Allegheny County

Stowe Township optometry business moving due to increased violence, recent shootings

STOWE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A Stowe Township business is closing up and moving after a recent uptick in violence in the area.

Dr. Claudia Wendel had tears in her eyes when she spoke with 11 News about the decision to move her optometry business out of Stowe Township to the South Hills. Her business initially was started by her father in 1955.

“If the patients don’t feel safe, that’s all that counts. The phones stopped ringing,” Wendel said.

A once-thriving place of business was having trouble getting their clients in the door. Wendel said it all circled back to violence in the area.

“I had a patient while he was entering the office, someone across the street said, ‘You want your car in that condition when you come out, you need to give me five bucks,’ and that’s just unacceptable,” Wendel said.

Her decision comes after two high profile shootings in the last few weeks — one where multiple cars belonging to the attorney general’s office were hit with bullets and another where a man and woman were shot in their Irwin Street home. Wendel said it’s impacting her ability to even now sell her building.

“We did hear from a couple that are artists and they said the space was perfect, but they couldn’t get past the crime rate,” Wendel said.

We stopped by the Stowe Township building where Channel 11 was told crime and revitalization is always a topic of conversation for the commissioners. While they are sad to see businesses like Wendel go, there are new businesses who are opening up shop.

Wendel’s new office is now in Bridgeville.

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