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Woodlands World opens in downtown Uniontown

| Friday, Feb. 10, 2006

Uniontown dignitaries and residents had reason to celebrate with the opening of yet another downtown business, Woodlands World, an outdoor sportsmen's store that moved from its former location along Route 40 in Farmington to Main Street in Uniontown.

Fayette County Commissioner Joe Hardy, founder of 84 Lumber and Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa, was happy to take part in the opening of Woodlands World -- another piece to further his vision for the revitalization of the county's seat. Woodlands World was originally a part of Nemacolin.

"All the eyes of Pennsylvania are on Uniontown, and it's OK to get something jump-started," Hardy said. "It gets infectious, and you start seeing things coming alive."

"This is only the beginning," Hardy added. "There will be more and more of the same in the near future. It's thrilling to see such a transition taking place."

Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Vicites said it was a great day for Uniontown.

"This city is looking the best I've ever seen it in my lifetime," he said. "Cities like this across America are trying to revitalize, and Fayette County is no different. We're on the right track."

Uniontown Mayor Jim Sileo said it was a day to celebrate the city as well as the Woodlands World complex.

"The opening marks another milestone in the process of reshaping the city, and it's an honor to work with a man of such vision, dedication and perseverance," Sileo said.

Uniontown-area residents also are excited about the new store, which sells just about everything for fishing, archery and rifle hunting.

"Now the store is much closer to my home, and with the price of gas, close to home is good," said Uniontown resident Ron Guthrie. "Now I can come more often."

Brian Thompson, director of retail sales for Woodlands World, said he's ready for business in the new 9,700-square-foot location.

"Being in downtown Uniontown is very exciting," he said. "There's more traffic during the week, and this move will help with the revitalization of Uniontown."

Jeff Nobers, spokesperson for 84 Lumber and Nemacolin, said the store in the mountains was much larger but lacked the traffic a downtown store can locate.

"It just made a lot of sense to put a store downtown to help with the revitalization of the city," Nobers said. "Hopefully, it will take the city one step closer to attracting the national retailers, which is part of the master plan and vision that Mr. Hardy has for the downtown of Uniontown."

Jessica Hajek, director of development for Commercial Center Associates, Hardy's downtown real estate and revitalization company, said downtown Uniontown is fortunate to have Woodlands World as its newest tenant.

"The response so far has been overwhelming, and it's truly a business that all of the local sportsmen can enjoy," Hajek said. "The fact that they're bringing families with them to visit other downtown shops is the best part."

She added that part of her job with Commercial Center is to travel to other towns and cities to talk businesses into opening a location in Uniontown.

"A year ago there wasn't much interest, but now people are very receptive," Hajek said. "It's great to go out to other towns and say I'm from Uniontown."

The Route 40 site formerly occupied by Woodlands World would be developed as a casino if Nemacolin receives a slots license from the state.

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