ASHLEY, Pa. -- For years, the First National Bank on Main Street in Ashley sat empty until Ashlee Martinelli decided to buy it and turn it into a place where her event-hosting dreams could come true.
“I wanted something that was old and unique and that we could repurpose because we really wanted to make something old new again,” owner Ashlee Martinelli said.
The old bank is now an events venue where weddings, Christmas parties, and other special occasions can be celebrated inside a piece of history.
Martinelli says renovations were not easy. High ceilings, marble, and safety upgrades meant a lot of work for her and her husband Scott.
In the process, they were able to preserve original elements of the bank, including the safe, the curtains, and the chandelier.
“We maintained one of the safe-deposit viewing rooms that is now a photo booth so guests can enjoy that, so we really just wanted to maintain all those things but then do updates like new bathrooms, new carpeting, a sprinkler system and those things that make the building safe but also really beautiful,” Martinelli said.
Leaders in Ashley tell Newswatch 16 since the opening of the Grand Bank other entrepreneurs have given Ashley a second look for their businesses.
“We have had other people come into Ashley and make bids on other buildings and things like that so that has helped tremendously,” John Gibbons of the Ashley Borough Council said.
“I think it's great that new businesses want to come to the town of Ashley, and we are just really excited to be a part of that. the town has just been so welcoming our neighbors are great and we just love being here so to have more people invest in the town and join us would be fabulous,” Martinelli said.