Philipsburg, Centre County, Pa- The Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation (PRC) is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing new life to downtown Philipsburg.
The PRC was formed in 1998 with funding from the state, but quickly fell on hard times.
WTAJ spoke with new leadership of the PRC to learn why they’re hopeful that those troubles are a thing of the past.
With five new businesses moving to downtown Philipsburg in the last six months, and at least two more on the way, the PRC says they’re looking to keep this trend going.
“It’s more affordable here… State College is an amazing community… but it’s pricey… even Bellefonte is getting quite expensive. You can stretch your dollars here in Philipsburg, more-so than you can elsewhere in the county,” said Eric Kelmenson, President of the PRC.
Kelmenson acknowledged that Philipsburg doesn’t typically have as much foot traffic as State College or Bellefonte. But, he says Philipsburg-based businesses are still able to attract customers from surrounding cities.
“A lot of businesses that are opening up are using Philipsburg as their home base. And they’re going around and participating in pop-up events elsewhere, so they can still get exposure to State College and Bellefonte. But, this is where they’re choosing to hang their hat and call home,” Kelmenson said.
One of many local businesses Kelmenson referenced was Brown Dog Catering, who says they’ve actually served more customers since moving to Philipsburg five years ago.
“Before we moved our business to Philipsburg, I don’t think we got one single call from a client from Philipsburg. Since we’ve been here, we’ve had a large number…. so our personal business has definitley increased with us being here,” said Kristin Rigby-Deboer, Co-Owner of Brown Dog Catering.
Rigby-Deboer says her ultimate business goal is to expand from providing catering services to a full time restaurant… something many feel will bring more growth to the downtown area.
“We still need a destination eatery that is open all the time,” said Kelmenson.
It’s believed a restaurant is key because customers will come downtown for dinner, and then be more likely to stay and shop… thus creating a positive impact on all businesses.
“Come have dinner, catch a movie at the Roland, and then shop in the stores,” said PRC Board Secretary Kathy Kalinosky.
The PRC says one of their main goals is to have 10 new small businesses in town by the end of 2019.
They also said they plan to make two major announcements they feel will really bring-in crowds and more businesses. There’s currently no timeline set for these two announcements.