Business is booming. It must be, because five new businesses opened in Honesdale since the summer. One would think since the county and the nation are in the midst of one of the most persistent recession since the 1930s, it would be the worst time to launch a new business venture. Not so, says the majority of the new business owners.
“I’m new for Honesdale but not for business,” said Bonnie McDonald of the Sun Flower Hollow Store at 630 Main Street in the space that was once the Yoga Café. McDonald moved her existing business from Hawley a few weeks ago.
“I moved here because there are more opportunities here than elsewhere,” she said. “There’s a lot more that attract people to here, a lot of great stores and great eating places, the kind of things that attract people.”
Right next door at 622 Main Street is Camp Umpy’s Bagels and Stuff, owned and operated by Honesdale native Cheryl Batcher. Going in at lunch time, the store was bristling with people.
“We have good hard-working people in Honesdale,” Batcher said. “People come to town for a lot of reasons. This is my town and I love it.”
“We wanted something of our own,” said Jamie Maher, co-owner, with her husband Tom, of the Cottage Café at 622 Church Street. “There’s a need for this kind of store with affordable, fresh brunch and lunch food at a convenient location. We want to create a unique atmosphere that attracts people. We have local artists’ work up on our walls, which we rotate every few months.” The café offers special events like baby showers, weddings and engagement showers, she said.
The Tye Dye at 1029 Main Street is more like a coffee house than a café, said its owner Cindy Blair. “We’re a coffee house that stays open all day,” she said. “We lost a coffee house when the Yoga Café closed so we wanted to open this one where people can hang out, talk and drink coffee and eat gluten-free desserts.
Blair plans events for all ages, with such things as poetry readings and storytelling, a book club, game nights, movie watching on a large TV screen and a talent night.
Joe Roche, owner of Mojo Music at 742 Main Street, sells a variety of musical instruments like guitars, basses, key boards, drum sets and other instruments and brings in professional music teachers to teach playing and singing.
“Honesdale needs a full music store where instruments are sold, repaired and lessons taught,” he said. He said he opened his store because he could find a job after being laid off. “Smart money invests when times are hard,” he said.
“Business people see that Honesdale is a prosperous and growing town and they want to take advantage of that,” said Gail Tucker, executive director of the Greater Honesdale Partnership. “We spend a lot of money to bring people to the town with street events and other events that attracts thousands of people. We are seeing both retail and service industries coming here because we have created a growing business atmosphere. People are discovering that this is not the Honesdale of 10 years ago but a new spirited place.”