A few months ago Randy Williams, the head of Dandy Mini-marts, came to me and said “I have a really great project for you Dave.” He began to explain how he recently acquired the old Piollet House, a historic Mansion and landmark in Bradford County, PA, and wanted to convert it into a new Dandy store. Dandy is one of our Brand Architecture clients and we’ve worked closely with them on many stores in the past, but none like this. I was pleased that we were given the opportunity, but I also knew the challenges associated with such a big undertaking. However, I shared Randy’s enthusiasm and appreciation towards this historic building and was eager to begin work.
Here’s a little history on the building…
Built in the 1870′s, it was constructed of rough sawn wood framing, thick masonry bearing walls, large archways and decorative woodworking, much of which is still intact but clearly showing it’s age. The center features a three story rotunda with stairs leading up to a rooftop cupola, but due to heavy deterioration it was removed a number of years ago. Adjacent to the building stands one of the oldest living trees in the county, further adding to the historic significance.
The building was in the Piollet family until the late 1930′s, but has changed hands several times serving most recently as a general store. Various alterations, additions, and renovations have been made by the former owners, adding fuel islands, garage bays and a vehicle service area in the rear. Although the last occupant operated a convenience type store as well, much of the equipment and systems are either damaged or outdated, thus needing replacement in order to meet code and the increased demand of the new Dandy.
Located at the intersection of Route 6 & 187 in Wysox, PA, the building sits at a key juncture that is heavily used by both local and natural gas truck traffic, making it a prime location. Sure it may be easier and less costly to simply tear it down and start from scratch, but that has never been a realistic option. The building’s history combined with the strong local support to restore it only reinforced Randy’s decision…to save as much as possible without hindering the proposed new store. The challenge then became to balance the restoration with the need to expand and modernize the building, then tie it all together without costing a fortune. Quite a challenge indeed!
Stay tuned for insights into the design and construction of this historic Brand Architecture project!