Store owner burned out of New Kensington relaunches in Tarentum
Tim Brown’s convenience store in Tarentum was going to be his second.
It’s now his only one, after his first in downtown New Kensington was destroyed in the massive Ninth Street fire in September.
He’s still planning on opening more.
“I would like to start a little chain of convenience stores,” said Brown, 58, of Arnold. “I’ve been doing everything myself without any bank loans or anything. It makes things a little harder. I build them one at a time.”
His first store, simply called “Quick Stop,” had been open for just four months when the fire struck.
“I put my grandkids’ names on this one,” he said. They are Jade Johnson, 12, and Gerald Johnson, 13.
Brown owns a record label and recording studio, Iceburgh Records, and has been in entertainment his whole life.
“This is another venture for me,” he said. “I’m an entrepreneur by trade.”
Brown said he wants to open stores in communities in need. He’s eyeing Harrison’s Natrona neighborhood next.
The Tarentum store carries a little bit of everything. That includes food, drinks, cleaning products, car products, clothing, hair accessories, household products, toiletries, pet food, over-the-counter medicine, candy, toys, ice cream, and tobacco products. There also is a deli that serves sandwiches with lunch specials.
An ATM is coming, and Brown said he’s looking to put in a coffee machine. They’re working on getting qualified for electronic benefits transfer, or EBT.
Residents in that area of Tarentum lost a place to buy many of those things when the Rite Aid pharmacy on Corbet Street closed in early 2018. The only other options were the Marathon gas station on East 7th Avenue or Perriello Produce on West 7th Avenue.
A Family Dollar opened in November, but is farther away.
Having a convenience store on Corbet is a “great idea” and good for the borough, Councilwoman Lou Ann Homa said.
“People need a place to be able to get a loaf of bread and milk and the essentials that they need. Not everybody has a car,” she said. “They used to be able to go to Rite Aid to get some of that stuff.
“Any time we can get some business in town, it’s fantastic,” she said.
Brown said he tries to keep his prices under average convenience stores. “We price check most of everything we have in here,” he said.
The store will deliver with an order totaling at least $10, he said.
“We’re here for the community, to help people who can’t get around,” he said. “We’re trying to help as much as we can.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .