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Laughlintown merchants form association to promote area

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Cami DiBattista | For the Ligonier Echo
Gene and Barbara Kravits of Truffles Antiques stand in front of their antiques shop along Route 30 in Laughlintown. They are part of a group initiating the newly formed Laughlintown Merchants Association.

Business owners in the village of Laughlintown are working to form a merchants association in the hopes of promoting the area and encouraging travelers and local residents alike to visit and shop in their town.

“We want people to realize we're here,” said Barbara Kravits, who co-owns Truffles Antiques with her husband, Gene.

Kravits said tourists drawn to the quaint town of Ligonier often do not realize that a mere 3 miles away is Laughlintown — a village housing a variety of businesses and historic buildings — many of which are more than 200 years old.

“The village was established in 1797,” said Gene Kravits. “This is a town with a rich history and some of the businesses here have been operating for decades.”

Terry Coyne owner of The Conservatory said last year she and several other establishments — The Ligonier Country Inn and The Compass Inn — joined together to offer a tour, lunch and shop experience for groups.

“We really wanted to put together another group of merchants and this has been great,” said Coyne, “It's a very nice group to work with. We're all here to support and promote each other.”

The association, which was formed several months ago, currently consists of a core group of area business owners but it is their hope that all of the facilities — those offering services as well as retail shops, will join in to help entice visitors to “shop, dine and tour” in Laughlintown.

“We would love to have everyone's support,” said Barbara Kravits.

The association plans to conduct a variety of activities and events. Some ventures suggested include car and antique shows, flea markets, a community dinner to celebrate the town and a founder's day event.

A recent generous donation from a lifetime Laughlintown resident may help decorate the town next spring. Daffodil bulbs will soon be donated to the establishments along Route 30 in the hopes of adding a pop of color to the town when they bloom in the spring.

“This plan is in the early stages but I think it could be really fun,” said Coyne, “Maybe we could have a Daffodil Days event.”

Promotional materials such as a shopper's guide and a Facebook page are currently in production.

“This will be good for all the businesses here. We have a nice little town and we want to share it with the public,” said Gene Kravits.

The next meeting of the Laughlintown Merchants Association is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 11. Gene and Barbara Kravits can be reached at 724-238-6500, for more information.

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.