In Princeton, Entrepreneur Contest Brings Four New Businesses to Mercer Street

Photo by Princeton Renaissance Project

In Princeton, four entrepreneurs have been awarded grants to open businesses in the small city’s main street.

Mercer Street will soon welcome the opening of a cafe, a restaurant, a co-working lounge and crafters space, and a yoga and health center, thanks to a special grant program run by the Princeton Renaissance Project.

Following the grand finale pitch contest in the first week of March, Tim Toler was selected as the main winner, and his prize of $5,500 in cash and advertising will enable him to open Appalachia Coffee Co. at 860 Mercer Street. The cafe will feature sandwiches, salads and more, plus a variety of coffee drinks and kamboucha on tap.

“It is a privilege to be a part of the ongoing process of bringing business back to Mercer Street.”

The grants for all content winners were provided by Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh through the Blueprint Communities program, A Vision Shared of Charleston, WVNS, Wille and KissFM, Star 95, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Princeton Times and Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce,

The other pitch contest winners to receive grants were:

  • Devon Taylor, who is working to re-open Jimmie’s Restaurant, maintaining the history and original flavor of the iconic Mercer Street diner.
  • Ron Sokol, whose grant prize will go toward opening Mountain Works, a co-working lounge and crafters space in the back of 860 Mercer.
  • Joanie Lea Bailey who will open a yoga and healing center called Gaia Den at 222 Mercer Street, in the historic district near the Railroad Museum.


Said top winner Tim Toler: “It is a privilege to be a part of the ongoing process of bringing business back to Mercer Street and an honor to receive a grant to help jumpstart new business.”

Local teenager Trevor Dargo, a community youth leader and member of The One Voice Project at Stages, was similarly inspired.

“The pitch contest gave me insight into the new action happening downtown,” Trevor said. “I have been sharing the news with everyone I know, because I cannot hold in my excitement any longer! I believe it’s the start of something wonderful.”

Learn more about the Princeton Renaissance Project at

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

More to explore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *