DANVILLE — A new Dollar Tree has sprouted up in Danville.

It opened in mid-May in the former CVS Pharmacy in the Danville Plaza, at 171 Northumberland St.

A Taco Bell opened in the parking lot of the same plaza earlier this year.

"It's the best thing that's happened here. I'm here every day and sometimes several times a day," said Tina Lesser, who lives near the Dollar Tree.

"They couldn't have picked anything better to put here," she said.

Janette Reibsome, who also lives near the store, said, "It's great and very convenient." 

The Dollar Tree and Taco Bell are among several new businesses that have found a home in downtown Danville.

Danville's downtown, centered primarily on Mill Street about a block from the plaza, is a mixture of businesses such as a pole dancing fitness studio, hair salons, a bike and ski shop, a tattoo shop, restaurants, jewelers, clothing stores, a children's shop, a yoga studio, photography studios, martial arts, a department store and more.

"We have a very diverse landscape of businesses, which allows people the opportunity to find something they enjoy," said Danville Business Alliance Executive Director Rebecca Dressler.

She said some businesses have moved from other towns, possibly because Danville is more business-friendly.


Mom-and-pop kind of town 

When Dressler meets with a prospective business start-up, she refers the individual to the Small Business Development Center in Lewisburg for assistance.

Danville Mayor Bernie Swank enjoys the variety of stores in Danville.

"It's awesome. This is the greatest thing with a variety of stores coming in. We're flourishing, which is good," she said. "It's good that people don't have to run to a mall. We have a mom-and-pop kind of town and it's nice to have all that variety."

Dressler said the DBA is conducting an online survey of businesses in Danville so it can gauge what businesses need and how the DBA can better help them. Businesses are also being asked why they moved to Danville. 

The DBA will soon survey people in the Danville area for their thoughts on what they would like to see among businesses. The DBA will use its email list and also post a link to the survey on the "Danville Pennsylvania..Present, Past & Future" Facebook page.  

"Dollar Tree continues to grow and we are proud to be part of the Danville community," said Kayleigh Painter, Dollar Tree investor and media relations manager, in Chesapeake, Va.

She said the Danville store, covering 9,541 square feet, employs 12 to 20 associates. The store offers a broad assortment of merchandise priced at $1 or less.

Danville Taco Bell opened in the parking lot of the same plaza earlier this year. It seats about 52 and employs about 35.


Also new downtown

Businesses opening recently in the downtown include the Knack Creative Studio, at 339 Mill St., offering the opportunity for children through adults to express their creativity. Owner Julia Hoffman said she has textile classes for kids with others planned in printmaking and sculpture and kids' workshops with rainbow, tropical and shark week themes. For adults, she will hold workshops on making a painted coaster set and a painted fruit slice serving tray. People can sign up at www.knackcreativestudio.com.

Hoffman has worked in art, fashion and graphic design and has an art business called Navona.

The Purple Hippo opened about three months ago at 348 Mill St. It has had a shop in Milton for three years, according to owner Dan Bitner. The business sells tie-dyed shirts, tapestries, purses, incense, glass art, CBD and tobacco products and more.

Custom Care Pharmacy opened after the Danville Pharmacy changed to a closed-door operation serving long-term facilities, institutions and group homes.

Pharmacy President Adam Rosinski began the business across from CVS at 1140 Mill St. The location is their first drive-through service and the company's fourth pharmacy. It offers deliveries throughout the day. 

Black Wolf Historical Martial Arts started renting 546 Mill St. early in the year and offers instruction to all ages in historical fencing and more.

Students have no contact with each other during sessions and don't use swords. They practice instead with padded foam mock weapons, said instructor Scott Richardson. They teach historic martial arts techniques from Europe beginning with the long sword. 

Earlier this year, Danville native Sarah LaBarbera started Taboo Pole Dance Fitness, on Mill Street in one of the suites of the former theater. She has operated a studio in the Wilkes-Barre area the past eight years. At the time, she said pole dancing fitness is becoming popular nationwide as a workout for women. 

P.J. Harte, of Washingtonville, plans to open The Mulberry Hideout, at 42 L. Mulberry St., as a community-driven gathering space. He expects to hold community pot-luck dinners and to serve as a drop-off location for products of New Creations Farm, in the Riverside area. He plans to have space to sell crafts and products from area farms.

"It can serve as an informal gathering — maybe a beekeeper group needs space to meet," he said.


Promoting the downtown

The DBA also holds events to promote the downtown and joins with other groups.

The Spring Fling was held in May.

The Second Annual Taste of Nations Food Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 29 with Italian, Greek, Indian, Pakistani, Mexican and more. There will be a bounce house and music and dancing by Sisters Arcana Belly Dance.

Mary Lapos, a local artist, has her works displayed in the DBA office, on Mill Street, through July 30.

The business alliance partners with the Ferry Street Growers Market, which is open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Nov. 23.

The Danville Arts Council, which is part of the DBA, holds the summer concert series at 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 6 in Memorial Park.

The alliance also works with the annual Danville Heritage Festival, which will be held July 19-21 and include a gigantic parade celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Danville American Legion Post 40 on July 20.

The alliance is also part of a Health Fair to  be held Aug. 17 at Hess Field. It will sponsor the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival Sept. 7, the holiday open house of businesses Nov. 23-24 and the Hometown Holiday Celebration Dec. 6-8.