PHILIPSBURG — Volunteer fire departments have been faced with state funding cuts, making it that much harder to stay afloat financially.
Because of these cuts, companies have been forced to try creative ways to bring in revenue to be able to protect its citizens in case of a fire or other emergency.
Phililpsburg’s Reliance Vol. Fire Co. has found a way to increase revenue by creating its own club and firing up the grill at its new Reliance Firemen’s Club. The club will provide a bar and dining room complete with home-cooked meals to the public.
Club Manager Jim Coble said the fire company has owned the building on N. Centre Street across from Weis Market for many years, using it previously as a bingo hall and then leasing it out to another organization.
Once the lease was up, Coble said the company looked into creating a firemen’s club, with talks of the venture starting in August 2018.
“The whole goal to begin with was to make a good, family sit-down type restaurant,” Coble said. “And we opened it Tuesday (Sept. 3).”
Coble said the fire company has hired a small staff to run the place, as it will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. Currently, Mike Mull is the cook while Sue Hollabaugh is the head bartender.
The fire company also applied for a liquor license, with Coble stating it’s in the “transfer process.” Once that goes through, those who join the club will be able to order alcohol. But anyone can come in and enjoy the meals.
“We have two separate rooms,” Coble said. “We have a room and the bar/serving area. Then we have a separate dining area across the hall.”
Coble — also a Philipsburg resident — said he retired from state police liquor enforcement about five years ago. The fire company approached him about what it would take to open a club and acquire a liquor license. He then joined the fire company as a social member and is now the club manager.
“The whole goal of it is for this club to provide funding to the fire company to provide protection to the community,” Coble said.
Coble said there are other clubs of this nature located in Bellefonte, Tyrone, DuBois and Lewistown.
You can eat in or take out. The club will also will also have daily specials, which can be viewed on its Facebook page “RFC Firemen’s Club.”
“You can also call and see what those daily specials are,” Coble said.
Those wanting to become a member can contact Coble at 577-7450 or inquire at the club. For take-outs call 376-6058.