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Bits of Business: Five-generation Millheim funeral parlor sold

A five-generation small business was recently sold.

Steven R. Neff Funeral Home in Millheim was sold to Anthony Pusateri in October.

“I sold it, because, between health problems and getting more tired, I couldn’t do it all,” former owner Steven R. Neff said. “I’m still working here, though, and I plan on working for as long as I can, but the new man is doing most of the work now.”

Pusateri, who moved from Pittsburgh to run the funeral home, has worked in the funeral home industry for 34 years. He was inspired by the loss of his grandfather to get into the business.

“My grandfather lived right next to us and died when I was 14 years old,” Pusateri said. “He had looked so bad for a year or two, and at the funeral home he looked way better than he was. That stuck in the back of my head, and I wanted to see what was involved in how that happened.”

Pusateri never expected to own a funeral home.

“I got into the business because there are parents, children and friends that go through this, and it changes your life forever, and I want to help them through this,” Pusateri said. “There’s never been a big plan to own one, but when the opportunity arose I couldn’t pass it up. I’ve always thought that if I could just help one kid then I’m doing OK.”

Sadie’s to open downtown

A multiyear project will result in a savory aroma emanating from a small shop at 118 S. Pugh St. in State College.

Sadie’s Gourmet Shops will have a soft opening the second week of January.

“Our goal is for a soft opening January 10,” director of operations Jessica Hosband said. “Like any business opening, there are things that could hinder that, like equipment not being delivered on time, but we plan on January 10, and I’m doing my best to ensure that.”

The shop will have a few seats and tables inside but is designed with a grab-and-go philosophy to meet consumer needs.

“It’s not so much a hangout place as it is a place people on the move to class or work can quickly grab what they need,” Hosband said. “There are a lot of students and business people that we think will really benefit from a place like Sadie’s being here.”

The shop will sell house-made food such as waffles, wraps, muffins, cookies and cakes.

“The waffles will be our main focus,” Hosband said. “You don’t get too many specialty waffles made of dough, and we’ve ordered very expensive wafflemakers from Belgium. We really want to give them a go.”

CBICC to hold ribbon cutting

Larry Dennis has had a few changes in his life in the past two years.

He sold his insurance agency offices in New York and Connecticut, moved to his native State College and recently opened a Farmers Insurance office downtown.

“I knew I’d probably do something in insurance when I moved back here, but I didn’t know what opportunities would be out here,” Dennis said. “My mom still lives in State College, though, so I knew I’d eventually move back here. I love it here. I always have.”

The Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the only Farmers Insurance office in Centre County at noon Wednesday at 301 S. Allen St., Suite 103A. State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham will attend.

Dennis runs the office with childhood best friend Cindy Zimmerman and said they’ll hire two to three employees.

“We’d like to think we’ll serve thousands of clients,” Dennis said. “That’s what we’ll gear up for.”

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