Eleven businesses in Brownsville held grand openings on Friday, re-energizing the borough’s business community.

Muriel Nuttall, the executive director of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, said it marked the most ribbon cuttings the chamber has ever held in a one-day period.

“We work closely with Joe Barantovich who, with Laura Patterson, created the Perennial Project in Brownsville last year to bring some revitalization to the community,” Nuttall said. “There have been several new businesses coming into the town since then and with Joe, we contacted those who were interested in becoming members of the countywide chamber.”

Nuttall said the number of interested businesses quickly grew from two to four and then to 11.

“This is especially exciting as it has all come about in the midst of a pandemic,” Nuttall said. “As the Fayette Chamber is proud to be a partner organization, we will gladly stand beside the Greater Brownsville Area Chamber to welcome these businesses.”

The businesses celebrating grand openings were: Riverside Market, Market Street Barber Shop, Exquisite Design, Leaning House Fine Cigars, The Sandwich Shop and Deli, Aperaturepro22, Antiques on Broad, Pickers Pub & Grub, Mary’s Corner Café, Vaganova Academy of Brownsville and The Brownsville Perennial Project.

“We believe in Brownsville and apparently 10 other businesses believe in Brownsville,” said Heidi Kavanaugh, the co-owner of Leaning House Fine Cigars. “It’s going to be a heck of a day.”

For Kavanaugh and her husband and co-owner, Kevin, it will be the second location, with the first in Belle Vernon.

Kavanaugh said they offer premium cigars, accessories like lights and cigar cutters and empty cigar boxes people use for various purposes. The business also has a smoking lounge with leather furniture, air conditioning and ice and glasses available for anyone who wants to bring along their own drinks.

She added that once they get approval from the state liquor control board, they’ll be able to sell a full line of Pennsylvania wines.

Janice Stitchick is the owner of Antiques on Broad, which also has an already-established location in Belle Vernon.

Stitchick said they sell antiques and collectables like furniture, glassware, pottery, records, coins, sports memorabilia, country crafts, military, advertising items and also have a bargain-basement room with special deals.

“If you can’t find it in our store, then they don’t make it as an antique or a collectible,” Stitchick said.

Stitchick said they’re getting back on their feet after being closed for two months because of COVID-19 and while they’re not at their full capacity, they will get there as things progress.

Stitchick said she hopes her shop’s presence in Brownsville will help in the revitalization process for the area.

“If they come in to shop at our store, they can also eat lunch, get a haircut, buy a cigar, go grocery shopping,” Stitchick said. “That’s our goal.”

Nuttall said the new businesses are encouraging for the small borough.

“Brownsville has had its difficulties economically; that is actually an understatement,” she said. “It is so gratifying to see the positive changes that are happening now as the business community grows and the people of Brownsville see that they can be and should be proud of their hometown.”

Nuttall noted Brownsville has been the filming location for movies like “Maria’s Lovers” as well as television series like Netflix’s “I’m Not Okay With This.”

“The community has learned that capitalizing in a positive manner on these things can bring a whole new audience to town to enjoy the food and shop in the local stores,” Nuttall said, adding that the chamber is thankful for those businesses working together to make a difference in the borough. “Stories just like this, the people of a small town banding together to make great things happen.”

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