North Huntingdon developer adds franchise division to attract businesses

Feb. 25—Sought-after local and national franchises could be coming to Westmoreland County as North Huntingdon- based Colony Holding Companies adds a division aimed at attracting those types of businesses, according to Don Tarosky Jr., developer and partner.

First up is a location in North Huntingdon that will combine a coffee shop with The Meadows frozen custard, a Blair County-based franchise. The new division — Colony Brands — will seek to bring amenities to the area that could attract and keep residents, Tarosky said. Oftentimes, those franchise businesses will seek first locations in the area in well-known business corridors, such as the South Hills, Robinson and Cranberry.

"This kind of makeup, we have the ability to" bring the brand to Westmoreland County, he said.

The addition of the franchise division and also The Colony Agency, which will be a brokerage and real estate firm led by Scott Bieda, expands upon the company's residential and commercial property development ventures.

Retired coffee shop owner John Comer who ran a business in Downtown Pittsburgh will be working with Colony Brands and bringing his expertise to the North Huntingdon coffee/frozen custard spot at Colony property Huntingdon Marketplace off Route 30.

"We will morph two models into something unique," Tarosky said.

As for possible future franchises through Colony Brands, suggestions from the public are welcome.

"A lot of folks have their finger and a pulse on things better than we do as landlords," Tarosky said.

He hopes that added competition and amenities could be beneficial to the county's current and prospective population, issues that were mentioned in the county's 2018 comprehensive plan.

"It could be a value to bring these types of demand franchises to Westmoreland County," said Jason Rigone, director of the county's planning and development.

The comprehensive plan acts as a blueprint for the county's future, outlining strategies to reverse the shrinking population and help lure more businesses and industries as well as ways to enhance the quality of life for residents for the next 10 to 15 years.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta by email at or via Twitter .