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One S. Church Street, Suite 200, Hazleton, PA 18201      
570.455.1508   570.454.7787    



News and information about CAN DO for the community, investors, volunteers and board members.

Highwood USA hiring WEBIndustries 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.

Governor Tom Wolf announced Thursday that a $50 million grant program has been established through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to assist employers in providing hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAN DO received an $83,750 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business Development grant program as part of the renovations to be completed at the CAN BE Innovation Center, an equal opportunity provider, located in the Valmont Industrial Park. More specifically, the grant proceeds will be used to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Monday, June 8, that the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is launching a new program to provide direct support to impacted small businesses to help cover the loss of operating expenses they have incurred during the coronavirus shutdown or will encounter in the transition to reopening.

SterenchockJocelynCAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock will speak at the International Business Innovation Association Conference (InBIA), which is being held virtually from June 23-25 due to COVID-19.

Sterenchock will discuss ecosystems for incubation and innovation in rural communities and share how CAN DO, through its CAN BE Innovation Center, and other organizations throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania have placed a strong focus on developing a regional partnership to grow entrepreneurial activity. She will also showcase how The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC) combined multiple organizations, both public and private, within Hazleton to create a collaborative to help forward small business and entrepreneurial development. In light of changes among businesses and entrepreneurs due to COVID-19, Sterenchock will also discuss how organizations can link ecosystem building to other national, state, and local economic development initiatives.

IntelliGreenThe COVID-19 pandemic altered the business landscape and forced many companies to adapt their business strategies to produce vital products and services. IntelliGreen answered this challenge by using its expertise in the energy industry to develop a temperature scanner that helps businesses and educational institutions keep employees and students safe during these uncertain times.

IntelliGreen, which has an office in the CAN BE Innovation Center in the Valmont Industrial Park, lauched in 2019 with a vision to use its energy industry knowledge to supply consulting support to its customers, including strategic planning, procurement, engineering services and business optimization.

chefBest Cigar Prices CEO Greg Fox said part of the company's mantra is “to treat employees with respect, recognize and reward them, listen to them and, most of all, set them up for success in a safe and enjoyable environment.” When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the company proved just how important that mantra is by focusing on keeping employees safe and taking a proactive approach to implementing serious safety measures, including providing more than 100 meals a day, six days a week for employees and their families and offering free personal protective equipment.

Although Fox was forced to furlough 33 of the 86 full- and part-time employees that work at Best Cigar Prices and its Best Cigar Pub restaurant, he retained the head chef and has been offering the free meals to all active employees and their families every Monday through Saturday since mid-March.

CAN DO is among several Greater Hazleton businesses and organizations to serve as leading donors for a new microgrant program that's being launched to help local small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, Greater Hazleton Civic Partnership and other members of the Greater Hazleton COVID-19 Recovery & Resiliency (R&R) Task Force are establishing the Small Business Emergency Relief Microgrant Program. All funds raised will be dedicated towards a microgrant program for local, small businesses within the Greater Hazleton area that have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Socialocca Webinar Series with THInCCAN BE is joining other members of the Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC) and the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center to sponsor the May Marketing Series designed to help small business owners and entrepreneurs navigate the waters of web and social media development and management.

The May Marketing Series will be hosted by Ryan Hertel of Socialocca, a digital marketing agency based in Wilkes-Barre. The six-part series will be held online every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. throughout May. Each week will feature one information session and one interactive Q&A session on a different topic.

Attendees do not have to participate in each session and can select the ones that are of most value to them and their business. Registration is required, as session space is limited, and can be done by visiting the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Events page at and selecting the session date from the calendar listing.

The May Marketing Series schedule is as follows:Tuesday, May 5 at 2 p.m. - How to Build a Website That's Better for Your Customers.
Thursday, May 7 at 2 p.m. - Q&A: How to Best Connect with Your Audience Through Your Website.
Tuesday, May 12 at 2 p.m. - Setting Up Your Social Media for Accessibility and Success.
Thursday, May 14 at 2 p.m. - Q&A: How to Grow Your Engagement on Social Media and Beyond.
Tuesday, May 19 at 2 p.m. - Getting E-Commerce Ready: How to Set Up and Process Online Payments.
Thursday, May 21 at 2 p.m. - Q&A: Lessons Learned. Series Review.

Rep. Tarah Toohil and CEO partner to stabilize food sourcesCAN DO staff members,Brian Demshock, Utility Supervisor, and Marc Evancho, Utility Specialist, deliver 500 boxes for the food resources initiative.The office of State Rep. Tarah Toohil and the Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO) have been working together to stabilize food resources to help those in need throughout Greater Hazleton during the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative has been conducted with various food banks throughout Greater Hazleton and Toohil said the focus is on serving as many people in need as possible during this difficult time.

“Our office has been working with CEO to prepare our community with stable food pantry resources. We are trying to stabilize as many food banks as possible, as the need for food is growing as our community is faced with high unemployment and loss of income during the COVID-19 disaster declaration,” Toohil said.

In addition to supplying food, there was a need for corrugated boxes to make it possible to deliver the meals throughout the area. CAN DO assisted with the collection and delivery of more than 500 boxes for the project. The boxes came from several companies throughout CAN DO's parks, including PSI Container, Packaging Wholesalers, International Paper and others.

Toohil said, “We were able to set up 500 meals to be delivered last week but then there was an issue with needing delivery boxes. We are grateful to Nancy Stasko from CAN DO for immediately reaching out to the local employers to fulfill the need. We have an excellent group of community resources and we are glad that they were so immediately responsive. This is what makes the Greater Hazleton area a great community.”