By: Scott Campbell
Among the businesses located on the second floor of the West Shore Farmers’ Market is that of attorney Gregory Katshir. His unpretentious shingle hangs among several others at one of the market’s entrances. No one would suspect that the Hampden Township man, along with his wife, Tracy, owns and manages the 63-year-old Lemoyne landmark.
“Tracy’s grandfather, Ray Garver, built the original market in 1950,” says Katshir. “He also built the Silver Spring Speedway and Flea Market. In fact, the entire Garver family has been active in local sprint-car racing. Coming from Pittsburgh, where football is king, it took a while for me to appreciate their passion.”
“In 1958, Ray passed away and his son, Ray Jr., Tracy’s dad, returned from Juniata College to take over the business,” Katshir continues. “In the mid ’90s, he retired and that’s when Tracy and I became the principals.” Katshir grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon, and he met his wife when they were students at the University of Pennsylvania.
In February 1999, a devastating fire destroyed the market building. “The origin of that fire was never determined, although arson was ruled out,” says Katshir. “The ATF was called in and worked with the State Police during the two-week investigation.”
The structure was a complete loss and the insurance was inadequate to replace it, but the Katshirs decided to rebuild. “It was difficult to insure the old building because much of it was not up to current code standards,” says Katshir. “New construction included an elevator, smoke evacuation system, fire retardant materials and so on.”
The present building, opened in June 2000, is clean and attractive. Shops on the second floor, like the upscale Higashi Jewelry, complement the ground-floor food stands, many of which offer seasonal produce, fresh meats and seafood, pastries, desserts and specialty products. But Katshir’s administrative responsibilities also lie beyond the market’s walls, and include adjacent enterprises scattered across 10 acres between Market Street and State Road.
Among them are Stacy G Fitness, a car wash, The Pizza Grille, West Shore Diner, Euro Care and Rita’s. “All totaled, we have close to 100 tenants,” says Katshir. “So, although the market itself is open only three days a week, this job is full-time.”
Katshir entered the legal profession because, at the time, he regarded it as an honorable one.
His legal training makes Katshir a good fit for his position, especially when dealing with tenants’ issues and property maintenance. “On a recent typical day, I helped fix a sink, tinkered with an air conditioning unit and met with a prospective tenant. It is sometimes difficult to keep a schedule because so many things just pop up.”
Katshir entered the legal profession because, at the time, he regarded it as an honorable one. He tries to maintain that exemplary standard in dealing with his tenants. And they notice. Jocine Alessandrini, co-owner of Susan’s Treasures, calls him “kind-hearted.” Bahret Religious Goods owner Joe Bahret praises Katshir for his family and church activities. Stacy Garonzik, owner of Stacy G Fitness, says, “He’s a good guy…honest…not the typical landlord.”
Mr. Katshir is devoted to a host of activities. He has held posts in both the Cumberland County and Pennsylvania Bar Associations. He recently served on the Orrstown Bank Advisory Board and the Board of the Hampden Youth Baseball Association, among others.
Currently, Katshir is a member of the National Board of Representatives to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In 2009, he received the society’s National Chairman’s Award for Advocacy. Katshir is also an active coach with Hampden Little League and Good Shepherd basketball.