In 2017, local businesses celebrated anniversaries and partnerships formed among small establishments.
A popular market in Mountaintop celebrated its 20th anniversary in March and its owner spoke to The Eagle about his family realizing their dream. It was March 8, 1997, when the Carone family first opened their grocery store here, with great support from the Mountaintop community. As Carone’s Market celebrated two decades, owner Frank Carone related of his passion for the grocery business that he and co-owner brother Stephen inherited from their parents.
“The customers and the people that work with us are just unbelievable,” Frank related. “It’s one big family here and we just really want to thank the Mountaintop area for 20 years of support.”
Frank praised both his hard-working staff and loyal customers for the store’s success. Some customers he said he knows by face, by their routine, and by the regular items they purchase, yet he doesn’t know their names. Others he remembers being pushed in carts by their parents when they were children, now old enough to walk into the store and purchase items on their own. Asked why the patrons are so loyal, he noted, “I think it’s the way the store is run and the people that work here. It’s what we have to offer and how we treat them.”
Another Mountaintop business celebrating a big anniversary this year was Mt. Top Kids, which turned 30 this summer. Owner Diana Crecca has impacted the lives of thousands of children in Mountaintop and this was evident as she described those she has nurtured at Mt. Top Kids constantly coming back to the facility as adults, either to reminisce with Diana about their childhoods there or to enroll their children for the same loving guidance and care.
Reflecting on running the daycare/ preschool for 30 years, Diana related that, while it is an emotionally and physically exhausting job, it’s one that comes with unparalleled rewards. “You impact so many lives, you make a difference and don’t even know it,” she said. “And then they come back. We have so many here whose parents, uncles, cousins came here before. They loved it here so they wanted the same for their kids.”
The Mountain Top Small Business Partners formed this year with the goal of making it known to those who live on the mountain that they have an array of goods and services available to them through the many small businesses here. “We wanted to come up with a way to really network our businesses and come out in the community,” related Kathy Brocca, owner of Women’s Boutique and Consignments, on North Mountain Boulevard.
She described how she and a few other others formed the Small Business Partners group; they decided it was a good idea since Mountain Top doesn’t have a Chamber of Commerce or merchant’s group. The new group promotes networking for the mountain’s business community. “We want to really help the customers understand what is available and how important it is to support your local businesses,” Brocca said. “And we have every type of business.”
A new gift shop also opened on the mountain this year, the dream of a local woman who always envisioned owning her own gift shop. A few months since the opening of her store, Cindy Hudak couldn’t be happier that she followed her dream and neither could the people of Mountaintop, who have already frequented Boxes & Bows, Gifts and More…, expressing their excitement that they now can shop for gifts locally.
“We have an amazing community here,” related Cindy. “Everyone has been very supportive of the small businesses here and that’s huge.” Of working each day in the shop that’s located in the Top of the Mountain plaza, she went on, “I’m so happy. I know it sounds silly, but the saying is true. If you do something that you love, you never have to work a day in your life.”