Openings and closings: commercial events in the region | Economic news


From new apartments approved to restaurants reopening and ready to serve, here’s your weekly look at what’s happening with businesses in your neighborhood.


The Bethlehem Historic Preservation Commission has granted a “COA” or Certificate of Suitability to Rocco AyvazovThe plan of a six-storey building with apartments and commercial space in the south of Bethlehem.

Ayvazov’s Monocacy development will demolish an existing structure and construct a new building with 55 apartments and commercial space on the first floor. The plan does not have on-site parking. Read the full story.


ARTSQUEST BANANA FACTORY: 25 W. Third St., Bethlehem

The Historic Preservation Commission also approved the materials and designs for ArtsQuest’s new cultural center.

The new center will replace the Banana Factory, which was named for its former use as a banana warehouse. The planned 73,485 square foot building will face West Third Street. It will connect to another one-story building facing Northampton Street, a small road between Second and Third Streets.

The expected price is $22.1 million. Six buildings will be demolished to make way for the new center.

The Bethlehem Historic Preservation Commission is an appointed advisory board. The city council makes the final decisions on construction. Get all the details.


CAPO & CO.: 1375 rue Chestnut, Emmaüs

The gangster-themed restaurant hosted a ribbon cutting with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. The speakeasy-style restaurant and bar serves pizza, burgers, and sandwiches. Owner Antonio Mannino, who previously ran Italiano Delite, decided to turn his restaurant into a 1920s-themed bar.

Mannino, originally from Sicily, was inspired to create the gangster-style bar and restaurant while watching an episode of the TV show “Bar Rescue.”


CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE: 30 Center Square, Easton

An attraction that started in downtown Easton could go global. Crayola said it has entered into a licensing agreement for at least five more Crayola Experience sites over the next five years. Those will be in the United States, but global expansion is a possibility, the company said in a statement.

The first Crayola Experience has opened in Easton. Since then, Crayola has expanded to Orlando, Florida; Map, Texas; Mall of American in Minnesota and Chandler in Arizona. Hallmark Cards owns Crayola, which was previously called Binney & Smith. Learn more.


CURALEAF: 1801 Airport Road, Hanover Township, Lehigh County

A marijuana dispensary has replaced the former Chess N Checkers bar on Airport Road. Curaleaf operates 137 dispensaries, including 18 in Pennsylvania.

The Airport Road dispensary is for patients with a Pennsylvania medical marijuana card only. Cannabis brands available include Grassroots, Select and the company’s namesake range. Read more.


MRS. VELVET’S COFFEE: 239 N. Fourth St., Allentown

Allentown’s new downtown cafe held a grand opening Tuesday in conjunction with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. Owner Carlos Marrero named the new restaurant after his sister Ruby, who died in 2017 after a hit-and-run accident.

Marrero has extensive experience in the food industry and opening his own place has been a dream for over 20 years.

Madame Velvet’s cafe is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Discover the whole story.


BOUQUET PRESSED BOUQUET: 6330 Hedgewood Drive, Suite 220, Upper Macungie Township

Pressed Bouquet recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. The company has specialists who preserve flowers for special occasions such as weddings. Options include pressed floral resin coasters, pressed flower serving tray, framed flowers and more.


RIVER HILLS DOMAIN: 3017 Farmersville Road, Bethlehem Township

The Township Board of Commissioners has now approved the subdivision plan twice. Council voted again on Monday due to a survey error in an earlier plan for 80 homes on 29 acres on Farmersville Road.

River Hills is a plan by Kay Builders for 44 single-family homes and 36 multi-family units on 29 acres near Shannon Avenue. Read more.


SKYLINE WEST: 143 W. Broad St., Bethlehem

Bethlehem City Council has delayed a decision on a COA, or “certificate of suitability,” for the apartment complex proposed by developer Dennis Benner, his developer sons Garrett and Brandon and Musikfest founder Jeffrey Parks. Their plan is for 40 apartments in a five-story building overlooking Monocacy Creek and the city’s Moravian industrial district.

Concerns about whether the project could jeopardize Bethlehem’s revenue as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognizing the Moravian site, have been raised. Earlier, the planning commission said its responsibility to review Skyline West did not include consideration of World Heritage status.

World Heritage status would draw attention and tourists to historic Bethlehem, advocates said.

The Council will review the COA again on October 4th. Skyline West, southwest of the Broad Street Bridge, has been under review in one form or another since at least 2018. Check out the full story.


Poconos Charcoal O&C

IDEAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT: 196 Beaver Dam Road, Long Pond

The The Pocono Chamber of Commerce held a groundbreaking ceremony for Ideal Property Management on Thursday. Ideal is a vacation rental property manager.


KEY BANK: 372 Delaware Ave, Palmerton

The bank branch will close on December 2 as KeyBank and other companies shift to internet finance. Palmerton branch accounts will be transferred to other KeyBank locations. KeyBank is a subsidiary of KeyCorp, a Cleveland-based company. Read more.


Southeastern AP O&C

KEY BANK: 209 Main Street North, Sellersville

Another bank branch will close, this one on December 2, with accounts transferred to other KeyBank locations. KeyBank said branches remain important to its business, but the physical network is “optimized” as many customers prefer digital banking services. KeyBank has around 1,000 branches and 1,300 ATMs.


REGAL CINEMAS: Off Highway 309, Richland Township

The Quakertown-area theater closed after its parent company, Cineworld, filed for bankruptcy. The company cited the disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic for a drop in footfall.

A post on the theater’s website said moviegoers should check out the Regal Warrington Crossing location.

In 2020, Cineworld temporarily closed all theaters due to pandemic-related financial losses. Get all the details.


THE GOURMETS OF SAINT ROCCO: 6026 Easton Road, Pipersville

The Gourmet Dog Kitchen will be hosting a ribbon cutting on Friday, October 14 from noon to 1 p.m., in conjunction with the Upper Bucks County Chamber of Commerce. Founded by brothers Kolby and Kaleb Rush, St. Rocco’s offers weekly baked treats, freshly frozen dog food and more. To attend, register via the chamber’s website.


West NJ O&C

CATCH 22: 1102 Route 22, and KEY TO THE CITY DINNER: 985 Route 22, Lopatcong Township

Warren County lost two Route 22 customers on the same day. One had been a landmark along the highway for years, and the other was about to open.

Catch 22 burned first. The restaurant, not yet fully open, caught fire early that morning. The owner said the fire started in a neon sign.

Later that day, the Key City Diner caught fire. This restaurant has been operated by the same family for 22 years.

Owners of both restaurants say they plan to restore their businesses and reopen. Learn more.


SULLIVAN ON HAND: 371 S. Main St., Phillipsburg

After 22 years, the casual restaurant was sold. The COVID-19 closures and then owner Mack Sullivan’s own long COVID case led to the closure.

What will replace the restaurant has not been posted on Sullivan’s website.

“We will miss your great food and service,” one customer wrote on Facebook. Check the restaurant’s social media posts for certificate redemption information. Read more.



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