Hans and Virginia Gruenert wanted to start a theater company when they lived in New York City. That’s where you’d do something like that.
But Off the Wall Theater Co. was destined to be born in Western Pennsylvania when Mr. Gruenert’s work brought the couple here in 2007. And after five years in Washington, Pa., they found a better fit in Carnegie.
Their decision happened to mesh with the borough’s trajectory of late.
The economic doldrums that gripped the region for years didn’t miss Carnegie. Then in 2004, when Chartiers Creek overran the business district as a remnant of Hurricane Ivan, dozens of businesses were damaged and many did not return.
Editor’s note: A reader sent in this request – if you are interested, contact Rick.
I’m trying to start an entrepreneur meet up in the Charleroi, PA area. Looking for people interested in joining me. I can be contacted at 724-992-8695.
Looking for a great gift? How about a gift certificate to Pottstown’s number 1 rated restaurant on Yelp and Trip Advisor! Shopping small returns dividends to your community. Buying from a big box chain does not help the local economy. Buying from a locally owned business does!
Click here to purchase a great gift for the special people in your life: http://www.icreatecafe.org/?deeplink_referrer=ess#!product/prd1/1602198915/30%24-gift-card
Also, check out the new iCreate store on Facebook. Click on SHOP to purchase computer classes, Arabic language classes, cooking classes and more. Click here for a direct link to the store: https://www.facebook.com/iCreateCafe/app_196248510415671
Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Aspiring entrepreneurs can conveniently learn the nuts and bolts of starting a business thanks to a new, online program developed by Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) for the Pennsylvania Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives Collaborative. The program can be accessed online at BEresource.com.
“Starting Your Own Business” is a free, self-paced program through which learners explore five modules on topics such as business basics, financial and legal considerations, and marketing, as well as an in-depth case study. The final module of the program guides learners through the process of developing a customized business plan.
“In today’s market, entrepreneurial spirit is more than being a business owner. Employers increasingly expect employees to think entrepreneurially when developing ideas and solving problems,” shared Philip Needles, dean of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives at MCCC.
Learners who successfully finish the program and business plan will earn a proof of completion certificate and may be eligible to earn three credits at MCCC through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). Other colleges and universities may also evaluate the completed course and business plan for possible PLA credit toward one of their respective programs.
PLA is the process used by many institutions to determine if an individual’s prior educational, workforce and life experiences can be translated to college credits. Assessments can include evaluation of military or corporate training, review of portfolios, customized tests, and evaluation of completed non-credit courses, among others.
The “Starting Your Own Business” project is funded by a U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant, and is part of a joint initiative of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to train and place underemployed and unemployed residents of the Commonwealth in high demand jobs.
The program is open source and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To learn more about the project and its designers, visit BEresouce.com or contact Denise Collins at 215-619-7313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until a few years ago, Ash Khalil ate meat.
Learning the health benefits of a nutrient-rich diet made of mostly plant-based foods inspired him to open the iCreate Cafe in Pottstown in 2012.
Those who visit the cafe often describe it to others as a mix of vegan, vegetarian and in some cases gluten-free menu musts, with strong Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences in many of the dishes.
Khalil is an eight-year survivor of kidney cancer and said not once did his doctors ever talk to him about the foods he ate and how they might have impacted his health situation.
Editor’s note: Just another reason to love Lancaster 🙂
Lancaster is known for its local foods and crafts, and in recent years, those traditional products have begun to be offered in a new way: online.
The Lancaster community on Thursday was recognized for taking business into the digital world.
It was named the “digital capital” of Pennsylvania and recipient of Google’s eCity designation.
For the second year, the internet search giant has recognized a community in each of the 50 states. Last year, Exton, in neighboring Chester County received the award.
It wasn’t long ago that Philadelphia’s movers and shakers were lamenting that the city was being ignored by international retailers. Those chains finally discovered the city, and now they’re colonizing the shopping districts around Rittenhouse Square and the West Philadelphia universities at a stunning pace. Sometimes, the only way to be sure you’re not at the King of Prussia Mall is to look up at the sky.
Having gotten what it wished for, the city is starting to feel the first side effects of what New York urbanist Kent Barwick, former head of the Municipal Arts Society, identified as “the over-successful city.”
This may sound like an odd worry in a town that looks over its shoulder and still sees Detroit. It’s certainly great that the chains help draw throngs to Walnut and Chestnut Streets again. They’ve brought their stylish displays and uncovered the dormant charms of many old commercial buildings. Yet, there is a numbing sameness to much of the retail. You’ve seen identical mannequins in identical outfits perched in windows on New York’s Fifth Avenue, Boston’s Newbury Street, and Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.
Editor’s note: Several Pennsylvania metro areas fared well on the list. Pittsburgh (26), Philadelphia (33) and Lancaster (38).
Continuing WalletHub’s theme of small business-related releases in honor of National Small Business Week (May 12-16), this study sought to identify the cities that are the most and least friendly to employees of small companies.
There is no shortage of commentary on the best and worst cities to start a small business, after all, and with such companies employing about 47% of the private workforce in this country, paying more than 40% of the private payroll, and creating more than 60% of the new jobs added over the past 20 years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, it bears asking what opportunities exist for the roughly 12.3% of people who are currently either unemployed or marginally attached to the labor force, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
More specifically, WalletHub’s used 10 different metrics – ranging from net small business job growth and industry variety to hours worked and average wages for new hires – to evaluate the state of small business in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. We then ranked the cities based on their overall attractiveness for job seekers.
WASHINGTON – U.S. small business sentiment jumped to its highest level in 6-1/2 years in April, which should bolster hopes of an acceleration in economic activity in the second quarter.
The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.8 points to 95.2 last month, the highest reading since October 2007, when the economy was on the cusp of its worst recession since the 1930s.
“April’s reading took the index to a post-recession high and a recovery high level,” the NFIB said in a statement.
It adds to data such as employment and surveys on the manufacturing and services industries that have shown the economy regaining steam early in the second quarter after growth braked abruptly in the first three months of the year.
To most, the World Trade Center is a reminder of terrorism’s evil: two jetliners commandeered on a gorgeous September morning, bringing down New York’s landmark twin towers, killing more than 2,700 and unhinging a nation.
In Philadelphia, the World Trade Center is a bistate nonprofit fighting to be better known.
The attention the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP) especially seeks is from the region’s small businesses, a sector it says is missing tremendous growth opportunity by not exporting.
“Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers lie outside our borders, so it’s a tremendous opportunity for companies to look to global markets,” said Ron Drozd, manager of WTCGP’s export services.
Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s Professional Development Series offers a technology seminar for arts professionals, “#Arts: Mobile Technology for Dummies,” on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Butz Corporate Center, Ninth and Hamilton streets, Allentown.
Hit the ground running! Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptop, tablet, and smartphone to this hands-on seminar. Presenters will demonstrate how mobile technology acts as a driver for events, products, art sales and website traffic. Arts entrepreneurs and arts administrators will learn how to:
- Enhance your marketing efforts through social media websites
- Set up and use an Instagram account
- Ensure your website is mobile device friendly
- Adopt e-commerce solutions such as Etsy, Big Cartel and Amazon Marketplace and Mobile Technology point-of-sale devices such as Square, Intuit and Paypal to boost your sales.
Featured presenters, Matt McKernan, President of Mosaic Interactive, an award–winning, interactive and traditional marketing agency, and Steven Leibensperger, graphic and exhibit designer for Crayola, fine artist, and musician will provide both the developer and artist perspective.
The member fee is $25; nonmembers pay $45. Light refreshments will be provided.
Buy Tickets Today! www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org
For more information: www.LVArtsCouncil.org/ArtsMobile.html
Rob Collins believes he has the formula to reanimate a piece of lost history in the Mexican War Streets.
Collins is owner of the Allegheny City Market, a corner grocer that opened in Pittsburgh’s North Side last month in space formerly occupied by Doug’s Market.
Doug’s went out of business in January because of years of declining sales. Collins, however, envisions a more successful outcome.
“There’s no reason this place shouldn’t be a gold mine,” Collins said recently from behind the counter of his Arch Street shop. “It started off really slow, but it’s picking up. The last two days have been really busy.”
Collins, 46, of Manchester has worked in the grocery business for more than two decades. In 2010, he opened Bryant Street Market in Highland Park, which, he said, “is crushing it.”
NORRISTOWN, PA — The little corner grocery store is making a comeback in Norristown.
The Spanish word “mina” means “mine” in English, and Mina Mart owner Ivonne Patino is hoping her new venture proves to be the proverbial gold mine that confirms her backers’ faith in her business.
Opened in February in the former La Mina bar at the corner of Arch and Airy streets, the bright, clean store/restaurant with all the grocery essentials, from toilet paper to fresh bananas, as well as a growing menu, got a financial boost of $19,650 from the U.S. Small Business Administration Thursday.
The loan that allowed Mina Mart to open its doors is the latest successful endeavor of the Norristown Small Business Assistance Center, a partnership of the Municipality of Norristown and The Enterprise Center Capital Corp. of Philadelphia.
The new owners of a key downtown building are creating a technology-company incubator there.
The incubator, initially with nine young firms, soon will open on the now-vacant top floor of the Wells Fargo building, at Queen and Orange streets.
Operating the incubator will be Aspire Ventures, founded by developer Robert L. Redcay, tech entrepreneur Sam Abadir and others.
“We’re trying to do something unique, even for the East Coast,” said Abadir on Tuesday.
For the past three years, Wandra Sparks has been walking in and out of an old Italian club along Waddell Avenue in downtown Clairton.
She watches as her husband Gus Sparks installs new plumbing and electrical systems or paints warm colors on expansive walls and a cathedral ceiling, and what seemed to be piecemeal improvements in a never-ending struggle now are part of a vision that others can see.
The Sparkses transformed a club that sat vacant for at least a decade into the Ribbon Room.
“It’s a mixture of old and new furnishings,” Wandra Sparks said. “It’s cozy and quaint. There’s such a warm feeling that you don’t even know you’re in a banquet hall.”
SEASIDE PARK, N.J. – A raging fire spewing fist-sized embers engulfed much of an iconic Jersey shore boardwalk Thursday, destroying more than 50 businesses and undoing months of rebuilding efforts after the inundation of Superstorm Sandy.
Workers joined the fire in tearing into the boardwalk – a last-ditch effort to rob the inferno of fuel that helped preserve what was left of the economic lifeblood of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights.
The wind-whipped fire devoured eight blocks of boardwalk – four in each town – and caused millions of dollars in damage before workers halted its advance by ripping out a large section of boardwalk and piling up huge makeshift sand dunes meant to hold back fire, not water.
The blaze destroyed 32 businesses on the Seaside Park portion of the boardwalk, borough Councilwoman Nancy Koury told The Associated Press. Michael Loundy, a real estate agent who works with Seaside Heights on tourism projects, said 20 businesses were destroyed there.
NORRISTOWN — Local officials are putting their noses to the grindstone to lure more businesses to Norristown, and they say they have the bucks to back up their plans.
Specifically, the municipality wants new restaurants, boutiques, delis and coffee shops along the so-called Main Street corridor, which runs along the Schuylkill River Trail from West Norriton to Plymouth Township.
Ron Story, director of the Norristown Small Business Assistance Center (NSBAC), and Gabriele Prete, Norristown’s business development coordinator, presented Norristown Planning Commission with a series of short promotional videos Wednesday targeting would-be businesses. Prete said there are 13 countries represented on Main Street in the form of restaurants. The videos and an interactive map are available on the municipal website, www.norristown.org.
Several macrotrends have broken Philadelphia’s way: The city’s population is growing again. Residential building is up, and the city has seen an influx of college-educated young adults over the last decade.
But one trend remains stubbornly negative, as three recent research reports make clear: The city continues to lose jobs. The latest such evidence was included in the Center City District’s “State of Center City, 2013” report, released Monday.
The special-services district can rightly brag about the increased vibrancy in the area wedged between the rivers and Vine and Pine Streets. The city is cleaner since 1990, serious crime is down, and the churn in retail stores and restaurants is source of small-business strength.
Employment, though, remains a weakness, and if the long-term trend of job destruction does not change, it’s hard to imagine that the city could continue to maintain momentum in other areas.
York, PA – Yahoo recently said it was ending the telecommuting option for its employees.
After it was criticized for the decision, the company issued a brief, follow-up release, saying it was not offering a broad judgment on the practice of working from home.
In recent years, telecommuting has become a more viable option for some professions as work moves to online platforms that are accessible from any computer.
Local telecommuters have said they are glad for the option to work from home or outside a formal office environment because it eliminates the distractions of the office.