Allegheny Angler reopens in Tarentum following October fire
A Tarentum bait-and-tackle shop, closed for more than four months after its building was damaged by fire, has reopened just in time for the approach of spring and the start of trout season.
Allegheny Angler, located at the end of Second Avenue along Ross Street beside the Tarentum Bridge, reopened Saturday. It had been closed since a fire Oct. 17 in an adjoining building.
The shop has been in business for more than 30 years. It’s run by brothers Rick and Joe DeMichele and Joe’s sons, Ed and Matt DeMichele.
They’re planning a grand reopening event for March 23.
Allegheny Angler is one of only three bait-and-tackle shops in the area, the others being in Harmar and Kittanning.
The shop is pretty much as it was before, with fresh carpet and paint. Bait is coming in Friday.
“Everything we had before is back or will be back,” Rick DeMichele said.
The journey of Allegheny Angler’s return included the DeMicheles buying the building from its previous owner, Olivia Phillips.
Investigators determined the accidental fire had started in the kitchen of the second floor apartment where Phillips had lived. The apartment was over a garage and part of the shop.
The fire destroyed the second floor apartment. The shop had water damage.
“Everything pretty much got ruined down here,” Rick DeMichele said.
A passerby had alerted them to the fire that day. The DeMicheles were able to get some of their stock out of the store before firefighters seriously doused the building, Rick DeMichele said.
After getting into something of a bidding war with two other potential buyers, the DeMichele’s closed on buying the building from Phillips in mid-January. They bought it for about $31,500, according to Allegheny County real estate records.
They had insurance that covered most of their repair cost. Their work included putting a new roof on the building they now own instead of rent.
“It’s the same store with a face lift,” Ed DeMichele said. “We’re hoping to have everyone back.”
They don’t plan to put an apartment back on the second floor. They’ll just use the space for storage.
While the store was closed, the family got by thanks to online sales through their eBay store, Ed DeMichele said.
“Otherwise, we would’ve all been in the unemployment line,” he said.
Spring arrives March 20, and the first day of trout season statewide is April 13. Rick DeMichele said business will start to pickup around mid-March, with all the last-minute shoppers coming in the first week of April.
Rick DeMichele said the fire “is something I don’t ever want to go through again.”
“It’s good to get open,” he said. “It was a long time down. It was a lot of work.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .