Most who venture into Canonsburg’s East End only get so far as Sarris’ Candies and Sam’s Pizza before turning around.
Once a bustling section of the borough – the East End was home to a grocery store, barber shop and laundry mat – many buildings have sat empty for years. The opening of Renovation Nation, a small, local, female-owned business, is part of the Greater Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce’s revitalization plans.
“We don’t want it to be the forgotten neighborhood,” said Canonsburg Mayor Dave Rhome at Renovation Nation’s ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning. “It’s a wonderful thing to see contractors coming into our location … and ultimately putting people back to work.”
Renovation Nation has occupied the space at 500 Perry Como Avenue for more than a year but the official ribbon cutting ceremony was delayed because of owner Dee Ankney’s busy schedule and the global pandemic.
Before Ankney cut the red ribbon to a round of applause outside her storefront Friday morning, Rhome presented her with a plaque from the mayor’s office and Greater Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce president AJ Williams welcomed her to what he said were his “old stomping grounds.”
Ankney, a former railroad conductor, began selling home renovation products almost four years ago.
“I started this out of my garage in Peters. I started seeing such a need for remodeling material … especially below retail,” she said. Her business savvy coupled with the booming home and home renovation markets helped her burgeoning business grow quickly.
“I got so big I had to become a store,” said Ankney.
The nature of her business meant Ankney needed retail space with a loading zone, which she found in the yellow brick building that now houses Renovation Nation. The business brings people to an area of Canonsburg that is often overlooked.
Kathleen Norton, Greater Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce vice president, said it’s great to see business opening in the East End.
Washington County Commissioner Nick Sherman said small businesses like Renovation Nation offer consumers the opportunity “to get away from big box stores and to shop local.”
“It’s a revitalization of Canonsburg,” he said.
Ankney said she enjoys working with clients to bring their home remodeling dreams to life and is proud to offer high-quality products and excellent customer service.
“It’s a passion,” said Ankney. “I love what I do.”