Dunmorean of the Month: Brian Mills

By Steve Svetovich

Brian Mills is a proud lifelong Dunmore resident.

And he is even prouder to own and operate two of Dunmore’s oldest landmarks.

He is owner and operator of the Chestnut Street Tavern, 501 Chestnut St., Dunmore, and Brian’s Auto Body and General Repair Shop, LLC, 333 Chestnut St., Dunmore.

Both locations have housed Dunmore businesses for the past century. 

Mills, 52, has operated the Chestnut Street Tavern for the past 11 years. He met his wife, the former Lora Viola, a 1982 Dunmore graduate, there. She was a waitress at the time for Lombardo’s, the former name of the corner bar from 1978 to 2009. 

“The previous owner was selling and we decided to buy it and turn the business around,” he said. “We also got married.”

Prior to Lombardo’s, the corner bar at the landmark was Ianelli’s Bar, which opened in the early 1930’s after the owners came to Dunmore from Italy, Mills said. “There was a separate entrance for men and women back then. I know they used to have pasta dinners every Sunday.”

Mills calls the Chestnut Street Tavern one of the last corner bars around. He serves wine, bottled beer, eight different draft beers and IPAs. The bar is open from 11 a.m, to 2 a.m. six days a week and Sunday’s from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

Steak and cheese, hamburgers, wings, pizza, meatball and all kinds of hoagies are among the specialties. The sauces are homemade. There is karaoke on Tuesday night and a D.J. on Friday and Saturday night. “It is a happening place,” Brian says.

Mills has been in the auto repair business for 34 years. He has operated at the Chestnut Street location for the past seven years.

The operation was previously Morell’s Auto and Body Shop, operated by the late Frank Morell for over 50 years. Morell was a former Dunmore Math and English teacher.

Prior to that, the landmark was used as both a butcher shop and funeral home. It was originally a horse and buggy shop going back over 100 years.

Mills has one daughter, Brittany Mills Boyd, 28, Scranton. He also has one granddaughter, Luna Boyd, 6. 

“I am very proud to own these two businesses which are both on Chestnut Street,” he said. “It is remarkable that these landmarks have housed businesses for over 100 years. Since I have lived in Dunmore my entire life, I enjoy serving this community.”

Cookie Sale Hosted by Tot Will Benefit Beads for Courage

Avery Shivock of Dunmore is shown with her Beads of Courage on the day of her last chemo. Her beads are almost seven feet long currently, and she is still earning more.

By Maureen Hart

Pre-pandemic, four-year-old Avery Shivock was selected as our Dunmorean of the Month, prompted by her volunteer work picking up cigarette butts at Sherwood Park. Her story highlighted the idea that nobody is too young to make a difference.

But, as her maternal grandmother Tina Lavelle remarks, “Things change quickly, and last January Avery had a cancerous Wilms tumor removed at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).”

It has been a very challenging year for the youngster. Her parents, Stephanie and Christopher Shivock, who also have a son, Mason, age 2, were setting up for Avery’s fourth birthday party when they had to take her to the pediatrician. The doctor urged them to take Avery to CHOP right away, where surgery was ordered immediately. It was three months before the little girl could finally celebrate her birthday.

She was only listed as clear last week, but the little lass has already started a brand new initiative.

At CHOP, which is a participant in the nationwide non-profit Beads for Courage program for children and teens with cancer, Avery received storytelling beads marking each milestone in her journey.

“Avery’s beautiful beads, which come from around the world, were free because of her hospital’s participation,” explains her mother. “But not everyone is as fortunate, so individuals have to step up to sponsor pediatric patients at non-participating facilities.” 

That has become Avery’s latest goal. She wants to be a WINGMAN, the term for a personal sponsor who pays for a patient’s beads. A WINGMAN represents someone who flies beside you and protects you or who watches your back when you think you are flying solo.

Kids coping with serious illness need a WINGMAN to help them get their Beads of Courage. This includes over 400 children on the waiting list to get Beads in the Mail – some waiting several months or more.

To earn the money to sponsor another child for a year, Avery is hosting a Cookies for Courage sale scheduled for August 21 beginning at 10 a.m. in front of her home at the corner of Jessup and Prospect Streets in Dunmore.

This cookie sale poster was hand-colored by four-year-old Avery Shivock.

“There will be a big tent set up for the sale, and many local places are donating cookies. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward the Wingman program,” her mother says. 

The initial goal was to sponsor one child for a year, but only one day after the project was announced on Facebook, the original goal was surpassed.

“We have great friends and family who are eager to help with this project,” says Stephanie. “So the cookie sale should enable us to sponsor more children.”

Stephanie, explains that she sees two purposes in the Beads of Courage program. “The beads show children what they have conquered. They serve as a visual representation, which also allows the patient to tell their whole story.”

For instance, Avery particularly has struggled with Covid tests, of which she has endured five. So certain colored beads represent that particular struggle and remind her that she conquered that fear. Other colors represent ER visits, pokes with needles, chemo,  and other procedures. 

To find out more about the national Beads of Courage program, go to: https://beadsofcourage.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/BeadsOfCourage.

For the Wingman program, click here.