New Castle News

Local News

December 19, 2013

Photo Gallery, Story: Present meets past as coffee opens in former department store

NEW CASTLE — A former downtown department store today has new life as a coffee shop.

The Confluence, a gathering place created by Cray Family and Youth Development Services, opened its doors yesterday in the one-time JCPenney store at 214 E. Washington St.

Managed by Adam Treelisky and the brainchild of Cray’s David Cooper, The Confluence is a coffee shop, deli, lending library, art gallery and entertainment epicenter.

A large stage stands ready to host a variety of local entertainment from music to book readings and comedy. The art gallery, premiering local artists, is supplied by Kimberly Koller-Jones and the Hoyt Center for the Arts. A reading room and book exchange, stocked with free books from Susan Morgan at the New Castle Public Library, is open for all.

The Confluence will feature a variety of sandwich, salad, soup, fruit and drink selections. According to its Facebook page, it will be “a safe, relaxed, and comfortable environment that encourages healthy, positive, and socially acceptable opportunities for patrons of all ages ... We will create and sustain an environment that builds self-esteem, self-efficacy and overall well being of the family unit. We intend to use profits and our position to further better the community by investigating in other community oriented activities.”

The building is owned by Paul Lynch, who is providing a 25-year lease for $1 a year to Cray.

Renovations to the former department store were financed through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the City of New Castle and the Almira Foundation. Joe Seminara, Jessic Tomczak and Janny Montgomery Scott served as business consultants as well as donors.

The remodeled interior was designed at no cost by Dave Esposito and Mark Scheller of Eckles Architecture. Seating was selected by Diane Coury and Lisa Tritt, and an inviting stone hearth was created by Anthony Martone. The reading room shelves were constructed by Jim Moose, and Leslie Michael and Ken Cole supplied the mural near the restrooms.

Melissa Barnes, Jill Kauffman, Dr. Jacque King and Dayna Sear volunteered their time during the planning stages.

Involved in the renovation and construction of The Confluence were Ed Van Dusen, Meilke Construction, Houston Electric, Magee Plumbing, Dan Jacobs Heating, Jim Ferrante Carpeting, New Castle Custom Counter, Jeff Pelini Cabinets and Desco Lighting.

Earlier this year, David Copper, executive director of Cray, said that renovation of the building’s first floor and replacing its roof was expected to cost $300,000.

The city’s contribution of $50,000 to The Confluence was part of a $5 million state grant targeted for downtown revitalization.

(Susan Urbanek Linville of New Visions contributed to this story.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • money.jpg New recreation fees adopted

    New Castle City Council has adopted a new fee schedule for Cascade and Darlington parks. The new schedule runs from 2014 through 2016.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • HolidayInn.jpg Union Township getting another hotel

    Union Township is getting a Holiday Inn Express. John McClure, owner of McClure Realty, said he had closed a transaction Thursday on 3.8 acres on West State Street for the venture, a couple hundred yards west of the Hampton Inn.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • audit.jpg Shenango pension fund audit due ‘this summer’

    The audit report of the Shenango Township pension funds are expected to be released this summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • HIShands.jpg Local youths team up with His Hands Ministries to do home repair for those who can’t afford it

    Area youth from various Lawrence County churches started lending a helping hand Wednesday to residents in need. The annual Lawrence County Youth Ministries service event brings together students and adults for three days of volunteering. It is part of His Hands Ministries, an initiative involving local churches and volunteers who split into work groups to perform  home improvement tasks for elderly and low-income homeowners in the community.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blight.jpg Funds would target Lower East Side demolition

    The Lawrence County planning department and New Castle officials are partnering to wipe out neighborhood blight. They plan to start with the city’s Lower East Side.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • movietheater.jpg Overcoming addiction theme of movie

    The movie, “Anonymous People” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. July 30 at Westgate Cinemas.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • BalloonQuest.jpg Balloon Quest ready to soar again this weekend

    The Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest will mark its 25th anniversary this weekend at Union Township’s Scotland Meadows Park.


    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boatlaunch.jpg County pursuing funds for more boat launches

    Lawrence County planners are pursuing funds to complete more boat launches. At their meeting last week, the county commissioners agreed to apply for $74,000 from the Commonwealth Finance Authority, through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, for the matching funds.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Road.jpg FirstEnergy announces transmission line project

    FirstEnergy Corp. has announced plans to replace 9.6 miles of overhead electrical transmission line in Lawrence and Mahoning counties.


    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg County seeks safety money for courthouse

    The Lawrence County commissioners are applying for a grant to help enhance safety at the government center.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo