Downtown Businesses Back in Montgomery

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MONTGOMERY -- It has been decades since businesses have filled Montgomery's downtown.

Now, that Lycoming County community is seeing a resurgence.

In just the last year or so, new businesses have moved into Montgomery's downtown.

It is a sign that things have turned around after years during which the downtown was virtually empty, according to borough leaders.

Main Street in Montgomery has not always had practically every storefront filled and businesses thriving.

A once-vacant, run-down building should be home to a music store by next month.

It is the latest property businessman Rocky Sanguedolce has purchased and is fixing up in order to lease out.

"It was in horrible shape, could have been on an episode of hoarders. It was unbelievably cluttered. Needed a lot of tender loving care," said Sanguedolce.

That is pretty much been the case for a lot of downtown Montgomery in the last 30 years, give or take, according to Montgomery Mayor Andy Onufrak.

"No, there really was nothing, we had the pharmacy, that was it."

Back in the 1970's when the textile mills closed in Montgomery, borough officials said it hit the downtown pretty hard.

Now in 2012, natural gas companies have popped up in the mills' place and that's being partly credited for the resurgence of business in downtown.

"That was a major punch. Now, it's a rebirth, same thing that knocked us out, built us back up," added Onufrak.

In the case of Shirey's Outdoor Supply, the owners say the building was abandoned for at least a decade.

"We're not even a year old yet, we've grown by leaps and bounds. Able to move to a larger location a year ahead of schedule," said Michaelene Shirey.

Folks who live in the Montgomery area have taken notice of the turnaround on Main Street.

"I hope people from the area come downtown and enjoy it and spend their money there," said Kay Stahley of the Montgomery area.

There is just one building that's still empty in Montgomery's downtown, however borough leaders said its owner is working on plans to renovate and attract business.