Parkland grad Terry Bender proves successful at various ventures
Greeting someone with a warm smile and treating him or her as the most important person in the room, is something Terry Bender knows how to do well.
Bender grew in Breinigsville and, after graduating from Parkland High School, he worked at Melville Corp. where he was trained in sales.
He was transferred to New York but soon decided he did not like city life so he moved back to Pennsylvania and like an explorer on a mission, ventured out on his own.
Bender opened a “Shoes for U” store in Trexlertown Mall but his love of sports led him to sell that store and open “Sneaks-N-Cleats.
He had a minor setback when notified he had to move out of the mall as his store space was needed for Kohl’s.
Not discouraged, Bender bought property at 6636 Hamilton Blvd. and developed a strip mall.
This new location with added responsibility got his creative juices flowing.
When he opened Sneaks-N-Cleats he also brought in Ticketmaster, a hairdresser and a few other stores.
Bender’s love of sports led him to make friends with Randall Cunningham of the Philadelphia Eagles and he soon became Cunningham’s agent and his best friend off the field.
Eventually they became partners, and opened Scrambler Inc. Co.
When Cunningham got married, Bender was in his wedding.
Bender got to know many Eagles players and word soon got out about what he had done for Cunningham.
His services as a sports marketing agent promoting and managing events for players was in demand, so he went for it.
He represented names such as Herschell Walker, Jeff Garcia, Bill Bergey, DeSean Jackson, Brian Westbrook and David Akers, to name just a very few.
Through a friend, Bender met his wife Hope at his Christmas party.
They married and raised three children, Mike, R.J. and Jessica.
They all love sports and support their dad in all he does, and so does his mom, Janet.
Hope co-owns Allied Medical Staffing Co. and is independently successful on her own.
Also a hockey fan, Bender was co-owner of the Mohawk Valley Prowlers a United Hockey League team for two years and became friends with Dave “The Hammer” Schultz. Dave was his head coach.
It was then he learned the food business as he was in charge of the concession stands during all events.
Bender contributes his success to surrounding himself with great and positive people.
He has been to 13 Super Bowls, five NFL Quarterback Challenges and pro bowls as well.
By the time Cunningham retired, Bender had been in promoting more than 25 years.
He was ready to move on to something else when another opportunity presented itself.
The Buckeye Tavern in Macungie was for sale.
Bender bought and renovated the tavern, making it a success during a recession.
“I made it a landmark again, back to where it needed to be.” Bender said.
Following that success, his real estate agents wanted Bender to look at the Iron Horse in Alburtis so he did.
At first, he did not want any part of it. Then, he talked to people and it made sense to him. He had a vision of what it could be, and it moved forward from there.
“When I do something I want to do it right,” Bender said. “When I came here and opened the tavern, the borough had its arms open. They worked with me and listened to me.
“They wanted to make downtown great again. I liked that vision. They liked that vision.”
Bender said his wife had everything to do with the 12 rooms in the lodge.
When he bought the hotel, he paid cash so he knew he had to make money.
Even though the building was condemned, he wanted to save it, and he did.
He started by surrounding himself with good people he knew and one was David Kutzor.
Forty years ago, they went to Boy Scouts together. But they had lost touch for the past 25 years.
“I am not an engineer or architect or accountant or lawyer,” said Bender.
He wanted to do certain things and do them right.
Bender asked Kutzor whom he should hire. He wanted someone who knew the codes.
Alburtis Tavern was open only a few months when tragedy hit hard. Fire at the Buckeye destroyed everything there. Friends opened a Go Fund Me account for the Buckeye.
He was touched and appreciative but not only did he give all the checks back, he sent a gift card and a letter to each person to thank them for their support and he invited them to Alburtis.
Bender did some business with Donald Trump when he was with Randall Cunningham.
He has two photos of himself with Trump and a Christmas card he received last year from Trump displayed in his office.
Bender has owned and operated Alburtis Tavern and Hotel since 2013.
He labeled Alburtis Tavern’s own house vodka in March 2015 and by this year, the banquet hall was open for dining and entertaining.