New Kensington tax business reopens after devastating fire
Troy Owen vowed to reopen the tax business he lost in a devastating fire that tore through the heart of New Kensington’s downtown business district in September.
On Monday, he did officially – just in time for tax season when Liberty Tax Service has traditionally seen anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 customers.
“It’s been pretty challenging since the fire back in September,” said Owen. “I was fortunate enough to come upon this (new) place, which just came available probably about two months after the fire.”
Owen operated Liberty Tax Service at 872 Fourth Ave. for more than a decade. The building that housed the business was destroyed in the September fire and it will be torn down after insurance claims are settled. The new location is just steps away at 868 Fourth Ave.
Owen has continued to do payroll and other off-season services for New Kensington customers by shifting them to his office in Leechburg for the past several months.
“I said the day that the fire happened that we would be back and here we are,” Owen said. “The timing couldn’t be better.”
New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo, who was at the business Monday to celebrate its reopening, said he’s grateful for Owen’s commitment to the community and willingness to reopen there.
“On behalf of the city, I certainly really appreciate that,” Guzzo said.
Owen said his main concern was making sure his customers know their information is still secure and he is still there to help them with their tax needs.
From the turnout Monday, they seem to have gotten the message.
Richard Price traveled all the way from Beaver County to get his taxes done. He’s been coming to Liberty Tax Service for 10 years.
“Thank God that they’re open,” he said. “I took off work to come here today.”
Former New Kensington resident Melvin Maxwell has been coming to the business since they opened 13 years ago. Although he has since moved to McKees Rocks, he still travels to New Kensington for his taxes.
“This is like my family. I was one of his first customers,” Maxwell said. “No matter where we are, we always travel back to him.”
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser.