Contractor has faith in Waynesboro

May 10, 1999

Sally SussmanBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - If Waynesboro gave out awards for landlady of the year, Sally Sussman might be a shoe-in to win.

Sussman, 44, of Cascade, Md., has spent the last 11 years fixing up old residential properties in Waynesboro.

Sussman said she became an entrepreneur to get out of the house.

"I got into this business because I didn't want to stay home and tidy," Sussman said in her lilting South African accent. "This way I can be home when my children come home from school."

Sussman does much of the work required to manage and renovate her properties from home, she said.

She bought her first building in 1988, a five-unit apartment building on South Potomac Street in Waynesboro. She renovated it and converted it into a seven-unit complex.


Since then, she's finished more than a dozen single- and multi-family homes in the borough and is working on some row houses on Philadelphia Avenue. "I buy what I can fix up to sell or rent," she said.

She said she learned how to do renovations when she and her husband, Andrew Sussman, remodeled a home they owned in new Hampshire in the early 1980s.

Sussman is the general contractor on her renovation projects. She hires the carpenters, plumbers, electricians and painters who do the work.

Knowledge learned while earning a degree in textile design from a South African art school helps her work her way through renovation projects, she said.

Sussman was a fashion buyer for a 370-store chain when she left South Africa at age 23 to tour the world. She met Andrew in New York and they were married about a year later, she said. They moved to New Hampshire to raise their three children, ages 8-15, and then her husband's job brought them to the area.

Sussman's most recent project, and her most ambitious to date, is the renovation of the 90-year-old, three-story Geiser Building in downtown Waynesboro. The building first housed a general store and later the Town Camera Shop until it closed in 1997.

Sussman bought the building in April 1998 and began to convert the 4,000 square feet on the first floor into what eventually will become nine offices. There are apartments upstairs.

Rent for the offices will include utilities and use of a large conference room, and plans call for a receptionist who could do work for tenants.

"The space is perfect for someone who wants to open a satellite office in Waynesboro as a way to get into the Pennsylvania market," she said.

The idea apparently is catching on; three offices are already taken.

Sussman said she has faith in the business climate of downtown Waynesboro. "It's in a great location next to the Maryland state line and the bureaucracy is easy to work with."

The Herald-Mail Articles