owner of Jay’s Local

“I was born and raised in Allentown and then COVID just brought me back to the area. I have strong roots and I really enjoy the Lehigh Valley so I really wanted to do something good for the community. We have a little bit of everything in Allentown. I feel like it has a small town feel. There is a fairly large population in Allentown, but it’s easy to make a name for yourself in the area.

I just felt like Allentown was a good place to start a business. Our space is very eclectic and creative, it’s very customizable.  When restaurants started having to close and we couldn’t have customers inside anymore, we started working with other small businesses in the area to team up. It seems like a lot of businesses throughout the country were doing that. We were bringing in local small businesses into our restaurant for them to showcase their items. We saw the effects that COVID had on the community. Businesses were closing and people that got laid off had to find a new way to make an income and it actually gave people a chance to start their own businesses.

Back in the day, Hess’s drew a lot of people to the Lehigh Valley and to Allentown in particular. When they closed, other businesses started to close and less people were coming in to Allentown from other cities. In the last few years with the help of the development in downtown Allentown, the West End and different parts of Allentown, businesses are growing and it’s becoming a place that it used to be. I just hope it keeps going in that direction.”

Interview by Gabi Hirshfield ’24

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