Openings and Closings: Business happenings around the region | Business News

Here’s what’s happening at businesses around the Lehigh Valley and beyond.

Il Gaatano Ristorante held a ribbon-cutting Friday at its 665 Columbus Ave., Phillipsburg, location. The restaurant is under new administration and has a new menu, including salads ($7 to $9), pasta ($15 to $23), and a range of antipasti, chicken, veal and fish dishes from about $15 to $25.

The Easton area has a new gym: Homemade Fitness at 444 Cedarville Road in Williams Township. The gym provides personal training, semi-personal training, golf-performance workouts, boot camp, sports-performance training and nutrition coaching.

The Trading Post Depot at 401 Northampton St., Easton, held a grand opening Thursday. The rustic furniture store makes custom tables for dining rooms, desktops, conference centers and more.

“The tables really become conversation pieces as well,” according to the store’s website. “They’re both works of art and truly functional furniture.”

Each table is hand-crafted and made from Pennsylvania wood.

The chain that many Lehigh Valley residents crave is, so far, not coming to the region. That is Trader Joe’s, the California-based grocery brand that sells gourmet foods, produce, vegetarian and organic products, and unusual imported items. Some locations sell alcohol, including Charles Shaw, the so-called “Two-Buck Chuck” wine. Two-Buck Chuck costs $3.99 at Trader Joe’s store near Princeton, N.J., but originally cost $1.99 when introduced in California 20 years ago.

As of now, the chain is not planning on a local location: “Unfortunately, a new store in Lehigh Valley is not on our list,” according to a company statement.

The Keystone Pub in Bethlehem Township, at 3259 Easton Avenue, has reopened after a lengthy and expensive renovation. The 216-year-old building has a new bar, more televisions and a new layout.

Carbon County is getting a taste of Brazil at Uai Brasil BBQ at 315 Lehigh Ave. UAI serves “rodizio” style, or all-you-can-eat, for $39.99 ($19.99 for ages 7 through 10) with meat offerings of Picanija, ribeye, New York Strip, pork, chicken and sausage brought to the table and sliced.

There is a $17.99 buffet with black beans on rice, kale, plantain, bacon, carrots, eggs, chicken salad, potato salad, tomato and lettuce, and several Brazilian offerings. With the buffet, meat can be purchased per pound and shared. Sandwiches and Brazilian-style burgers are available for $8 to $13.

Owners Meiriane Pessoa and husband Soliney, of Whitehall Township, do not have restaurant experience, but they do have experience cooking Brazilian food. They chose “uai” for the name because in Portuguese (the language of Brazil) uai is an exclamation, sort of like “wow” in English.

Uai Brasil is at the former site of Papa Al’s Pizzeria, which has moved to 346 Delaware Ave.

Dollar General wants to increase its footprint in Schuylkill County. The discount chain wants to add a store at 201 Pottsville St. in Port Carbon, near the border with Mechanicsville. The site developer wants a break from parking requirements, asking to have 34 spots instead of the required 45. A zoning hearing will be held June 1 at 6 p.m. at the Schuylkill County Courthouse to review that request.

Another former Bethlehem Steel Corp. property is getting a new use, but this one is across the country. RH, the company formerly known as Restoration Hardware, has taken the old Steel offices overlooking the San Francisco Bay and converted them into a restaurant with two wine bars and a showroom of home furnishings.

The former Steel company’s properties have been reused locally for warehouses, industry and the SteelStacks entertainment venue, and in Baltimore, a huge logistics center. In Bethlehem, the site of the former Martin Tower will be converted into a retail, residential and office complex.

Shift4, the Lehigh County-based financial technology company, is taking over payment processing at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Shift4 will handle online and in-person payments at the home of the 76ers and Flyers. The arena holds more than 250 events annually. An event-level space will be named the Shift4 Club. Shift4, founded in 1994 by Jared Isaacman, is based in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, and handles more than 3.5 billion transactions annually.

In Reading, a Christian school has won zoning approval to open at the former St. Mark’s Evangelical and Reformed Church at 211 W. Greenwich Street. Arrows Christian Academy plans to open in August with about 20 students from Mennonite churches, enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade. The school’s goal is to expand to grades K-12 with a maximum enrollment of 100. If enrollment exceeds 50, Arrows will have to go back to the city for a review of impact to the neighborhood from growth.

The Brothers That Just Do Gutters are not a new operation, but they are opening in Allentown at 1302 N. 18th St. The Brothers and The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold a grand opening Friday, June 3, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting at 3:30 p.m. Registration can be made through the Chamber website. The business — the name says it all — will have music and a food truck at the grand opening celebration.

St. John Chrysostom Academy, an Orthodox school serving grades 1-9 starting this fall, held a grand opening at its St. Francis Center, Bethlehem, campus on Wednesday. The school intends to add a grade annually until it serves students through high school. “Students will be immersed in a culture which puts love of learning and love of God at the center of all academic pursuits,” according to the school. St. John Chrysostom was an early church father who served as an archbishop of Constantinople. He died in the year 407.

The digital financial world marches on, and traditional branches close. The Wells Fargo bank branch at 541 Main St. in Slatington is due to close Aug. 3. The nearest branch is in Schnecksville, about five miles away. Meanwhile, a Wells Fargo location at 541 Pierce St. in Kingston, Luzerne County, closed earlier this month. A bank spokeswoman said the branch network is constantly being evaluated in terms of customer needs.

The global economy reached out in a big way to Vizinex RFID, a maker of radio frequency identification tags in East Allen Township. Assa Abloy AB of Sweden has acquired the Northampton County-based company for an undisclosed price. Vizinex’s products can be used to trace medical equipment, drilling parts, weapons and almost any other physical product. RFID tags are used for security and to monitor supply chains. Vizinek will be merged into Assa Abloy’s HID Global unit.

Easton Commons, a shopping center anchored by Giant Foods at 2920 Easton Ave., Bethlehem Township, has a new name: The Shops at Bethlehem. Many shoppers were not aware of the old name, and Easton is about seven miles to the east. The new name reflects the location in the township and across the street from the City of Bethlehem.

“We felt the name of the shopping center should be more representative of the community it serves,” Sarah Finney Miller, vice president at NAI Summit, said of the change. NAI Summit handles leasing at The Shops at Bethlehem. Among the other tenants are MAXX Fitness, Dairy Queen and Vic’s Bagels.
About 274 apartments are being added on two parcels adjacent to The Shops, with more dwelling planned for the east on Farmersville Road in the township and to the north along Linden Street in Bethlehem.

Decor Home Furniture, a chain with a location in Whitehall Township, is hinting on its Facebook page about taking space at the Palmer Park Mall. In a social media post from Easton, the furniture retailer shows vacant space at the mall that used to house a Bon-Ton store.

The old Montex Textiles Mill off South Sixth Street in Allentown may become a new apartment development. City Council has approved a zoning change that would allow residential development, in this case, 144 apartments total in four three-story buildings. No final plan has been presented and there are several levels of approval still needed. Some residents oppose the proposal to add multi-family dwellings in a neighborhood of mostly single-family houses.

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