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Old Beck & Benedict building being remodeled into condominiums, bridal shop

August 21, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Craig Mahrle walked around a series of wooden beams and pointed out unseen things along the way -- a living room with an 11-foot ceiling, a master bathroom with whirlpool tub, walk-in closet.

The dizzying maze of wood serves as the framing for six upscale condominiums that Mahrle has under construction in the old Beck & Benedict building on West Main Street.

Despite the noise of construction coming from all around her, Deb Keilholtz sat quietly in the seclusion of her new store and adjusted tiny details on a bridal veil she made. Keilholtz opened About Your Wedding last week in Mahrle's building and has her first appointment with a bride there scheduled for today.

Keilholtz, of Smithsburg, obtained a downtown business incentive grant to open the shop at 88 W. Main St.

"I look forward to seeing the downtown come back to life again with specialty shops," she said.

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Mahrle rented half of the front portion of the massive old hardware store to Keilholtz. A dance studio is looking to move into the other storefront, while approximately 1,100 square feet of retail space remains available for lease.

Mahrle purchased the building in 2005 and has been working on the condominiums in the back, an area that he was told used to be a garment factory.

"They're kind of town house style in that they're two story and side by side," Mahrle said.

The Lutherville, Md., resident also owns the building next door, 80/82 W. Main St., which was partially damaged by fire a month ago. He purchased the Wayne Building a few weeks ago.

Mahrle looked around the second floor of the condominiums on Wednesday and said he was drawn to Waynesboro because he wanted an ambitious project with an old building. He believes the Beck & Benedict building was built circa 1905.

He said he's trying to save the hardwood floors and tin ceiling whenever possible, often moving pieces of them elsewhere.

"Where we covered the ceiling we took the tin to fill in other spots," Mahrle said.

The condominiums will all have at least three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. He hopes to market them to young professionals and retirees who don't want upkeep on a lawn.

Keilholtz feels her business appeals to the bridal party looking for personal attention. She has gowns, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses and apparel for the mother of the bride. She rents tuxedos and offers invitations.

"Most of the jewelry is made by me, and the accessories were handmade by me," Keilholtz said.

She worked from home for six years and visited bridal shows. Now, the new store is open Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Fridays, the store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Additional hours are available by appointment.

For more information about About Your Wedding, call 717-749-3268.

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