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The Trailside Café

The Trailside
108 West Main Street
West Newton, PA
Business Expansion
Total Project Cost
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When nobody else out there would lend me the money, The Progress Fund stepped up. Basically, they got it. …now I’m where I wanted to be. Our business plan is completed.

- Rod Darby, Owner, The Trailside


Rod Darby was three-quarters of the way down the trail to a thriving business, but had a fiscal flat tire. He had purchased a building along the Great Allegheny Passage and turned it into The Trailside, with a cyclist-friendly convenience store, bike repair shop, and restaurant with a deck. The problem: “When the sun went down, when the weather got cool, we really struggled,” says Rod. He had always planned to get a liquor license, but couldn’t get bank financing to buy one. “The economy went sour,” he says. “There was just no money.”


The Progress Fund had financed every stage of development of The Trailside, and had arranged a $145,000 loan from the Pennsylvania First Industries Tourism Program. Now The Progress Fund loaned another $40,000 for the license and bar equipment, increasing its total loans to The Trailside to $394,000.


The Progress Fund also connected Rod with an experienced restaurateur, who advised him through the St. Francis University Small Business Development Center. “The secret of our success has been, when the trail traffic goes away, how do we survive?” says Rod. With the shift to a family-friendly pub, featuring craft brews and American grilled food, wintertime business quadrupled, smoothing the cash flow. “It’s really saved the company.”

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News about The Trailside Café

Trail provides positive economic impact to West Newton area

Mary Lou Rendulic does not need a study to tell her about the economic value of the Great Allegheny Passage, the popular 150-mile recreational trail that cuts through West Newton as it connects Pittsburgh with Cumberland, Md. “We’re finding that we are renting more and more rooms per season,” said Rendulic, who operates Bright Morning Bed & Breakfast, The Annex Inn and the new Willow Springs Inn along Jefferson Court, just off the Great Allegheny Passage. Continue reading Read the full post »