Family Matters: Lake Raystown Resort and Pure Events

In the summer of 1984, Jules Patt opened up the Lake Raystown Resort on the shores of Raystown Lake. Fast forward to April 30th, 2013 when Jules’s children, Samantha and Josh, decided to buy the business from their father. Samantha and Josh then opened up the company Pure Events to manage the Lake Raystown Resort. I got to speak with Samantha and Josh to learn more about their experience with running Lake Raystown Resort for the past three years and how they uphold their father’s legacy. My first question for the siblings was what it is like continuing the business that their father started and ran successfully. “It’s about upholding the legacy. It’s been great being involved in something that was built from the ground up,” Samantha explained. She told me about how she has grown up with the business and it feels wonderful to be carrying on the tradition. This is a business that her children can be involved with and their children’s children. In a nutshell, Pure Events owns and operates Lake Raystown Resort which is a 400-acre outdoor destination. Pure Events leases this land from the Army Corp of Engineers. Because of this unique business, Samantha and Josh never have the same day twice. Samantha told me, “We are very actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Lake Raystown Resort and we always help out where we are needed.” Josh complimented that statement by explaining how sometimes they make pizzas or lifeguard, whatever is needed that day. Samantha and Josh are very actively involved at Lake Raystown Resort and obviously care very much about how the business is run. Recently Samantha and Josh have implemented some updates and changes to Lake Raystown Resort to make it even better. They have added permanent yurts, which are furnished round tents, for visitors to stay in. Samantha explained that these have been very successful thus far and they are looking forward to putting up more of these. They also replaced one of their docks with 64 slips with the ultimate goal to replace one dock per year. Continuing with the renovations and updates, Samantha and Josh renovated one of the lodges about 2 years ago. When updating and renovating Samantha and Josh make sure to give their own style to the grounds while still keeping to their roots and the legacy their father laid down.

The legacy of the Lake Raystown Resort is a very strong and successful one with a rich history. In the summer of 1984, the resort was opened as a small campground, similar to a state park. But as the area grew in popularity, Jules put in more amenities such as water, electric, and cable TV. Lake Raystown Resort started with six cabins and has grown exponentially since then due to the amazing vision of Jules Patt. Jules had multiple properties as a real estate developer such as shopping centers, hotels, and everything in between. The waterpark opened in 1985 and had the highest waterslides in Pennsylvania when they opened. Samantha and Josh have been involved in the resort ever since they were in high school, working different jobs and learning different parts of the business. Once Samantha and Josh graduated college they both moved to different areas of the east coast to pursue their careers. But, their father called them both and asked them to come home to help him run the company. They moved back in 2000 and 2004, respectively, and became limited partners in the business. I asked Samantha and Josh if they had anything they would have done differently in their process of working for, and owning, the business. “Even when you wish things were different, it’s a life lesson. It makes you stronger and more adaptable,” they said. The lesson here is that things may not always turn out the way you thought they would, but sometimes you get lead to a better place.
Enterprise Bank has been connected to Pure Events since 2000, when Enterprise did a round of financing for approximately 30 cabins and 3 houseboats. Joe Novitski has been their relationship manager ever since helping them with whatever they may need. I asked Samantha and Josh about their experience in their 16 years with Enterprise and the response was incredibly positive. “Enterprise has been great, they helped a lot in the purchase of the company from our father. In fact, they were our first call,” they said. They told me that the bank is big enough for the financing they need, but not too big as they get lost in the shuffle. “We know a lot of people by name at Enterprise and it really is a great relationship to have,” said Samantha.
My last question for Samantha and Josh was about what their advice is for those looking to start a business or run a business successfully. “It’s important to stay true to your roots,” they started, “It’s really easy to lose sight of where you started and what started the company.” They also said to make sure you’re involved in what’s going on with the company, and that you’re out there working with your staff. Having a connection with your staff is the backbone of a successful company.

After my discussion with Samantha and Josh I spoke with Joe Novitski, their relationship manager, about his experience with them and how he became connected to Pure Events. My first question was about Joe’s first impression of Samantha and Josh. “They were young and ambitious,” he explained, “they wanted to keep this a family-run business, keep it successful, and make it grow.” Joe spoke very highly of the entire family with an emphasis on how the second generation has thrived as they’ve owned the business for the past 3 years. Joe became connected to Pure Events through another bank that Jules was working with back in 2000. The bank was looking to do financing but needed another participant, so they called Joe Novitski to help with the loan. From there, Joe has also helped with other deals including the sale of the company to Samantha and Josh. “They have been very easy to work with throughout my time with them. They are hands-on operators of the company and strong leaders,” Joe told me. My final question for Joe was about his experience at the resort itself and how he enjoys his time there. “It’s a fun, relaxed, family atmosphere for summer recreational fun. There’s boating, camping, fishing, and so much to do. They also have an old time showboat called the Proud Mary that they do parties and cruises on,” Joe explained, “It’s beautiful.” Joe also told me that the land used to be a town inside of a valley, which the Army Corps flooded for their own use. It is said that the town is still perfectly preserved under there. After talking with Joe I can see that he has a large amount of respect for the entire family and has enjoyed his time working with them.
To learn more about Pure Events and Lake Raystown Resort please visit or call 814-658-3500.

Family Entertainment Center: The Lightning Bug

When you walk into The Lightning Bug you’re immediately greeted by the happy sound of arcade games. The Lightning Bug is filled to the brim with games of all different kinds that are sure to bring out your inner child. What is The Lightning Bug exactly? It’s a family entertainment center, opened February 20th of this year that is constantly adding new attractions and arcade games. Currently they have laser tag, bumper cars, black light glow golf as well as a large free playground. It is the perfect place for your child’s next birthday party or to stop by and have lunch or dinner any day of the week. As a matter of fact, they also have homemade food that is sure to make your mouth water. But what of the man who created The Lightning Bug from the ground up, Nick Morlino? He is a business man with a long history who decided to open up his own business so he could control his destiny. When asked what his motivation was to start his own business he says very plainly, “my motivation was to be my own boss.” Nick Morlino wanted to start a project of his own and be able to stay in one place for an extended period of time. Morlino’s work experience had him travelling constantly and he began to want to have the freedom to settle down. Morlino is proud to be running such a family-oriented business that brings people together. “I read the positive reviews on Facebook… and it makes me feel proud to be bringing a family entertainment center to Adams Township.” I asked Morlino if there was anything he would have done differently when starting up The Lightning Bug and he was very honest. “There are a few little things that I might have changed… But I surrounded myself with a team that was very knowledgeable and made sure to extensively research the FEC (Family Entertainment Center) industry.” As a business owner, there will always be little things you may want to change or wish you could’ve done differently. But as Morlino expressed, doing your research should prevent you from making any significant mistakes and is essential to ensure your vision becomes reality.
When Morlino started there was just an empty patch of land, which means that he was able to build completely from scratch. I asked about this process and learned some valuable lessons in what Morlino told me. “It was essential to explain the vision clearly to the zoning authority… once you get past that your focus shifts to financing and the selection of a general contractor.” He says that obtaining good value is important when selecting the general contractor but that it’s also incredibly important to have a good initial rapport with them and throughout the construction period. Morlino is very satisfied with the contractor he chose, Rossman Hensley Inc., which made the process easier overall. It seemed to me that Morlino’s journey was a difficult but rewarding one. The best advice he gave? “If you want the building to turn out the way you want, you have to be on site every day.” He stressed that being involved in every aspect of the process is the only way to stay informed of everything that’s happening with your project.
I wanted to ask Morlino about what his advice would be to those looking to start a business. He smiled and said, “Make sure you know about the business, make sure you know how to explain the financials, make sure you have a feasibility study… and then go talk to Randy (at Enterprise Bank) and see if he can help you out.” Morlino found Enterprise Bank through Eric Lamm, who is one of the partners that sold the plot of land to Morlino. Morlino says he found the experience of working with his relationship manager, Randy Davidson from Enterprise Bank, to be very good. Morlino describes Randy as, “Very helpful, very honest and supportive when I encountered some hurdles.”

I could tell what sort of man Nick Morlino was just by walking around The Lightning Bug and speaking with him about his experiences. He gave examples of working 10 hours a day doing whatever job is necessary at the time, even working in the kitchen. Morlino is dedicated, hard-working, and genuinely cares about his business and his customers. He’s already thinking two steps ahead for his business. He said that he will be adding outdoor attractions, including mini-golf, for the spring 2017 season and is also looking to expand the attractions inside. After my discussion with Morlino I walked around The Lightning Bug so that I could get a general feel of the place. The Lightning Bug is filled with games, attractions, food, and a big playground in the middle.
The first thing I noticed was the restaurant area, which Morlino has put a lot of thought into. “I make the pizzas fresh… we use 100% certified angus beef for the burgers and we’re getting great feedback.” The menu itself is extensive which makes this a great place to stop for lunch or dinner. In the pictures you will see a sampling of the games that The Lightning Bug offers as well as the prize wall where you can spend the tickets that you win. The ticketing system works a little bit different here than at other places. You’ll get a card when you come in which you will load with money and then go play the games, when you win and gain tickets they will be loaded onto the card. No more fumbling around with tokens and tickets as everything is stored on the card to make things simple and easy. The three main attractions that are inside include black light mini golf, bumper cars, and laser tag. The bumper cars and laser tag are exactly what you remember from when you were a kid, but the black light mini golf is quite unique. The entire course is filled with original artwork on the walls and statues of animals you can find in Pennsylvania. The course is beautifully designed and the black lights make everything pop. This place will bring out the kid in you and bring out the smiles on your children’s faces.

After my time at The Lightning Bug, I went to go find Randy Davidson to get his perspective on Nick Morlino and the experience of working with him. Randy’s initial impression of Morlino was that he was very organized, and came across as very intelligent with a high business acumen. Randy also said that the coffee at The Lightning Bug was phenomenal. Morlino’s wife had managed 3 or 4 Starbucks cafes in the past and Randy says that she has made sure that the coffee is exceptional. Randy describes the overall experience with Morlino as very positive, “he was well organized and very business smart, worked his vendors to get good pricing and he was on top of the project.” When asked how Randy feels being at The Lightning Bug knowing he helped Morlino with his dream, Randy takes a moment to collect his thoughts. “It’s always unique to see a growing and thriving business starting from ground up construction… to see what is accomplished and how well they’re received in the community.” You can tell that watching these businesses thrive is what Randy loves about his job.
The Lightning Bug is a wonderful place to bring your family for some quality time and fun! More information about The Lightning Bug can be found on their website at and on their Facebook at If you would like to contact them directly you can call them at (724) 900-2808.