Old firehouse is attracting tenants in Westminster; Banking company, golf shop plan to open in spring


A national chain restaurant is close to signing a lease at the old firehouse on Westminster's Main Street, and two other businesses will open there by spring, the building's owner said.

A golf shop is moving into the historic site at 66 E. Main St. next month, and a banking equipment company will also call the place home in April, said David Max of the Max Group Inc., the building owner.

Max said he could not disclose which restaurant is interested in the site until a deal is made final.

Golf Etc., based in Granburg, Texas, is a national franchise operation with 31 stores, said President Shane Hurt. The shops carry brands such as Titleist and Calloway, and feature equipment that can help golfers analyze their swings and determine whether their clubs have the proper flexibility.

"It's a highly technical approach to the game," Hurt said. "We also have a large number of women's products. Forty-one percent of all new golfers are women, and most stores don't cater to them, but we do."

Many retailers are moving toward larger stores and big-box discounters, but Hurt said golf shops can remain successful in smaller sites.

"Golfers like to talk about the game, and they want equipment that's designed specifically for them," he said. "Personal service and discussions are important to them."

The 2,200-square-foot store is expected to have three or four employees. It will open March 27.

Less than a week later, Banking Automation Systems Inc. will move its operations into space on the second floor that features hardwood floors, an ornate fireplace and built-in wood bookshelves.

"Our intention is to try to maintain everything in there," said Lou Salafia, the company's managing director. "We love the fireplace, and the floors are beautiful. It will be nicely juxtaposed to our high-tech equipment."

The company, which has operated from Finksburg, makes machines designed to accept deposits, similar to an automated teller machine but aimed at commercial customers. Salafia said the company's four employees live in the Westminster area, so he decided to remain nearby.

"I grew up in Hampstead, so it's nice to build a business in this area with the community feel and all that," Salafia said. "The Westminster Inn is a comfortable place for my customers to come to. They can walk to our office. It's just a beautiful set up for us."

The Max Group also owns the Winchester Exchange, Winchester West and the Longwell buildings.

"We've probably brought 400 new employees downtown in the last four or five years," Max said.

Pub Date: 2/22/99

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