Wool and Wick
Our newest Downtown shop opened yesterday! Wool and Wick, located at 416 West Main Street next to Little City Coffee in the Essee Flats Building, features handmade knitted items, locally made scented soy candles, cork-fabric handbags, wallets from Portugal, beautiful costume jewelry, a wide array of unique greeting cards – each of which is a work of art, and a large selection of stickers with interesting sayings to dress up your household items or your phone or your luggage (marketed as “Tattoos for Your Stuff).
The owners are Jennifer and Jim Troutman, who hail from Belle Vernon but recently moved back to this area from Charleston, South Carolina (as also did Jim and Sherri Scagline from Mon Valley Outdoors – bring us more of those Charleston design marketing ideas, please, and that hospitality-filled graceful attitude!!).
The “wick” in the shop’s name comes from Jennifer making the soy candles. The “wool” in the name comes from the fact that she also knits hats, scarves, and other items.
The interior design of this shop represents an amazing transformation of a dark, narrow space that has been a hard place to make retail work in the past. Although both husband and wife worked on the painting, updating the lights, coming up with the design, etc., the carpentry reflects the skill and passion attributed to Jim when I first spoke with them. Just stopping in to see the interior is a worthwhile thing.
They plan to be open till 6 PM on Tuesday through Friday and till 5 PM on Saturdays. Check their Facebook page for further details.
Flooring, Flooring, Everywhere
The flooring is in (or heavily underway) at three shop locations in the Yohe Building. After the flooring went in, the shelving was returned to the upper level of Dusty’s Discounts, and the upper-level merchandise was brought back in boxes, and some of it was shelved. Meanwhile, drywall finishing is underway at that shop’s lower level.
At the future Ezzy Mart location, the coolers have been moved into place, and some cabinets have arrived. We look forward to Dusty’s Discounts reopening soon and maybe Ezzy Mart opening almost as soon. There are rumors that Ezzy Mart will have some excellent Nepalese and Indian food and groceries from a few other places around the world.
Light of the Lobby
Walter Seal was Downtown the other day with a “Mid-Century Modern/Art Deco” floor lamp that was once used in the lobby of the Anton Theater. It is designed to light only the ceiling. He was looking for buyers, although he may have found one. If interested, contact Walter.
Craft & Vendor Show and Soup Sale
There will be a Craft and Vendor Show and Soup Sale at River Hill Church of Christ on April 1st, from 11 AM to 5 PM.
Little City Church
A new member to the community is Little City Church, a new congregation led by Pastor Nina Tidwell in the former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Building. The first service was this past Sunday, March 19th.
The Sky’s the Thing
Although it has rained a lot lately and been colder than in February (or maybe because it has rained a lot lately and been colder than in February), the sky has been interesting this week, and I find myself focusing on it when I go to take photos of what’s going on in town.
We have Gyros! …until about 6 or 7 PM, as we do every Friday, at the Dierkens Pharmacy Parking lot, Main Street at Park Avenue, across from Sheetz. Say hello to Oussama. Tell him you saw it here.
There will be a fundraiser spaghetti dinner at the Monongahela Elks Club (B.P.O. Elks #455) at 444-446 Union Street (Union and Jackson Street) on April 1st, 11 AM to 7 PM, to raise funds to help the Smith family who lost everything in a fire when their home on Jackson Street, a couple of doors up from the Elks lodge, burned a couple of nights ago.
Jim Sykes Organ Concert
On Saturday, April 1st, at 3 PM, First United Methodist Church of Monongahela will be hosting its traditional annual Lenten season organ concert by Jim Sykes at the church.
Longer Hours at the Owl
Craft D Owl craft shop and event center is now open till 7 PM on Thursdays for shoppers looking for crafts, antiques, and other notions. But have you thought about holding an event here (in the former Goodie Two Shoes Dining Room space)? They can seat about 25.
Walk Works Survey in the Works
The Monongahela WalkWorks Active Transportation Planning Project is moving right along. An electronic survey and interactive map will be published soon so everyone in the community can contribute to the planning project. Watch for the flyer saying it is active so you can provide your input. Also, a public meeting will be held within the next few weeks to bring more of the general public into the discussion.
Asset-Mappr Moving Right Along
A Group of about eight Carnegie-Mellon Computer Science students met with community representatives this morning at the Mon Valley Alliance offices to work out some details on the Asset-mappr software they are developing for Monongahela (they are also working with Uniontown). They are now developing a portion of the software that will allow organizations and grant writing agencies to survey the public on the needs for various assets in the community.
Mmsp Membership Meeting
Dues-paying “Active Members” of the Monongahela Main Street Program will meet on April 11th for the organization’s annual meeting and board member elections. If you are interested in becoming an Active Member, let us know. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trout stocking events have been happening around the area in our freshwater streams. You can go fishing with any equipment suitable for trout, or you can buy good equipment at Mon Valley Outdoors, 234 West Main Street. If you want to know what you’re doing about catching some real trout, Jim Scagline, owner of Mon Valley Outdoors, is your man. The shop is open mainly in the evenings.
Bashing and Tiquing
We understand that the Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Purse Bash fundraiser was a roaring and grand success. It seemed like a larger crowd than usual we had heard. Congratulations to Chamber Director Laura Jean (“LJ”) Kahl ! – it was her go-round at the helm of this Titanic event.
Maybe Some More Flowers
The Monongahela Main Street Program plans to add a few more flower planters at key locations Downtown. We will need about four teams of volunteers who would like to tend to them. If you’re interested, let us know at email@example.com
Industrial Farmhouse Living will have a Sip and Shop Spring Open House at their shop on Main Street in New Eagle tomorrow, March 25th, and Sunday, March 26th, from 10 AM to 2 PM. Stop by and visit with them, shop a little, and don’t sip too much.
Speaking of Farmhouses
There are still plans to open a small agriculture-related business in Downtown Monongahela in April—nothing to announce yet. We shall see.
Dubtown Vapes, located between Dollar General and Fox’s Pizza, has a new name: “Venom Vapes,” open from 12 noon – 9 PM.
It amazes me that some of our Facebook posts reach such a wide audience. We haven’t been sharing to as many pages lately, but we still reach about 5,000-10,000 FB accounts per week, and one of our Weekly Pointer posts has still been climbing, almost at 17,000 so far.
Worth Repeating From Prior Weeks
The content below appeared in previous newsletters, but we are republishing it here for our new followers.
More Clothing Being Sold
Mon Valley Cycle has added a line of garments, primarily the ones one wears when riding a motorcycle. Stop in and check it out on Park Avenue, across Main Street and the Dierkens Parking lot from Sheetz.
Our Newest Stores
Have you noticed how much our newest stores “light up “ West Main Street, both day and night? We have four completely new stores that have opened between mid-December and mid-February: Mon City Smoke Shop, Mon Valley Outdoors, Monongahela Mini Mart, and Treasures and Tattoos (the last of which is actually two shops: Rustic Home Treasures and T. Lewis Tattoos).
In addition, M&R Chocolates is in the process of opening at a new location on 10th Street. Two other stores might have been open by now but were set back due to the water main break a couple of weeks ago: Ezzy Mart and Wool and Wick. But they should still be opening soon. Work has been progressing at Wool and Wick, at least. This will be a shop selling knitted goods and candles.
Have you stopped in to welcome the new shops yet? As I did my rounds a little over a week ago, I ran into Councilman Daryl Miller, who was doing precisely that. We visited Mon City Smoke Shop together and also Treasures and Tattoos. When I dropped in at Mon Valley Outdoors one evening, I couldn’t believe how many people filtered in behind me as I talked to Jim.
These shops light our town up in the evening, as does the City Mission store and others. Mon Valley Outdoors is open primarily in the evenings, and Mon City Smoke Shop is open 13-14 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s a far cry brighter at night, not just lighting-wise, but more colorful than it was two or three years ago.
I’m amazed at how much light can come out of a tiny space like the Mon City Smoke Shop space. The Smoke Shop space has been a tricky spot for retail for some time because it’s so narrow. The light flowing out of these stores is also because the stores keep long hours. Although the owners of Mon City Smoke Shop currently live in Swissvale, they open the shop early every morning, seven days a week, at 8:30 AM Monday through Friday, 9:30 on Saturday, and 10 AM on Sunday, and they are open each night till 10 PM except Saturdays when they stay open till 11 PM.
But I like that Mon City Smoke Shop is a “tobacconist” shop and sells more than just tobacco products and smoking supplies. They have convenience items like potato chips, beverages, and canned goods. This could follow the pattern I’ve seen in Italy, for instance, where there are many things that you go to a tobacconist store to pick up because no one else carries them. This was the kind of store Odelli’s was in the 1960s, and especially Polaski’s Newsstand, which was the only store in town of its kind after about 1965. Odelli’s was started as a fruit market by a couple of Italian immigrants. By 1925, these proprietors had done well enough selling candy bars and popcorn, fruit, and tobacco that they set out to build one of the largest business blocks in town, the building that now houses Angelo’s II Restaurant.
At Mon City Smoke Shop, 2012 West Main, say hello to Abdou or his cousin Cheikh, whichever is working that day or shift. At Tattoos and Treasures, 214 West Main, you may be greeted by Tabitha Lewis, who does tattoos and paints paintings, or Rhonda Yevcinez, of Rustic Home Treasures, or maybe by a clerk (Luann Allen, who was working the other day, said hello to me, saying that she remembers me from high school!). At Mon Valley Outdoors, 234 West Main, the owner, and operator are Jim Scagline and his wife, Sheri. At Monongahela Mini Mart, 310 West Main, you will most likely be greeted by Jim Kimmel. At M&R Chocolates, 1001 West Main, the owner/operator is Michelle Chomas.
The City’s consultants have been gearing up for the WalkWorks project to develop an “Active Transportation Plan” across the next six months. City Planner Mark Lazzari of the EADS Group, design and engineering consultants, will be the principal planner. Mark is a Monongahela native who now lives in Johnstown. He will work alongside John Turack of Penn State Extension’s Economic and Community Development division, Barbara Hauge of Upstreet Architects of Johnstown, and several others. The same team is also developing an Active Transportation Plan for Delmont Borough in Westmoreland County.
The funding for the project comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, managed through a special division of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center. The purpose of the project is to identify barriers and solutions to encourage kinds of transportation other than driving an automobile, such as walking, bicycling, using a wheelchair, and use of the public transit services we have (we have excellent public transit along West Main Street in Monongahela, from both the Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority, which routes 57 busses a day through our City, and the Washington County Transit Authority, which provides ride-sharing and accessible transportation, especially for trips access the county). All of these are likely to lead to better health among the local citizenry, as well as fewer conflicts between vehicles and people using our Downtown, people who walk for exercise, or children using our streets.
The format for the project has several highly prescribed components to create a uniform planning document from community to community. This includes a Steering Committee that will consist of planners and other professionals from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (regional planning commission), Washington County Planning Department, Monongahela Planning Commission, PennDOT District 12, and various health planning agencies both local and at the state level, as well as local citizens.
The plan includes holding focus group meetings to discuss wheelchair accessibility, adult/athletic/transportation bicycle use, use of bicycles and other wheeled devices by younger people, sidewalk accessibility, and so forth. One of the project’s outcomes should be to identify projects that PennDOT can incorporate into any future work it does in our City.
Handmade Right Here
If you’re looking for unique gifts with an artsy touch, things crafted right here in our community or the immediate area, here are some shops you should stop by:
Try Noel’s Primitives, where Monongahela Main Street Program member Karen Langol has her widely varied and very attractive crafts on display, from rag rugs to Christmas ornaments to porch décor to candles, soaps, and other scented items.
If you haven’t been to “Craft ‘D’ Owl” yet (where Goody Two-Shoes Tea Room used to be, just two doors down West Main Street from the Monongahela Volunteer Fire Department’s fire station), you really should stop by and say hi to Becky. I’m not sure I have this right, but I think Craft ‘D’ Owl” has at least four rooms with merchandise on display (Noel’s Primitives, BTW, also has several back rooms with items on display that you should make sure not to miss). While at “Craft ‘D’ Owl,” check out the event space where Goody Two-Shoes used to have their tea parties.
While you’re at it, check out Sweets by Mrs. C, or the primitives at Industrial Farmhouse Living on Main Street in New Eagle, plus …oh, I’m sure if I keep going, I’ll still miss three or four others like these. Make sure you check out the beautiful clothing and related items at Alpha Equine, and the T-shirts and hats, etc., at Sparkles by Shell.
And make sure to stop at Uncommonly Beautiful (another Monongahela Main Street Program member), which has beautiful women’s and children’s clothing, household items, and a host of interesting other things. And don’t overlook Dusty’s Discounts, which now has mountains of toys and household items on display, and be sure to drop by next door at Rabe’s Trading Post and Leighanna’s Closet (children’s clothing), …oh, and so many other fine shops. What a great shopping city this little place is becoming.
Sambol’s Daily Specials
Have you been watching the daily specials advertised by Sambol’s Bakery & Candy Shop. Sambol’s typically has a meal each day on special, which is so popular that they sell out before their 5 PM closing time. Sambol’s meal specials were a key component in developing this very popular business. I credit that we even have a downtown bakery to the popularity of the meal specials that used to sell out daily at their prior location. Watch for Sambol’s specials, especially on Fridays in Lent this year. We have a wonderful City!
OUR MOTTO AT THE MONONGAHELA MAIN STREET PROGRAM IS:
“For a Thriving Downtown and a Fully Engaged Community.”
The motto reflects our Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Goals. Our primary goal is to show how a balanced application of the National Main Street Program’s Four-Point Approach will bring more life and vitality to Downtown Monongahela. If you are interested in being part of the Monongahela Main Street Program, contact us about what we might all be able to do together at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WE HAVE A WONDERFUL CITY!
Terry A. Necciai, RA, Exec.Dir., MMSP