Pride of Place


By Nancy Moffett In 1988 Michael Rhoads was 22 years old, recently married, working a full-time job as a machinist and two part-time jobs to make ends meet. With little money to spare, this didn’t seem like a good time to start a business. But that’s just what Rhoads did, spending the couple’s last $175 on a weed whacker so he could start Mike’s Lawn Maintenance in Allento... »

Pharo Garden Centre

By Nancy Moffett The love of plants and gardening has been a lifelong passion for Ray Steidinger and Victoria Leister, owners of Pharo Garden Centre on Easton Avenue/William Penn Highway near Bethlehem. It shows on their strong hands and outdoor faces. But there’s more than a passion for their business evident when you meet them. They have a strong bond with and commitment... »

Chestnut Hill Landscape Contractors

By Nancy Moffett Chestnut Hill Landscape Contractors grew out of a nursery founded in 1959 in Center Valley by Paul Talago. John Talago, Chestnut Hill’s current owner, was the youngest of Paul’s seven kids. He grew up working in the nursery, learning hands-on about horticulture and running a business. During the 1960s and ‘70s, the nursery sold stock mostly to landscapers ... »

Trexler-Haines Inc.

By Nancy Moffett Innovation and foresight are hallmarks of successful businesses. Back in the early 1930s, Russell C. Trexler saw a new energy source – propane – as a good alternative to the fuels then used for cooking and heating. Today, the company he founded to sell that new energy product still bears his name and is headed by his daughter, Betty Trexler Smith. Seventy-... »

Wood Heat

By Nancy Moffett In the early 1970s events in the Middle East produced an energy crisis that affected the price and supply of petroleum products. Motorists waited in long lines for gas, and people began looking for alternative ways to heat their homes. Stu Ackerman responded in 1975 by founding Wood Heat to sell wood-burning stoves out of his garage in Quakertown, Bucks Co... »

Neighbors Home & Garden Center

By Nancy Moffett What began as the Hellertown Agway in 1990 has since blossomed into Neighbors Home and Garden Center, rated as one of the top 100 garden centers in the U.S. by Nursery Retailer magazine. How did this family-owned business get and keep its reputation for quality, variety and customer service through the years? Sitting on seven acres of what once was farmlan... »


By Nancy Moffett “We nurture nature” is Plantique’s motto. And, they’ve been doing exactly that since Ted Fritzinger started this landscaping business in 1948. He was fresh out of Cornell University with a degree in Landscape Architecture and Design, after serving in World War II. At that time, he named the business Better Homes Landscape Company. Sixty-four years later, T... »

Barry Bartakovits Custom Pools and B&B Pools Inc.

By Nancy Moffett Walk into the B&B Pools store located in the Shoppes at Hellertown, and the first thing you’ll notice is a wall loaded with awards given to Barry Bartakovits Custom Pools (BBCP) by the Northeast Spa & Pool Association, Penn Jersey Pool & Spa, Lehigh Valley Builders Association…more than 30 from various organizations. The latest is a source of p... »

Grates & Grills

By Nancy Moffett In 1975, Frank Rymdeika put a wood-burning fireplace in his home, but he looked high and low locally for the accessories he needed. They were not to be had–which sparked an idea. Why not open his own fireplace store in the tiny borough of Dublin in Bucks County? Since that time, Rymdeika and his family have been helping people stay toasty-warm by supplying... »

Aardvark Sports Shop

By Frederick Jerant Although major sporting goods chains strive to be all things to all athletes, Aardvark Sports Shop in Bethlehem has stayed focused on its original niche—shoes and accessories for serious runners. The store was founded in 1984 by Chuck Kovacs. Kovacs ran the Bethlehem business on Guetter Street for just four years before selling it to Richard Haines, who... »

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