SCORE Lancaster Lebanon Chapter chose five local businesses which demonstrated resiliency, leadership and excellence as the 2022 winners of its Small Business Awards.
Each of the winners found creative ways to pivot during the pandemic to not only persevere, but foster growth and innovation, SCORE said.
Fontana Candle Company, Lancaster, founded by Katie and Eric Roering in 2018, was born from the Roerings’ desire for the traditional candle industry to be more transparent with consumers in regard to ingredients and manufacturing processes. The company was chosen for shifting to ecommerce as the pandemic hit, Katie Roering said.
In 2019 they decided to pivot from relying on sales from local maker’s markets and pop-ups to focus on direct-to-consumer sales through their website, Roering said.
This ecommerce focus, along with emphasizing wellness and non-toxic ingredients, has led the company’s sales to increase exponentially from $40,000 in 2019 to more than $600,000 in 2021, she said.
Fontana Candle Company is on track to hit $1 million in 2022. The company does all product manufacturing in-house, as well as order fulfillment and has 4 full-time employees in their Manheim Township headquarters.
“Being chosen as a SBAL Winner is an absolute honor,” said Roering. “There is no shortage of business talent in our area, and we are thankful for our SCORE mentor’s help throughout the life of our business. We could not have achieved the growth we had without the guidance of Jeff Eberts, our mentor.”
The other winners include Bixler Blooms LLC, owned by Marla Bixler, who found her business struggling as COVID-19 hit and shifted to add video serenades along with flowers for Mother’s Day 2020. She also opened a roadside stand and began crafting paper flowers, netting her jobs for 84 weddings, SCORE said.
Lancaster Law Group, founded by Joseph McMahon and Shawnee Burton, which focuses on family and criminal law, streamlined its finances with the help of SCORE and created a flexible working environment for its employees, including a “no work on your birthday” rule, SCORE said.
The law firm not only survived the pandemic but is moving into a new office on King Street across from the Lancaster County Courthouse, SCORE said.
Taylor Chip Cookies husband-and-wife owners Doug and Sara Taylor provide cookies for special occasions from a stand at Lancaster Marketplace.
With guidance from SCORE mentors, SCORE said the company pivoted to ecommerce and focused on social media marketing which resulted in a 350% increase in sales last year.
The company, with a grant from the Pennsylvania Dairy Investment program, is opening a creamery in West Hempfield Township later this year, SCORE said.
The fifth winner, The Edible Classroom, founded by Beth Horst and Grace Julian in 2017, is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to create and sustain gardens where children, families and communities engage with nutritious food.
Children are taught how to grow and prepare their own food, from seed to table, SCORE said. When schools were shuttered during COVID, the company shared its produce with food banks and gave seeds to local families to grow food.
The Edible Classroom has grown to serve 3,000 students and opened 15 school gardens in the Lancaster area.