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Resurrection of the Ritz

By Staff | Nov 5, 2008

A new business opening is sure to bring about buzz, but word of the reopening of a legend is just as thrilling.

The encore of The Ritz after being closed for months is being greeted with enthusiastic cheers for Muncy and its business district.

Paul Putney of PSP Embroidery is chairman of the Muncy Professional & Business Association, and is excited about The Ritz reopening. “Anything that brings business into town is a good thing. The Ritz is a real asset, and it needs to be open to draw people into town,” Putney reasoned.

With more than 10 empty store fronts along the borough’s Main Street, Putney said Muncy tends to get bumped down the list of funding priorities at the county and state levels, something that might not happen as much if there were a thriving, occupied, and open downtown area.

While he was quick to say that property owners need to invest in their properties to make them attractive to potential tenants, Putney added that high rents scare some prospects. “If rents need to be lower, then lower them. Let’s open this town up,” he said.

It is not all about bringing in new blood, but also welcoming back old friends. Bob Taylor of Custom Taylored Productions is looking at the possibility of getting educational programs into The Ritz, and one of them is the brain child of Muncy native James Mothersbaugh.

Mothersbaugh put together the “edu-tainment” program Road Radio USA based on his experience prior to and after a 1984 drunk driving crash that left him in a coma with a broken back and killed one of his friends. While he has recovered physically, the brain injury has left Mothersbaugh mentally scarred.

When contacted by The Luminary, Mothersbaugh exclaimed, “I would love to do a show at the Ritz. That’s my home town. I love that place!”

Putney believes that working together will tap the potential of the Muncy business district, but said issues of personality and politics often get in the way. “We don’t agree politically, but we have to work together,” he said.