EDC Finance helped Penn Stone acquire an SBA 504 loan in order to finance the expansion and renovation. Randy Johnston, an EDC Finance loan officer, said the loan helped Penn Stone overcome a problem faced by many city property owners – the cost to rehabilitate their properties may exceed their appraised value.
For landscaper Andy Knutsen, the recent expansion and renovation at Penn Stone provides a sleek new way for his customers to shop for landscape stone, pavers and patio furniture.
The renovated 10,000-square-foot outdoor display now has built-in samples of 100 varieties of natural stone, brick and concrete hardscaping products among patio set-ups, landscaping walls and a built-in grill.
Inside, a 2,000-square-foot addition has more space for customers to view more samples while a new streamlined customer-service area combines space for contractors and walk-in retail customers.
Knutsen calls it “a little bit of a game-changer” for his business.
Even though Knutsen’s customers don’t buy directly from Penn Stone, Knutsen does.
So Knutsen says the city landscape- supply company’s $1.1 million renovation and expansion provides almost as much benefit to his business as if it was his own project.
“We would use them literally as a showroom because a lot of landscape contractors and hardscape contractors like us, we typically don’t have a showroom,” said Knutsen, owner of Conestoga-based Knutsen Landscaping.
Strengthening the connection with local contractors and their customers was a factor considered by Penn Stone owners as they decided to invest in their property at 190 W. Ross St., near Clipper Magazine Stadium.
The 10-month project, which wrapped up in December and will be unveiled at an open house from 4-8 p.m. Friday, also gives Penn Stone a better chance to show customers everything they have to offer, tempting them to possibly buy more.
“Until we did this, with most of the things we sold, the best option we had was go walk around in the yard and pull stuff out of crates and pallets,” said John McGrann, who owns Penn Stone with his wife, Mara Creswell McGrann.
“Now we don’t have to ask people to use their imaginations. They can just look at it and see,” he said.
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