Tube City Almanac

March 04, 2009

Paintball and Countertops, Together Downtown

Category: Local Businesses, News || By

Allegheny County photoTwo new businesses combining the unlikely industries of paintball and custom-made countertops are coming to Downtown.

City council tonight is expected to formally approve a request by Compulsive Paintball Inc. for permission to use the former Palmer Pontiac garage at the corner of Market and Seventh streets as a retail store.

The same building would also house a small manufacturing facility for Lexmar USA, a manufacturer of stone and acrylic countertops and window sills.

The companies need a "conditional use" variance because of the zoning in the neighborhood, which would not normally permit light industrial use.

No one raised objections to the businesses at a public hearing Tuesday night, though a few people were amused by what seemed to them an unusual combination.

. . .

Lexmar USA is a partnership between Jonathan Stark of White Oak and Jason Coughenour of Christy Park, while Compulsive Paintball is Stark's business.

Currently located on Route 30 in North Huntingdon, near Stewartsville, the businesses have run out of room to expand, Stark says.

The Market Street building, recently used by several social-service agencies, contains about 9,000 square feet of office, storage and warehouse space, according to county tax records.

"It's going to require very little renovation," Stark says. "It's well suited to what we do."

Compulsive Paintball is about 10 years old and presently does most of its sales over the Internet, Stark says, but that could change when Compulsive moves to the city, because store hours will probably be expanded.

. . .

For the uninitiated, paintball hobbyists use compressed-air pistols that fire small projectiles of non-toxic paint at targets or one another, with the proper safety gear. (Think water pistol battles for grownups.)

The hobby was invented in the early 1980s, but its popularity increased over the past decade. Several paintball leagues have been organized and corporations now wage tournaments as team-building exercises. Games can be played indoors or outdoors.

Stark, a Penn State graduate, says his wife, Jennifer, introduced him to the hobby when they were dating.

No paintball matches will be held in the building on Market Street, Stark says, and the company doesn't have any immediate plans to organize any games. "We're not really a promoter," he says, "but we do supply paintball shops. We do a retail business and some wholesale as well."

The company also has a blog with product reviews and news.

. . .

The custom counter and vanity top business is more recent. Stark says a family friend manufacturers the material that Lexmar uses and helped them get started.

Most of its business has been commercial --- recent clients include the Springhill Suites chain of hotels and Watson Institute in Sewickley --- but Lexmar does occasional residential jobs, Stark says.

. . .

Lexmar employs three people on a part-time basis, as the workload requires, while Compulsive has five employees.

"It's a small operation, but they took a building that's currently empty and they're putting it back on the tax rolls," Mayor Jim Brewster said.

Assessed at $302,000, according to county tax records, the building is owned by Mon Yough Human Services Inc. Stark says Compulsive hopes to close on the property by March 16.

Your Comments are Welcome!

I remember the grand opening of this garage and its transformation over the years.

Chief Pontiac in the showroom, the new cars, and especially the greasy parts’ bins on New Year’s Day when the family did the inventory.

Thanks for the update on the Palmer’s Pontiac.
Ruth Palmer Roberts - May 05, 2009

To comment on any story at Tube City Almanac, email, send a tweet to, visit our Facebook page, or write to Tube City Almanac, P.O. Box 94, McKeesport, PA 15134.