Lisa and David Mergen have owned a business in Buckingham Green for 17 years. Now they have opened a second business, right next door.
They purchased JustFood from Marc Browngold and have operated it as a takeout shop and catering business that’s one of the most successful in Central Bucks County. On May 1, they settled on the Wild Birds Unlimited franchise next door to JustFood.
Lisa is running the new business. “I don’t know much about birds,” she said, “but I’ve always been intrigued by the shop. It’s a great little business.” She’s watched the comings and goings through two former ownerships and she’s been impressed.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic the JustFood shop has been open and the catering business has been busy. The Mergens knew they wanted to buy Wild Birds in early spring but they held off settlement – catering was in demand.
The partnership between the two shops makes sense. David is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America so his is the dining interest. Lisa has a degree in management and marketing from Temple and she’s itching to start a new enterprise. The Mergens are local – David was raised in Washington Crossing, Lisa in Yardley. They live in Doylestown with their two teenage sons. Twenty years ago they worked at the Lambertville Station, where Lisa was general manager.
Lisa is losing no time to market Wild Birds Unlimited. She’s planning a meet-and-greet the new owners event outdoors from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23.
“We will be setting up tents and offering some displays, offering locally made Kombucha sampling and goodie bags from JustFood,” Lisa said last week. “We will be raffling off some items at the end of the day. Every in-store purchase qualifies for the drawing at 4 p.m.” She’s invited animal rescue teams like the Aark and LuLu’s Rescue to participate.
“It should be a fun event all taking place with social distance measures in place.” she said.
“Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 300 locations throughout the United States and Canada.” according to its website. “Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events.”
The announcement of the new owners is good news on the local front.
While it’s a joy to announce new business owners, some sad stories are being told.
One longtime Bucks County institution, The Upstairs Gallery, is closing after 53 years in Peddler’s Village, The Upstairs Gallery an artists cooperative, is closing at the end of August when its lease runs out.
“It’s all based on the world we’re living in,” said Margie Perry, spokesperson for the group.
Membership is declining and more members are expected to resign. Most members are at high risk for treatment of COVID-19 because of their age.
“We have tried to find younger adults to take over the gallery and keep it running but we could not,” Perry said. Members’ sales of artwork have paid gallery expenses until this spring and summer.
The Upstairs Gallery online will continue to be open for business at theupstairsgallery.com. The Upstairs Gallery is located in Peddler’s Village, shop #10 behind Earl’s Restaurant. It is open Friday to Sunday during August.
And we are saying goodbye to Robert Rando of Annandale, N.J., and Caroline Scutt of Frenchtown, N.J. who are closing the Book Garden, their shop in Frenchtown July 31. They became caretakers of the Book Garden in August 2012.
Valued members of the Frenchtown community, they say a new community bookshop will be growing up out of the same space in the spring of 2021.
“Until then, The Book Garden will keep its presence on Facebook and Instagram through the end of 2020 so reach out through those channels if you’d like to get in touch.” Caroline said.