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Countryside Owner to Expand to Downtown Emmaus

Bill Kao plans to bring his offerings to former Perk On Main location by June 1

The talk among folks in Emmaus over the past two weeks has been that ice cream could be replacing coffee on the Triangle. According Bill Kao, owner of , a restaurant and ice cream hot spot on the outskirts of Emmaus, the rumors are true.

Kao plans to open a second business location in downtown Emmaus at 332 Main Street, the storefront previously filled by the popular local coffee shop , which closed its doors for good on April 1, 2011. Kao expects to be up and running by June 1.

When Perk owner Jill Killo decided to shutdown the business, Kao recalls, she reached out to Kao since she was aware that he was researching retail space near the Triangle.  Kao says he knew this was the opportunity he had been waiting for.

Kao’s goal is to offer a community gathering place like the Perk once offered. However, he said he is not trying to recreate the Perk.

“When Jill approached me about taking over her space, I was terrified. Perk is the place to be and be seen. Anyone taking over the space would have big shoes to fill,” Kao admitted.

Among the changes Kao envisions in making the Perk space his own, includes the addition of counter seating to the existing Perk layout. He believes it is important for his customers to be able to interact with the cooks and see where their food is being made.

Kao will be hiring additional staff for the downtown location, possibly 10 additional employees. In terms of décor, he says he hopes to continue the Penn State and Phillies theme seen at Countryside, and says he is open to accepting donations of PSU/Phillies paraphernalia to add to what he already has.

Now that the details are starting to fall into place, Kao says one of the big remaining questions about the new business remains, “What will the name be?” Although it’s still not definite, Kao says his first choice is the “Main St. Creamery.”

Kao believes an ice cream/café could be a good marriage both for his family and downtown Emmaus.

“We are trying to create our own legacy,” he says. “We hope the town will take us in.”

Kao will share more of his vision for his new downtown business on the Emmaus Patch tomorrow.

Herm Schaffer May 05, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Just saw this. It is probably the smartest thing anyone has wrote on this site. As long as Emmaus ranks as a great place to live, business like these will have residents to shop there. But there is room for alarm. Multiple consignment shops have opened. The Main Street Program is failing to bring in lasting businesses. And today I read a local insurance agency needs to be bi-lingual. Add to that a spend happy council and school board. Things could change real quickly for merchants and residents. But hay. I just got half a tattoo at one place and it finished at another, and you can’t even tell on this old wrinkled Dutchman.
Nancy O'Keefe May 05, 2011 at 10:45 PM
I admire your spunk, Mr. Schaffer, and have a few comments. First, consignment shops have come and gone, and now we have one (or two, depending on what you consider the boundaries of Emmaus) that are well established with solid reputations. Second, the Main Street Partnership is not in the business of recruiting businesses to Emmaus, so they can hardly be responsible for the ones that fail. I'd be more inclined to blame unreasonably high rents on why businesses can't make it in this town, and think that that issue needs immediate attention. If businesses fold because they can't afford the rents, the tax base is diminished and the town becomes another Allentown with empty storefronts and crime on the increase. Thirdly, I don't believe that the insurance agency you mentioned NEEDED to be bi-lingual. I happen to know that the principal found two very qualified applicants and made a decision to hire them...simple as that. Fourthly, how do you get a half of a tatoo?!?!? Nancy O'Keefe La Belle Cuisine-Fine Cookware
Lyle Richardson May 06, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Bill its been a while we need an update NOW just kidding....Ice cream will do.....See you down here soon....
Seth Jones May 06, 2011 at 02:33 PM
Kathy. The Main Street Program/Partnership squandered more money from borough residence this year after higher amounts in previous years. I believe they are the ones that stated they will become more of an economic development entity along with their other initiatives. But it remains that government subsidization is only a temporary igniter of development. It takes real value to create a lasting affect and not a beer truck on the triangle. The same can be said of other services in the borough. Where is the value for all the money being spent? It will take a lack of these services to measure their relative value. And while we have spend happy councilmen and woman (and school board men and women) you will see spending increases every year without serious cost control to see where these services and spending are actually correlated. As for the tax base in Emmaus. Most of the money is generated from an inequitable property tax. So building owners will pay their tax. LST is a small amount of tax revenue. And unless the business owner resides in Emmaus, EIT is lost; most EIT taxes are dropped to the personal return and go to the municipality they reside in. Kathy, you should be the one leading the revitalization of the downtown. As your family owns the building and business in Emmaus, along with living in Emmaus. Kudos to you. Maybe a, "I live and work in Emmaus" flag is in order. Get one for the Red Head across the street from you too. Who else is on that list?
bill kao September 22, 2011 at 05:03 PM
We would like to update everyone on your progress. We are in the process of getting our commerical hood system approved by the Emmaus public works. Once approved, we are excited to bring back our popular menu from Countryside restaurant. I will keep you updated. Bill

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