Good Life

Former Cafe on the Park to become wine bar and eatery

The former Cafe on the Park building in Bellefonte is set to become a wine bar and eatery.
The former Cafe on the Park building in Bellefonte is set to become a wine bar and eatery. Centre Daily Times, file

Those planning a Bellefonte bar crawl are in luck.

With the Gamble Mill set to reopen and Big Spring Spirits, Good Intent Cider and others, options abound for even the most discerning palates. Add to the mix a new wine bar and eatery, which is planned to open in the former Cafe on the Park at 325 W. High St. in August.

Cafe on the Park’s owners, Kim and Frank Kowalczyk, have sold the property to Elwin Stewart and Barb Christ, the owners of the Happy Valley Winery. The Kowalczyks, who were looking to retire, operated the popular breakfast and lunch spot for about a decade.

Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said the process is moving along smoothly and cited the growth of the town’s waterfront area. With the addition of another purveyor of fermented fun, good spirits can be found at almost every corner.

Food and fuel

For Dunkin’ Donuts, the coffee cup runneth over.

At least in State College. Weis Markets plans to develop space for a Dunkin’ Donuts store, the fifth in the municipality, and a Weis Gas-N-Go. Both will be located at 1400 N. Atherton St., or in front of the Weis Markets at 1471 Martin St.

Plans were submitted June 14. No construction timeline has been set.

The Dunkin’ Donuts will include a drive-though lane, while an attendant’s kiosk will supplement the Gas-N-Go site. The plan includes four fueling stations and 48 parking spaces.

Ray Stolinas, Ferguson Township’s director of zoning and planning, said lights will be installed on the property, but no streetlights are planned for North Atherton Street.

Dunkin’ Donuts last opened a store in State College in April at 1311 S. Atherton St.

Reinventing real estate

Few literary conceits withstand time’s crucible more than self-reinvention. From Viola to Dantès to even Sam-I-Am’s unnamed green-eggs-and-ham-adverse acquaintance, heroines and heroes alike divest themselves of their former personas, and in the process discover a profound shift in perspective.

In the real estate business, that change comes a bit slower, Chuck Gambone said. But Gambone has noticed that the profession is quickly catching up in the past decade or so. For Gambone, Songer and Associates Realty, the real estate group he co-founded, it was time for a change.

The business announced last week a partnership with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, unveiling a new name and a new look in the process. Now Better Homes and Gardens GSA Realty, the group will implement a younger feel while still adhering to its core values, Gambone said.

The group, started in January 2009, began discussions earlier this year about revamping its image. They looked at several different franchises but decided on Better Homes and Gardens after seeing a common ground.

“We decided that maybe a franchise could help us brand and recruit,” Gambone said, “and at the same time help us to kind of reinvent ourselves.”

While Gambone hasn’t discovered a clandestine island complete with a treasure cave, he and his associates have found a decent analog. Realogy, a multibillion-dollar real estate company, acquired licensing rights from Meredith Corporation in 2008 to franchise under the Better Homes and Gardens name. The real estate network includes more than 300 offices across the United States and Canada.

Meredith, which publishes the eponymous magazine, has in recent years invested in tailoring content toward millennials, a strategy which dovetails with Gambone’s vision.

“One of the things that we wanted to do when we were looking at franchises was we wanted to make sure we aligned ourselves with a franchise that was millennial-minded,” he said.

Better Homes and Gardens GSA Realty has offices in State College and Tyrone. The group is targeting to have five offices by 2021.

The change will be incremental, however. Bit by bit, Gambone said, progress is built.

It took the anonymous protein-pouter in “Green Eggs and Ham,” after all, about 71 pages to take a bite.

“Any company will eventually go through that cycle where they need to reinvent,” Gambone said. “We just happen to be at that point.”

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy

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