Bucks developers convert Quakertown trolley barn into market with food, beverage offerings

Inside the The Trolley Barn Public Market
Inside the The Trolley Barn Public Market Photo credit Mark Abrams/KYW Newsradio
By KYW Newsradio

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Two upper Bucks County developers have found a niche for a Quakertown project that used a historic landmark as its foundation.

The Trolley Barn Public Market just opened its doors a few weeks ago in this COVID-19 era.

The developers bought and renovated the old industrial trolley barn, which was built in 1897 and used to house the local trolley that ran through the community until the early 1950s.

Chris LaBonge, one of the partners in the Trolley Barn, said the more than two years it took to put the project together have been worth it.

“We have multiple venues for beverages,” LaBonge explained. “We have a brewery, a winery, a distillery, plus numerous different vendors for food and other beverages.”

He said there’s also a butcher and a bakery and space for craft artisans.

LaBonge said in this era, the market is taking precautions to protect customers.

“Within our space we’re going to do the best to police the social distancing requirement,” he said. “But as they go and grab their food, they are able to go outside, and we’ll have covered space and the fire pits and an opportunity for them to stay warm and comfortable.”

LaBonge and his partner, Ian Jeffery, said the market has an upscale feel, but the prices aren’t.

Jeffery said there’s a hometown atmosphere to the market because it’s done by two people who live in the Quakertown community.

“You don’t have a conglomerate or private equity group out of New York coming down and investing in this project and saying, ‘Hey, listen, this is the program. Put it together A,B,C and D and it’ll work.’ We are hands on, every day there, trying to make it work,” Jeffery said.

LaBonge said they had a vision for the project to become more than just leasable retail space.

”We wanted to create a location for our community to be able to come around and rally around and have pride in and socialize together in one space,” he said. “This is the downtown environment that communities have been missing for the last 20 to 30 years.”

The Trolley Barn Market is open Thursday through Sunday.