A.B, Charles & Son Hobby Shop pittsburgh PA

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

By Laura Pace, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's a move that will thrill hobbyists but leave some parents scrambling.

A.B. Charles & Son, a popular Dormont hobby shop that has been shuttered for weeks, has purchased a building in Mt. Lebanon that currently houses a day care center.

Sunny Days Childcare and Learning Center on McFarland Road will be closing Aug. 18, and parents were given one month to find alternate arrangements for their children, said Kirk Satterfield, an owner of the day care.

Rumors that the sale was to take place started on the Internet in June, panicking parents, some of whom already had pulled their children out of the center. But the owners of the center and managers of the hobby shop said earlier this week that rumors had been blown out of proportion and no sale was imminent.

But yesterday, Mr. Satterfield confirmed the sale. He would not disclose the price.

David Maniet, a financial adviser for A.B. Charles & Son, said the sales contract was to have been signed today.

The shop will take possession Sept. 1, Mr. Satterfield said. Store management hopes to have a grand opening in October, Mr. Maniet said.

Sunny Days Childcare, owned by Mr. Satterfield and his wife, Erin, opened in 2000 on the site of the former Rollier's Hardware location. The Satterfield family also owns Rollier's Hardware, 600 Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon.

Mr. Satterfield said there are no plans to relocate the child care center.

"It is a very tough business. You have to love what you do. You're never going to be a millionaire," he said.

He believes a month is enough time for parents to find adequate child care and said parents already have told him they've found good places to go. He did not know how many children currently are enrolled.

"It was purely a business deal," he said. "It was never done to be malicious. ... Someone gave us the right price."

A.B. Charles & Son had been located at 3213 W. Liberty Ave. for decades but closed Memorial Day weekend after No. 1 Cochran purchased the building for use with its car dealership. A.B. Charles is now selling on the Internet and operating out of a temporary office in Scott until it can move into the building.

A.B. Charles has been interested in the Sunny Days site for years and earlier this year again approached the Satterfield family, who was willing to negotiate for the first time, said Mr. Maniet.

Parents who questioned the day care staff over the past few weeks said they could get no information, and workers reportedly said they were equally in the dark on the matter.

"We apologize for any inconvenience it has caused the employees and the parents," Mr. Maniet said.

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