Adrienne Langer Andrew Demko

Attorney Adrienne Langer, left, of Cusick, DeCaro and Langer Law Firm speaks at a zoning board meeting Wednesday while Andrew Demko looks on.

A custom knife company received a preliminary OK from New Castle’s zoning board to move into a warehouse in the city’s general business area.

Andrew Demko, of Demko Knives, appeared before the zoning appeals board Wednesday for a request to move his knife business into 408 Neal St.

“His endeavors have been productive enough where he is in the position to expand entrepreneurial endeavors and that’s why he’s looking to set up a business,” attorney Adrienne Langer of Cusick, DeCaro and Langer law firm said in representing Demko at the meeting.

One question that arose from board member Rich Gormley was whether the building and the requested use matched because Demko would be producing the products there, which could bleed into a commercial manufacturing business. Currently, he works out of his garage in Wampum.

Demko said about 75 percent of his operation is in planning and designing, which he then sells to other firms and companies around the world. The other 25 percent of the business would be in creating Demko’s knives.

“As far as what we do in-house, we do a real high end,” Demko said. “We’re making 200 at a time. It could be more, it could be less. We’re not making thousands and thousands of knives.”

He said he plans to have himself, plus two other employees, working at the facility. Regular daytime hours are planned for work at the property, and Demko said noise won’t be an issue.

On his website, a Shark-Lock knife with a three-inch blade and four-inch handle sells for $149.99.

The board unanimously approved his appeal with terms that it lasts for the duration of his ownership of the property. Langer said Demko would appear before the board again if the nature of the business changed outside of the current zoning laws.

“It actually devalues his product if they’re made at a larger scale,” Langer said.

Chair Bess Ondako joined with members Eric Ritter, Ronald Davis and Gormley in approving the appeal. Board member Michael Spelich was absent. The appeal moves to city council for consideration of full approval.

In other business, the board formally installed attorney Christopher Papa as its solicitor in a housekeeping measure. Papa has been appearing in the place of his father, attorney Angelo Papa, who is officially listed as the board’s solicitor.

Wednesday’s meeting began with Ondako announcing the board was tabling another appeal planned for Wednesday night regarding a banner sign permit at 20 S. Mercer St., which is the Central Building owned by DON Enterprises.

In March, attorneys representing DON Services approached the board after it was unhappy it was told to permanently affix a banner on the side of its building, while The Henry Banquet Center — located across the street and owned by Councilman Tim Fulkerson — also has a sign on its building was not permanently attached to the building.

The board, after a lengthy discussion, denied the request by DON Services.

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Digital editor

Pete Sirianni is the News' assistant editor and digital editor. He is a proud Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate, earning a degree in journalism and public relations. Contact him at or on Twitter at @PeterSirianni.

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