Business dominates top 2014 story list

By on December 30, 2014

Susquehanna Bank sale likely to repeat as a top 2015 event

We hope our readers found the 2014 Lititz Record Express to be captivating and compelling; cheerful, though unavoidably cheerless; delightful but sometimes irritating; calming yet provoking.IJ20080205B104

But most of all our staff hopes we did not disappoint in our assigned task to better inform readers about their local landscape through our new, slimmer, all-color redesign broadsheet unveiled in February.

A list on our Facebook page provides some of the top 2014 stories that we’ll revisit in our January editions. Three of the top 2014 stories in today’s edition are business stories that continue to evolve:

Susquehanna Bank Sold

BB&T Corp. in November announced a $2.5 billion acquisition proposal of Lititz-based Susquehanna Bancshares.

BB&T’s reach into the mid-Atlantic region would grow significantly by transforming Susquehanna’s 240-plus bank branches in the region. What is not clear however was what will happen with Susquehanna’s Lititz headquarters and the hundreds of workers employed there.

At the time of the acquisition announcement, BB&T said they would be cutting Susquehanna jobs when the deal closes during the second half of 2015.

Susquehanna spokesman Steve Trapnell said Monday that it’s still not evident yet how the sale will impact Susquehanna’s 30 offices and more than 900 workers in the county.

“It is too early in the process for details on any future plans for the Lititz corporate offices,” Trapnell said Monday.

Susquehanna also employs workers in its other operations, including an insurance brokerage and employee benefits company, a commercial finance company and a vehicle leasing company.

In an interview in November, BB&T President Ricky Brown said the North Carolina bank “is ready to compete in Philadelphia.”

Brown, who met with Susquehanna employees in November, said BB&T would be keeping all “client-facing, revenue-producing members of the team.” He said “layoffs will come from the back office administration. And those employees could be offered jobs with the company if they are willing to relocate (to North Carolina.)”

While BB&T Bank has said little about its plans on the local level, the company advertised in LNP’s legal notices several petitions relating its November announcement that it is purchasing Susquehanna.

The bank filed one petition stating “the main office of BB&T would remain the main office location of the surviving bank and the main office location of Susquehanna Bank in Lititz, Pennsylvania, would become a branch location.”

Trapnell said that notice “is required by the FDIC and indicates, among other things, what Susquehanna Bank facilities will accommodate legal BB&T branches” and does not mean the Susquehanna Bank headquarters in Lititz would become a BB&T bank branch.

“It in no way indicates BB&T’s future plans for the Susquehanna Bank corporate offices in Lititz,” Trapnell said.

The notice continued: “BB&T is evaluating what need, if any, there is to consolidate or close branches (whether BB&T or Susquehanna Bank branches) in geographies where branches overlap.”

BB&T’s acquisition provides, among other things, that Susquehanna CEO William J. Reuter and Christine Sears, a current director of Susquehanna, will be appointed as directors of

BB&T and that BB&T will create a $10 million charitable foundation, or support an existing charitable foundation acceptable to Susquehanna “dedicated to providing ongoing economic development support to the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania community.”

Rock Lititz

You might say the unofficial birth of Rock Lititz began in June 2012 when engineer Jim Wenger petitioned Warwick Township to rezone about 96 acres of land from agricultural to campus industrial. Rock_lititz_007

Of course the dream of creating Rock Lititz – as a one-stop shopping for concert touring, design, stage, sound, logistics and more – was imagined long before by the masterminds which have transformed Lititz into a rock and roll Mecca.

But it was that day in 2012, when Wenger explained that Rock Lititz would be a multi-structure campus made up of a “consortium,” – not a merger –  that includes Tait Towers, Clair Global, and Atomic Design.”

Fast forward to Sept. 20, 2014, where a gala party took place on that former 96-acre agricultural tract that Wenger discussed in the summer of 2012. Hundreds gathered to help christen the Rock Lititz Studio, a 100-foot high rehearsal/testing facility and the first phase of the Rock Lititz master plan.

Just days later, the building opened to test equipment for a touring rock show at the former Wenger farm at 36 W. Newport Road. But trouble ensued almost immediately as neighbors complained that vibrations from the studio caused nausea, headaches and caused windows to shake and crystal glasses to shatter.

Rock Lititz announced it had temporarily shut down the studio Oct. 15. But the company said it’s fixing the problem – spraying interior walls with 3 1/2 inches of sprayable concrete), adding acoustical seals to doors, vents and other building openings, and adding a wall between the loading dock and the main rehearsal area.

Neighbors last week said they’re pleased with the responsiveness and efforts on the part of Rock Lititz to remedy the situation. They have also heard that the first live band, since problems arose in October, is scheduled to rehearse in the studio in late January.

JoBoy’s/Historic Rudy’s Hall

There had been rumors for quite some time about new restaurants moving in at 27-31 E. Main St. in Lititz.

JoBoy’s brewmaster “Tug” McGall serves up a couple of craft beers made at the former Historic Rudy's Hall on Main Street.

JoBoy’s brewmaster “Tug” McGall serves up a couple of craft beers made at the former Historic Rudy’s Hall on Main Street.

But those rumors, which persisted for about three years, finally became fact when JoBoy’s owners Jeff and Maria Harless, signed a 10-year lease on July 22, 2014, to bring its barbecue and beer operation from Manheim to downtown Lititz

Jeff and Maria signed the lease with Wes and Lisa Terry, owners of the historic Rudy’s Hall building &tstr;the largest commercial building in the borough that once served as the Lititz town hall.

JoBoy’s elevated menu and atmosphere in Lititz includes the addition of French-trained executive chef Dwayne Spencer, who has worked at Bent Creek, Haydn Zug’s, the Accomac Inn and Tangerine (a Stephen Starr restaurant in Philadelphia).

JoBoy’s utilizes the first-floor, 5,000-square-foot space for the restaurant leaving the second floor to its Rudy’s Hall origin as an event hall. This building affords seating for 124 patrons with a row of booths, tables and seating at the bar amid the hardwood floors and custom brickwork.

The move from Manheim provided space to expand JoBoy’s kitchen and brewery capacities.

Speaking of brews, there are u

p to 13 different beers on tap, including Manheim Red amber ale Smash and Hoptitude American IPAs, and Raz Ass Ale, a blonde ale. An English-style cask tap system or regular draught offers customers the option to refill growlers to take home and enjoy.

JoBoy’s brewmaster “Tug” McGall makes hand-crafted beer that pair well with its barbeque – made with the freshest local meats and JoBoy’s homemade rubs and sauces.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

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