It's no grocery store, but something finally is moving into the former Viola's Market in Evans City.
Soon, an Ace Hardware will call the building home. It'll be a different purpose for the building, and the building will take on a different facade.
Cherie Deener, borough council president, said a developer appeared before council at its agenda-planning meeting in mid-December to update them on what the plans were for the former grocery store.
“There was a whole bunch of Amish men here, and the whole front has been ripped off and the windows taken out,” Deener said. “When it was all torn off, it really looked big in comparison to the blue that was up there.”
The blue-and-white siding that marked the corner of Main Street and North Jackson Street for decades gave way to the more interior wall, marking, perhaps, the same conversion of the building's purpose.
Deener said she hopes the renovations of Viola's will encourage other businesses along Route 68 to take the same route.
“It's nice to see something new and different, and it'll maybe motivate some other people to enhance their facades, too,” she said.
Looking at other buildings upgraded by the same developer, Deener said, made her optimistic about the former market's future.
“He's going to be doing something with the bottom part, too, to make the building modern-old — it's going to be new, but it's going to look older,” she said. “He definitely has some pizazz for style.”
Mayor Dean Zinkhann said the borough was, much like its citizenry, in the dark about the plans for the building since the market's closure in J uly 2019 and its sale from Frank Viola to Jerome Oliver Sr. for $550,000 last August.
“I feel like it's been a big secret all along. I don't know,” Zinkhann said. “I've heard a few things like Ace Hardware or Ace Hardware offices going in there, but I don't know.”
While Deener said many in the borough had hoped for a grocery store to replace the family-owned market that graced Evans City for 55 years, a hardware store isn't a bad option, either.
It might also fit in with the borough's downtown revitalization efforts. Not only is the building getting a face-lift, she said, but its purpose might encourage those who pass through Evans City on their way to or from work to stop and explore the borough.
“It has its merits and, again, with the Christmas decorations and the grills and all the stuff you'd go to Lowe's for, if he can keep it competitive, it'll be cool,” Deener said. “It was kind of exciting to see, and I do remember a hardware store here many, many, many, many years ago.”