Entrepreneurs inside AEDC’s business incubator compete to predict snow totals before forecasted storm.

Entertaining Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

35 tenants inside Allentown Economic Development Corporation’s Bridgeworks Enterprise Center took part in a contest to guess the snow accumulation from the forecasted storm for Thursday, February 18th into Friday, February 19th. Individual snow estimates ranged from 0.625” to 8.5”, with a collective prize package for the owner of the closest estimate. The cumulative prize package contained over 10 products from manufacturers and companies within the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center including a bottle of mead from The Colony Meadery, a therapy session from The Consulting Firm, two bottles of kombucha from High Point Kombucha, a bottle of wine from Binah Winery, a custom size cutting board from JH Plastics, snacks from AEDC, microfiber cloths from MTS Design & Manufacture, beer from Hijinx Brewing Company, an LED flashlight from LightLab International, and the winner’s selection of liquor from County Seat Spirits. Additional contributors included Stay Calm Industries and Polymer Contours.

What began as a standard email communication between AEDC staff and Bridgeworks building tenants, turned into an amusing exchange and an opportunity to look forward to the impending snowstorm. AEDC Program Manager David Dunn notified approximately 50 tenants of the organization’s snow removal plan for the upcoming storm, noting the projected 5-9” of snow.

A spirited email chain followed, with company owners offering “prizes” from their own manufactured product lines or services for whoever could guess the most accurate snow accumulation in advance. Sometimes BEC tenants collaborate on projects to help each other out, and other times, they compete against one another! After reading the chain of messages, Dunn quickly followed up with official “rules” for the contest, requiring that all entries be submitted by 6 pm on Wednesday, February 17th. Estimates were required to be within 1/8 of an inch.

Entries were only accepted from tenants and companies within the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center. AEDC staff was not eligible to enter or win prizes- although they would have liked to have tried!

The Big Winner(s)

Official measuring of snow accumulation took place at 3 pm on Thursday, February 18th, by AEDC staff, in front of the AEDC office. Measurements were conducted by a measurement device created by AEDC’s facilities team, affectionately referred to as the “official measurement thingy”.

With measurement estimates of 6 3/8″, both Greg Heller-LaBelle, owner of Colony Meadery, and Curt Keck, owner of HiJinx Brewing Company were declared winners. The two beverage manufacturers met on Friday morning to collect and split their winnings. Thankfully all of the contest participants agreed to double their contributions so there were equal winnings for both Heller-LaBelle and Keck.

“We work in a building full of entrepreneurs. It’s fitting that they would find a way to get creative and make light of the weather forecast. It was their idea to contribute their own items or services and participate in a contest. We see our incubation clients and tenants working hard all the time; it’s refreshing to also get to see them having fun. It created a sense of camraderie and we had a lot of laughs”, says Program Manager David Dunn.

About Allentown Economic Development Corporation

Allentown Economic Development Corporation is an independent nonprofit organization, founded in 1979, whose mission is to improve vacant and underutilized properties within the City of Allentown by assisting manufacturers, business owners, and entrepreneurs in obtaining the resources and opportunities they require for success. AEDC is committed to advancing the economic vitality of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley through its three core initiatives; Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, Urban Made and Urban Sites, programs focused on helping businesses grow, receive the support they need and find a home in Allentown. For more information, please visit http://allentownedc.com/.

The Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is an incubation center dedicated primarily to manufacturing startups. Founded in the refurbished Mack Trucks Plant 4A in 1989, the Center has helped launch more than 60 companies in Allentown that have created more than 600 jobs. Currently, the Center is home to 11 incubation clients, multiple flex office tenants, and coworking users.

Lauren Matthews