From new apartments being approved to restaurants reopening and ready to serve, here’s your weekly look at what’s happening with businesses in your neighborhood.
II-VI Incorporated: 2251 Newlins Mill Road, Palmer Township
The company with an odd name that makes esoteric technology devices is changing its moniker to something more traditional. II-VI Inc. (pronounced “two-six”) will become Coherent Corp., taking on the name of a company it recently acquired.
II-VI, based in the Pittsburgh area, is a “high-tech conglomerate” that produces equipment for making semiconductors, along with lasers and more. The company’s local plant is expanding. Read the full story.
ABEC: Schelden Circle, Hanover Township, Northampton County
The privately held company that provides services and products to the pharmaceutical industry is growing in North Carolina. ABEC will invest in a new disposable-container facility in that state, creating 251 jobs.
Incentives from North Carolina helped. ABEC may receive as much as $2 million over 12 years, depending on job-creation and investment targets. Get all the details.
ACTIVE LEARNING CENTERS AND LEHIGH VALLEY MARTIAL ARTS: 2910 Easton Ave. (Shops at Bethlehem center with Giant grocery store), Bethlehem Township
The new martial arts center will hold a grand opening starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, with a ribbon-cutting shortly afterward. There will be live music and demonstrations by the academy’s LVMA (Lehigh Valley Martial Arts Academy) team.
AMAZON PARKING LOT: Brodhead Road, Bethlehem Township
The township’s planning commission has approved a parking lot with 248 spaces at Brodhead and Mowrer roads. Drivers of Amazon vans would leave their cars there while working. There is an Amazon distribution center nearby.
The site will be fenced in and have no fueling stations. Amazon vans would be left there overnight after shifts end. Read more.
APARTMENT PROPOSAL: 508-512 Selfridge St., Bethlehem
The Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Board rejected variance requests that would have allowed multifamily homes to go up on the Southside properties.
Assistant City Solicitor Matthew Deschler said no evidence of a hardship was presented to justify zoning relief. Just seeking more value from a property does not justify variances, he said.
Residents objected to the building plan, saying it was an attempt to put in more housing for Lehigh University students. Get the full story.
DIXIE CUP BUILDING: South 25th Street, Wilson Borough
The old paper-cup factory did not receive a tax break from Northampton County, and that leaves its future where it was before: a mystery.
County Council did not want to give a break on property taxes to a warehouse proposed for the building, particularly when the property is already behind about $400,000 to $450,000 in payments.
The process leading up to last week’s vote was a problem, too. The plan was presented to County Council without any input, and the council was told it had to approve the tax abatement for the project to go ahead.
County Executive Lamont McClure had vowed to veto any break, if approved, but he did not have to.
After the 1-8 vote against approving a break, County Council President Lori Vargo Heffner summed up four months of discussion in one word: “Yuck.” Read more.
GERRITY’S VALLEY FARM MARKET: 1880 Stefko Blvd., Bethlehem
The former Valley Farm Market, now known as Gerrity’s Valley Farm Market, will take on a new name as of Oct. 14: Gerrity’s The Fresh Grocer.
The grocery store will remain under the ownership of the Fasula family, which runs Gerrity’s Supermarkets, and the staff will remain the same.
Scranton-based Gerrity’s took over Valley Farm Market last October. All 10 Gerrity’s stores will be converted to the Gerrity’s The Fresh Grocer name. Earlier this summer, Gerrity’s joined retail grocery store cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., parent company of The Fresh Grocer and ShopRite. Read more.
HAMSA EXOTICZ: Lehigh Valley Mall, Whitehall Township
The new mall store sells international snacks and toys from around the world. Hamsa Exoticz is already open, but it will hold a grand opening at 5 p.m. Sept. 16 with the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce.
HOME DEPOT: 5877 Hamilton Blvd., Lower Macungie Township
The home-improvement chain will open a 136,048-square-foot building on about 21 acres of vacant land just off Hamilton Boulevard.
Home Depot will have 406 parking spaces according to plans approved by the township’s board of commissioners.
Atlanta-based Home Depot operates more than 2,300 stores in 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico, and U.S. territories. Shares in the company are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HD. The company’s total market value is about $330 billion. Get the full story.
MIXED-USE APARTMENT BUILDING: 128 E. Third St., Bethlehem
South Bethlehem continues to grow up and up. The city planning commission has approved a six-story building with 55 apartments and retail space on the first floor, taking the place of an old two-story structure that has been a store and home-brew supply outlet.
Rocco Ayvazov’s Monocacy General Contracting will put up the building. The apartments — 10 studios, 43 one-bedroom and two two-bedroom — will have an address of 308 Webster St. Read all the details.
WOODMONT VALLEY: Route 100, Lower Macungie Township
The old Allen Organ showroom building will come down and about 100 total apartment units will go up.
A second lot on the property will have two mixed-use buildings covering about 13,300 square feet total, with retail, office and commercial space and 21 apartments above. Two driveways will provide access to the development. Get more info.
READING HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT: Reading Country Club, Exeter Township
Reading Hospitality’s Catering by DoubleTree will handle food at events at the club, after Exeter Township supervisors approved a new agreement.
Golf operations and the golf course’s Snack Shack are not part of the deal.
RHM will take care of special events such as weddings and share 25% of the revenue with the township. Read the full story.
REIKI BALANCE LLC: 529 Reading Ave., Suite D1, West Reading
Natural healing is the goal at Reike Balance, which will open Sept. 9.
“We believe that by using Reiki techniques, we can help people live a healthier lifestyle and achieve peace and unity in the world,” according to Joniel Ocasio, one of the founders.
Reiki is a Japanese alternative medicine.
FARMHOUSE CAFE: 3180 Route 611, Bartonsville
The Pocono Chamber of Commerce held a grand opening at the Bartonsville branch of the café Thursday.
FRENCHTOWN INN: 7 Bridge St., Frenchtown
The reopening date for the historic building overlooking the Delaware River remains unclear. The building was purchased earlier this year by Jill Kearney of the ArtYard museum nearby. The original plan was to reopen as a restaurant after renovations.
A sign posted in the window of the inn and dated last month indicates a delay, citing the difficulty of securing contractors after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kearney’s sign said she is deeply to committed to creating a place for the community at the inn location, but “it may take longer than originally envisioned.”
RIVER PAWS: 17 Race St., Frenchtown
The pet-supply store carries dog, cat and small animal food, toys and more. River Paws is open Wednesday through Sunday.
The new store is across Race Street from the Frenchtown Pharmacy.
TOBY’S CUP: 857 Memorial Parkway, Lopatcong Township
The hot dog stand’s planned reopening date of Aug. 13 was pushed back. Earlier, a sign at the stand said Toby’s would start serving food again after renovations.
Later, ownership said a dispute about the occupancy of a home on the Toby’s property delayed the reopening.
Toby’s started as a hot dog cart in Phillipsburg in the 1940s before moving to Memorial Parkway.