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ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania _ Partners Scott Carey of Easton and Mike Schnalzer of Slate Belt Butchery LLC in Saylorsburg have purchased Hartman’s Butcher Shop off of Route 309 in New Tripoli and plan to reopen it this fall after completing some work. The 6,000-square-foot butcher shop closed July 2021 when its owner, Dennis Hartman, retired.
The buyers are renaming the retail shop, located at 7291 Autumn Road, Carey and Schnalzer Quality Meats. They will continue processing their wholesale meat business under Slate Belt Butchery. They acquired the for the real estate, which included butchering equipment and its smokehouse along with some of Hartman’s secret recipes.
Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown arranged the SBA loan for the partners to buy the property and make some improvements to it. Barber said “He is excited to for both partners and was happy to help them expand their business and enjoyed working and learning what goes into the butchery business”.
The butcher shop, with its iconic statute of a pig looking out on the road, had been in the Hartman family for three generations. It was started in 1940 by Hartman’s grandfather.
“We bought a turnkey operation, but we plan to make it our own,” said Carey. The new shop will offer some of the sausages and other meat items that the Hartmans were known for as well as some of Carey’s and Schnalzer’s own recipes.
When Carey learned the business was for sale, “it was a no-brainer” to pursue it, he said. Carey, who had always wanted to “start my own thing,” is confident it will do well as it has a loyal customer base and is well-known in the area.
Carey had worked in corporate marketing but was unhappy. He decided to pursue a career in something he enjoyed and followed his love of cooking and smoking meats to be trained in butchery. Schnalzer had been his boss at the butcher shop where Carey worked and they became and remained good friends.
Carey said the demand for “this business is sky high” and that word spread quickly among those who work in it when Hartman’s was for sale. Carey said Barber walked him and Schnalzer through the process and helped them to acquire the financing they needed to complete the deal.
They hope to reopen the shop by September and perhaps have a soft opening in August.
Lehighton, Pennsylvania _ A group of investors, including Deepak Bhatnagar of Flemington, New Jersey, and Kuldeep Kumar of New York, purchased the 48-acre RelaxNation at 1500 Rock Road, Lehighton, for $3.8 million in early June. The investors plan on making many improvements and updates to the year-round vacation and leisure destination that offers both traditional campgrounds and experiential glamping facilities.
“We are adding 10 new cabins, fully renovating a house, and moving a chalet on the property to a better location,” Bhatnagar said. “We also plan to clean up the property, and hire a consultant/ management company to run it.” In addition, the group plans to advertise the property more heavily.
They expect the renovations and improvements to be complete by the end of the year.
The partners own other properties in Pennsylvania including the Hampton Inn, next door to RelaxNation. That’s how they saw it was for sale and believed it was a good investment, Bhatnagar said. The other investors are: Dilbag Singh of Pennsylvania and Namrata Sharma of New Jersey.
RelaxNation is 1/2 mile off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, conveniently located to Jim Thorpe, Beltzville Dam, Blue Mountain Resort and more.
The gated scenic resort offers guests a variety of amenities for all camping abilities including rustic cottages, RV sites, primitive camping and glamping sites. It also has a swimming pool, fishing, and nightly entertainment. Its sky pavilion, located on the summit of the facility, is available for larger events including weddings.
The new luxury cottages will offer guests the best views overlooking the beautiful Pocono Mountains. “Our great hall will offer daily breakfast, evening reception, and nightly entertainment,” Bhatnagar said. “We will also have a general store for all your travel needs. Guests will be able to come and stay in our newly renovated historic farmhouse with a view of the Pohopoco River.”
BLOOMSBURG, Pennsylvania _ Michael and Becky Shevlin of Schnecksville have purchased the family-oriented Indian Head Campground along the Susquehanna River and Fishing Creek and plan to make some upgrades as they continue its operation. They paid $1.315 million for the 38-acre campground, which has been in operation since 1976 under the same owner. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC helped arrange the SBA financing to purchase the property and complete upgrades. The acquisition closed at the end of April.
The campground at 340 Reading Street offers primitive sites for tents, water and electric for RVs, and full hookup sites. It is located on Route 42, three miles South of Exit 232 (Buckhorn/Bloomsburg) of I-80.
Becky Shevlin said their family loves to camp and, when COVID hit, they were looking for an opportunity to make such a purchase. When they saw this campground was available, they jumped. “It fit exactly what we wanted,” Becky said. “It had a lot of space. And it was the perfect fit for us.” Shelly Wattles, of Pine Creek Real Estate in Galeton, Pennsylvania, was the listing and selling agent for the campgrounds.
Becky said they plan to add a pole barn to serve as an event center and to be used as storage. “We want to add more weekend activities to keep our guests entertained,” she said. The campgrounds is “a nice fun family place, and we want to keep it that way,” she said.
The campgrounds, named after a local rock out-cropping, is built on what had been a cornfield, she said. Becky said the couple also plans to market the property more extensively than it had been. RV sites are available from May 1 to October 31.
The buyers were Malke Enterprise Corporation. Lehigh Financial Group LLC arranged the financing and Joe Paranee of Paranee Properties was the listing and selling agent.
ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA _ Action Corporations has purchased a 17,000-square-foot building at 622 Union Boulevard, which formerly housed Dave Phillips Music & Sound, for $1.4 million and plans to move there in early May. The closing occurred March 18. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group, LLC, in Allentown, arranged the financing to enable Action Corporations to complete the purchase and finance the renovations.
Thomas Walker and his wife, Evandra, started Action Cleaning, a janitorial company, in New York City in 2007, and have since expanded to five businesses. In addition to the original janitorial service, Action has companies that provide renovations, installations, and fine carpentry. It also offers temporary outsourced labor solutions for distribution centers and warehouse needs.
Since its founding, Action Corporations has expanded from New York to other states across the country including California, Texas, Maine and Florida. Among its clients are Macy’s, Target, Starbucks, Walmart, Panera Bread, Bed Bath & Beyond and Wells Fargo.
“What you would call us today is a project management company,” said Walker, who is CEO. “We have vendors who work exclusively for us and vendors we use when jobs come up in their area,” he said. It has about 20 employees as well as large list of independent contractors that it uses.
In 2016, a relationship with one of its clients led to Action doing business in Eastern Pennsylvania. In 2018, Walker rented space at 1041 North Quebec Street and a warehouse on South 5th Street for his companies. He plans to move from North Quebec Street to the property on Union Boulevard once renovations are complete.
Walker is planning to use the new space as offices for its corporate holdings. “We need the warehouse and the office space,” Walker said. “But we are planning to rent the retail space in the front of the building and will be looking for a partner.”
Commercial specialist Peter Adams of Berkshire Hathway/Fox & Roach Realtors in Macungie represented Walker as the buyer’s agent and Joe Paranee of Paranee Properties was the listing agent.
Dave Phillips Music & Sound closed its Allentown store at the end of January 2018.
Barber said he is happy to see Walker find a new home in Allentown for his businesses that continue to grow and expand.
BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania _ Morganelli Properties, a residential and commercial real estate company, has purchased the iconic building across from Liberty High School at 1124 Linden Street for its new headquarters. The locally owned real estate company plans to renovate the building, formerly an ice cream shop and pharmacy, and open its new headquarters in Bethlehem by summer. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC helped brother/owners John and Chris Morganelli obtain an SBA loan to purchase the property for $820,000 and complete the renovations. The deal closed at the end of February.
Morganelli Properties is currently located at 1057 Main Street in Hellertown in space it rented when the firm opened four years ago. Vice President Chris Morganelli said, “We are super excited about this move. Our new headquarters are going to be state-of-the-art, really tasteful and classy.”
Chris and his brother John, who is president of the firm, grew up in Bethlehem and would go on family outings to the ice cream shop, Nuts About Ice Cream, which recently closed after 33 years in business. Lucy Lennon of Morganelli Properties was the listing agent for the 7,500-plus square-foot building that has two rental units on the second and third floors and that will remain.
Morganelli Properties has more than 40 members of its real estate family most of whom work remotely, but will be able to use the first-floor headquarters when renovated. Heather McFadden is the broker of record and an owner of the firm. She, too, said she is excited to move to an “iconic building” in such a “prime location.”
“We plan to hold a grand opening and show the public what we’ve done when it is ready,” Chris said. “We are expecting the renovations to take two to three months and they are starting now.” Renovations are planned for both inside and out.
Chris said that Morganelli Properties’ buying the building makes a statement to the community: “We are here and not going anywhere.”
Barber said, “This property is an excellent location with high viability for Morganelli Properties to continue to grow and expand their business.” Barber said he was happy to help with arranging the financing for the acquisition of real estate.
KUTZTOWN, Pennsylvania _ Todd Silance of Silance Investments in Breinigsville and Scott Check Jr. of True North Properties in West Chester, and three other investors have purchased a mixed-use building that is used for student housing and that has commercial storefronts in Downtown Kutztown. They purchased the 26,000-plus square -foot property at 11 East Main Street for $1,550,000. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown arranged the financing for the group’s purchase and for the renovations that are planned. The acquisition closed at the end of February.
The building currently has 30 units and storefront shops. “We plan to upgrade the units and keep them as student housing,” Silance said. Work will begin at the end of the semester in May and be complete for students to occupy them by fall. Some exterior renovations are planned but the businesses there now will remain, Silance said.
The biggest change is the addition of a commercial laundry where there are now a few washers and dryers that students can use. The commercial self-service laundry will be open to the public, Silance said.
Silance and Check have partnered on other real estate properties in Kutztown and elsewhere in Pennsylvania and out of the area. They heard of this property’s availability through word of mouth and were attracted to the opportunity. “We liked the market. We liked the student housing in Kutztown, and we the liked the mixed-use storefronts that this building had,” Silance said. “It was an ideal property for us and making it a bit nicer was appealing.”
Silance said Barber made the deal “seamless and helped bring it to a close quickly. It was great working with him.”
ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania _ Polymer Contours Inc. is moving from the Allentown Economic Development Corporation’s business incubator to the iconic former A1 Restaurant & Janitorial Supply building at 732 N. Sixteenth St. and Sumner Avenue in Allentown. Polymer Contours President Tyson Daniels purchased the former restaurant supply store in February for $1.3 million. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown arranged the SBA financing for Daniels to make the purchase and outfit the building for the company.
“This is one of those success stories for the AEDC’s business incubator,” Barber said. “Tyson could have left Allentown, but he chose to stay and grow here.”
Polymers Contours Inc., a full-service injection molding company, was founded in 2009. Daniels bought the company, located in the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, in 2015. Polymer Contours had one customer and two machines. Daniels has since grown the business to four machines and 35 customers.
Daniels said he needed more space to continue to serve his existing customer base as well as new customers who keep coming. “We needed more space for raw goods as well as finished goods,” he said. The industrial building he purchased is 42,000-plus square feet and was built in 1953.
The business has grown from one part-time person to 9 full-time people. Daniels anticipates adding at least 10 more within the first year.
Polymer Contours specializes in production focused on custom plastic part design/engineering and full mold design/build capabilities. It serves various industries including medical, adhesive, HVAC/refrigeration, packaging, food service, and general industrial.
ALLENTOWN, PA _ Revolution Church has purchased property on West Green Street that was last used by St. Michael’s Greek Catholic Church for $500,000 and plans to make it its new home. The property includes a church, rectory, social center, office, living quarters, classrooms and parking. Jeff Barber and Lewis Edwards of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown arranged the financing that enabled the church’s pastors, Jim and Mary McIver, to purchase the property at 154-156 W. Green Street at the end of January.
The couple plan renovations to their new property including painting, replacing carpeting and upgrading plumbing. “We are full-speed ahead on renovations, and plan to have our first church services there at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 6,” Jim McIver said. The church had been holding services Sunday afternoons in space it rented from Emanuel United Methodist Church on South Ninth Street in Allentown.
The McIvers began the Spirit-Filled, Full-Gospel church on Turner Street in Allentown in 1996. In September 2013, the church moved to 5 Race Street in Catasauqua. Although they never intended the Catasauqua property to be permanent, they stayed until 2020 when the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation took the property by eminent domain for intended road improvements at Race and Lehigh streets.
Pastor Jim says the church has a diverse membership of about 150 and includes those who are Black, White, Latino, Haitian and African. The pastor had been searching the Internet for a new location for some time when one morning he stopped to have breakfast. Something told him to go back and check the listings again. That’s when he saw the new listing for the Catholic church’s property, and he mobilized to make it theirs.
Barber helped arrange a commercial loan with First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union. Pastor McIver said, “Jeff worked hard to help us get the financing and we are grateful for all the time and energy he put into this.” Barber said he is happy to help the pastors find a permanent location for their valued ministry.
EAST STROUDSBURG, PA _ Julio Amenero and Celia Elizabelar of East Stroudsburg have bought the 3,000-square foot building at 2550 Milford Road in East Stroudsburg to expand their artisanal ice cream manufacturing business. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown arranged the financing that enabled the Latino husband-and-wife owners to purchase the building and convert it to a manufacturing plant. They hope to have their new manufacturing site up and running by late summer, early fall.
Julio and Celia opened Llama Ice Cream at 266 River Road in East Stroudsburg in 2017 where they serve homemade ice cream with Latino flare. Flavors include pina colada, passionfruit, pistachio, lucuma, soursop, and mamey. They also have a retail location inside the food court of the Stroud Mall.
Demand for their ice cream had been strong despite the pandemic, Celia said. Celia, a native of Argentina, said they could either turn away customers or expand manufacturing and chose to expand. The manufacturing plant will enable them to continue to supply wholesalers that sell to supermarkets. Once they found the appropriate site, it was an easy decision, Celia said.
Her husband was familiar with the property they bought having driven by it many times and believed it will be easily converted to fit their needs. They will continue to operate their shops on River Road and in the mall as well as in Rockaway, N.J. They will expand the staff by at least one once they open the manufacturing plant.
Julio is a native of Peru and named his ice cream shop after llamas, which, he said, are distinctive animals and reminiscent of his upbringing in Peru.
Barber said the couple are “hard workers” and has no doubt that their expanded venture will succeed and said that they never gave up finding the right location to expend their business.
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Hispanic Businesswoman & Veteran Buys Cleaning Service Based in Macungie Plans to Expand
Leila Duarte, a financial analyst who lives in Bethlehem, has purchased MDT Cleaning Services LLC, based in Macungie, from its owners, Margaret and Joe Topiarz, who are retiring. MDT provides professional office, commercial and home cleaning services in the Lehigh Valley. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown helped Duarte secure an SBA 7a loan to acquire the business.
Duarte said she has long wanted to own her own business and saw the cleaning service as an ideal opportunity for her talents and the times. Duarte plans to retain MDT’s current employees and hire two more as she expands the service in the Bethlehem and Easton areas. “We will keep the name MDT in Macungie and move to Elite Clean 4 You in the Bethlehem and Easton areas,” she said.
Despite the pandemic, Duarte believes this is an opportune time to open her business. “People need cleaning services, especially now, and there are responsible and reliable people who clean and who want to come on board and work for me,” she said.
The Topiarzes started the business in 1998 and have a well-established clientele.
Duarte said she is excited to follow in the footsteps of her late mother, Elsa Vazquez, who was a well-known businesswoman in the Hispanic community in the Lehigh Valley. Vazquez launched Bet-El Counseling Services PC, providing mental health services in South Bethlehem and Allentown.
Barber said he has no doubt that Duarte will succeed. “She is very resourceful and enthusiastic,” he said.
Scranton, Pennsylvania_ Several investors, including two alumni of the University of Scranton, have purchased a 19-unit property on Taylor Avenue, adjacent to the campus, for $1,060,000 and plan to upgrade all units, elevate amenities, and enhance curb appeal and will welcome any students who need housing. The property is located at 316-322 Taylor Avenue and 322.5 Taylor Avenue. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown arranged financing so the investors could buy the property and upgrade it.
Investors include Robert Musso, a graduate of the University, also managing director of Tuson Properties, LLC, and his business partner Gaspare Urso, Senate Syndications Group, LLC, who both reside in New Jersey. Jeremy Knap, also a former alumnus, and Scott Regan of J & S Realty Group of Long Island, NY, are also general partners in the project.
The investment group also have properties in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio and various parts of Pennsylvania including assets in the dynamic Lehigh Valley including towns such as Easton.
They plan to upgrade the multifamily building which consists primarily of primarily three bedrooms. It will also have one- and two-bedroom units. Mr. Musso expects the renovations to be complete in the spring of 2022.
“We feel that we’re doing something very good for the community, the building and the block,” Musso said. “We are very experienced real estate professionals. Collectively, our team has extensive knowledge and skill sets in the multi-family field. We are excited to start this exciting project, give some life to the asset and block and welcome all students in the local area.”
The investors bought the property in August from Jeffrey Manganaro of Manganaro Real Estate Group in Ridgewood, New Jersey, also an alumnus of the University of Scranton, ironically. “We connected because we were alumni and we were able to agree on terms for this wonderful vision we had for the property,” Musso said.
Barber said, “This is a fantastic project for Robert, Gaspare and the group of investors. The entire community will benefit greatly with upgraded student housing in the local area.”
Ignosh Insurance & Risk Management Group Inc. has purchased the property at 245 Main Street in Emmaus and is opening a seventh office at this location when renovations are complete. The personal insurance lines and financial services company has offices in Quakertown, Whitehall, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Hazleton. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown arranged the financing that enabled owner Ray Ignosh to purchase the building and complete renovations.
The building in Emmaus had housed a Farmers Insurance Agency and an attorney. The attorney will be remaining a tenant in the building. Five garages on the property were included in the sale. Ignosh Insurance has 25 employees and is hiring sales agents throughout the company for the new office.
Having lived in Emmaus for the last six years, Ignosh noticed the property was for sale and reached out to make a deal happen. “I’m excited to be part of the local community and work with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Emmaus Main Street Partners,” Ignosh said.
Ignosh Insurance headquarters are in Whitehall. When the renovations are complete in early October, Ignosh plans to move the headquarters to its Emmaus office but will keep a presence in Whitehall. The Emmaus office has off-street parking for 13 cars.
Ignosh started the business in 2013 as an exclusive Nationwide Insurance agency. In 2019, it became a fully independent agency offering business, personal, and life insurance and financial services.
Barber said, “Ray’s business will grow exponentially at the new location and it was a pleasure working with a professional like Ray and his attorney Loren Speziale of Gross McGinley in Allentown.”
Sandra’s Notary has purchased and relocated to 1723 West Tilghman St. in the West End from 937 West Walnut St. downtown. Owners Rafael Castro De La Mata and his wife, Sandra Campos, now own the building where their notary and tax and immigration service is located. Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC in Allentown helped arrange the financing at the end of May so the Latino couple could purchase the building where they moved. The building had been an insurance agency and is located next to Outten Chevy in Allentown.
De La Mata said their business had been expanding and they had been looking to move to a building they could own. The day he called his real estate agent, Ravi Dhingra of Keller Williams in Allentown, and told him what he was looking for, the deal was sealed. Dhingra said he had the perfect property and showed it to De La Mata and his wife that afternoon. “The property was waiting for us. We loved it,” De La Mata said.
They needed to make only minor repairs to the building, De La Mata said. They opened in their new location at the end of May.
Campos and her sister, Leila Favale, are both notaries. In addition to notary services, the business also helps people with taxes and the paperwork they need in divorce filings, citizenships and more. “We can do translation into any language,” De La Mata said.
De La Mata said that he’s not only happy because they are now owners rather than renters, but also because they have better parking for their clients. The building has space for up to 8 cars.
Barber said he’s happy to be able to help the couple realize their dream to move and expand their business and is excited for them.
Anthony “AJ” McCloskey of Hamburg has recently closed on the business and real estate acquisition on the mini-golf course and batting cages located in Schnecksville with a friend and business partner with plans to renovate and reopen it as Rolling Hills Recreation this Spring. McCloskey and his partner will be putting more than $130,000 worth of renovations and upgrades into the nearly 2-acre site at 4565 Spring Hill Drive, formerly the Spring Hill Golf Course & Batting Cages. An SBA 7a loan was obtained and arranged for the purchase by Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group LLC.
McCloskey and his partner plan to not only renovate the existing 18-hole course and greens but also the four hardball and four softball stations, as well as the inside of the clubhouse and snack bar. In addition, they plan to sell the artisan ice cream from The Nesting Box Farm Market & Creamery in Kempton, in flavors made exclusively for the course including one that is booze-infused. “We want to use local vendors as much as possible,” McCloskey said. “We plan to offer A-treat soda as well.”
They also plan to hold special events such as car shows throughout the season which will run through October or November depending on the weather.
The Spring Hill Golf Course has been closed for more than a year, McCloskey said. They are planning a grand opening for May 1 and expect the renovations will be done by then.
The partners said the COVID pandemic has made for some challenges but also that it is an ideal time to open an outdoor recreational facility like they are planning. “You social distance when you’re playing mini golf, and we have windows through which we can serve food,” McCloskey said.
Barber said, “The mini-golf course has a great history for families of all ages for affordable entertainment throughout the Lehigh Valley and AJ and his business partner are going to be extremely successful with this location upon reopening with all of their upgrades.”
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