Julie's Treats: Small Store, Big Selection at the Heart of Caste Village
Location is the key for this food-stop in Whitehall Borough.
As the old saying goes: location, location, location.
"I knew that if it was done right, it could be great," Julie Mancine thought to herself as she saw a vacancy develop at Caste Village Commons in Whitehall Borough in mid-2010. "It was a potential goldmine."
Mancine, a Whitehall native and resident who graduated from Baldwin High School in 1987, frequented the former Gallery of Treats shop at Caste Village while she was growing up and is now the owner of Julie's Treats at the same location.
Gallery of Treats closed around July 2010, and Mancine rented the vacant space smack in the middle of Caste Commons—the inside "mall area" of Caste Village—about two months later.
"Growing up, I was always at Caste Village," she said. "When Gallery of Treats closed, it was a huge disappointment, not only for me but for everyone in the area ...
"The location is wonderful. I started the store without a loan. After a winter of struggling, we started to do well."
Julie's has picked up right where Gallery of Treats left off, again becoming a must-stop place for people who visit Caste.
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, no less than 20 customers visited Mancine's store from around noon to 12:20.
For some of them, like Sam Stepanovich, a Castle Shannon Borough retiree, visiting Julie's is a daily experience. Stepanovich picked up an arsenal of Pennsylvania Lottery tickets on Wednesday afternoon and said that he's been coming to the Gallery of Treats/Julie's location seemingly every day for 12 years.
Another customer, who, like Stepanovich, is known to Mancine on a first-name basis, is Helen Parise, who recently turned 93 years young. Parise, fresh off of having her hair done at nearby Village Hair Connection, skipped breakfast on Wednesday, instead opting for coffee and a doughnut at Julie's.
Parise, who lives in Whitehall's Maiden Bridge and Canongate Apartments complex, visits Julie's about two or three times per week.
Mancine has four part-time employees staffing her store when she is not at Caste herself, or when she is in her upstairs office in the Commons area.
Anna Palko, a Baldwin Borough resident, has worked at Julie's for a little over a year. She equates to working there as being like The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, always pointing for people which way to go.
"People are always asking, 'Where's the magistrate's,' or 'Where's the bathroom?'" Palko said.
Mancine rents her space from The Royal Mile Company, a third-generation management operation that serves the Caste family properties, including Caste Village.
The Julie's Treats company is all Mancine's, though, and is independently owned by her.
During the late fall and through early winter, Julie's is open on Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store's Saturday hours extend to 9:30 p.m. when the weather turns warmer, and it also opens on Sundays at that point from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The store serves soft drinks, coffee, iced tea, hot tea, Gatorade, milk, milkshakes, ice cream, doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches, chips, soft pretzels, candy, pitas, hot dogs, cookies, muffins, gyros, bagels, smoothies, lottery tickets, "walking tacos" and more.
Caste Village Commons features a flat-screen TV, a couch, tables, chairs and free Wi-Fi.
You can order at Julie's from either inside the mall area or from an outside window.
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