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Business atmosphere in Bridgeville has town talking

- Mary Weiss, director of Bridgeville Area Historical Society, inspects an original bottle from Bridgeville Bottling Works. File photo
Mary Weiss, director of Bridgeville Area Historical Society, inspects an original bottle from Bridgeville Bottling Works. File photo
- Ashley Federico, of Scott Township, top right, rings out customer Claire Wallace of Mt. Lebanon as M.J. Whalen, bottom right, of Cecil hands over an order at LaBella Bean Coffee Shop in Bridgeville. File photo
Ashley Federico, of Scott Township, top right, rings out customer Claire Wallace of Mt. Lebanon as M.J. Whalen, bottom right, of Cecil hands over an order at LaBella Bean Coffee Shop in Bridgeville. File photo
- Jeff Massetti of Washington, part-owner of LaBella Bean Coffee Shop, talks to employees in the kitchen at his store in Bridgeville. File photo
Jeff Massetti of Washington, part-owner of LaBella Bean Coffee Shop, talks to employees in the kitchen at his store in Bridgeville. File photo

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By Jeff Widmer
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:56 p.m.
 

Getting a firm gauge on how the business atmosphere in Bridgeville is doing nowadays is not easy.

It all depends on who you ask.

Bridgeville Area Historical Society President Mary Weise, for instance, believes the borough's business atmosphere is “perking up” from past decades. Weise, who was born and raised in Bridgeville, believes the main reason for this is Bridgeville's advantageous location.

“I think Bridgeville is up and coming right now. I think there are strong reasons for that. I think you have very pertinent neighborhoods in other areas, like Nevillewood in Collier and other neighborhoods in South Fayette. Those people are coming to businesses and restaurants in Bridgeville,” Weise said.

LaBella Bean and Coffee Shop opened in Bridgeville in 2001. It is a small, family business, with most of the family members living in nearby Collier and Scott.

“I think the fact that we are a close-knit (family) helps the business. I think Bridgeville was the best place for this business, I really do,” said co-owner Jeff Massetti.

Newer, more trendy establishments are experiencing success in Bridgeville.

Sauce, a restaurant/bar known for its hamburger specials, came to the borough in 2001. It was an instant success, said Manager Dawne Taylor.

“It was standing room only in here. I think the population of South Fayette was growing at the time. And we have Upper St. Clair just down (Bower Hill Road),” she said.

Owner Clint Pohl likes the fact that Bridgeville is a “walking business community.”

“You have to like that. People can just walk right in,” he said.

Some longtime Bridgeville business owners are suggesting, however, that the borough's ability to pull in new customers has lost some of its luster.

Lou Saut has owned Impossible Dreams, a comic book store on Washington Avenue, for more than 18 years. He grew up in Cecil but spent most of his summers growing up in Bridgeville.

“I used to take the bus here, because there was a lot to do (in Bridgeville). Now, what I see is a lot of vehicles going up and down the main road, just going from (South Fayette to Collier),” Saut said.

Like any other town, Bridgeville has seen its share of businesses come and go over the years.

Charles Degrosky is a member of the board of directors at the Bridgeville Area Historical Society. He will be 80 this year; 60 of those years have been spent in Bridgeville, he said.

Degrosky graduated from Bridgeville High School, which is now the Goodwill Apartment Building. He can remember when the Washington Grade School on Washington Avenue burned down in the late 1950s.

Other past businesses include the Fryer Funeral Home (now Rite Aid) and the Galaxy Theater (now the location of Burg's Pizza and Wings Pub).

Emerald VanBuskirk, executive director of the South West Communities Chamber of Commerce for the past 20 years, said she believes Bridgeville's economy is moving in the right direction.

“There seems to be more energy there. Everything seems to be more engaged,” she said.

Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or jwidmer@tribweb.com.

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