Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 12, 1995 · Page 66
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January 12, 1995

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 66

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Thursday, January 12, 1995
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E-2 PITTSBURG! I POST-GAZETTE D Tl IURSDAY, JANUARY 1 2, 1995 WILD ABOUT VILKII1SDURG Business owners not convinced by rough image " liiiiii) luifcwniiiii mi in in i "I' i l M , . . P. 1 i. ": - f i : " f , ,' '-,! 'tl " .- ,): -.' - ' r I - J ! ' ' f , . :j Ssrj j r ---h j 1 1 , ' :S m u . t;'; iilihiiiiiiiiiii in i ii. in 3&V - -.. - ' .V"" ' " ' ' "' S : 4.,r h :z rSf ' . ' ; "Vm in this for the long haul " Sherman Nesbitt Anna Marie Kapp, left, says business is good at ABM Printing Co.,-' .which opened in April on Penn Avenue between Wood and .Center. She maintains violence in Wilkinsburg has been overplayed by the media. Below, Leonard Mc-Cormick opened Lenny's Hardware store, on Penn Avenue early last year. Assistant manager at Wilkinsburg Hardware Co. when it closed in 1993, he has reopened across the street. "I saw there was a need when it closed. " i a 789 i I W $yx mkw j ti$H -V" - k : ' : Wi a4- BUSINESSES FROM PAGE E-l His business is growing, McCor-mick said. "I saw there was a need when it closed," he said. "I bought some . stuff from the old store, but I had to . start small. As I get to know the . business and know exactly what the customer needs, I'll expand my inventory." That's no surprise to Clark W. Walter, executive director of the Wilkinsburg Chamber of Commerce, who says there are perks for doing business in his borough. "Plenty of parking. And you get 75 minutes on the meter for 25 cents in a lot; 30 minutes for 25 cents on the street, and $30 parking permits are only $30 a month," he says laughing. Walter, who works part-time for the chamber, is a specialist in motivational development for Career Dynamics in the Strip District. He believes his talents can be useful as head of the borough's chamber. "I realize this is a good place to help people be motivated and set goals," he says. "And I see my role here as that of developing a line of communication between the businessmen and -women, and to get people working together for the betterment of the community." Walter says there are now about 150 small businesses located within Wilkinsburg's main business district along Penn Avenue, Wood Street and Ross and South avenues, 30 to 40 outside the main business district, and several others that share office space or operate out of their homes. And more are coming. "Wholey's is coming in with a 2,000-square-feet market on Penn Avenue," he points out. "They'll carry frozen meets, frozen seafood and grocery items New owners are taking over Shelfrin's furniture store." . . The strong commercial interest in Wilkinsburg continues despite statisticsthat show violence and street crime have been serious . problems in the borough in recent years. Statistics released in November by the state police for 1993 show' serious crime fell by 32 percent, compared with the previous year. However, the figures still show 7.74 serious crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, burglary, car theft and arson for every 100 people, the highest rate in Allegheny County. Sherman Nesbitt of Sports Gear Unlimited, Linda Ruckert of Linda's Imprinted Products and Beverly Peacock, Anna Marie Kapp and Amy Tiani of ABM Printing Co. are typical of the new business owners who are operating in Wilkinsburg's main business district. The business owners, who share the block of Penn Avenue between Wood and Center streets, say the violence angle has been overplayed by the media, giving the borough a negative image it doesn't deserve. Peacock and Kapp say they continually have to defend their choice of Wilkinsburg as a business location. "People thought we were crazy to open a shop in Wilkinsburg," says Kapp. "It's because of the negative things they hear on TV or in the newspapers. But if they would come here, they wouldn't feel that way." ABM Printing opened in April in the 700 block of Penn Avenue. The three-woman partnership is working out fine, they say. "Business is getting better all the time," says Peacock, 47. "We like working in Wilkinsburg. There are really friendly people here." Peacock, of Wilkinsburg, says she and Kapp, 46, of Delmont, once worked for the Bear Press Co. before it was sold to new owners early last year. When the former owners refused to consider selling the business to them, Peacock and Kapp decided to go into the quick-print business themselves, printing business cards, letterheads, fliers, mailers, resumes, envelopes and labels. Tiani, 22, of Churchill, who is Kapp's niece, joined them in the venture. Tiani and Kapp are former Wilkinsburg residents. "We knew all the Bear Co. customers," explained Peacock. "And many of them came to us when we opened. Bear is out of business now." Nesbitt, 45, of Wilkinsburg, expects to work hard at Sports Gear Unlimited, the business . that he and his sister, Jane Nesbitt, 38, started four years ago. Mr. Nesbitt employs nis daughter, Kimberly, 26, at the store on Penn Avenue. "I'm in this for the long haul," says Nesbitt. "I know this community as a good community with a family atmosphere and a good spirit." Nesbitt says when he opened his store in April 1990, he determined that locating in Wilkinsburg was "economically sound." "There's low overhead," says Nesbitt. "When there's low overhead, a business has a better chance to survive. And the business community here has a good racial balance." Just around the corner on Wood Street, new store owners also are finding success in Wilkinsburg. Ruckert, 42, opened her business little more than a year ago. She shares office space in a building on Penn Avenue. "I have customers in Oakland, Downtown, Mur-rysville, South Hills," says Ruckert. "Wilkinsburg is accessible to all areas of the city. I looked at other places. But Wilkinsburg ended up being good for me. "I see Wilkinsburg as a community of fellowship. I've met the businessmen I'm sharing this block with, and I use as many of the services here as I can." Matt Lemon, 23, of Wilkinsburg, opened Upbeat Records Aug. 8. His new business is a stepping stone, he says, to what he hopes will become a string of record shops. "I didn't have the money to invest in a mall operation," says Lemon. "So I decided to open here first and learn. Living here was 50 percent of the reason why I stayed in Wilkinsburg. Since I live here, why not work here?" Lemon employs his nephew, Jayrue Lemon, 16, of Wilkinsburg, on weekends and during school vacations. "It's good to have a business in the community you live in," says Jayrue. "This experience will help me when I need references." In the same block on Wood Street, there are several other relatively new businesses: Sam's Tailoring & Dry Cleaning, which opened three years ago and is operated by Sam Rose, 47. The Corner Shop, which opened four years ago and is operated by David Thornton and his sister, Beverly Johnson-Mapis. Thornton's wife, Terry, runs the store, which carries women's wear. Hats N Things, opened two years ago and is owned by Lawrence Dixon. Lamont Bradley man- fc ..." 43Ln . 1 kt rTTi k a he teflf if M'rtf : Linda Ruckert of Linda's Imprinted Products shows Clark Walter some watches she has imprinted. She also works with such things as pens, T-shirts, mugs and pencil holders. PHOTOS. ' - , iM.x fJrl ' BY ROBERT J.. PAVUCHAK ages the store and is a lesser partner in the venture. Mel's Shoe Repair. Wood Street Emporium, one of the first new businesses on Wood Street, is owned and operated by Jomo and Tina Stevens, of Wilkinsburg. Walter likens Wilkinsburg's new businesses to candles lighting the dark. t;. V' b. Chamber of Commerce chief Clark Walter believes in shopping in Wilkinsburg. He bought a snow shovel and ice melter at Lenny's Hardware. U.S. court (o resolve dispute over state desegregation funds "All of the darkness in the world cannot snuff out the light of one candle," he says, "and Wilkinsburg has a lot of candles burning. So, it is our challenge to bring the candles together and create a light bright enough to overcome the stigma of a negative image. "We must not let the bleakness of the situation cloud the brightness of the future." floor best in U.S. floor in the eastern United States. As we have danced at ballrooms at many other U.S. locations, we suggest that the Pallisades has the best dance floor in the whole United States. CHARLES L. STONAGE and BARBARA M. KIRLIN Penn Hills opinion EAST LETTER TO THE EDITOR JHttebutxi!) Pasf-iSazette Metropolitan editor Edwina L Kaikat Engagements, weddings: Announce- Assistant Metro editor David Guo merits should be typed or printed and Suburban sports editor Terry Shields include day and weekend telephone num- ber; and municipality where bride, bride- ...u M mmm iiim-r groom and their parents live; and date of WHERE TO CALL, WRITE wedding if available. Black and white Mews 263-1920 wedding photos of the bride or bride and FYi East 263-1920 groom are preferred To obtain a form , send Sports....""."."!! 263-1462 a self-addressed stamped envelope to Photodesk 263-1951 Joanne Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Photo reprints 263 1 424 34 Blvd. of the Allies. Pittsburgh 1 5222. Home delivery 263-1121 Bulletin Board Hems: Library news, Retail ads 263-1388 YMCA events, movies, plays, musical pre- Want aos 263-1201 sentations, religion, benefits, mall happen- Otr er departments 263-1 100 ings and other events are printed each week fax. 263-1 877 in the FYI East Bulletin Board. Send these to 1 FYI East. Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 34 Blvd. Items to be published in PG East should of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. hiilltfn,8 b9tor8 Military nrmncww.: Please type Thursday date of publication. w pnnt and da ,5 News, birth announcements and let- phone number. Send these to Robert H. ters to editor On news items and Lutzjr . Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of announcements, please type or print infor- the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. mation and include a day phone number. On letters, include signature, address and . "( m Town, community sports phone number tor confirmation. Pseudo- registrations and other sports Horns: nyms are not permitted. Letters are subect Please type or print information and include to editing Send these to Edwina I . Kaikai, day telephone number. Send these to Terry metropolitan editor, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Shields. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of Pittsburgh 15222. the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Ballroom dance As ballroom dancers, we wish to compliment the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the recent favorable article regarding the Pallisades Ballroom in Mc-Keesport. We often dance there, and echo your remarks. Your article stated that the Pallisades has the best wood FUNDS FROM PAGE E-l order. "This last decision is a sential example of a paradox. The court case will continue until the district and the commonwealth can prove W2 have our house in order. That proof will come from an evaluation, which the commonwealth refuses to support. The logic escapes me," Herman wrote. The state agreed to pay costs for the 1994-95 school year, but it is disputing costs from previous years. Gary Tuma, spokesman for the Department of Education,' said the state's position was similar to what it had been. "In general, there are some costs we do not believe we ought to be responsible to pay. We don't know of ' any areas of agreement," said Tuma. He added that the state has agreed to pay for the fringe benefits but nothing else until the parties meet in federal court March 6. Herman said the 18-month dispute, which is equivalent to about 5 '. mills of property taxes, is a "bureau-'. cratic nightmare" that continues to: disrupt the district's finances. ; "I've given up on the idea that the : state is interested in what is best for; the students of Woodland Hills,": Herman said. "Clearly, their mis-; sion is to spend the least amount of money possible." Tim Means is a free-lance writer. ' r