Dan graduated from Saegertown High School in 1997 with honors, including the Otto Hoegirl Award in Industrial Arts. He was a dedicated member of Boy Scout Troop 254 of Saegertown, where he constructed a recreational walking trail at Erie Street Borough Baseball Field in Saegertown for his Eagle Scout project to attain his Eagle rank.
Local Business Leader
Dan got his start in the floral industry after responding to an advertisement for a “floral laborer” in the Meadville Tribune. He learned the trade under the tutelage of James Lasko of Flowers by Jim in Conneaut Lake. He quickly bloomed in this job, finding that floral arrangement matched his passion for art.
He started at Flowers by Lynda in Meadville in 2004, and in 2005, he attended the Hixson School of Floral Design in Cleveland, Ohio, where he earned his Certification in Floral Design.
In 2007, Dan partnered with Judy Janiak to purchase Flowers by Lynda, transforming the business into Cobblestone Cottage and Gardens. Since that time, Cobblestone has received a number of accolades from members of the local business community, including the Crawford County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year award in 2017. One year later, Dan entered a partnership with Anna Grove, bringing another renaissance to Cobblestone. In 2018, he was honored with his own special roast–“the Hermit”–by fellow Meadville business owners Michael and Tonya Reed of Tarot Bean Roasting Co.
In 2016, he devised the Wednesday Rose Hunt to brighten people’s day. Every Wednesday, Dan hides roses from his flower shop, accompanied with certificates from local businesses. He then photographs the roses where they lay and uploads the photos to Facebook. Rose hunters try to derive the location from the context clues in the photographs and race to find the rose and prizes.
In 2017, Dan created the innovative fashion show Catwalk on Chestnut with the help of several other downtown business owners. This event presents a unique opportunity for local merchants to showcase their wares, and a great chance for people to gather, enjoy each other’s company, and witness Chestnut Street transform into an avant-garde fashion spectacular.
In addition to his many collaborations with the local business community, Dan is perhaps most well-known for his community work. In fact, Dan was named the Meadville Tribune’s Person of the Year in 2017, the first person to earn this title. More than anything else, Dan takes pride in his extensive, continuing efforts to bring people together.
For example, in 2016, Dan joined the True Grit collective of community organizers, helping to develop annual community parties such as Winterfest, the Pumpkin Block Party, and the Picnic at the Playground series. At the inaugural Winterfest, he was proudly presented the Key to the City of Meadville by Mayor H. Leroy Stearns.
That same year, he worked with Meadville Neighborhood Center, Lee Scandinaro, George Stabile, and several local businesses to create Second Saturday Night Live, a music series held in various parking lots in downtown Meadville. The first show was held at the top of the parking garage next to the Meadville Market House, with subsequent shows at the parking lot next the Voodoo Brewing. These shows are ongoing, and they occur the second Saturday of each month from May to September at 7pm. They are free and open to the public, serving as a supplement to the Second Saturday Community Market.
Starting in 2017, Dan collaborated with the Meadville Neighborhood Center, artist DP Warner, John Hyatt and other local musicians to bring World Music Day to Meadville. This annual event features live musicians playing at several locations, including the Fairview Fairmont Apartment Complex, Diamond Park, and the Community Garden at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex. All performances are totally free and open to the public.
Dan has also been driving force in the formation of the Thankful Thursdays, a community service project. Inspired by John Brittain’s passion for keeping the streets of Meadville clean, Dan partnered with his neighbors to create an ongoing service project aimed at fostering an attitude of gratitude and connecting community members in service. The first event was a community-wide “trash walk” around the city of Meadville, culminating with a pot-luck buffet at the gazebo in Diamond Park Square. Subsequently, Thankful Thursdays rehabilitated an empty lot at the corner of North and Liberty Street in partnership with Meadville Medical Center and painted the City of Meadville Skate Park at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex. The group also helped to revive the 68th annual Jimmy Moore Christmas Party in 2017, and they have hosted several seasonal community parties, including an annual “costume buffet” to connect kids with costumes.
Recently, Thankful Thursdays was adopted as an outreach program of Not One More, Northwest PA, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals, families and the community at large navigate substance use disorders. Dan serves on the board as the Events Coordinator and has been instrumental in organizing events such as the annual Black Balloon Day held every March to commemorate those who have lost their lives to overdoses.
Dan is also a congregant at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville. As a member of the UU’s Social Engagement Committee, he helped create safe, sober spaces for community members on the weekends. For example, he originated the First Friday Night Dance Party at the UU church social hall, which aims to get people to move their feet in a setting conducive to recovery; the dance parties occur on a monthly basis during the winter and feature a rotating slate of musical genres and themed decades (e.g., 80s, 90s).
Another safe, sober space created by Dan, in conjunction with the Meadville Council on the Arts (MCA), is Poetic Evenings. Poetic Evenings occurs on the first Saturday of the month at the MCA’s Gardner Theater, on the second floor of the Meadville Market House. Poetic Evenings is designed to be a supportive and welcoming place where one can express oneself, whether in the form of a poem, spoken word address, or song. More recently, Dan developed Poetic Evenings Mobile Events as an exercise in “destination creation”, with stops at Allegheny College, The Well on East Point in Titusville, Twin Pies in Linesville, and coming soon a location near you!
He is currently a member of the Meadville Market House Market Authority. The Market Authority is responsible for preserving the community treasure represented by the Meadville Market House. Dan notably facilitated the donation of a piano outside for local pianists to share their talents with their neighbors.
Indeed, Dan is a very busy man. But he’d love to chat with you!
Join him at any or all the aforementioned events!