Bank of Bird-in-Hand to undertake another stock offering to fuel more growth

The Bank of Bird-in-Hand plans to undertake a common stock offering – anticipated to be between $15 million and $30 million in the aggregate – starting in September to further support the bank’s continuing growth and to take advantage of market opportunities, announced President and CEO Lori A. Maley.

The offering price per share, expected to be finalized in late August, is projected to be in the range of $25 to $30. Terms should be finalized in late August or early September.

Bank of Bird-in-Hand anticipates raising the capital from shareholders, retail investors and the community. The bank most recently made a common stock offering two years ago.

Maley, who is also vice chairman of the board of directors, said in a release, “Over the past nine years, our bank has consistently achieved above-peer organic growth, including crossing the milestone of $1 billion in assets during 2022, which the board of directors believes warrants us to raise capital to plan for additional future growth. The additional capital will help the bank maintain a strong foundation on which to grow and will allow the bank to continue to serve underserved communities.”

Added Kevin J. McClarigan, Bank of Bird-in-Hand’s chairman of the board, “Additional capital, specifically common stock, will provide the bank with the resources to build on (its) growth and plan for the long-term future of the bank, including additional loan growth and yet currently unidentified branch locations, both fixed and mobile. The entire board … is very pleased and excited by the community’s continued support of the bank, our past capital raises, and our unique business model. We are committed to our customers and the residents of our community to build upon that success.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Hanover-based Utz Brands closing Golden Flake facility

Utz Brands of Hanover announced on Wednesday plans to close the company’s Golden Flake manufacturing operations in Alabama by early July. 

An SEC filing on Wednesday stated the following: 

“On April 24, 2023, Utz Brands, Inc. made the decision to permanently cease operations at the company’s manufacturing facility located in Birmingham, Alabama effective on or around July 3, 2023. This decision reflects the company’s dedication to network optimization and cost containment.”

The filing reported that Utz Brands communicated this decision to affected employees on April 26, 2023. Golden Flake and other products currently being produced at the facility will continue to be produced at other Utz manufacturing facilities following the ceasing of manufacturing operations at the Birmingham facility.

The Golden Flake facility employs approximately 275 individuals. While manufacturing at the facility is permanently ceased, approximately 100 employees will continue to be employed by the company and continue working in Birmingham in the company’s distribution center.

“Utz has made the difficult decision to permanently close our manufacturing operations in Birmingham, Alabama, effective July 3, 2023,” Utz Quality Foods Vice President of Regulatory and Community Affairs Kevin Brick said in an email.

“Unfortunately, this decision impacts all of our Birmingham manufacturing associates, who will depart the company as a result of this closure. Despite ending our manufacturing operations, our distribution center and logistics team will continue serving our independent operators and distributors, in the area.”

Brick said Utz will continue to have a presence in Birmingham and will stay an active part of the community.

“The Golden Flake brand remains an important part of Utz’s portfolio, and our product offerings and partnerships under this banner are not changing,” said Brick. “We are grateful to our Birmingham manufacturing colleagues for their many contributions to Utz. Our leaders have spoken to those associates directly, and we are committed to providing them with support throughout the next few months and through their transition to their future endeavors.”

According to the filing, Utz Brands expects to incur pre-tax cash charges of approximately $3.0 million to $5.0 million in connection with the closure of the Birmingham manufacturing operations.

Originally known as Magic City Foods, Golden Flake was founded in 1923 in North Birmingham’s Hill’s Grocery. Products currently made at the plant will be made in other factories.

Utz Brands plans to report its first quarter 2023 financial results on May 11, 2023. 

Main Street Gettysburg gets grant for Façade Improvement Program

Main Street Gettysburg has received a $50,000 Keystone Community Grant to further support its Façade Improvement Program that helps rehabilitate commercial buildings in Gettysburg’s historic downtown district.

The nonprofit organization applied to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for the grant, which is from the Keystone Communities Program.

This is the fourth round of the façade grant program. The first three administered by Main Street Gettysburg provided grants for 26 projects, distributing $80,000 that generated $276,111 total in investments.

Basic guidelines include:

· Buildings must be within the historic district of Gettysburg.

· Applications must include project descriptions and estimates.

· Only projects on the application are eligible.

· Projects must be approved by the Historic Architecture Review Board.

· Projects require a 1:1 match, up to $5,000 ($10,000 total project).

“Main Street Gettysburg is excited to bring back this generous program to support local businesses in our historic district,” Main Street President Jill Sellers said in a release. “… Local interest and support were the driving forces behind the award.”

The formal application process, which will begin in January, is the next step.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

State awards $1.58 million in grants to small meat and poultry processors 

Warren County Meats, home to Cabin Hollow Butcher Shop in Dillsburg, York County, where Very Small Meat and Poultry Processors Reimbursement Grants were awarded Wednesday – PHOTO/PROVIDED 
Warren County Meats, home to Cabin Hollow Butcher Shop in Dillsburg, York County, where Very Small Meat and Poultry Processors Reimbursement Grants were awarded Wednesday – PHOTO/PROVIDED

Six area small meat and poultry processors were among 20 across the state to receive part of $1.58 million in grants to help build capacity to meet the demand for local foods. 

 Agriculture Deputy Secretary Cheryl Cook was in Dillsburg, York County Wednesday to announce the recipients of the 2022-23 Very Small Meat and Poultry Processors Reimbursement Grants which were created under the state Farm Bill in 2019. 

 “This crucial grant helps small processors feed local demand,” said Cook. “We saw vividly during the pandemic that shorter supply chains not only give customers the local products they crave, but help small producers beef up their bottom lines and stay in business when large, multi-state operations may struggle.” 

The announcement was made at Cabin Hollow Butcher Shop in Dillsburg, with owner and president Darryl Jones accepting a $100,000 grant. Since its inception, the Very Small Meat and Poultry Processors Grant has reimbursed $2 million to support the expansion of 35 businesses. 

This is the fourth year the grant has been offered through the efforts of the Wolf Administration and the General Assembly in creating the first-in-the-nation state Farm Bill. 

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been buying more food to keep at home, which has created large backlogs of jobs for processors like us,” said Jones. “Through the grant, our facility can purchase high-efficient equipment that will increase production by 500%, shortening wait times, serving more customers, and allowing us to share more with our community.” 

“In times of hardship, we turn to partnerships, including charitable food organizations like our Feeding Pennsylvania partners, to sustain us and see us through. With grants like the Very Small Meat and Poultry Processors Grant, we’re building a firm bedrock to support our communities and commonwealth for the future,” Cook said. 

Following are the local grant recipients, by county and amount received: 


Chapel Ford Farm, $99,300 

Rettland Farm LLC, $100,000 


Route 174 Roadside Market, $39,000 


Lehigh Valley Meats, $100,000 

Slate Belt Butchery, $43,000 


Cabin Hollow Butcher Shop Inc, DBA Warrington Farm Meats, $100,000 

Solving the Housing Crisis for Low Income Communities

If you think of the most pressing issues that our low-income, marginalized communities face, everything is centered on access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing. Without this essential foundation, how can we expect our communities to live healthier lives, contribute to our economy, and be active members of our society when every day they are at risk of losing their homes and going hungry?

Affordable, accessible housing, particularly right here in Central Pennsylvania, was a major problem long before the COVID-19 crisis. Now it’s a front-burner issue that’s risen to a roaring boil. And communities of color are disproportionately impacted as rent increases and homes are much harder to purchase in today’s market.

Many people can no longer afford to live in the communities and cities in which they grew up and have called home for generations. Rather, they are being driven out into far worse living situations that perpetuate an even greater problem.

Compounding this problem is a lack of access to education focused on financial literacy. Individuals limited by their credit scores and financial situation are left completely helpless due to a lack of access to information and resources to help dig them out of a sinking hole of debt. To further exasperate the problem, migrant and immigrant communities are at a severe disadvantage due to language barriers and racial profiling. And this gap has only continued to widen!

This issue needs to be elevated to a forefront concern for everyone. Even if you’re among the very fortunate to have a stable living situation, it still concerns you. As everyday people lose their jobs and burn through their savings, they’re becoming a part of the marginalized and at-risk communities. And as this population rises, so does a whole other host of social issues that can quickly lead to a community’s downward spiral.

Owning a home is the foundation of the American dream and the true beginning of being able to create wealth in America and lay roots in a community. We must do better as Americans for each other. Those who are in positions of power and influence must prioritize creating solutions that focus on universal equity, especially for low-income housing. And first, we must remove all the unnecessary red tape! We must think outside of old solutions that are not moving the needle. And we must clear the path for progress by removing cumbersome and outdated roadblocks.

Counties right here in Central Pennsylvania can and should strive to lead by example, especially Dauphin County as the Capital of our Commonwealth. Township commissioners, code officers, and local government officials need to refocus their energy on maximizing the use of existing streets and buildings that are in disrepair and make it a smoother process for interested developers to revitalize these areas.

Right now, the roadblocks and red tape make it nearly impossible to welcome community revitalization projects to the region. I speak firsthand when I say that a dream and desire to help create low-income housing opportunities is no longer enough. Significant changes to policies, procedures, and mindset need to happen in order to overcome the major hurdles that stand in the way of community partners, developers, and well-meaning citizens who want to help solve this crisis. And for the sake of the thousands of people right here in Central PA who risk going homeless tomorrow, that change needs to happen today!

About the Author: Founder and CEO of Fernandez Realty Group, George Fernandez is passionate about creating safe, affordable, and uplifting living environments for those in need, which is fueled by his own personal experience. The Sycamore Homes development team is led by Fernandez Realty Group, a minority-owned development company with ties to the immediate community, and Latino Connection, a local social determinants of health agency that exists to meet the needs of diverse and underserved communities. Fernandez’s vision is much bigger than any one building, city, or person. It is the key that unlocks opportunity, pride, and a sense of belonging. Sycamore Homes is the first building block in this foundation.

White Rose Ventures funds soft pretzel maker and snowboard/ski manufacturer

Martin Fedorko, founder of White Rose Ventures. PHOTO PROVIDED

York-based White Rose Ventures announced that it invested $750,000 in two more businesses – one that makes soft pretzels and another that manufactures snowboards and skis – in the third quarter of 2022.

This expands the portfolio of the venture fund, founded in 2020, to nine Pennsylvania companies with a total investment of $3.93 million.

The Pretzel Co., formerly York City Pretzel Co., is a soft pretzel wholesaler and distributor that received $250,000 from White Rose.

“With customers all across the country,” a White Rose update said, The Pretzel Co. is “quickly becoming one of the top pretzel wholesalers” in the U.S.

The reason for the investment “starts with their story,” said White Rose managing partner Martin Fedorko.

The Pretzel Co. never intended to be an e-commerce pretzel company, he said, but COVID-19 caused a shift away from retail.

“At our peak in 2019, we were serving just over a hundred bars and restaurants throughout central Pennsylvania,” co-founder Philip Given said in the White Rose update.

“When it became clear that ‘normal’ operations were not returning to the food service industry in a way that would make our previous business model sustainable, we completely retooled our bakery and invested in technology partners, equipment and marketing to support our transition to becoming a fully digital business.”

Fedorko credited “extreme resilience” in taking advantage of this huge e-commerce opportunity.

Now The Pretzel Co. has a relationship with QVC shopping network, which is a great revenue generator, he said.

White Rose Ventures’ investment in the soft pretzel maker is to “help participate in the growth of their business,” Fedorko said. “We’re thrilled about it.”

The second company now being funded is Gilson Snow, a snowboard and ski manufacturer from Winfield, Union County, that was given $500,000.

Typically, White Rose invests in southeastern Pennsylvania businesses, he said, but was so impressed by Gilson, the largest producer of custom snowboards and skis in the country.

The manufacturer uses sustainably harvested state poplar, Fedorko said. “It’s such a great story for Pennsylvania” with everything being locally sourced.

On its website, Gilson describes its products as “100% designed and built in the Appalachian foothills, ridden and loved by riders in over 40 countries.”

“We are incredibly inspired by their journey thus far, and look forward to stewarding the growth of the company for years to come,” the White Rose update said.

Fedorko said the venture fund is very enamored of the company’s founder, Nick Gilson, and his team at Gilson Snow.

White Rose’s goal, he said, is a portfolio of 20 to 25 companies.

In addition to The Pretzel Co. and Gilson Snow, the other seven businesses in the portfolio so far are CyberconIQ, $1.03 million; Reflexion, $500,000; Naqi Logix, $200,000; Pledgelt, $200,000; Evermind, $250,000; ReturnLogic, $750,000; and TEAMology, $250,000.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Women business owners invited to seek Bloom Grants

The Bloom Business Empowerment Center, through the York County Economic Alliance, is partnering with the Women’s Business Center Organization on the latest Bloom Grants.

The program invites small businesses with majority women ownership (51% or more) to apply for grants from $500 to $1,500 for projects that improve productivity, expand business services, or help the business grow to the next level. Examples of projects funded through other Bloom grants have included upgraded signage, physical improvements to business location and purchase of new equipment.

Priority consideration will be given to:

· Businesses that have not received funding from previous Bloom grant programs

· Black, Indigenous and people of color-owned businesses

· Veteran-owned businesses The application process is open through 8 p.m. Nov. 30.

The Bloom Grant Program was created in 2018. Since its launch, 141 grants totaling $351,978 have been distributed to small businesses/organizations throughout York County, with 50% going to businesses owned by persons of color and 65% going to women-owned businesses. Applicant finalists will be required to participate in a pitch competition during the Women’s Business Center Organization luncheon Dec. 13.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Fulton Financial completes acquisition of Prudential Bank

Effective Nov. 5, Lancaster-based Fulton Financial Corp. announced the merger of Prudential Bank with and into Fulton Bank and the conversion of Prudential’s systems onto Fulton Bank’s banking platforms.

The move brings new products and services to former Prudential Bank customers.

Fulton Financial, a $26 billion financial services holding company, said in early March that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Philadelphia-based Prudential.

“We welcome Prudential Bank customers to Fulton Bank! You now have access to our full suite of products, services, digital platforms and financial centers throughout the mid-Atlantic region,” Curtis J. Myers, Fulton Bank’s chairman and CEO, said in a release.

“We are excited to be expanding Fulton Bank’s presence in Philadelphia, and we look forward to serving our new customers, strengthening the Philadelphia community and continuing to fulfill our company purpose to change lives for the better.”

Fulton Financial has made a $2 million contribution to the Fulton Forward Foundation to provide impact gifts to nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia focused on economic empowerment, particularly in underserved communities.

As part of Fulton Financial, Fulton Bank offers products and services at more than 200 financial centers across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Mid Penn Bank to open financial center in Allentown

Mid Penn Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mid Penn Bancorp Inc., is opening a financial center in Allentown, its first full-service financial center in the Lehigh Valley.

A ribbon-cutting is being held today.

The new office, at 3900 Hamilton Blvd. in the Shops at Hamilton Center, received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

“We are pleased to announce our plans for continued growth in the Lehigh Valley market and are excited to bring this modern and convenient facility to our existing customers,” Region President Frank Heston said in a release. “We also look forward to welcoming new individuals and businesses from the region to Mid Penn and our brand of banking.”

The bank is completing renovations of the new facility, which will feature multiple drive-thru lanes. Customers will be able to conduct traditional banking and account servicing, and have access to trust, wealth management and insurance products.

The office will also house regional commercial lending and cash management teams, led by Heston. Manager Mary Briody has been hired to oversee retail activities and day-to-day operations.

Mid Penn Bancorp Inc., the parent company of both Mid Penn Bank and MPB Financial Services Group LLC, operates retail locations in 16 counties throughout the state and has total assets of more than $4.3 billion.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Traditions Bank and Bancorp announces leadership changes

Michael E. Kochenour

York-based Traditions Bancorp Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Traditions Bank, announced Wednesday that chairman of the board of directors Michael E. Kochenour plans to retire from that post effective next April.

Kochenour, who will continue as a board director, is a founder of the bank and was its first president and CEO. He retired as a bank associate in 2016.

Traditions’ current president and CEO, Eugene J. Draganosky, will succeed Kochenour as board chairman. Draganosky joined the bank’s executive team in 2008 and became a director in April 2015 when he was named president. In January 2017, he was appointed CEO.

During the past six years, Traditions Bank has nearly doubled its asset size, steadily increased shareholder value, expanded into new markets, rebranded itself and established a holding company.

“Gene’s deep experience, industry knowledge, and passion for the central PA market make him the ideal incoming Chair,” Kochenour said in a release. “He is a champion of our culture and core values, a strategic leader, steadfastly committed to corporate governance, and is fully prepared to assume this new responsibility.”

Dragnosky added: “Mike Kochenour has recently reached his 50-year milestone as a banker and has had a profound impact on so many throughout those decades. I am extremely grateful to Mike for his partnership, mentorship and wisdom, and I am thankful for the confidence that the board has placed in me over these past seven years as we have executed on our internal succession plan.”

In addition, Elizabeth F. Carson will become the bank’s lead independent director, serving as the principal liaison between the chair and the other independent directors, and Thomas J. Sposito will be the new president of Traditions Bank and Traditions Bancorp. Sposito will also be named a director.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Hershey Co. reports double-digit sales growth, raises annual forecast

The Hershey Co. announced a double-digit increase in second-quarter net sales Thursday from the year before, prompting the giant confectioner to raise its full-year financial outlook.

Helped by the acquisitions of Dot’s Pretzels, Pretzels Inc. and Lily’s, consolidated net sales jumped 19.3%, to $2.373 billion. Meanwhile reported net income rose 5.5%, to $315.6 million.

Hershey’s North America Salty Snacks segment net sales reached $256.3 million in the second quarter, an increase of 99.9% versus the same period last year; North America Confectionery net sales were more than $1.9 billion, 12.9% above last year.

To reflect continued strength in consumer demand and net price realization, Hershey’s raised its forecast and now expects its net sales to be up 12 to 14% over 2021.

“Our business momentum continued in the second quarter, with double-digit sales growth in each of our segments resulting in strong earnings per share performance,” Michele Buck, Hershey Co. president and CEO, said in a release.

“These results reflect the strength and resilience of our categories, consumers’ love for our brands, the investments we are making in our business, and the exceptional execution of our dedicated employees. We are raising our financial expectations for the year and investing more heavily in our brands, capabilities and people in the second half to continue this momentum into 2023.”

Hershey’s board of directors also announced quarterly dividends of $1.036 on common stock and $0.942 on class B common stock, an increase of approximately 15%, or $0.135 and $0.123 per share, respectively. The dividends are payable Sept. 15 to stockholders of record as of Aug. 19.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Second-quarter net sales up 15% for Armstrong World Industries

Armstrong World Industries Inc., the Lancaster-based designer and manufacturer of ceiling and wall products, saw net sales increase 15% in the second quarter compared with the year before.

The earnings report also showed operating income fell 9% from the second quarter of 2021 due to acquisition-related expenses, raw material and energy costs and other factors.

Net sales growth was driven by the Architectural Specialties segment, which jumped 20.3%, and price increases resulting from higher-than-expected inflation.

“I am pleased with the dedicated effort of our teams to deliver another quarter of double-digit sales growth as we continue to navigate a dynamic macro backdrop,” Armstrong World Industries’ President and CEO Vic Grizzle said in a release. “Our top line growth resulted from pricing performance and improved sales volumes for Mineral Fiber, paired with strong execution in our Architectural Specialties segment.”

Grizzle said the global company is optimistic about the rest of 2022 despite market-driven challenges like rising inflation and the lengthening of the commercial project completion cycle.

“We expect our margin performance to improve in the second half of the year following our announced Mineral Fiber price increase effective July 1,” added Brian MacNeal, Armstrong’s chief financial officer.

“With the continued, though uneven, commercial construction recovery, the encouraging performance of our growth initiatives and manufacturing productivity driven by operational excellence efforts,” he said, Armstrong remains confident in its revenue growth outlook.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer