The midstate’s fastest growing businesses continue to invest in Cumberland County 

In September two major Pennsylvanian employers, Harsco Corp. and Rite Aid, announced they would be leaving their headquarters in Cumberland County to open new main offices in Philadelphia. 

Harsco explained in its announcement of the planned 2023 move that it was leaving the region to expand its infrastructure and have access to a more diverse hiring pool. For Rite Aid, the move is part of the company’s new “remote-first” strategy that could see it opening a regional office in the midstate. 

While Harsco and Rite Aid plan to leave their Cumberland County headquarters in the coming years, it is anything but a sign of things to come, said Ryan Unger, president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC. 

“Both companies made the decisions that they did based on their own employees and market competition and things like that,” said Unger. “Whenever you look at a region and its industrial heritage, you will see times where companies evolve, grow and shrink and this is part of that process.” 

So, while Rite Aid and Harsco are moving, other local employers are doubling down on the region, citing its assets for raising a family, and proximity to major cities and the state capital. 

A Giant investment 

Nicholas Bertram. PHOTO/PROVIDED

In the last three years, Carlisle-based The Giant Company has grown its employee base by 5,000, acquired four companies and launched multiple new services and partnerships. That growth has been mirrored in the company’s Carlisle headquarters, which received an expansion this year that included remodeling, upgraded technology and a new auditorium. 

The campus also houses Giant’s sister companies Retail Business Services, ADUSA Supply Chain Services and Peapod Digital Labs. 

Giant views each of its 190 locations as a headquarters given the company’s emphasis on community, however, investing in the midstate as the center of the company’s operations has proven fruitful, said Nicholas Bertram, president and CEO of Giant. 

“The people who grew up here absolutely love it and the people who came here, like me, absolutely love it,” Bertram said. “There are great schools, great infrastructure—It’s a wonderful place to live. If you look at the growth in Cumberland County, it’s clear that a lot of people are moving into this area.” 

Bertram pointed out out another major asset to the company, the region’s highway system, which it relies on for its distribution center in Cumberland County, dry grocery storage in York and frozen storage campus in Lancaster. 

As Pennsylvania’s second largest employer, Giant also values its proximity to Harrisburg. 

“For those companies with more influence on the Commonwealth, it makes sense to be closer to the capital,” Bertram said. 

Calling the West Shore home 

Philip Brenckle. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Home remodeling company West Shore Home in Mechanicsburg has expanded to 11 states over three years—a feat the company attributes to a consistent and predictable strategic growth plan and an initial acquisition that brought the company into North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. 

“We are focused on making home remodeling fast, easy, convenient and having a focus on customer service,” said Philip Brenckle, CFO at West Shore Home. “For right now, as we scale nationally, we are staying within our verticals to make sure we offer the best experience in windows, doors, showers and baths.” 

West Shore Home employs about 1,700 people, which is up 750 employees since the pandemic started. 

“We grew just as rapidly prior to the pandemic as we did during, and we look to continue to grow,” said Brenckle. “We saw a surge during the pandemic. The biggest opportunity we seized during the pandemic was the labor force. Many companies were going to shed labor and once we realized that we decided to go on the offensive.” 

West Shore Home’s employee growth caused the company to add more corporate positions in human resources, legal, accounting and more, adding up to 400 corporate positions. 

The remodeling company opened a new corporate headquarters in Mechanicsburg this year. The open design concept features 56,184 square feet and room for more than 560 employees. It has an in-house coffee café, employee training center, private breakout rooms and a podcast studio. 

West Shore Home’s investment in the midstate comes from its origins in the region as well as the positives that the region holds for employees, said Brenckle. 

“Our founder was born and raised in Pennsylvania, this is the birth place of our company,” he said. “Just as importantly, we believe that Central Pennsylvania has a lot to offer: exceptional costs of living, it’s close to a lot of major cities and there’s access to large major markets.” 

Selecting the midstate 


Select Medical in Mechanicsburg is the country’s largest post-acute care company at $6 billion in revenue. 

This year the company joined the ranks of the Fortune 500, something that Bob Ortenzio, co-founder and executive chairman attributed to the region the company started in. 

“This area supported the company and helped us grow from a pure startup to a Fortune 500 Company,” Ortenzio said. “It supported us as a small company, through huge growth years and it supported us in being a national leader in what we do.” 

In the last five years, Select Medical has doubled in size from $3 billion in revenue to $6 billion and currently operates 140 specialty hospitals, 1800 outpatient clinics and 522 occupational medicine centers. 

Within the midstate alone Select Medical operates four hospitals, two occupational medicine locations and 40 outpatient clinics.  

The company’s campus consists of six buildings in Mechanicsburg with a majority of its services centralized to the campus. A portion of its operations are also located at an office building in Camp Hill. 

“We would never move from Central Pennsylvania. We want to continue to invest in the region, invest in our people that are here,” said Ortenzio. “It may not be the best to access our West Coast operations, but we do a lot of work in DC, a lot of our banks are in New York and we have a lot of operations in the South—we have access to the whole Eastern seaboard from here.” 

Select Medical has found success recruiting staff for its Mechanicsburg headquarters thanks to the state’s strong educational institutions and the growing economies of the region’s cities, said Ortenzio. 

“I believe in the continued growth for the city of Harrisburg. The company and I have supported places like Harrisburg University which continue to grow,” he said. “This area has grown a lot. It’s been great for our employees and we are a big advocate.” 

Ortenzio also pointed out Harrisburg International Airport as a nearby asset for Select Medical, noting that while it is not as big as an Atlanta or Philadelphia airport, the company still brings clients to the region through the airport. 

“We have a lot of people who travel here and say that Harrisburg is a joy to fly out of. You can get to Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Nashville and Philadelphia,” he said. “We have an airport; we have a great base for education and we have good housing. What more does a growing company need?” 

Improving on a good thing 


Part of the region’s success as a place for businesses to grow as quickly as organizations like Select Medical, West Shore Home and Giant have, is that the midstate’s economic centers follow the “15-minute city” residential urban planning concept, according to Unger. 

In residential planning, the 15-minute city refers to the idea where a resident is able to get their daily necessities by foot or by bike within 15 minutes—an idea popularized by French cities expert Carlos Moreno. Those necessities include education, health care, arts and culture, parks and recreation, grocery stores and walkability and transit. 

“You want to check all of those boxes off. When we speak with businesses that want to come here, we highlight that,” Unger said.  

Organizations like the Harrisburg Regional Chamber continue to find ways to create workforce development programs with area business leaders to ensure that midstate businesses continue to have access to talent. That doesn’t mean that the region doesn’t already have a diverse talent pool to draw from, said Unger. 

“We have a great workforce here. (West Shore Home, Select Medical and Giant) wouldn’t be able to grow if they didn’t have employees and access to talent,” he said. “We want to continue to work on that. We have all the assets we need here in the region to succeed.” 

Derry Township apartment complex sells for $2.5 million 

A 20-unit apartment complex in Derry Township, Dauphin County was purchased this week for $2.5 million. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Palmyra, Lebanon County-based Dalane Management purchased a 20-unit apartment complex in Derry Township, Dauphin County this week for $2.5 million. 

The property, at 1310-1360 Columbia Drive, Hershey, was sold by Landmark Commercial Realty in Harrisburg. It is made up of five four-unit brick buildings first built in 1986. 

The apartment units are 850-square-foot two-bedroom and one-bath units, each offering a private front entrance and rear deck area, Landmark wrote in a press release. 

“This is the first time the property was offered for sale since the late 1990s,” said Chuck Heller, executive vice president of Landmark. “It is also located in one of the region’s most desirable school districts. I anticipate it being a legacy property in the new owner’s portfolio.” 

Landmark sold the property to Dalane at $125,000 per apartment unit. 

Dauphin County Library System begins $3.5 million expansion of historic riverfront library

A rendering of Dauphin County Library System’s incomming expansion to its McCormick Riverfront Library. PHOTO PROVIDED.

The Dauphin County Library System broke ground on a $3.5 million project on Thursday that will combine two historic Harrisburg properties. 

The library system’s project will expand its McCormick Riverfront Library by connecting it with the 5,458-square-foot Front Street residence of Sara Haldeman Haly, who seeded the Dauphin County Library System in 1896. 

When finished, the combined building will boast more than a 3,400-square-foot family area incorporating STEAM learning support, a 950-squaure-foot public meeting space, added public computer resources and more, said the library system in a press release. 

“We’re excited to get started and look forward to standing here about a year from now and welcoming everyone to a dynamic educational and cultural center,” said Karen Cullings, the Dauphin County Library System’s executive director. “The demand for our services has never been higher, and this location in the heart of downtown Harrisburg is easily accessible.”   

The project is expected to be finished in 2022 and the library will remain open during that time. 

The library system is paying for the project with funds from its “Your Place to Belong” campaign. The campaign has raised $2.6 million, or 76% of its goal. 

“For more than a century, this community has generously donated its time and treasure to The Library,” said Your Place to Belong campaign co-chair Andrew Enders. “Now, The Library is returning the favor by investing in the community. We are well on the way to creating an ideal space that models the direction of libraries for the 21st century and beyond.” 

Pa. College of Health Sciences picks C&J Catering for on-site food service

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences has selected C&J Catering and Events, a full-service catering and events company based in Middletown, Dauphin County, as the college’s food, beverage and on-site catering services provider.

The college, based in Lancaster, which is focused exclusively on academic programs in health sciences, offers over 30,000 square feet of multipurpose event space and a variety of on-campus food service options.

“C&J Catering (a certified Women’s Business Enterprise) and PA College share a common dedication to health and wellness,” said C&J Catering CEO Jamie Berger. “That common dedication will be reflected in the broad range of food and beverage options we provide on campus. Also known for our event design and décor talent, we look forward to partnering with the college to bring special events to life in its many event spaces, including business gatherings, training programs, social occasions and conferences.”

“With C&J Catering as our food and beverage partner, our students, faculty, staff and guests will enjoy delicious and healthy on-campus options, whether a full meal, quick snack or grab-and-go,” said Dana Shive, PA College conference and events manager. “C&J Catering also will complement our pristine event facilities, providing full-service catering and event design to help our event clients create the perfect experience for their guests, whether formal, casual or anything in between.”

PA College offers space to host events ranging from multiday conferences and board retreats to charitable events and social functions. The college’s High Auditorium, its largest space, can accommodate 400 guests, while other spaces are suitable to accommodate 15-240 guests. All rooms include state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment.

In addition to providing on-site event catering at PA College, C&J Catering is operating three campus food service options: The Marketplace, serving fresh, made-to-order lunch options as well as pre-packaged selections; Commons Café, offering snacks, pastries, grab-and-go meals and Starbucks beverages; and The C-Store, a self-service convenience store offering food, beverages and sundries.

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences offers more than two dozen academic programs and serves almost 2,000 students. The college is affiliated with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.

UPMC brings mobile addiction services to upper Dauphin County

A mobile addiction services clinic, powered and staffed by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is making weekly stops in upper Dauphin County.

The medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, vehicle offers treatment, referrals and other resources to enable recovery. UPMC staff see patients, make evaluations and prescriptions, while directing them to counseling and other resources, as needed.
The project is a collaboration between Dauphin County and UPMC.

“Taking our services to the community is essential due to many of the barriers that our patients face that may prohibit them from getting the care they need,” said Dr. Greg Swartzentruber, addition medicine and emergency medicine, UPMC in Central Pa. “We know from data in our community health needs assessments that there is a need for these services across our region. While resources exist near the city, many of our rural communities are underserved. We are encouraged by all that our partners in northern Dauphin County are doing for public health and health care needs in our rural communities, and we are glad to be able to be a part of that work.”

The MAT stops at the Northern Dauphin Human Services Center every Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The majority of those making appointments for treatment are opioid and/or alcohol dependent. The MAT concept and mission is to proactively reach those in need by connecting in their backyards.

“There are a number of reasons why people do not proactively seek treatment,” said Dauphin County Commissioner George P. Hartwick III. “The stigma attached to addiction can be a huge deterrent. For others, commuting to a brick-and-mortar facility is difficult.”

Distance is another factor, said Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries. “This collaboration brings treatment and the hope of recovery to those in need.”

For information at MAT, contact Bonnie at NDHSC at 717-905-2700.

Mountain Ridge Metals breaks ground on new Millersburg facility

The future site of Mountain Ridge Metals’ over 111,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and corporate office space. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Mountain Ridge Metals, an aluminum extrusion company based in Millersburg, Dauphin County has begun work on an over 111,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and corporate office space.

Mowery, a Mechanicsburg-based design-build contractor, broke ground on the manufacturing company’s new facility this week, it said in a press release.

Mountain Ridge Metals specializes in aluminum extrusion painting, fabrication and engineering services. The business is family-owned and operated.

“This is one of our most unique projects not only because the facility is family-owned and operated, but also because of the impact the final build will have on our community,” said David Cross, owner and president of Mowery. “The new facility will create more jobs in the mid-state and bring more manufacturing locally, which is beneficial to the economy.”

The new facility gives Mountain Ridge the chance to expand operations, said Adderly Sponsler, director of marketing at Mountain Ridge.

“At Mountain Ridge Metals, we strive to be an ally for our customers. Everything we do is centered on quality and customer service. When we came to the realization that our current facility was not able to meet our current capacity demands, we knew it was time to expand,” said Sponsler.