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“There are beautiful places all over the world. West Virginia is one of them. I always come back.”

Matt Welsch is the owner and head chef of Vagabond Kitchen in downtown Wheeling. He grew up on a farm in Moundsville, and his family instilled in him a sense of adventure at a young age. “As kids, we were always crawling through the woods, exploring.”

As an adult, his passion for food and the outdoors took him around the world. From Utah to Idaho to the Dominican Republic to a stint in Europe. But that wasn’t enough. Five years ago, he started a project called the Vagabond Chef, which enabled him to visit 60 culinary communities around the U.S. in the span of a year–learning, writing, doing what he loved.

Then he came back home. 

The Vagabond Kitchen is now one of the most recognized and awarded restaurants in Wheeling, but the road was rocky. They’ve had to move operations 3 times in 4 years. Matt’s determination to buy local—food, furniture, you name it—has made every step along the way more costly. Like most small business owners (if they’re lucky), it has taken him years to start turning a profit. 

West Virginia can’t wait for more businesses like Matt’s—businesses that partner with local charities, businesses that treat workers with dignity, businesses that support other local businesses, businesses that keep their wealth here in West Virginia. 

But for decades, our economy has been rigged to kick these businesses in the teeth. 

We can have a state where local entrepreneurs exist on a level playing field with out-of-state monopolies and chains. But only if we stop allowing those companies to buy our government. Only if we all come together and demand that government.

Volunteer. Run for office. Donate. Get involved and help West Virginia Can’t Wait, build a people’s government.

Want to know more?

Read the details of our “Small Business Revolution” plan.