Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A kick to W-B’s economy

March 04. 2013 11:52PM

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WILKES-BARRE — For nearly 10 years Ed Sheridan operated Sitarai’s Martial Arts Studio along South Main Street in Pittston. But his heart belonged in his hometown of Wilkes-Barre. And as of today, his studio resides where he and his heart do.

Sheridan, 41, of Wilkes-Barre, said he loved his space in Pittston and his neighbors and the city, but Wilkes-Barre was calling him.

The 1990 Coughlin High School graduate said he used to drive by the vacant storefront in the Market Street Square plaza and dream about locating his studio there someday. Today is that day.

The initial class at the new facility will begin at 7:30 tonight. Sheridan and others were busy Monday putting the finishing touches on the decor, placing the equipment and mats, and readying to welcome the students, all of which are making the move with him from Pittston.

He said the new location will likely lead to additional students who may not have been able to get to Pittston, and now that he has more than 2,400 additional square feet, he can handle the influx.

The 6,200-square-foot storefront in the former Hollywood Video location has been rented for a three-month period each winter by the nonprofit Commission on Economic Opportunity. But this winter, the agency based in Wilkes-Barre was told by the building’s owner, The Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority, to find another temporary place because negotiations were underway with Sheridan to rent the space.

The one-year lease was signed last week, according to Redevelopment Authority Secretary Margie Thomas. It calls for Sheridan to pay $2,500 per month, plus the electric bill. Thomas said the contract automatically renews for another year next March 1 unless Sheridan gives 90 day notice he is not resigning.

Sheridan said it’s a bit more than he was paying for the 108 S. Main St., Pittston, location, but was worth it because the majority of his 30 students reside in Wilkes-Barre.

He said that added convenience means parents aren’t in the car as long and don’t have to get home too late, since most classes are at night.

Students range in age from 5 to 67 and classes include karate, jujitsu, judo and self-defense.

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