Dils Center efforts to continue
Foundation established in Stubbe’s memory
PARKERSBURG — Todd Stubbe’s unexpected passing earlier this month does not mean the end of his vision for the Dils Center and downtown Parkersburg.
“Todd left very detailed, very good plans … and he had a very clear vision for what he wanted to do downtown,” said Morgan Stubbe, taking a break recently from repainting the teal walls in the Burwell ballroom on the first floor of the downtown landmark her husband purchased last year.
“He wanted downtown to thrive. He wanted more people to support local businesses.”
Todd Stubbe, who died July 4, piqued a lot of interest in early 2018 when he reopened the iconic Market Street department store-turned-event-center and office space. In the first half of the year, it played host to private parties, musical performances, a wrestling event, pageant and more. Events are booked through December and will continue as planned, Morgan Stubbe said.
“Nothing has been moved or changed,” she said. “(Todd) had this drive and passion to make this happen, and there’s no way we can stop this.”
Parkersburg Pride’s OUTlandish Bingo and drag show was held July 22, and Cosmic Pete’s, the music venue in the center’s lower level, has performances planned for next week.
There are nearly a dozen businesses operating in the Dils Center, with space for more still available, Morgan Stubbe said. Todd’s long-term vision of offering loft apartments on the top floor remains on the horizon.
Many of the people who were working with her husband on renovating and updating the building continue to do so, Morgan Stubbe said, and she has now stepped into Todd’s role. They’re looking to expand on the services offered for events, such as providing linens and other materials people now have to get from other vendors.
Doing the work her husband did has given Morgan Stubbe an even deeper appreciation of his efforts, she said.
“It’s difficult. But at the same time, knowing that what my husband was working for is still going to happen is so wonderful,” she said.
The business owners “have done a great job of creating this community and promoting each other,” she said.
Brenda Helms, owner of Studio 6 Yoga on Market on the second floor of the Dils building, said Todd Stubbe supported all the businesses in the facility, even attending classes at her studio.
“He was just so inspirational to all of us,” she said.
Helms and other business owners have banded together with friends and family of Stubbe to establish the Todd Stubbe Dream Foundation. Its goals include offering scholarships to business students, especially those looking to start a venture in the downtown area, and providing startup funds for entrepreneurs, said Stephanie Taylor, a friend of the Stubbes who has assisted with marketing for the Dils Center.
“Todd Stubbe was a visionary for this community, and I think it’s incredibly important that we rally and push this forward,” she said.
A GoFundMe campaign has so far raised more than half of the $3,000 goal to cover the estimated costs of establishing the foundation as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization.
“That’s been really, really awesome, to have the support of the community in that way,” Taylor said.
The effort is getting another push with the Brews for Stubbes event, a two-day series of concerts slated for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3-4, at the Parkersburg Brewing Co., just up the street from the Dils Center. One hundred percent of the $10 cover charge will go to the foundation, along with 10 percent of taproom sales.
“Any leftover is going to go straight into the foundation bank account,” Taylor said.
Helms said another fundraiser called Stubbe Fest is being planned for Sept. 1 at the Dils Center. She described it as a sort of “re-grand opening” featuring tours, family activities and bands performing in the evening.