Jim Briggs grew up in Beaver Falls, PA. and came to New Hope in 1975 from Puerto Rico to manage a restaurant called Tom Moore’s Tavern. He said he had never heard of New Hope before meeting the owner of Tom Moore’s, Mitch Bell. He moved into an apartment behind the restaurant.
Jim said after he met Paul Cox, who owned the Duck and Dolphin Antique Store he stayed. In 1976 he got his real estate license and began his career in real estate. He said, “Having found a community that was so accepting and the availability of places to go without discrimination, I had found my home.” He served on the Board of the multiple listing service and was a committee member of the Board of Realtors. He went to High School with Dan Brooks and later helped him purchase the Wishing Well Inn.
When David Kurfiss established Kurfiss Realty, Jim worked with him for many years. He said the old office was next to the Prelude in an old gas station where First National Bank is located. It then relocated to the current location which was the Roush family’s residence of Strawberry Jam. He said, “My office is located in the old Tom Moore’s Restaurant location, so I have come full circle, right back where I started.”
He said he has to thank David Kurfiss and Paul Cox for establishing his career. “My clients were initially mostly gay, but the community has become so diversified and accepting. When my career started, there were only a handful of gay real estate agents, but that has changed dramatically.”
He met his first partner of 10 years through Tom Moore. He met his husband 30 years ago at the Raven. They enjoy events at the Michener Museum, the Bucks County Playhouse, and dine at the Raven and the Black Bass.
Jim’s favorite memories are dancing at the Prelude and the Cartwheel, performances by Danee Russo and Monica Ray and going to Mother’s Restaurant on Main St. Jim said there were many places to go together with friends; the Prelude, Cartwheel and the Raven. He said, “In those days, January’s had just opened where Hope Ridge Farms is located. It was very popular for a short time until the license was revoked in the barn where the bar was located.”
Jim said they had friends in the Allentown area and attended FACT events in the Poconos at the Rainbow Mountain Resort and the annual Snow Ball in Allentown. “Together with Jon Case, Kittie Kaiser and others, we decided there was a big need for FACT Bucks County, so with a lot of our hard work the organization was established. Doug Wilmot and I were initial Board members. Also, thanks to Planned Parenthood and a group of supporters, we established the Rainbow Room for LGBTQ youths; which was a much needed place for many other young people looking to fit in.”
Jim’s love of New Hope continues. He said, “I have lived here more than half of my life and would never want to move anywhere else. Love the community. Owned a home in FL, but never had a desire to relocate there, this is home for me.”