York business-mentorship organization honors small businesses
They run or are about to open businesses in York County that are as different as you can get.
One opened a shop selling old-fashioned penny candy. Another runs a coffee truck at festivals and other events.
Others started a digital platform for local businesses and organizations to share their stories. One opened a yoga studio in Hanover, while another is planning to open a restaurant this fall in downtown York.
But Forrest Yingling, Mikey Shirey, Will and Rebecca Hanlon, Misty Stillman and Nathan Novak have some things in common – their preparation, and their willingness to get help from business experts – that are far more important than their differences.
That’s according to officials with Susquehanna SCORE, the York-based chapter of the national business-mentorship organization.
The chapter provides business mentoring and education in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry and York counties. This month it honored five businesses as "small-business success stories" at its fourth annual Success Breakfast at the Wyndham Garden York.
"They didn't act on impulse, but had multiple meetings with SCORE mentors and other advisers," said Greg Bachman, the chapter’s vice president of marketing.
Kevin Schreiber, president and CEO of the York County Economic Alliance, said Susquehanna SCORE plays a valuable role in providing help to new businesses.
Shirey opened her shop, Memory Lane Sweets, at 11 S. Beaver St. in downtown York in May. She said she would have laughed if you had told her five years ago she would be running a business.
"I'm not one of those people who had a dream of doing that," she said. But after noticing how everyone seems to smile when they think of candy, especially candy from a mom-and-pop store, Shirey began taking steps toward opening a candy store.
Shirey had worked for nearly 20 years as a technical illustrator. While she's typically a quiet, stay-in-the-background kind of person, being a business owner has forced her to be more upfront, she added.
Yingling, a Spring Garden Township resident, developed On My Grind Coffee, a mobile coffee truck, to sell coffee and drinks at events.
Stillman runs Life in Balance Yoga at 129 Broadway in Hanover.
Novak plans to open Fig & Barrel Pub, on West Market Street near York's main square, which he hopes will become a downtown York gathering spot.
Rebecca Hanlon said her family’s business started two years ago this month after her husband was laid off from a local newspaper. "We decided that we didn’t just want to cover York’s story – we wanted to be a part of it," she said. Hanlon is a former freelance writer for the Central Penn Business Journal.
Many people have told her readers don’t want to read good news, they only want to hear about crime and bad news, Hanlon said.
But in launching their OurYorkMedia.com platform some six months ago and doing good-news stories about local businesses and organizations, the Hanlons have learned something else, she said: "We found we didn’t have to accept today's media environment for what it was, and neither did York County."