News and information about CAN DO for the community, investors, volunteers and board members.
(Hazleton, PA – November 23, 2020) – Muzo, a flexible classroom learning and office solutions furniture company from the United Kingdom, has announced that it will be relocating its global headquarters and much of its manufacturing to a 74,000 square-foot facility owned by CAN DO in the Valmont Industrial Park in West Hazleton. For the past 10 years, Muzo has been manufacturing locally in a smaller facility in the CAN DO Corporate Center.
“We have chosen West Hazleton largely because of our ability to scale in terms of production. We are a growing business. We’ve established ourselves in this region and we like the people and we like the area, Muzo founder and CEO Darren Buttle said. “Transportation routes are great here and our east coast business is very, very strong. We sell worldwide and will be exporting from here to a number of regions around the world.”
CAN DO President and CEO Kevin O’Donnell received the prestigious President’s Award from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association (PEDA) during the organization’s 2020 Virtual Conference Series event on Thursday.
The purpose of the President’s Award is to recognize an individual’s commitment, leadership and dedication to economic development in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“I want to thank everyone at PEDA who I’ve had the pleasure of calling my friends for so many years. I am so honored to be selected for the President’s Award. Listening to the list of past award recipients, it blows me away to be part of a group of people like that,” O’Donnell said. “It’s always great to be recognized for one’s accomplishments, but when it comes from your peers, it’s even more gratifying. I can’t say thank you enough to PEDA. Betty Slaton, who was once the president of PEDA, coined a phrase that I’ll never forget because I truly believe in it. She said, ‘Ours is a worthy profession.’ She would say this at the end of every meeting. I believed it then, I believe it now and I’m so proud to have been a part of the economic development profession for so many years.”
The CAN DO Student Action Committee needs assistance from the community to gather the names and contact information for military members with ties to Greater Hazleton that are serving overseas as part of the 16th Operation: CAN DO drive.
Due to heightened security measures, local military recruitment offices can no longer supply the names and contact information of soldiers. So, the committee is asking the public to submit the names and addresses for any friends or family members with ties to Greater Hazleton who will be stationed abroad for the holidays.
Proposed bus schedule improvements for the Humboldt Industrial Park route were outlined for attendees during a recent virtual Humboldt Park Association meeting.
The schedule changes will be included in the Hazleton Transit Development Plan, which Hazleton Public Transit (HPT) is putting together with support from Penn DOT. The plan should be completed by the end of the year and will provide a strategic public transit vision that will guide transit priorities and improvements for the next five years.
CAN DO, along with its entrepreneurial development arm, CAN BE, is partnering with fellow members of Greater Hazleton's Recovery & Resiliencey Task Force to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce recently announced that it was awarded more than $240,000 in grant funding from Luzerne County to undertake economic development initiatives designed to help small businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and also spur the local economy. The funds are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding the County received from the state, and complements other initiatives being undertaken by the Greater Wilkes Barre Chamber and its partners.
CAN DO presented awards to the companies in its Humboldt, Valmont and McAdoo Industrial Parks, the CAN DO Corporate Center and Humboldt Station who went above and beyond to create an attractive outdoor environment at their facilities through landscaping and grounds maintenance as part of its 13th annual Curb Appeal Awards.
The Curb Appeal Award plaques were presented in the categories of Companies with 1 to 100 employees, Companies with more than 100 employees, Commercial Service, and Commercial – Hotels, Restaurants, Retail.
Best Cigar Pub and Prices was named the overall Curb Appeal Awards winner. Steve’s Lawn Care did the work at the company’s facility in the CAN DO Corporate Center.
Continuing its mission of supporting entrepreneurs and growing companies, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania has awarded funding to two West Hazleton companies located in CAN DO’s Valmont Industrial Park, IntelliGreen and Summit Utility Structures, LLC. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an organization supported by the Pennsylvania’s Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED).
Mark Minnig, Business Development Specialist, has received certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) from the National Development Council (NDC), a nationally respected organization that offers community partners throughout the U.S. development assistance and professional training.
Minnig joined the business development department at CAN DO in April of 2019. Prior to coming to CAN DO he was an Economic Development Analyst for the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) in the Loan Underwriting Department.
For the past several months, Minnig has been assisting companies in obtaining funding through various programs to assist with hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic rages on, CAN DO remains actively engaged in current and future funding programs on the federal, state, and local level and continues to offer assistance to local businesses looking for guidance.
CAN DO has been notified by the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) and local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), MetroAction, that round one of the COVID-19 Relief PA Statewide Small Business Assistance Program is complete.
Round two, which was originally scheduled to begin on August 3, will now open on August 10 at 9 a.m. and remain open through August 28. Businesses who applied during the first round and were not approved do not need to reapply as their applications will move to round two automatically. Potential applicants should note that this is likely the last round of funding for this program.
Industries and businesses around the world have certainly felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at least one company with manufacturing facilities in Hazleton and Hometown has seen increases in product demand as more and more people choose to shelter at home.
Highwood USA, a manufacturer of synthetic outdoor living products touted as a low maintenance realistic alternative to real wood, is experiencing higher demand for their outdoor furniture products. “The recent issues actually have helped us because people are staying home and demand is very high. With everyone not going out to dinner, not going to the movies, not getting their nails done, not going on vacation, everyone in the country has turned to their backyard, so our furniture sales have been extremely strong,” said John Quarmley, Highwood’s chief operating officer.