The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Kalejta Financial Management expands into Lower Pottsgrove

Local financial planner restores historic property, opens office

By Donna Rovins, drovins@21st-centurymedia.com, @MercBiz on Twitter

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lower Pottsgrove >> Kalejta Financial Management has expanded — opening a second office location in a historic former farmhouse in the township.

The company is owned by Thomas A. Kalejta, who opened the original office of Kalejta Financial Management in Trappe in 1996. Kalejta and his staff offer clients a full range of financial planning advisory services.

Throughout his career, Kalejta’s focus has been on retirement readiness for his clients, and he’s just published a book on that topic — “Building Wealth, Protecting Dreams.”

Kalejta said the time was definitely right to expand the company he has operated for 21 years.

“In this industry, if you’re not growing and expanding with all the technology and information available today — you are not moving forward, you’re going backwards,” he said. “To be sustainable and relevant, and to provide the resources clients deserve and request, we need to be on the cutting edge — we need to be growing.”

For Kalejta, opening the new location brings his professional life a little closer to home. Originally from Pottstown, Kalejta and his family now live in Lower Pottsgrove: He can see his house from his new office on the second floor of the newly refurbished building at 55 Sunnybrook Road.

“To have my own firm and bring it back to the area is kind of neat,” he said.

Kalejta adds that Lower Pottsgrove is a good central location. His client base tends to be from Limerick and south, while the other advisors in his office have a client-base that’s generally west of Lower Pottsgrove, including Boyertown, Exeter, Douglassville and Pottstown.

Another reason for the expansion is that space was getting tight in the Trappe office for the firm’s staff of 14.

“Instead of blowing out walls or moving to a new building there, we said, ‘why not expand?’” Kalejta added.

The building on Sunnybrook Road was built in 1890. The house and the surrounding 60 acres of land at one time belonged to the Hartenstine family. It was Raymond C. Hartenstine and Harry W. Buchert who founded Sunnybrook in 1926 — building first a pool and adding the ballroom in 1931.

Development has replaced the farmland and the former farmhouse was rezoned for commercial use. It was used as a builder’s sales office and as general office space, before being left to sit empty for several years — hidden by vegetation and falling into disrepair.

Kalejta said he and his wife Susan had admired the property ever since they moved into their house in 2001.

“We would walk past this building all the time, and say, ‘Wow, what a beautiful old stone farmhouse that they made into office space — wouldn’t it be great if we could have that for an office building someday?’” he said.

Kalejta said he started to think seriously about purchasing the building last fall.

“When we first walked through it — we could envision what it could be,” he said.

He purchased the more than 4,300-square-foot building in December 2016 for $227,000, according to Montgomery County property records.

Kalejta said they initially thought they could rent it out, flip it for resale or use it for a company location.

“Halfway through refinishing — we knew we wouldn’t rent it or sell it. We fell in love with it and knew we would keep it,” he added.

Because Kalejta already had a functioning office, he wasn’t in a hurry to finish the renovation of the building.

“It took longer than we thought, but that allowed us to make sure it was done right,” he said.

As with many renovations — more work needed to be done than originally thought.

The electricity was up to code, and the HVAC was installed. But Kalejta said there were mold and radon issues that needed to be resolved, and one of the furnaces and the water heater needed replacing. There was painting, of course, and all the carpeting needed replacing.

Upstairs, Kalejta said some of the wood floors had rotted and needed work, and structurally some of the brickwork around several door frames needed to be repaired.

Kalejta said he’s not sure what in the house may be original to the 1890 construction. However, the building features a fireplace in what is now the office conference room, leaded glass in the front door and flooring on the second level Kalejta was told was Douglas Fir.

Kalejta’s favorite thing about the house? That would be the front porch ceiling — covered with narrow wooden panels Kalejta said remind him of the outside of a barrel.

The Sunnybrook Road branch of Kalejta Financial Management is open to clients. A grand opening and open house has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. The refinished building will be open to tour, with the entire Kalejta staff on hand to take visitors through.

The event will also feature a short educational presentation on the importance of special needs planning — what it is and who can benefit from it. Special needs planning and education is an area Kalejta is planning to get more involved with as part of his private practice.

Kalejta also plans to have copies of his book available at the open house.

Registration for Thursday’s event is not required, but accepted. To register visit www.kalejta.com/event or 610-831-2195.

For more information about Kalejta Financial Management visit www.kalejta.com .

Email business story ideas to business writer drovins@21st-centurymedia.com