Collegeville staple Jim and Ralph’s Produce forced to close after 50 years

Along Ridge Pike in Collegeville sits a community staple, Jim and Ralph’s Produce.

"The whole community, lots of people come here to shop, they’re friendly, they’re reasonably priced," said Liz Nouaime, customer.

Nowadays, Nouaime is not only swinging by for affordable groceries, as the family run business that has been serving the area for about 50 years, is being forced to close its doors.

"Till the last day, I’ll be here to say goodbye to them," said Nouaime.

That last day, June 17th, the owners say June 20th PennDOT is taking their property through eminent domain for a road realignment project.

"In the beginning, when it all first started, we were still here, and the road was going to be on the side of the building. Then COVID came and as soon as the world opened up, the first meeting, people came and said, ‘no we need the whole property’," said David Roberto, the co-owner of Jim and Ralph’s Produce.

The township website shows PennDOT’s plan to eliminate the current intersection at Ridge Pike and Germantown Pike and relocate it.

PennDOT says the project will alleviate congestion and travel delays and improve safety in the area.

"They take your property, and they give you what they feel fair market value is, whomever came up with that idea, it doesn’t work," said Stephen Roberto, the co-owner of Jim and Ralph’s Produce.

The two have been trying to find a place to relocate within their budget that can accommodate their needs, but it doesn’t sound promising. 


"You think about our customers, where are they going to shop, some of these customers, you know them better than you know your own family," said Stephen.

Customers like Tina Kachmar who comes in weekly to get her large order of apples for her business Divine Apples.

"I’m really sad. I’m a huge local business supporter so, I don’t know where I’m going to get them, I’ve always gotten them here," said Kachmar.

The same can be said for Dutch Cottage Tavern who gets their produce from them.

"It will impact us tremendously, would love to be able to find a place for them to go local, I think that’s what we all have to rally through and seeing what we can do so they can stay in business," said Genevieve Kluka, a manager at Dutch Cottage Tavern.

Which the Roberto’s are just hoping for a miracle to continue being able to do what they love.

"I feel like I failed my family, the customers, I feel like I failed. I have all this, and it’s taken away, I have nothing left, no job, no income, no nothing," said David.

Below is the full statement from PennDOT about the project: 

"When PennDOT acquires right-of-way to construct a project there has been an extensive study which also includes opportunities for public meetings and involvement. In this particular project, we have worked extensively with the Lower Providence Township and also with the County. The purpose of the Ridge Pike and Germantown Pike Intersection Re-alignment Project is to alleviate congestion and travel delay, improve safety, and enhance overall regional mobility on the eastern, or Lower Providence Township, side of the Perkiomen Creek bridge crossing, while accommodating anticipated future traffic needs. The current intersection of Ridge Pike and Germantown Pike has a variety of deficiencies including poor alignment, geometric deficiencies, intersection congestion and long traffic queues. In particular, in the area where Jim and Ralph's produce is located, we will be constructing the relocated intersection of Germantown Pike and Ridge Pike as well as an extension of Ridge Pike to Pechins Mill Road. The proposed Ridge Pike Extension provides for a connection of future Perkiomen Creek crossing consistent with local planning."