Moving into a former restaurant has opened up some brand new opportunities for Olyphant Hose Company 2.
The hose company recently completed its move to the former Jon Pierre’s American Bistro on Burke Bypass late last month. The hose company contended with a number of COVID-19-related delays on work to turn the eatery into a fire station, according to Fire Chief Christine Powell.
“Loan processing, site/engineering work, renovations and obtaining building materials were held up due to mostly the pandemic and set us back about two months of moving in,” she said. “We officially moved our fire apparatus in on Sept. 27. However, we have been moving in since we purchased the building on July 17.”
Powell said her husband, Bob Powell, the borough’s assistant fire chief and a hose company member, first saw the possibilities that the empty restaurant had to offer.
“He knew the structure of the facility and how much square footage was in the building and knew it would be a great location for our fire department,” she said. “The floor is very solid in the building and he knew it could sustain the weight of our fire apparatus.”
To pay for the building, the hose company sold a fire truck and used the money for a down payment on the building, which they bought for $250,000, according to Christine Powell.
While Olyphant Council helped the hose company with the renovations needed to make it into a firehouse, costing roughly about $32,000, the fire company did take out a loan for the building, the chief said.
Renovations on the upper floor are still ongoing. They plan to use that space for a meeting/training room, recreation area and office. There is also a full bathroom upstairs with a shower.
But moving into a restaurant meant they have access to a much bigger, better equipped kitchen than most hose companies have. The building came with several full size stoves, deep fryer, pizza oven, prep tables, a dishwasher and dishes, pots and pans.
“Our company has opened a whole new book of ideas for fundraisers, since about 70% of our operating expenses are based on fundraisers,” Powell said. “There is a lot of room to move in the kitchen which will make it easier for us to run a fundraiser smoothly.”
In fact, Olyphant Hose Company 2 is planning their first fundraiser since Queen City Nights in July 2019. The company will host a craft fair and a drive-through roast beef dinner on Nov. 14. Vendors for the fair include handmade novelty items, personalized items, candles, jewelry, skin care, home decor, holiday items, basket raffles and a bake sale.
“Since the roast beef dinner is take-out only, people will be coming through the parking lot in a drive-through manner,” Christine Powell said. “At the craft fair, vendors and patrons will be required to wear masks and participate in social distancing.”
The hose company is hoping to host an open house so residents can tour the new facility as soon as pandemic restrictions are lifted, Christine Powell said.