Closure of West Side News shocks previous owners
For Ed and Rita Bornstein, the closing earlier this month of West Side News at 314 W. Crawford Ave. was a shock.
The couple owned and operated the Connellsville business for 33 years before selling it to James Shubert in January. Shubert announced he was closing West Side News because he was losing money.
“I‘ve had it (the business) for 10 weeks and for most of that time, we've had bad weather,” said Shubert, 60, while standing behind the register to handle the occasional customer.
Shubert is the former owner of South Side Construction. He said he was going to have a grand opening on April 15, but was losing too much money to stay open that long.
“I've done all I can,” he said.
“It's a heartache,” said Ed Bornstein, 73. “They (people who came into the store) weren't customers, they were like family. If they didn't come in at a certain time, we worried.
“It survived floods and the depression,” he added.
Rita Bornstein, 63, said they did not get rich off the business. They worked from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. They started with 12 employees. Rita Bornstein said Ed wanted to open a business because his family had owned a shoe store in Connellsville.
“You have down times and really good times,” said Rita Bornstein, a retired nurse. “Ed and I always had outside jobs.”
Their daughter, Lisa Hampshire, now in her early 40s, worked in the business since she was 15. Now she is searching for a job. Their son, Ralph Monahan, worked at the store for several years when he was young. He now lives in Newport News, Va.
The Bornsteins said a number of people worked in the store — Emily Monahan, a cousin; the Rupp brothers; and Scott Grimm, for example.
The couple felt Shubert failed to understand the nature of the business, which was begun early in the 20th century by a man called Pop Irwin. The business was later sold to Olin “Babe” DePolo. DePolo reportedly made important additions. His was the first business in the Connellsville area to install a Pennsylvania Lottery machine.
The Bornsteins bought the business from DePolo.
Rita Bornstein said lottery sales were an important part of West Side News. Older customers who could not come into the store would call or mail their numbers in, then send a check. If they won, the Bornsteins would deliver the winnings.
Shubert said he did not make any money off the lottery sales, adding he was not willing to wait for years for the possibility of a winner from his sales. He said Pennsylvania only pays store owners $5,000 on a winner, not counting the Power Ball and Mega Millions games.
The building now has a “For Rent” sign in its window.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3538.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Connellsville fundraiser for girl, 8, adds ‘run at your convenience’ virtual component
- South Connellsville Mayor Casini to stand trial in gun theft
- Defense attorney in Connellsville shooting challenges account of officer who resigned while under investigation
- Connellsville Area students’ Mustache Clubs raise thousands for charity, research
- Mill Run taxidermist honored at North American Taxidermy Championship
- Construction of Speedway in Perryopolis to affect traffic
- Hempfield man accused of setting Dumpster ablaze in Fayette County
- Tenebrae returns for Connellsville’s St. Rita Roman Catholic Church
- Building damaged, no injuries after Fayette recycling center fire
- Mancuso running for register of wills in Fayette
- Uniontown songwriter draws big inspiration from Bigfoot for new CD