Bethlehem Moving Forward With South Side Garage Despite Stalled Development

The Bethlehem Parking Authority is moving forward with a study for a new South Side parking garage despite any concrete plans for the major buildings for which the garage is supposed to be needed.

Authority Executive Director Kevin Livingston said the authority can’t wait for developer Dennis Benner to have signed tenants for his planned South Side buildings because the authority could lose the state grant funding set aside for the garage.

Bethlehem has filed for an extension for the $5.2 million in state grant funding but isn’t sure if the extension will be approved, Livingston said.

“We’re obviously afraid of losing it,” he said.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2015/03/bethlehem_moving_forward_with.html

Aldi To Reopen 30 Of 66 Shut Bottom Dollar Stores

Discount grocer Aldi said Friday that it will reopen 30 of the 66 former Bottom Dollar stores it took over in Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and northeast Ohio after the previous owner, the Delhaize Group, shut Bottom Dollar last year.

Five ex-Bottom Dollar stores in Philadelphia and 14 in the suburbs will reopen. Four Philadelphia stores will stay shut, along with 13 in the suburbs.

Aldi, an Illinois-based U.S. arm of Germany’s Albrecht family grocery conglomerate, said in 2013 it planned a $3 billion expansion, and Friday’s announcement is part of that effort.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150328_Aldi_to_reopen_30_of_66_shut_Bottom_Dollar_stores.html#PzL7PW1CHTgYrswX.99

Additional article about Lehigh Valley locations:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/03/aldi_to_convert_2_of_8_bottom.html

Fly Magazine Keep South Central Pennsylvania Up To Date On Entertainment, Dining and Nightlife

http://flymagazine.net/ is a great site to visit if you live in or visit Lancaster, York or Harrisburg.  Keeps you up to date on what’s going on, events, dining, music and arts and culture.  Happy Friday!

Lancaster City Council Approves Vegan Bar

Come mid-May, Lancaster city should have its first vegan bar and restaurant.

City council on Tuesday unanimously approved a liquor license transfer that paves the way for restaurateur Rob Garpstas to open root (The “r” is lower case) at 223 West Walnut Street.

Council approved the transfer following a brief public hearing that included a recommendation from Mayor Rick Gray for approval. No one opposed the transfer, which had been in Ruby Tuesday Inc.’s name, but was being held in safekeeping by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Gray wondered if there were many vegan bars around. Vegans do not eat or use animal products.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-city-council-approves-vegan-bar/article_82e16b44-d288-11e4-81c1-3fe7a453c3cd.html

Boscov’s To remodel Wilkes-Barre Store To Tune Of $1 Million; Work To Start In 2 Weeks

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Al Boscov said Tuesday that the long-awaited million-dollar renovation of the downtown store will begin in two weeks.

“We’ve had a slight change in design, and that’s the reason for the delay in starting,” Boscov said. “The project will begin on the third floor and the estimate remains at $1 million.”

It’s been one year since Boscov announced the plan to remodel the South Main Street store and customers and employees have been anticipating the project.

Last March, Gary Boyer, Boscov’s senior executive vice president/chief stores officer, said carpeting was going to be installed within a month, but the project never started. Boyer also said shoppers could expect to see brighter lights, new carpeting and flooring, freshly painted walls, some new features, expanded departments and maybe a few new shops.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-home_top-local-news/152531939/

With New Owners, Haines Shoe House Becomes Bakery & Treat Shop

Where else in the world can you eat cake pops from inside a gigantic work boot?

Probably nowhere.

Melanie Schmuck is banking on that novelty, as she and her husband, Jeff Schmuck, convert the ground floor of the Haines Shoe House into a bakery and dine-in treat shop.

“We wanted something quirky,” Jeff said. “Something that would stand out.”

Read more:

http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_27751427/new-owners-haines-shoe-house-becomes-bakery-treat

iCreate Café Draws People To Pottstown With Healthy, Plant-Based Meals

icreatelogojanuaryPottstown, PA – “Vegiterranean” might not be an official word in the dictionary but it’s the word iCreate Café owner Ashraf Khalil uses to describe his dishes that are a combination of vegetarian and Mediterranean food.

The café at 130 King St. may seem like just another building from the outside but once customers walk in, they are greeted with a variety of colors, comfortable couches and plenty of seating. The small café does a lot with a little including also being a computer training center. But in recent years, it’s been the vegetarian fare that keeps people coming back.

Khalil, or Ash as most customers know him, said Mediterranean fare uses a lot of legumes such as chickpeas, fava beans and lentils. As a native of Syria, he grew up on dishes that included more plant-based foods than meat. He said there were very little animal sources in meals, partly because it’s very expensive to buy overseas.

“That’s one of the reasons we love hummus. We grew up eating it back in Syria, not knowing it has all this protein but because it’s cheap and affordable,” he said during a recent cooking demonstration at the café.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/lifestyle/20150323/icreate-cafxe9-draws-people-to-pottstown-with-healthy-plant-based-meals

Turkey Hill Robberies In Wilkes-Barre Area Raise Security Questions

Sheetz, a popular convenience chain in Northeastern Pennsylvania, is open all night year round. Yet it seems rare that the chain’s stores get robbed.

The same can’t be said, however, for Turkey Hill stores in the Wyoming Valley.

There have been 10 robberies at Turkey Hill stores in Wilkes-Barre and Kingston since Jan. 26, of which three of those robberies happened last week.

What’s the difference?

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news-news/152453142/

Grass-Roots Effort For A Marketplace In The Mall At Steamtown Continues

SCRANTON, PA — The idea of a Reading Terminal Market marketplace in the Mall at Steamtown is gaining momentum.

The concept to create a marketplace in a portion of the mall began nearly two months ago as brothers, Michael and George Boyd, both of Scranton, started a Facebook page to gauge public’s interest to save their city’s retail hub.

Thousands in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties have weighed in on the idea. Last month, the Boyd brothers said the positive responses were “overwhelming.”

Today the Facebook page, Reading Terminal Market at the Mall at Steamtown, has more than 5,800 “Likes” and is getting people talking about how to revive the mall.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-local-news/152278963/

Craft Beer Festival Coming To Reading In April

Join us as we celebrate great Craft Beer from local and around the country selections, at the inaugural Reading Craft Beer Festival! Breweries and beer enthusiasts from across the region will gather one Saturday afternoon for an unlimited sampling of over 100 fresh beers of all colors, styles, and tastes and a whole lot of fun! 

The Reading Craft Beer Festival will be held at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA on Saturday April 18, 2015. Downtown Reading has not been the site of a craft beer festival of this size and scope.

Join Us

Tickets are available now at:

For more information check out the Reading Craft Beer festival website: http://www.readingbeerfest.com/

Has Philadelphia’s Market East’s Time Finally Come?

If Philadelphia were a basketball court, Market Street East would be that inexplicable dead spot on the floor, the place where the ball just doesn’t bounce.

The eight-block corridor has four Dunkin’ Donuts and two Subway sandwich shops — but no outdoor cafe. A McDonald’s sits in what used to be a porn emporium.

The mid-street shopping selection on what should be a glittery avenue ranges from drug store to cut-rate clothing to cash-for-gold. Addicts come and go from a methadone clinic. The homeless own the corners, and the constant, rolling wall of buses fouls the air.

For years, when people like Paul Levy pitched the route’s potential to developers, they answered, “Yeah, I get it, but nobody goes to Market Street.”

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Mall_to_the_Hall.html

Wolf’s State Store Plan An Ambitious Cocktail

Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal Tuesday called for a modernization of State Stores to generate $185 million in additional annual profit by fiscal 2018.

The dramatically increased profits would be used to make payments on a $3 billion bond issue designed to help close the $30 billion gap in the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, according to Wolf’s plan.

Under it, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, endangered by Republican talk of privatizing the system, instead would have a monumental task – assuming it gains General Assembly approval.

Based on the system’s profitability in the year ended June 30, gross revenue from the state’s 600-plus wine and spirits outlets would have to soar to $5.7 billion in fiscal 2018 from $2.3 billion in fiscal 2014 to generate an additional $185 million in profits.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150307_Wolf_s_state_store_plan_an_ambitious_cocktail.html#rm8GTPsAek3O34kS.99

Change At The Top: Isaac’s Restaurant Leaders Talk About Year Of Transition

LANCASTER, PA – For 30 years, Phil Wenger was the guiding force behind Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches.

He grew it from a single restaurant in downtown Lancaster to a regional chain with 18 locations, 550 employees and $20 million in annual sales.

But a year ago today, Wenger stepped away from Isaac’s at age 55, handing control and the title of president and CEO to D. Michael Weaver.

It wasn’t an obvious choice.

While Wenger had been open about not wanting to sell Isaac’s to an outside restaurant company, his chosen successor had zero experience in the industry.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/health/change-at-the-top-isaac-s-restaurant-leaders-talk-about/article_9a2fdd57-24b6-5af8-b124-525f7e98c0fb.html

First King Of Prussia Restaurant Week, dineKOP, Runs March 2 Through 8

UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA – For seven straight days King of Prussia will be overflowing with enough asparagus bisque, Kona Crusted Sirloin, Chili Glazed Salmon and crème brulee to dazzle even the most jaded celebrity chef.

All those dishes and many more will be showcased by the town’s top restaurants during the inaugural King of Prussia Restaurant Week, also known as the snappily honed-down “dineKOP.”

Not surprisingly the brains and heart behind dineKOP, which runs March 2 through 8, is King of Prussia District (KOP-BID), producers of the annual Beerfest Royale.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/lifestyle/20150227/first-king-of-prussia-restaurant-week-dinekop-runs-march-2-through-8

Tesla’s Plans For Lehigh Valley Mall Supercharger Station Stall

Tesla Motors Inc. has scrapped plans to build a supercharger station at Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township.

Township commissioners approved the project in August and Tesla hoped to begin welcoming motorists last fall, but couldn’t get around a roadblock put up by J.C. Penney, according to Mayor Ed Hozza Jr. and a PPL Corp. spokesman.

The station was slated for property in the parking lot west of the Grape Street mall entrance near J.C. Penney. In order to supply the station with power, PPL needed to run an underground electrical line through the lot, a section of which is owned by the department store.

J.C. Penney rejected the utility’s request for an easement to put in the line, PPL spokesman Paul Wirth said Tuesday. PPL proposed an alternate route for the line, but hasn’t heard back from Tesla on how to proceed.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/02/tesla_lehigh_valley_mall.html

Could The Mall At Steamtown Reinvent Itself With An Open-Air Market Atmosphere?

SCRANTON, PA — The Mall at Steamtown hasn’t exactly been running at full power lately.

But a couple of brothers have gone to social media to pitch an idea to put more firepower in the ailing mall, and the public is starting to take notice.

Scranton natives Michael Boyd and his brother George think creating a marketplace similar to the long-standing Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia could be the key to the city’s revitalization.

The downward spiral of the once-vibrant downtown mall has been apparent in recent years. A walk through the two-story structure on Lackawanna Avenue last week showed 47 active store fronts and 23 shuttered ones.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/business/151922265/

Can The Wyoming Valley’s Platter Hold More Restaurants?

WILKES-BARRE TWP., PA — Five national chain restaurants opened in the area last year and two more are slated to open soon. Two others — Pizza Hut and Lone Star — went out of business last month.

So has area’s restaurant bubble finally popped?

No, said John Bartorillo, president of Maslow Lumia Bartorillo Advertising in Wilkes-Barre.

“Saturated? No,” said Bartorillo. “We have not reached that point yet.”

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-home_top/151817501/Is-there-room-for-more

Cops: Irate Wawa Customer Tries To Strangle Worker

When Wawa employees told Terron Reed his order couldn’t be prepared as requested, he apparently didn’t take the news too well.

Instead of adjusting his meal, the 36-year-old Bear, Del., man threw a coffee display stand at a worker, then tried to strangle her, threw her to the ground, and threatened to shoot other employees before leaving the convenience store, according to Delaware State Police.

Police said the bizarre altercation happened at the Wawa at 1400 Beaverbrook Plaza in New Castle about 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20150220_Cops__Irate_Wawa_customer_tries_to_strangle_worker.html#kVscl58Vque331mJ.99

Kmart To Close At Schuylkill Mall

FRACKVILLE, PA — Kmart at the Schuylkill Mall will close later this year.

Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings, said in an email today the Kmart store will close.

Employees were notified this morning of the closure, he said.

“We did not renew the lease for the Kmart store in the Schuylkill Mall and the store will close to the public in mid-October. Until then, the store will remain open for customers,” Riefs said.

A liquidation sale will begin July 19.

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/kmart-to-close-at-schuylkill-mall-1.1834328

Philly’s On A Roll

Kat Clark, 25, has chosen to make a home in West Philadelphia after graduating in 2012 from Swarthmore College.

“It’s just a great place to live,” she said as she sipped coffee at La Colombe in the shadow of City Hall. Though the Chicago-area native considered relocating to New York City after school, the lure of Philadelphia’s cultural offerings, combined with the city’s comparative affordability, proved too tempting.

“There are a lot of artistic people around and this great academic scene,” she said, ticking off a laundry list of attributes that drew her to move here. “It’s not too large, but you can still do everything else you would do in a big city.

“In Philly, there’s still a lot going on, but you have space to grow,” echoed her friend, 24-year-old Tayarisha Poe.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Philly_is_on_a_national_roll.html