The opening of a small thrift store could be the beginning of much bigger plans for a century-old building located in the heart of Downtown Connellsville.
A few weeks ago, Coker This ‘N That opened in the building located at 119 W. Crawford Ave. with the eventual goal of financing the new home of the Coker Area Alumni Museum, a 200-seat black box theater, and a small business incubator offering office space for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
The building, reportedly erected in 1912 and once the home of a Woolworth’s store, was purchased at auction recently by the GCACC Inc., Connellsville Arts and Activities, according to the group’s vice president, Angela Hamman.
“All proceeds will go to the construction and maintenance of the theater and museum,” said Hamman.
The second hand shop sells men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, knick-knacks, housewares, small electronic items, and other items in good condition that are donated to the store by the community. Hamman said the word is starting to get out about the store to both shoppers and donors. There are some things the store doesn’t accept, like TV sets and furniture. Right now, Hamman said, the store is putting a call out for children’s clothing.
In addition to donations, the store also has vintage t-shirts from area high schools, the Connellsville Cokers, the Dunbar Mules, and the I.C. Owls.
“I just want to thank the community for helping us since our opening and we are also looking for volunteers,” said Hamman.
The building is scheduled to undergo an inspection by an engineer ahead of renovations on the space adjacent to the thrift store and the upper levels of the building, which Hamman said haven’t been inhabited for 25 years, most likely. The exterior of the building, specifically the front façade, will also be renovated.
The group's hope is to open the museum and theater by the spring of 2020. The GCACC is actively seeking an investor for the theater and Hamman said they are willing to put that investor’s name on the theater.
The space on the other side of the thrift store houses Pat’s Bridal, which will stay on as a tenant.
The store is open for donations and shopping from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store’s address is 119 W. Crawford Ave. Those seeking information about donating or potentially investing the theater project can call 724-603-2087.