MAHONING TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A young entrepreneur from one part of Carbon County has moved back home to take on a new project. She plans to bring back an old tennis club and turn it into a space the whole community can enjoy.
Snow and ice cover the tennis courts at the old Valley Royale and Maple Tree Inn Tennis Club near Lehighton, but soon the courts will be clear, and the club will be renovated.
"I was visiting home just this past summer, and we happened to drive by, and I saw the ‘for sale’ sign, and I was thinking through: working this tech job in San Francisco, who am I really helping? I could reopen this place for the community and allow the high school to come back and play," Jennifer Everett said.
It was that trip back to her home town over the summer that changed everything for Everett. She grew up playing tennis here, and as soon as she saw that “for sale” sign, the ideas started flowing, and she started putting together a business plan. Then on her birthday in August, she made the purchase.
"I knew that lifelong, I wanted to bring back something to the community and give back. I just didn't know that I'd be doing that at 27 years old already. I truly believe this was meant to come into my life right now. All the experience working with startups around the world has really applied to what I'm doing now."
Everett plans to bring back the tennis club that was last up and running two years ago. She also wants to turn the clubhouse, which was originally built in the early 1900s, into an event space for the community to use. The building will also house some Airbnb apartments.
Everett studied international business and economics at Drexel. She's lived all over the world and has traveled to 27 countries. She's thrilled to be back home to start this next chapter.
"There are these little opportunities for yourself to grow and grow in the community. I don’t think that I realized everything that's inside me until I've moved back to do this."
Everett is aiming for a spring opening for the tennis club, with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony coming in July.