Small Businesses to be Honored During Inaugural Pennsylvania Small Business Week

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Six small businesses and the Bucknell University SBDC will be honored with awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) during National Small Business Week, running May 1-7, 2016.

Pennsylvania Small Business Week runs May 1-7, 2016

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) have announced that six small businesses and the Bucknell University SBDC will be honored with awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) during National Small Business Week, running May 1-7, 2016. This year, Pennsylvania will celebrate its inaugural PA Small Business Week with a series of events throughout the state and a statewide webinar series for small business owners.

Local and regional media are invited to attend the following events:

Pennsylvania Exporter of the Year Award
WHEN: Monday, May 2, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. Noon
WHO: Antonio (Tony) Leta, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director
Tony Ceballos, U.S. Export Assistance Center Director, Philadelphia
Marta Gabriel, Lehigh Valley Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey
Vincent O’Domski, District Director for Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15)
Sheri Collins, Deputy Secretary, Technology & Innovation, DCED
Christian Conroy, State Director, Pennsylvania SBDC
Martin Brill, Program Manager, International Trade, Kutztown SBDC
Bernadette Ward and Ladd Forsline, Owners, Colorfin, LLC
WHAT: Colorfin LLC is introduced as 2016 Exporter of the Year; media tour of business with interview and photo opportunities
WHERE: Colorfin, LLC, 65 Willow St., Kutztown, PA 19530-1535

Forsline and Ward formed Colorfin (http://colorfin.com/) in 2005 and now export to the European Union, Far East, Pacific Rim, NAFTA trade partners and South America. Colorfin LLC develops and manufacturers innovative materials (colors and applicators) for artists. Their products are developed in Kutztown in two unique ranges: PanPastel, the world’s first dry artist’s colors that work like paint and Sofft Tools, contemporary tools and applicators for art and craft. Artists worldwide use PanPastel for their unique qualities. Colorfin’s reputation for consistent quality and innovation is recognized in the U.S. and in 38 other countries. Beginning her career with Westinghouse (Europe), Ward worked in public relations in London’s fashion industry and as product marketing manager in food wraps and art materials since the late 1980s. Artist and inventor Forsline graduated from the Master of Fine Arts program, Yale School of Art in 1988, then set up Forsline & Starr Ltd, the company behind such inventions as Colour Shaper® and Oil Bar®.

Eastern Pennsylvania’s Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year Award
WHEN: Monday, May 2, 2016 at 2:30 p.m.
WHO: Antonio (Tony) Leta, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director
Christian Conroy, State Director, Pennsylvania SBDC
Dennis M. Davin, Secretary, PA Dept. of Community & Economic Development
Martin Brill, Program Manager, International Trade, Kutztown SBDC
Jan Boyer, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Concrete Masonry Association
Jennifer Gill, President, Managing Member, Exact Match Masonry Staining, LLC
Matthew Gill, Vice President, Exact Match Masonry Staining, LLC
WHAT: Exact Match Masonry Staining, LLC introduced as 2016 Eastern Pennsylvania Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year; interview and photo opportunities
WHERE: Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce, 3211 N. Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110

Exact Match (http://masonrystaining.com/) is a niche masonry and expert custom coatings application business. When clients struggle to match building additions, repaired areas, correct graffiti damage or face other color problems, the firm reverse-engineers custom colors for masonry and mortar to create an exact match which transforms or matches the color of brick, block, mortar, stone, concrete, Cast Stone, retaining wall systems and stucco. Jennifer, with her husband and Vice president Matthew, worked with a team of chemists to perfect, test and expand their product line.

Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year Award
WHEN: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Antonio (Tony) Leta, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director
Kristin Magnotta, Regional Mgr., Northeastern PA, Office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey
Christian Conroy, State Director, Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers
Scott Dunkelberger, Deputy Secretary, Business Financing, DCED
Robert Maximowicz, SBA Wilkes-Barre Branch Manager
Lisa Hall-Zielinski, Director, The University of Scranton SBDC
Leigh Magnotta and Gretchen Kukuchka, Business Consultants, The University of Scranton SBDC
Backyard Ale House owners Patrick G. Nasser, William K. Nasser, III, Eric D. Miller, Anthony V. Potis
WHAT: Backyard Ale House owners are introduced as 2016 Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year; media tour of business with interview and photo opportunities
WHERE: Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden Street Scranton, PA 18503

Since Backyard Ale House (http://www.backyardalehouse.com/) opened in 2008, when the owners seized the opportunity to form a partnership between the brothers and two of their lifelong friends, the downtown Scranton “craft beer-oriented” bar establishment has won numerous awards for service, beverage selection and atmosphere. The success of the business in the last seven years speaks to its success in fulfilling a much-needed and desired niche in the market. That success lead to a major renovation in 2011 including expansion into the vacant store next door, a façade make-over, enlargement of the inside bar room, a bottle shop with six-pack takeout and merchandise, second floor storage and a full-service top of the line kitchen. The successful two and half year renovation has helped the Backyard Ale House become a fixture in the downtown Scranton community. In the last three years there has been a steady 35 percent growth financially leading to an 80 percent growth in number of employees to meet growth in sales and demand.

Eastern Pennsylvania Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year Award
WHEN: Tuesday, May 3 at 2:00 p.m.
WHO: Antonio (Tony) Leta, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director
Charlie Dent, U.S. Congressman (PA-15)
Connor Corpora, Regional Mgr. of Lehigh Valley, Office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey
Marta Gabriel, Lehigh Valley Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey
Steve DeFrank, Chief of Staff, Office of Pennsylvania Senator Lisa M. Boscola
Robert Donchez, Mayor, Bethlehem, Pa.
Fadia Halma, Director, Lehigh Valley Regional Office, DCED
David V. Dunn, Program Dir., PTAC & Technology, Lehigh University SBDC
Robert Mineo, Program Director, Financing Assistance, Lehigh University SBDC
Brett Smith, Consultant, Lehigh University SBDC
John James McGeehan, Owner, Gaver Industries, Inc. dba Barker & Barker Paving
Gavin John McGeehan, Owner, Gaver Industries, Inc. dba Barker & Barker Paving
WHAT: Gaver Industries, Inc. dba Barker & Barker Paving introduced as 2016 Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year; media tour of business with interview and photo opportunities
WHERE: 910 14th Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18018

Gaver Industries, Inc. (http://www.barkerpaving.com/) is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVOSB) asphalt paving contractor serving the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. The firm provides residential, commercial, and industrial paving solutions Paving solutions, concrete and excavation work. Known as Barker & Barker Corp. until McGeehan purchased it in 2009, the firm has sustained significant growth. Gaver Industries, Inc. is committed to taking the time to select superior high grade aggregates and other paving materials to ensure high quality, durable and even surfaces. All work is guaranteed and the firm returns to the site immediately in the unlikely event of a problem. Following a slight decline in 2013, Gaver Industries, Inc. rebounded in 2014 with a significant increase in sales and net profit. As a SDVOSB, the firm has obtained several prime contact awards in 2014, which significantly increased overall sales. In 2014, Gaver Industries, Inc. completed the purchase of property, adding warehouse and office space. The purchase allowed the business to improve efficiency of operations, with one central location for office space and the storage of vehicles, machinery, and equipment.

Western Pennsylvania & Overall Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year Award
WHEN: Thursday, May 5, 2016
WHO: Kelly Hunt, U.S. SBA Western Pennsylvania Director
Mary McKinney, Western Pennsylvania Small Business Network
Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, CEO, AcousticSheep
WHAT: AcousticSheep introduced as 2016 Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year; media tour of business with interview and photo opportunities
WHERE: AcousticSheep, 2001 Peninsula Drive, Erie, PA 16506

SleepPhones® (http://www.sleepphones.com) are a unique combination of flat speakers and wires, all housed in a soft, comfortable fleece headband. These simple yet innovative headphones allow those experiencing difficulties sleeping to get some much needed sleep by listening to meditative sounds or music. Ten years ago, the husband-wife duo created their first headband prototype. Reception was phenomenal, as they sold out of SleepPhones® within a year. Fast-forward nine years and Lai no longer practices medicine; instead she serves as CEO for AcousticSheep. She’s relocated to Erie to a larger facility for storage, warehousing and administrative offices and the Gannon University SBDC now assists Dr. Lai. AcousticSheep’s flock of employees has grown to 25 and sales are on the uptick growing at $1 million a year since 2012.

Eastern Pennsylvania Family-Owned Small Business of the Year Award
WHEN: Friday, May 6, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Antonio (Tony) Leta, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director
John Breneman, Office of Pennsylvania State Senator Jake Corman
Adam Harris, Pennsylvania State Representative
Carrie Lepore, Deputy Secretary, Marketing, Tourism, and Film, DCED
Michael Ryan and Linda Feltman, Business Analysts, Penn State SBDC
Dennis, Nancy, Ryan and Michael McFarland, Owners, Buttonwood Campground
WHAT: Buttonwood Campground introduced as 2016 Eastern Pennsylvania Family-Owned Small Business of the Year; media tour of business with interview and photo opportunities
WHERE: Buttonwood Campground, 1515 East River Road, Mifflintown, PA 17059

Founded in 1993, Buttonwood Campground (https://buttonwoodcamp.com/) sits on 40 acres just off of State Routes 322 and 22 in the village of Mexico, Juniata County, Pa., located halfway between Harrisburg and State College. In the early 1990’s, Dennis and Nancy McFarland fell in love with the campground’s property overlooking the Juniata River. While continuing to work other full-time jobs, Dennis as an electrician and Nancy in retail, they created a vision to turn their property into a robust incoming-producing property. By 2000, they had installed 50 camp sites and related infrastructure. Their oldest son, Michael, used his passion for landscaping to create many beautiful focal points around the campground. In early 2001, they created a master plan for the development of the property. This was the catalyst that started ten years of tremendous growth, with consistent double-digit increases in revenues. Their youngest son, Ryan, returned to the campground in 2008 after serving in the Air Force. Together they have worked to turn Buttonwood into the award-winning destination it is today.    

Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award
WHEN: Friday, May 6 at 2:00 p.m.
WHO: Antonio (Tony) Leta, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director
Kim Bierly, Regional Mgr. of Central Pennsylvania, Office of U.S Senator Bob Casey
Fred Keller, Pennsylvania State Representative (85th District)
Jon Breneman, Office of Pennsylvania State Senator Jake Corman
Christian Conroy, Pennsylvania SBDC Network Director
Carol Kilko, Deputy Secretary, Administration, DCED
Steven Stumbris, Director, Bucknell University SBDC
WHAT: Bucknell University Small Business Development Center is introduced as SBA’s Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation award winner; media tour, interviews and photo opportunities
WHERE: 416 Market St., Lewisburg, PA 17837 (Across the street from the historic Campus Theatre – metered street parking is available, as is a free municipal lot just a block away on North 5th Street.)

Bucknell University SBDC (http://www.bucknell.edu/SBDC) was the first in the nation to be hosted by a College of Engineering and leverages its relationship with the College to provide entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and technology firms with specialty Engineering Development Services helping them develop and commercialize innovative products. The center’s connection with Bucknell’s College of Engineering has long been a foundation for the Pennsylvania SBDC network’s Technology Services, and the PA program is one of only 12 in the country to earn supplemental accreditation for these services.

In the past three years Bucknell University SBDC has served clients, the region and the university through the launch of innovative new programs including:

  • Bucknell SBDC was the first center in Pennsylvania to serve as a local host for the SBA’s InnovateHER Business Challenge in 2015. InnovateHER is SBA’s cross-cutting prize competition to unearth innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families.
  • Bucknell University Entrepreneurs Incubator “StartupLewisburg,” the home for innovators and entrepreneurs in downtown Lewisburg
  • BizPitch: a competition giving student entrepreneurs the opportunity to get expert advice from alumni and to win prizes to help them launch their ventures
  • Tech Meetup Lewisburg: a monthly networking and education event bringing interesting, talented, and motivated people together to network, share ideas, and start making innovative new products

All media are invited to attend the award ceremonies and celebrate Pennsylvania’s part in this nationwide event. This year, the Commonwealth is celebrating the first-ever Pennsylvania Small Business Week designed to recognize the significant contributions of our small businesses and the resources available to support their growth here in the Keystone State.

Small Business in Pennsylvania:

  • Pennsylvania is home to nearly 1 million small businesses, and employs 2.4 million individuals or about half (46.9 percent) of the state’s private workforce.
  • Almost all Pennsylvania firms with employees qualify as small businesses, making up 98.2 percent of all employers in the state.
  • The economic significance of small businesses across the commonwealth is evident in all business sectors, from professional services to retail, from construction to healthcare, from manufacturing to education and beyond.
  • The top small business industries include professional, scientific, and technical services; retail trade; construction; and other services (excluding public administration).
  • In the third quarter of 2015, Pennsylvania grew at an annual rate of 2.5% which was faster than the overall U.S. growth rate of 1.9%.
  • There was a 36.7% increase in minority ownership 2007-2012.

Source: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/Pennsylvania.pdf.

Small business owners are encouraged to attend low and no-cost business education events hosted by the Pennsylvania SBDC network occurring during Pennsylvania Small Business Week 2016.

For the full lineup of events, visit http://www.newpa.com/pasmallbiz.

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About Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
The Pennsylvania SBDC network is the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses. SBDC consultants work with entrepreneurs in confidential, individualized sessions to help them with a range of business issues including testing a new business proposition, shaping a business plan, investigating funding opportunities, and much more. The SBDC program is a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and 18 universities and colleges across the Commonwealth. For more information on the Pennsylvania SBDC services and impact, please visit http://www.pasbdc.org.

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Kelly Cofrancisco
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