The Tunkhannock Business and Professional Association wants to encourage entrepreneurs to bring their business ideas to Tunkhannock.
On Oct. 23, the TBPA hosted the presentation ‘We Want Your Business in Tunkhannock’ at the Dietrich Theater in conjunction with the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center and the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission.
In attendance was Tunkhannock Borough Council member Ben Barziloski, who announced a loan opportunity being offered through the borough to start a business.
The Tunkhannock Borough Revolving Loan Fund has $111,000 available to loan out at a “low interest rate,” with each applicant being eligible for up to $25,000. If approved, the TB-RLF Committee determines the loan amount, interest rate and terms.
Existing businesses can also receive a loan for expansion, the addition of employees and other areas. Nonprofit organizations can also qualify for a loan.
Funds cannot be used to refinance an existing debt or replace capital contributions. The minimum loan amount is $5,000.
“It’s open to anybody that wants to open a business in the borough,” he said. “We do have that option and we’re more than willing to use it. We want to fill some storefronts.”
According to Barziloski, borough council members would like to see another grocery store take over the old Brick’s Market building on East Tioga Street.
Applications for this program are available in the Tunkhannock Borough office on Warren Street. For more information, stop in the borough office or call 570-836-1548.
In the presentation, attendees heard from Frank Thompson, NTRPD deputy director, and Keith Yurgosky, SBDC business consultant for Wyoming and Susquehanna counties.
The NTRPDC provides resources to businesses, entrepreneurs, local governments and nonprofit organizations in Wyoming, Susquahanna, Bradford, Sullivan and Tioga counties, including business financing, export counseling and workforce development, just to name a few.
“Everything we do is to try to assist businesses,” Thompson said. “We want to create jobs and retain jobs.”
According to Thompson, the NTRPDC has provided almost 5,000 loans totaling over $33.4 million and has created and retained more than 9,500 jobs.
Start-ups or existing businesses of all types could receive low interest capital through numerous funding sources, with certain restrictions.
The NTRPDC also helps businesses wanting to export goods to other countries in a variety of ways, including preparation steps such as country matching and website internationalization.
“It’s amazing, some of the small businesses that do exporting in our area,” he said.
The commission also aids in workforce development, recognizing that it’s a tough market to find help, especially with unemployment being low.
This includes work with PA CareerLink, industry partnerships and more. For more information about the NTRPDC, visit northerntier.org.
“If there’s something recurring or we see a need for it, we’ll try to make that happen,” Thompson said.
The SBDC at the University of Scranton offers free business consulting and educational programs across eight counties and collaborates with the NTRPDC rather than overlapping in services.
Some people start a business to fulfill a dream or seek a new opportunity, while others start businesses out of necessity, Yurgosky said.
The SBDC walks start-up owners through a business plan and helps existing businesses in areas where they lack expertise, such as a mechanic who could fix cars but doesn’t know how to effectively market an auto shop.
A to-do list for business start-ups includes business name registration; applying for an employer identification number; PA Enterprise registration for sales tax; working out any issues with the municipality; and determining the best business type with the help of a lawyer, such as an LLC or an S corporation.
There are no grants or free money to start a business, Yurgosky said, and it’s important to make sure you have enough working capital.
A business plan fleshes out your business idea, financial situation, marketing, possible competition and more.
“You wouldn’t go on vacation without a plan, so why start a business without one?” he said.
Locally, Yurgosky commented on the need for small businesses to work together. This holiday season, a person who needs to do a lot of Christmas shopping would not be willing to stop in Tunkhannock if only one or two stores are open.
However, businesses could attract a lot of foot traffic if they all work together by having similar business hours and promotions across town.
For more information about the SBDC, visit scrantonsbdc.com.