Eclipse Bank welcomes groups to use its facilitiesLouisvillle Courier-Journal - by Martha Elson, July 9, 2008
Bunbury Theatre board members had the same view White Castle diners used to have as they met in a conference room at the new Eclipse Bank in St. Matthews.
The days of eating "sliders" and drinking White Castle coffee at the corner of Shelbyville Road and Chenoweth Lane are gone. But the bank provided coffee and cookies to the Bunbury group and free use of the meeting room.
"They're very welcoming," said Bob Westerman, Bunbury's board president. "It's got everything you need," including computers.
The two-story bank, which opened this spring after two years of construction at the site of the razed White Castle, is designed to be a community gathering spot, says Laura Guetig, the bank's community relations director.
The bank is making its facilities -- which also include a rotunda, catering kitchen, smaller conference room and lounge area with computers and coffee -- available for free for nonprofit groups and others.
It's a way to acquaint people with the new $3 million building, get involved in the community and attract new customers.
The lounge area is available for a quick meeting between a real-estate agent and a client, for instance, Guetig said. Other groups that have met at the bank include the Italian Cultural Institute, Louisville Independent Business Association, a Wellspring agency capital campaign committee, Scottish Terrier Society of Greater Louisville and Meals on Wheels.
"It's hard to miss us," said Mitzi Pendergrass, co-owner of the bank with her husband, John.
She describes the location as convenient and central -- halfway between areas farther east and downtown "with one of the biggest traffic counts in the city."
The building has a koi pond that's visible from the staircase landing. The lobby has a history exhibit that mentions the old Louisville Eclipse baseball team from 1880. A video about the history of White Castle and that area of St. Matthews, including the old Potato Festival parades, also plays next to a mini-museum with White Castle mugs and other items.
The Pendergrasses live in nearby Druid Hills, and both had worked for other banks -- he for more than 30 years for PNC and she for the former Bank of Louisville and a savings and loan.
They chose the name Eclipse because, "we didn't want it to sound like a bank," she said. It's also meant to convey the concept of "surpassing expectations."
Reporter Martha Elson can be reached at (502) 582-7061.