New Activity a Positive Sign for Pike County’s Economy

If you’re looking around in Pike County right now, the signs of increasing capital investment and absorption of real estate in our community are abundant and that speaks volumes about the direction our local economy is heading.

The Altec Lansing corporate headquarters, exceeding 190,000 square feet and located on Rt. 6 & 209 in Milford Township, was sold less than 120 days after going on the market.  That timeframe also included approvals from Milford Township to allow the building to be occupied by multiple businesses.  In addition to Ryman’s company, Altec Lansing will remain in a portion of the facility and additional space may become available as well.

In addition substantial commercial construction projects are underway or recently completed in Westfall (Advanced Auto Parts), Palmyra (Dunkin Donuts) and Milford Townships (Jack Williams Tire & Auto Center), as well as Milford Borough (Pike County Public Library).  Renovation projects are also picking up with the completion of renovations at the former Big Willie’s BBQ Restaurant in Dingman Township, now open as the China Buffet; the former Ups and Downs retailer in Milford Township, now open and fully occupied by both Frankel Foot and Ankle Center and Access Physical Therapy and Wellness; as well as both the Tom Quick Inn and the Milford Theatre in Milford Borough.  This year also saw the completion of renovations at the Westfall Towne Center to allow the much anticipated opening of Majestic Cinema.  Renovations are also currently underway for Aliton’s Pharmacy across from the Apple Valley Restaurant and retail center in Milford Township and the former Pocmont Resort, set to reopen this winter as the Bushkill Inn and Conference Center in Lehman Township.

This flurry of capital investment by business demonstrates an uptick in the local real estate and commercial construction market and a positive sign for the local job market going into 2012!

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Pike EDA and Pike Chamber form Alliance

The Pike County Economic Development Authority and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the formation of the Pike County Economic Alliance, bringing the two organizations together in a collaborative working enterprise structure.
The formation of the Pike County Economic Alliance was spearheaded by the Alliance Taskforce Committee whose members were appointed by each organization. The Alliance Taskforce Committee conducted an investigation of economic support organizations in comparable counties throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Drawing upon examples of other successful working alliances in these counties, the Committee developed a plan which will focus on Pike County’s economic stimulus.
The Economic Development Authority is principally charged with bringing new business to the County and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce is charged with strengthening existing County business. Each organization will continue to maintain its individual mission, objectives, Board of Directors and Committees.
“The Taskforce has done an outstanding job in moving this project forward. We are very excited to see their long hours of research, deliberation and planning come to completion in the formation of the Alliance. This effort will greatly enhance our ability to support the local economy,” commented Dave Farrington, Board Chairman of the Economic Development Authority.
As a working alliance, together the organizations will accomplish their shared objectives of utilizing a more efficient use of resources and a united management effort under a joint Executive Director. This alliance will enhance financial efficiencies within each organization, resulting in a stronger economic environment through cost saving benefits.
A search for one Executive Director to head the Alliance and manage both the Chamber and the Economic Development Authority is underway. Job description information may be found on both the Chamber’s website and the EDA’s website

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New Pike County Public Library Building Breaks Ground Today

This afternoon the Pike County Public Library will have a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building on East Harford Street in Milford.  The EDA is facilitating $2 million in grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that are vital to the completion of this important project.  Anyone who has been following the evolution of the library project knows it’s seen some hiccups and bumps in the road from the vision it began with to this moment.  Next year when our community is able to use this facility in ways the current library cannot support because of its physical limitations, none of that will matter.   It will matter only that there is an increased capacity for the sharing of knowledge with everyone in the community who seeks it.   Congratulations to everyone whose passion and time has been devoted to this project throughout the process.  It will make a meaningful difference in our community.  Famous author Sidney Sheldon is quoted as saying, “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination.  They open windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and to contribute to improving our quality of life.  Libraries change lives for the better.”  And that is what the new library will do here in Pike County.

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It Takes A Village

It takes a village to raise a child, so the saying goes.  It also takes a village to ‘raise’ a community’s economic development program.  Lead generation is a vital part of sustaining a business, wouldn’t you agree?  In economic development we recognize that it’s as vital to sustaining our community.  That’s why in Pike County the Economic Development Authority is encouraging the business community to partner with us to attract new jobs, investment and business to the area via networking opportunities that may exist with your supplier and customer businesses.

How does that work?  Well, let’s say Mr. Smith has a supplier that mentions considering consolidating multiple plants into one location, needing a regional facility for logistics or having difficulty expanding at a current location to grow his business.  That’s a lead when shared with the Economic Development Authority!  Once alerted by Mr. Smith with the contact information and context the EDA’s staff can work with that supplier who already has some familiarity and a business connection with this area to further the lead.  If our community is a match for his needs, the supplier solves his challenge.  Mr. Smith is happy because his supplier is now in his neighborhood.  The EDA has successfully furthered its mission of job creation and investment in the community thereby bringing a return on investment to all Pike County taxpayers.  Other businesses are pleased because the supplier is purchasing supplies or services from them or the supplier’s employees are spending their wages at their establishments.  Does that reach the definition of “win-win” in your book?  These benefits are achieved only with the catalyst; Mr. Smith networking the lead from his contact with the EDA.

This is an oversimplified example of course but an illustration of the request the EDA is making through this campaign, affectionately dubbed b2b recruiting.  Does recruiting new business take the place or priority over retention and growth of our existing businesses? Absolutely not.  When the business community shares the mindset for recruitment referrals to the EDA it’s also reminded of services available for its needs as they arise.  The dialogue from the EDA creating the mindset for recruitment is integrated with the search for opportunities to serve our existing business community as well.

As residents and business people let’s focus on working together to improve the economic sustainability of Pike County.  How can you partner with us on this important objective?

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Pennsylvania’s Economic Development System Is Evolving

The Corbett Administration’s transformation of Pennsylvania’s
economic development system is in full swing!
The main themes of these changes introduced at the PA Department of
Community and Economic Development include:

  • User friendliness – DCED is consolidating hosts of programs
    so that customers can more easily navigate the system with minimal applications
    and program guidelines.  The new DCED is
    aiming to achieve greater flexibility in investments to respond to market conditions with annual modifications
    guided by one Board of Directors including business representatives.
  • Return On Investment & Accountability – Pennsylvania does
    not hand out its taxpayers’ dollars with little care or concern for
    effectiveness and results.  DCED has long
    had “claw back” policies and follow-up systems in place to track the
    effectiveness of investments in businesses but the new DCED will also make
    strategic investment decisions to ensure continuity and accountability in the
    delivery of a myriad of services for small businesses throughout the state.
  • Doing More With Less – Like businesses and individuals in the
    new economy, Pennsylvania is leveraging its partnerships and even its loan
    portfolio to stretch every dollar for maximum effectiveness.

After the Commonwealth’s budget is adopted in June, the
Administration will be submitting draft legislation necessary to implement this
transformation.  By fall, many of these
changes will become the new landscape for economic development in
Pennsylvania.  For more information, call
our office!

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A Closer Look at KKPR Marketing & Public Relations, Inc.

Katrina Foster

Over the course of the last 5 ½ years one person managed to build what was once a home-based business into a  flourishing marketing and communications company in Pike County. The story of KKPR Marketing & Public Relations is quite contrary to the popular belief that in order to be wildly successful, especially in the marketing and communications industry, the company should be located in a metropolitan area, more specifically New York City, but Katrina Foster, President & Founder of KKPR Marketing & Public Relations would beg to differ.

“I don’t think that I would have been able to start my business in any other market,” said Ms. Foster. “Being in Pike County allowed me to start with nothing and work my way to where I am today with a much lower cost of doing business. Not to mention, we really are very centrally located – I can get on I-84 and be in NYC in 90 minutes or get on I-80 and be in Central New Jersey in 40 minutes.”

Ms. Foster started Kconceptual Kreations, now KKPR Marketing & Public Relations, in November of 2006 as a one-woman, home-based business after leaving her position at Crunch Fitness in Manhattan. After a couple years of hard work, dedication and time management – all things Ms. Foster learned while working full-time and completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management & Marketing from Penn State University – she was able to grow the business to boast several members on her staff.

Over the course of the last few years,

Katrina Foster and Jody Welsh
Katrina Foster, left with Jody Welsh, Sales &
Marketing Coordinate for KKPR, at the 2010
Addy Awards held in Scranton, PA.

Katrina was named “Top 20 Under 40 Business and Community Leaders” by Sussex County in 2009, as well as nominated for 2010 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Most recently the KKPR team took home their very first Addy Award.

One of the boutique’s most recent coos includes landing a PR contract with Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the nonprofit performing arts center in Bethel, New York, marketing and communications contract with Biondo Investment Advisors, and their most recent work with Kittatinny Canoes, which just launched the area’s first zip line.

But without the lower cost of doing business and the available labor force, KKPR would not be where it is today.

“I have been very fortunate to be able to find the ‘diamonds in the rough’ in Pike County,” continued Ms. Foster. “I have been able to pick up some great hires from within the county, as well as the surrounding area and let’s face it, I would not be able to bring my business to the next level without my team.”

The KKPR team includes two life-long residents of the county and Delaware Valley High School graduates: Jody Welsh, Sales & Marketing Coordinator and Mercedes McCracken, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, as well as ‘viking’ designers from just outside the county in New York and New Jersey.

“Being outside of a major metropolitan area has definitely worked to our advantage and if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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Biz Spotlight Coming Soon….

Want to read about up-and-coming businesses in the Pike County, PA community? Then look no further. Each quarter, the Pike County Economic Development Authority will feature a business is the community that has done something unique, overcome obstacles, or has something really worthwhile to share with the world.

Stay tuned…the first Biz Spotlight will launch in August!

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