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DuBois Bon-Ton closure announced

DuBOIS — The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. announced Wednesday that 42 locations will be closed — including its DuBois store located on Commons Drive — as part of its store rationalization program.

“As part of the comprehensive turnaround plan we announced in November, we are taking the next steps in our efforts to move forward with a more productive store footprint,” said Bill Tracy, president and chief executive officer for The Bon-Ton Stores. “Including other recently announced store closures, we expect to close a total of 47 stores in early 2018. We remain focused on executing our key initiatives to drive improved performance in an effort to strengthen our capital structure to support the business going forward.”

Mr. Tracy continued, “We would like to thank the loyal customers who have shopped at these locations and express deep gratitude to our team of hard-working associates for their commitment to Bon-Ton and to serving our customers.”

In order to ensure a seamless experience for customers, Bon-Ton has partnered with a third-party liquidator, Hilco Merchant Resources, to help manage the store closing sales. The store closing sales are scheduled to begin on Feb. 1 and run for approximately 10 to 12 weeks.

Associates at these locations will be offered the opportunity to interview for available positions at other store locations.

When the Courier Express contacted the company’s media representative Christine Hojnacki, she did not say how many employees would be impacted in DuBois by the closure.

Aside from the DuBois store, other stores in Pennsylvania that are scheduled to close include: State College, Johnstown, Erie, Selinsgrove, Stroudsburg, and Trexlertown.

Hojnacki said that once the DuBois store is closed, the closest location will be one hour away in Indiana.

Ponderosa Steakhouse to close Saturday

DuBOIS — Ponderosa Steakhouse will be closing at the end of the day, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3.

In business for 39 years, Owner Sam Mollica said the restaurant is closing because he is retiring. He added that the sale is pending.

The Courier Express checked with the Clearfield County Register & Recorder’s office and no sale had been posted yet on the 1.35 acre as of press time.

On the business’ Facebook page, long-time employees were recognized with the dates of their employment listed, those include: Leah Mollica (1979), Laura Luce (1993), Carrie Osborne (1993), Toni McCracken (1993), Jaynelle Horchen (1997), Kim Reed (2001), Glyceria Willar (2002), Mike Pistner (2002), Connie Sickeri (2003), Jason Victory (2008), Jona Haupt (2009), Josh Yohn (2011), Tiffany Siple (2011), Samantha Mack (2012), Cody Long (2012), Shena Lindemuth (2014), and Zack Musser (2014).

On the page, the Mollica family also said, “The business our family has owned and operated since 1979 will be sold in early February. We thank the area communities for the pleasure of serving you all these years. We also thank our hard working employees for their dedication and drive to be the best at what they do.”

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When we asked Tri-County Sunday residents their memories of the restaurant. Here are some that they shared with us:

  • “Sad to see Ponderosa closing. The Mollica family had worked hard from the conception, with Sam Sr., to the very end with Sam, now. They employed many people, gave young adults their first jobs and had a variety of foods beside steak. Hats off to the Mollica family – good luck and best wishes with your future endeavors!” —
  • Art Whitmore, DuBois
  • “That’s where me and my long time boyfriend, Denny Nelen had our first date! We go there regularly with our granddaughters. I like the idea that I don’t have to buy them a full meal, they can pick what they want. We will miss it!” —
  • Tammy Bukousky, DuBois
  • “I will miss their wings!” —
  • Nancy Weible, DuBois
  • “I will miss their liver, onions and meatloaf.” —
  • Kim Lansberry, Woodland
  • “We will miss it. Used to go there when it was Bonanza and then when it was Ponderosa. Lots of special dinners there. One of our favorites.” —
  • Robin Clark, DuBois

The Mollica family has many memories too.

Sam’s daughter Samantha Mollica has a photograph of the sign of the restaurant, then known as Bonanza, from when she was born on Feb. 1, 1985.

“Now it’s closing almost exactly 33 years later. It was my first job. One of my favorite memories was when Aretha Franklin stopped in and I got to ring up her meal for her,” Samantha said. “While I’m sad it will be closing, I’m happy for my dad to enjoy retirement.”

Photo by Andy Stine 

DuBois Central Catholic's Ashley Wruble (34) goes in for a layup as Johnsonburg's Rylee Casilio (4) watches the play. Wruble led the Lady Cardinals with 17 points on the night in thir 61-48 win over the Ramettes.

Congressman Thompson not on train that crashed

Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson was not on the train that crashed Wednesday filled with dozens of Republican members of Congress on their way to a police retreat in the countryside.

The train slammed into a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing one person in the truck. No serious injuries were reported among those on the train. At least two in the truck were seriously injured. (See national story, B6)

“Rep. Thompson was not on the train that collided with a vehicle earlier today in Corzet, Va. The Congressman drove his private automobile to the Republican retreat,” Thompson’s Chief of Staff Matthew Brennan told the Courier Express Wednesday afternoon.

“He is aware of the situation, has been communicating with his colleagues, and is praying for everyone involved in this terrible incident. The National Transportation Safety Board is sending highway and rail investigators to the scene of the collision and will be updating us as more information becomes available.”

Puppets teach DCC students valuable life lessons

DuBOIS — Elementary students at DuBois Central Catholic School were not only entertained by Sadecky’s Puppets Wednesday, but learned some valuable life lessons about kindness and respect.

“It has become a tradition for the puppets to visit DCC during National Catholic Schools Week each year and share their positive message,” according to school officials.

The Sadecky’s Puppets, based in Tarentum, performed an educational but heartwarming show entitled, “Good Fortune.”

“It’s a story of a young boy named Benny who isn’t always that nice to people,” said puppeteer Will Foster. “He doesn’t really think about how his actions affect other people until one day something really special happens to Benny and makes him realize the way that he treats people has a lot to do with the way people treat him.”

The students see how one night Benny is eating Chinese food and reaches for his fortune cookie. Upon opening the cookie, he receives a fortune which reads, “Be kind to others, and the rewards will be great.”

Although he doesn’t believe it, he decides to give it a try. Reminiscent of the Golden Rule, he begins to realize that the way he treats people has a direct impact on how he is treated and may have unforeseen influence on future encounters and situations in his life.

“All this time I was waiting for someone to give me a reward, instead what I got was respect,” Benny said. “When I was nice to people they were nice to me. It was that simple. And maybe that’s the best reward of all. I always try to treat people the way I want to be treated.”

According to their website, the puppeteer troupes travel to 14 different states, performing over 500 shows per year. Written into each script are issues such as respect, manners, peer pressure and honesty.