fun Recreationals; Top of West Virginia CVB; Tri-State Medical; Tri-State Pharmacy; Trinity Health System; United Bank; United Way; Village Pharmacy; Vince Bruno Construction; Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce; Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center; The Weirton Daily Times; Weirton Electric Supply; Weirton Event Center; Weirton Eye Clinic; Weirton Medical Center; Weirton Shop 'n Save; Weirton Transit Corp.; WesBanco; West Virginia Northern Community College; and Wine & Beverage Merchants of West Virginia.