The sound of a train whistle brings a nostalgic feeling to many in Berks County, but Shoemakersville residents have a site that continually recognizes their ties to the railroad industry.
Located on Main Street, the former Shoemakersville train station is now home to another transportation business, Burns Logistics Solutions.
An open house was held at the site on Saturday, Oct. 1. Guests were invited to tour the renovated station, then to linger under a large striped tent to enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvre. Although the fall day was chilly and rainy, guests enjoyed the warmth provided by heat lamps, bright fall decor and friendly conversation.
Ed Burns, president of Burns Logistics, and his wife and vice president, Marianna, mingled with guests and offered guided tours through their new office space. The building features refinished wooden trim, classic wood floors and high ceilings. The completed renovation both recognizes the building’s history and embraces modern sensibilities with its open concept. The walls in the main floor are a warm, buttery color. Desks, comfortable seating and digital screens are tucked in spaces around the room. The upper level holds a small apartment.
“We’re trying to restore it to what it might have looked like,” Marianna said, although Burns Logistics installed central air and also opted to keep a small, functional kitchen set in a corner of the main floor.
The company bought the property, which was at that time a private residence, this year. Work began immediately to transform the station back into a commercial property. The design balanced the needs of a modern company with the building’s history.
This was fitting for Burns Logistics, Marianna said, as they, like the railroads of the past, are part of the transportation industry.
Ed and Marianna founded Burns Logistics eight years ago, building their business on Ed’s experience in the transportation business for two decades prior. They started Burns Logistics out of their home, and Marianna said it was time to find a bigger, more official site.
“This was the next step to growth,” she said.
When they considered properties, the couple soon honed in on the Shoemakersville station. The building is approximately 100 years old.
“It’s just an iconic building,” Marianna said. “And Shoey is such a great community. Plus having a train station is just cool.”
Since updating the building required complying with ADA coding, the couple decided to continue a process started by previous owners and restore the building as much as possible. In addition to interior work, attention was paid to landscaping the area and repainting the exterior.
To Marianna’s surprise, the colors they chose for the outside, gold with green and red accents, are a close match to the traditional Pennsylvania Railroad colors. Coincidentally, red and gold are also the colors on the Burns Logistic Solution’s logo.
Visitors who drive by the renovated station at 379 Main Street will see a building restored to much of its historic status. A small plaque for the PA Railroad is attached to the front of the building as a reminder to all of the Shoemakersville station’s past.
Burns Logistics welcomes visitors who wish to see the restored site. For information on the building or the business, visit burnslogisticsinc.com.