Allentown Economic Development Corporation

Monthly Archives: February 2019

Six entrepreneurs make Bridgeworks their new home

Working from home can have its advantages, but when entrepreneurs want a professional space to meet with clients and to function as their main base of operations, they need to get out of the basement and into an office space. 

That’s where the Flex Office & Coworking space at Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in South Allentown comes in. Professionals in all lines of work select the facility for its flexible and open work space and industrial-designed offices, as well as the numerous amenities included in the affordable monthly rent.

The Flex Office & Coworking space is growing yet again with six new client companies that are making their homes there:

High Point Kombucha – Laura Valasakos

The first kombucha brewery in the City of Allentown, High Point Kombucha is on track to start operations in April. This fermented sweetened tea features beneficial live cultures and probiotic properties. It is made in small, single batches and is a hand-crafted raw product with flavors developed around the region’s seasonal produce since the company endeavors to use as much locally sourced materials as possible.

“Looking for a space to operate was difficult. Since this is a brand-new business with a simple setup, finding a small and inexpensive space to produce in Allentown was looking impossible. During a late-night Google session, an article about open space at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center popped up. I contacted Program Manager Anthony Durante and began to put plans in place. I was impressed by the variety of clients within the building as well as just how incredibly helpful and flexible everyone has been to help me get started. I am very grateful to be a new tenant.”

Stay Calm Industries – Evan Johnson

Stay Calm Industries is a creative marketing agency, specializing in branding, graphic design, web design, and marketing strategy. Started in August 2013, it specializes in building brands, content, and websites for pharmaceutical service companies, land development projects, economic development corporations, and ecommerce companies.  

“I was working with Allentown Economic Development Corporation when Anthony made me aware of the newly available space in Suite 105. After seeing it, I decided to take it. I wasn’t even looking to move at the time.” 

“Having easy, readily available parking is probably the largest perk for me and my clients. Besides that, a receptionist, professional facilities, and, most importantly, a staff and ownership that reinvests back into the building and facilities is incredibly valuable.”

FGX Creative LLC – Patrick Shuck

Started in August 2013, FGX Creative is a visual communication and marketing firm servicing corporate clients from Connecticut to Delaware. Its services include commercial and advertising photography on location or in a studio, branding development and design, product design, and import logistics. 

“I first expressed interest in having an office at Bridgeworks about 18 months ago, but at that time there wasn’t an office space available for me. Since my first visit, I have thought BEC an ideal location as it encouraged a professional atmosphere, diversity, and provided a great environment for both hosting businesses and their clients. Colleagues who had offices in the Flex Office & Coworking space told me about openings, so I inquired.”

“Some of the things I enjoy most about my new office space include the professional work environment, equipped conference rooms, storage expansion, onsite parking, high ceilings, access to a loading dock, and 24-hour building access.”

The Consulting Firm LLC – Victoria Cooper

The Consulting Firm was established in 2018 and offers coaching, counseling, and consulting for businesses and individuals. It provides strategic decision making from a psychological perspective, as well as social media management.

“I found out about Bridgeworks through a friend who is the owner of Milk Creative (and who is now my office neighbor) when I stopped by to visit him. I was immediately drawn to the space. I fell in love with the environment and found it aesthetically pleasing. It has a look and a vibe that is different from other spaces that I have seen. Plus, everyone is so friendly!”

BANC 7 – Joseph Berrios

BANC 7 develops strategies to help small-to-mid-size businesses through its business growth program. which uses experts in marketing, branding, coaching and accountability. In 2018 the company coached more than 25 businesses to become more profitable and organized, and ready to scale up. It offers mobile consultations, so clients can be located anywhere in the country as well as locally. 

Berrios became interested in Bridgeworks after seeing a Facebook ad for the facility. “I loved the aesthetics of the conference room and open space.”

PaperTrailsPA – Ken Manne

PapertrailsPA Inc. functions as a client’s part-time or interim CFO, offering full-time services at part-time rates for companies that do not require a full time CFO. Areas of expertise include the implementation and management of accounting systems and procedures, management of accounting and book keeping staff, budgeting and cash management, raising capital, line of credit filings, profit and cash flow analysis, specific project analysis, breakeven and target price modeling, and internal control implementation. It also offers business consulting services.

“A friend recommended this location to me when I mentioned the need for a location to work from that was out of the house where I could meet clients. The location, which is not far from home, was the primary reason I chose to locate my office here, plus as my company grows, I can add office space. The monthly rent was attractive, and my fellow entrepreneurs who have offices here are kind.”

For information on the Flex Office & Coworking space at Bridgeworks, contact Program Manager Anthony Durante – (610) 435-8890.

In its 30th Year, Bridgeworks Enterprise Center Reaches Capacity and Breaks Records

Annual incubator impact survey shows record results for program

The Allentown Economic Development Corporation announced the aggregated results of its annual Incubator Client Impact Survey today. In 2018, the 11 Bridgeworks client companies earned nearly $7 million in revenue, a 50 percent increase over 2017.

“We added a new company to our incubation program in 2018 and they are off to an impressive start,” explained Program Manager Anthony Durante. “Plus, several of our existing companies continue to grow steadily as their businesses mature. We are extremely pleased with the results that we are seeing from our clients.”

Collectively the companies employ 31 full-time employees and another 43 people as either part-time or contracted employees. Total salaries, wages, and contractor fees paid to these employees more than doubled to $2.83 million. In addition to the incremental growth in employment by the existing program clients, the new client added several highly technical positions that command higher salaries.

“Our clients are starting to transition more jobs from 1099 contractor positions to part-time and full-time employee positions,” said Durante. “It’s a sign that they are more confident in the strength of their companies and are willing to make these positions more permanent, which is very encouraging.”

In 2019, the Bridgeworks business incubation program celebrates the 30th anniversary of its founding. In 1988, AEDC purchased former Mack Trucks Plants 4 and 4A and refurbished the latter it into a multitenant incubator. Bridgeworks opened its doors in 1989 with its first client-tenant Luminaire Testing Labs. Of the 61 companies have participated in the program, 33 have graduated, of which 27 are still in business today, with the remaining six experiencing successful exits through mergers with other companies. Bridgeworks client companies have created 618 jobs since the program launched.

“I think that its undeniable that business incubation works,” said Durante. “We are helping entrepreneurs to create sustainable companies that employ highly skilled people and pay good wages. Both our historical data and annual impact data clearly show that.”

Bridgeworks is also 99 percent occupied for the first time in recent history. In addition to its manufacturing incubator suites, which are completely occupied, the facility boasts 10 small and three larger offices that are available to clients both within and outside the incubation program. AEDC recently welcomed six new clients to the Flex Office who are in the process of locating their companies within the facility.

“AEDC continues to excel at one of the most unique forms of business incubation by focusing on manufacturing,” explained AEDC Executive Director Scott Unger. “And apart from a small grant received through the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, we do this essentially without any operational funding support from federal, state, or university sources.”

The annual impact survey of the client companies participating in the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center business incubator program gathers important data on job creation, company revenues, and obtained loans, grants, and equity investments. That data is aggregated into a report that demonstrates the economic impact that the incubator has on the Allentown and Lehigh Valley communities.

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