Business Columns & Blogs

Bits of Business | Owner brings Bellefonte salon closer to home

Billie Jo North knows what’s important to her.

First, it’s family. She lives with her husband and two children in Bellefonte. State College isn’t a far drive, but she has always wanted to work closer to home.

Second, it’s opening a salon.

North combined the two and opened her own business, Velvet Salon, at 141 W. High St. last week.

“I wanted to bring my clientele and business to Bellefonte to help Bellefonte prosper,” North said. “I love the town and really want to see it thrive. It really didn’t seem right to drive to another town each day to work. I am also close friends with the owners of Cool Beans, which is right below me. It seemed like a no-brainer to set up shop above them when the spot opened up.”

The salon is small, 500 square feet to be exact, with a feel to it that fits in with Bellefonte’s historical architecture.

“It’s kind of Victorian,” North said. “I wanted to keep it simple and clean, but make it funky and vintage.”

There are two stations and a backroom in the salon. North said she might be able to take three clients at a time, but said she wants the small salon to provide more personal connections with visitors.

“It’s been a busy first week, so I’m really happy about that,” North said. “It’s all about building relationships to bring them back.”

OrderUp launches

fast-food services

Fries. McFlurries. Pies.

OrderUp will deliver it now if you order it online from the McDonald’s on East College Avenue or North Atherton Street.

It’s the first time Order-Up — which was launched by Penn State students 12 years ago and is now based in Baltimore — will deliver food from a fast-food joint in State College. The addition of McDonald’s to OrderUp’s delivery venues was prompted after the company raised $7 million for such projects.

“We’ll bring on the South Atherton and the Nittany Mall McDonald’s, too, and we’re at different stages of the conversation with some other fast food place,” Casey Macioge, State College’s general manager, said. “We’ve had quite a nice start with the first two McDonald’s.”

OrderUp received more than 100 orders between the two McDonald’s locations in the first 24 hours.

“The idea behind it has always been to serve people, and usually it’s students on campus, that would have to walk or take the bus to get food,” Macioge said. “We make it a little easier for them.”

Got an idea?

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is holding a free for all.

Sort of.

Anyone from anywhere — from architects and city officials to educators and students — can apply in the first ever Knight Cities Challenge. Contestants must submit an idea to make State College and 25 other communities where the Knight Foundation invests to become more vibrant places to live and work.

Winners will receive a share of $5 million and become part of a network of civic innovators that work to make Knight Foundation cities better.

Applications will be accepted through Nov. 12.

For more information, go to