By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer
If you’ve driven through downtown Sharon lately and thought something looked different, you were right. Part of the false front on the upper floors of the former Reyers Outlet in the first block of East State Street has been removed.
Longtime local residents may remember the space as the JCPenney Co. or part of the G.C. Murphy Co. before Reyers Shoe Store moved in and covered the 19th-century bricks with a gold-colored metalic facade in 1963.
The popular shoe store moved to larger quarters a few blocks away in Sharon City Centre in 1986 and kept the old space as an outlet until merging it into the main store a few years ago.
The Jubelirer family recently sold it to Mike Lisac, owner of Warehouse Sales in Sharon, with the condition that if the old “cheese grater” strips were taken down, they must be torn apart and taken away.
“I thought there was going to be a crash the day it was coming down,” Lisac said. “People were taking pictures.”
Demolition may have shocked some lifelong local residents, but uncovering the original bay windows was a nice surprise.
“The framework (for the bay windows) was there, we just put in new windows,” Lisac said.
As Lisac participates in downtown beautification and he and others spruce up the the business district, visitors have a good reason to look back at the city’s history and say, “Remember when ...?”
Lisac said he bought the buildings to renovate them and attract new businesses.
“We want other businesses to come down so there’s no room left,” Lisac said. “If someone is even interested in Sharon, it makes me feel good.”
The false front on the left half of the old Reyers building will stay in place. That’s because at some point the bay windows underneath were bricked up on the outside and blocked off inside the building, Lisac explained.
“You can look up and see that the windows were taken out.” Lisac said. “There’s just no benefit of opening it up.”
Lisac said the facade on the other side will be painted a different color when the weather is nicer and the old sign will come down.
There are “just some cleaning up and last minute details” to finalize before showing the space to potential business owner, Lisac said.
“We are attempting to lease it out, but nothing is concrete yet,” Lisac said.
Lisac’s first real estate endeavor was in 2007, when he bought and renovated the former Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 327, at 170 W. State St.
The 10,000-square-foot building is now completely occupied. It houses a call center that has the potential for employing as many as 140, the Executive Health Group and the Tip Tap Toe Dance Studio.
Lisac also owns the nearby building at 164 W. State St., that houses a new barber shop and the adjacent Helen Freed’s outlet space that is now unoccupied.
Another East State Street building he bought and renovated formerly housed Winner Collectibles and is ready for a new resident.
Lisac is a lifelong resident of Shenango Valley. He attended the former Notre Dame School in Hermitage and is a 1989 graduate of Kennedy Christian High School. He got a job at Warehouse Sales in 1989 when the hardware store was owned by brothers Ed and Harry Greenburger, who founded it in 1951.
Lisac bought the business in 2000 and continues the tradition of the helpful local hardware stores of long ago.
He has also kept Warehouse Sales a family business, just like his predecessors. His sister, Michelle, is the accountant in an office connected to Mike’s, in which the door is never closed. His mother works on the books twice a week and whenever she is needed.