Scottdale store features products made in state
Tom Bailey learned during his years as manager of the Scottdale Farmer's Market people liked to buy local products.
This, in turn, spurred him to create an online directory in 2009 listing only Pennsylvania manufacturers and agricultural producers.
Now he and partner Regis Luden (each of whom is a Scottdale resident) have taken matters a step further with the recent opening of PennMade, located at 109 Spring St., across from the Scottdale Public Library. Each of the items for sale at the store is made in the Keystone State.
“I think there is good quality material made in the state,” Bailey said. “I think this is the first outlet in the state that sells just PA-made products. We're trying to recognize the market. I think the market's there. I got the idea when I was at the Farmer's Market that people want to buy local. We're testing our economic theory.”
The local products available range from corn brooms made in Freeport, work gloves from Brookville and mountain pie irons from West Newton. There's also cheese made in the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania native plants and CDs from local musicians such as the Knobs from North Huntingdon, the NewLanders (whose female vocalist Paula Purnell is based in Greensburg) and Brenda Jean of Pittsburgh.
“Me and Tom always talked about this idea,” Luden said. “Half of the time you go to places...look at knick-knacks and stuff like that, it's all made overseas. We just thought about the idea and here you can't help but buy something that's made in the states.”
Both Bailey and Luden have full-time jobs during the day so the store's hours are limited: 4:30-7 p.m., Thursday; 4-6 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
So far, business hasn't been bad.
“I'm surprised,” Bailey said. “People say they like buying the local product and it will last. They can support a local business and buy a quality product.”
Those mountain pie makers are manufactured by C. Palmer Manufacturing Co. Inc. of West Newton. Other local companies whose products are available at PennMade include: Natrona Bottling Company, Clover Creek Cheese Cellar of Williamsburg, National Envelope, which has a plant in Upper Tyrone; Thomas DeLuca's handmade leather products, items from Jim Garwood, a blacksmith who lives in Ruffsdale; Sun and Earth Inc. of King of Prussia (which markets cleaning products); Community Energy, Radius Toothbrush of Kutztown, Superior Broom Company of Freeport, Brookville Glove and Berglorbeer Farma of Windber, as well as referring customers to Berich Farms.
“For all of the companies, I pass out their literature,” Bailey said. “If people aren't interested in buying right now, they can find a lot more about it.”
During this weekend's fall festival popcorn will be sold in which the corn was grown in Pennsylvania, and it will be topped with Clover Creek Cheese.
Also, Bailey is able to incorporate his position as an economics teacher at Hempfield Area High School into his new venture.
“A lot of these kids coming up, they'd like to stay in the area, but there's not that much economic activity going on,” Bailey explained. “If some of these businesses can remain viable, I think they can stay in the area....If the money stays in the community, it's better for the economy.”
Bailey and Luden hope to continue to bring in more local inventory and have different events at their store.
Bailey added that if anyone knows of a Pennsylvania manufacturer to let him know and that product can be distributed at PennMade.
Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.