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Vision for Vacancy: What Business Do You Think Should Go in This Building?

Pretend you have a magic wand and anything is possible. What business do you imagine in this space?

The long white building beside the railroad tracks in Richland Township has an empty and lonely existence—but what are the possibilities? 

In front of it, cars zip along busy Route 910 (Gibsonia Road). Beside it is are railroad tracks. Up the hill is . Across the tracks is .

Look across the road and you'll see an empty field with hints of goldenrod.

If you could imagine a business here, what would it be?

Motorists who pass by it every day head to I-79 or Route 19 to the west. Just a short distance away is Route 8 to the east.

For the busy commuter, would a place that makes carry-out meals be a stopping point? Hungry motorists could stop on the way home from work, pick up a meal and put it on the dinner table.

Or would a cozy cafe work? Nearby Route 8 has plenty of chain eateries, but not an overabundance of mom-and-pop restaurants. 

Would the Whistlestop Cafe be a place you'd like to stop in? Maybe it could have a railroad theme—not only are the railroad tracks close by, but so is the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum.

An auto parts store might work too, considering Rudolph's Auto Repair is a short walk away.

The building has a Cale Construction sign in the front window. A peek inside the front door shows a completely gutted building, so the possibilities are endless.

When Patch posted this photo on Facebook, here are the comments we received: 

  • Brian O'Malley I always enjoy some historic downtown Gibsonia photos. I believe that was the Maitz Construction building during the 1990’s. I know someone tried to open a custard stand across the street a few years ago when I was on the Board of Supervisors, but the project never materialized.
  • Matthew Goehring I agree with the previous comments. Interested to know its importance as it is a short walk from my home.
  • KC Carney That was my first thought, too. We used to walk down to Morrow's a lot!

It's fun to reminisce as well as imagine the future.

So, let us know what you think—what was here in the past and what do you envision for the future? Please tell us in the comments.

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Thomas Perko September 13, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Bakery!
Patricia Mary Sanfilippo September 13, 2012 at 01:51 PM
A Great Harvest Bread Company would be wonderful there. There used to be a franchise in the South Hills but that closed a few years ago.
Cindy Cusic Micco September 13, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Great suggestions! Maybe traffic would slow down there if everyone could smell that wonderful bakery aroma :-)
Sally Doverspike December 16, 2012 at 01:57 PM
This was the only grocery store in Gibsonia. In 1955, John and Robbie Morrow (my Mother and Father) bought this grocery store from Flamm's and it became Morrow's Grocery from 1955 through 1972 when they sold it. The store sold everything needed in the community-- a full-line of groceries, fresh produce, fresh cut meats, gasoline, clothing and shoes, hardware, and even lawn mowers, and washers/dryers. They even extended credit to a number of the families, took orders over the phone and delivered the groceries if needed, and my Dad would fix the lawn mowers, sweepers, or washing machines. Across the street is an old foundation that had the railroad station and the optical building by Grubbs Road was the Gibsonia Post Office until about 1959 when it moved to its current location.
Sally Doverspike December 16, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Mistake--in 1959, the Post Office moved up beside the North Pittsburgh Telephone building. I remember the parade and carrying the flag as part of the Girl Scouts. Great pride in the community.
Cindy Cusic Micco December 17, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Sally, Thank you for sharing the history. I'm refeaturing this story so others can see your comments. Maybe others have memories they would like to add to these comments.
Cindy Cusic Micco December 18, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Debra Zafar sent Patch an old photo with a note: "This is my grandfather Elmer Burk (the barber) and my grandmother June". I posted it above. Do you remember Elmer and June?

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