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Temporary structure planned for Harrisburg Market vendors following fire

Harrisburg officials announced at a press conference on Tuesday plans to construct a temporary structure while the community works to rebuild following last week’s fire that ravaged Historical Broad Street Market. 

“Right now, we’re working with a number of companies that work on temporary structures,” City Business Administrator Dan Hartman said. “That’s something we’re hoping to have lined up in a few days. 

“Ultimately, we’re still hoping to have at some point in August a temporary structure in place that will allow vendors and customers and the public the chance to shop, not outdoors in a courtyard or anything, but in a climate-controlled environment that offers pretty much everything they had and then some,” he said. “That’s primarily where we’re at right now.” 

The site of the temporary structure is an empty grass lot at N. 3rd and Verbeke streets, a location not far from the Market’s fire-ravaged brick building. In the week since the fire, displaced vendors sold their goods in the market’s courtyard. 

Hartman said Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams gave the directive as soon as the fire happened to get the project up and running and operational to limit vendors’ losses and damages. 

“What we want to do,” Hartman said, “is give them a great workspace that while everything works out on the historical preservation side and rehabilitation side, there is a place that is safe, secure, and allows them to do their business that they need to do. 

“With that in mind, that is the exact reason why we sprang into action to get this done as quick as possible.” 

Hartman said Gov. Josh Shapiro and his cabinet members have been supportive of city officials as they work with vendors through this initial disaster phase and their progression toward a rebuilding phase. Hartman added that there has been a “patchwork” effort consisting of charities, fund-raisers, municipal, county, state, and federal support to deal with the situation. 

“There is not a one-stop shop to handle all of this,” he said. 

Shapiro pledged his support at a press conference a week ago Monday and laid out the steps his administration is taking to help the reconstruction, including working with the Small Business Administration to support vendors. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is also working with vendors to help keep them in business during the rebuild. 

Shapiro said government at all levels is coming together to “do what’s necessary to support the rebuild.” 

Noting that there is “quite a bit of investigation work that has to happen,” Hartman said that it will be until the first or second week of August when “everything is wrapped up” on the investigation side. 

“Right now, as it pertains to a temporary structure, we’re working on getting a facility that will have all the modern amenities – flooring, it will be sided, air-conditioned and heated depending on the season, running water, electrical, things like that,” said Hartman. 

“Once we get that side of it done, it takes about one-and-a-half to three weeks from the time that order is into the time it’s being occupied.” 

Hartman said he believes the cost of restoring the building will be covered by Harrisburg’s insurance. 

“The whole thing is working itself through the process it needs to work itself out through,” said Matt Maisel, director of communications for the City of Harrisburg. “We need to constantly work with our insurance company, we’re working with the vendors, we’re working with the Market.”

Harrisburg has 14 renters per vacant apartment, report says

Having trouble finding an apartment in the Harrisburg area? Join the club. In RentCafe’s latest Competitivity Report of the nation’s 137 rental hotspots, Harrisburg ranks first as the most competitive small rental market, with less than 4% of units available.

The 96.2% occupancy rate makes apartment hunters feel like they’re “looking for a needle in a haystack,” the report said.

Nationally, the rental occupancy rate is 94%. Last year at this time it was 95.1%.

On average, there are 14 renters per vacant apartment in the Harrisburg metro; the U.S. average is nine. Available units on average are filled within 41 days.

With no new apartments coming into the pipeline recently and very limited options to choose from, 76.9% of those renting in greater Harrisburg preferred not to move this rental season.

That’s significantly higher than the 59.7% on average nationally who renewed their leases. A year ago, 65.6% of renters renewed leases.

Based on these metrics, RentCafe calculated a Rental Competitivity Index for Harrisburg of 123 out of 130, indicating a highly competitive market. For comparison, Philadelphia’s RCI score is 66. Also making the top 10 among competitive small markets is the Lehigh Valley, at No. 7.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

PA Bankers Association elects new board of directors

Lancaster’s Angie Sargent has been elected to serve as Chair of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association’s board of directors, the PA Bankers announced Tuesday. 

Sargent is senior executive vice president and chief information officer at Fulton Bank. 

“We congratulate and welcome our 2023-24 board of directors, led by Chair Angie Sargent and our officer team,” Duncan Campbell, PA Bankers’ president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are honored to have such dedicated volunteers, and we look forward to working with them as we continue to represent an expansive and diverse membership and help our members to support their communities and the commonwealth.” 

Campbell, of Harrisburg, will serve as a non-voting member along with M. Theresa Fosko. 

Confirmed at the association’s recent annual convention held June 8 to 11, the board oversees the association’s strategic direction, policies, professional development offerings, member services and advocacy efforts. 

Joining with Sargent as officers on the board are Randall Black as first vice chair, William Kuzo as second vice chair, and Mark Ritter as immediate past chair. 

Serving as Policy Committee Chairs are Carrie Riggle, member engagement and development, and Clem Rosenberger III, government relations. 

Deposit Category Representatives are Scott Daum, Category A ($0-$400M in deposits); Glenn Marshall, Category B ($400M-$1B in deposits); Gerard Champi, Category C ($1B-$4B in deposits); and Jeffrey Schweitzer, Category D ($4B+ in deposits). 

Craig Kauffman, president and CEO of PEOPLESBANK in York, has been elected to serve as the PA Bankers Representative for Group Five. Mark Drenchko will represent Group 1, Janak Amin Group 2, Elaine Woodland Group 3, Brian Knepp Group 4, and Christopher Scott Group 5. 

At-Large Representatives include Carol Myers, Daniel Schaffer, Lori Maley, Peter Bochnovich, K. Bernard Tynes, Laura Haffner, Evelyn Smalls, and Paul David Spradley.

Award-winning Middletown brewery listed for sale

Middletown-based Tattered Flag Brewery has been listed for sale. 

NAI Global lists the sale of the renowned establishment as a unique opportunity to buy an “award-winning brewery and distillery in the heart of Dauphin County.” 

The 13,000-square-foot building was built in 1910 and is situated at 1 South Union St. in downtown Middletown less than one mile from PSU-Harrisburg. The building’s lower level is 6,000-square-feet and fully functional. 

The Tattered Flag was founded in 2015 by a military veteran, his friends, and business partners. NAI describes the business as a “state-of-the-art brewery, distillery, and full-service restaurant” that seats as many as 200 customers. 

Since its founding, Tattered Flag has evolved into a recognizable brand throughout Pennsylvania. NAI states that the company is known for “quality and customer service experience” along with “producing award-winning, handcrafted beer, spirits, and cocktails.” 

Bottling and canning lines are included in the sale, as is all furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E). According to NAI, ownership is willing upon sale to stay on to facilitate a transition to the new owners. 

In addition, the Tattered Flag Distillery Bar in Hershey announced its site on March 2 that its facility would be taken over this spring by YAH Brew. Also, the Tattered Flag Tap Room in Gettysburg and Tattered Flag Barrel House in Lancaster are listed on their respective sites as being closed temporarily.

CPBJ celebrates the 2023 Women of Influence

Some of the midstate region’s best and brightest women leaders met this month as Central Penn Business Journal’s 2023 class of Women of Influence award winners.

The event, held on Tuesday, June 28th at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, honored 50 women in three categories: Women of Influence, Women to Watch and Circle of Excellence.

Women of Influence Awards honor high-achieving women for their career accomplishments. The honorees are selected based on their professional experience, community involvement and a commitment to mentoring.

Circle of Excellence honorees are women of longstanding, notable success in the community who are leading the way for other women. Women to Watch honors women leaders under the age of 35 who demonstrate outstanding professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to positive change.

Sponsors for the event included: Presenting Sponsor, Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz; Awards Sponsor, UPMC; Reception Sponsor, Donegal Insurance Group and Social Media/ Photo Sponsor, Penwell Law. Supporting Sponsors included: Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, Highmark and HRG.

Celebration Sponsors included: A.D. Marble, American Petroleum Institute Pennsylvania, Barley Snyder, Belco Community Credit Union, Boyer & Ritter LLC, Bybel Rutledge LLP, Domani Wealth, now part of Savant Wealth Management, ELA Group Inc., HB Global LLC, Landmark Commerical Realty, Linden Hall School for Girls, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Novak Strategic Advisors, Penn State Health, Pennsylvania Homecare Association, Publicity Works, Signature Staffing Inc. And WellSpan Health.

Honorees were profiled in a magazine found at CPBJ.com and inserted into the June 23rd edition of the Central Penn Business Journal.

For more information on this year’s honorees, access to photos and to nominate for the 2024 Women of Influence awards, visit: https://www.cpbj.com/event/women-of-influence/

Fulton Financial Group, RKL Virtual Management Solutions and more name new hires, promotions

Architecture and engineering

Derry Township-based Keystone Clearwater Solutions named Matthew King vice president of engineering and construction. King will oversee water system development and implementation for natural gas clients.

Banking and finance

Lancaster-based Fulton Financial Corp. named Karthik Sridharan senior executive vice president, chief operations and technology officer. Sridharan will lead information technology and operations professionals who provide digital experiences for bank customers.

Millersburg-based Mid Penn Bank named Lola Lamnatos a private banker and vice president.

Consulting

Manheim Township-based RKL Virtual Management Solutions named Ryan Coccagna client advisory and CFO services practice leader. Coccagna, a certified public accountant, will oversee the delivery and development of outsourced accounting and financial management services. Lindsay Heist was named workforce strategies human resources information system solutions practice leader. Heist will oversee the software capabilities that support the firm’s technology and human resources advisory offering. Amanda Miller was named core accounting practice leader Miller, a CPA, will lead a team of accounting professionals who handle clients’ back-office finance and accounting functions. Victoria Pritchard was named technology and innovation practice leader. Pritchard will lead the company’s technology and innovation efforts across all of its outsourced back-office service offerings. Jennifer Strobel was named workforce strategies practice leader. Strobel will lead the company’s human resources consulting and advisory services.

Health care

Pittsburgh-based UPMC named Dr. Paul D. Mahoney co-director of the structural heart program at UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute in Central PA. Mahoney focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of structural heart disease and performs advanced interventions.

Law

Lancaster-based Barley Snyder named attorney Larry Heim chair of its liquor law practice. Heim has been helping hospitality industry businesses obtain and defend their liquor licenses for more than 40 years. Derek Dissinger is a partner and chair of the real estate practice and the Hospitality Industry Group. Dissinger works with the application, sale and transfer of liquor licenses for hotels, restaurants and joint ventures.

Nonprofits

Lancaster-based Water Street Mission named Dan Siewert senior vice president of programs. Siewert will oversee much of the mission operations serving those experiencing homelessness. Marj Wilcox was named senior vice president of operations. Wilcox will oversee information technology, finance and maintenance. Bob Kramer was named senior vice president of advancement. Luis Rodriguez was named vice president of residential life. Rodriguez will direct the operations of shelter and residential programs. Greg Kessler was named senior vice president of health services. Jeremy Wiker was named vice president of finance.

York-based Typical Life Corp., which supports individuals throughout York and Adams counties in residential group homes, day programs and community service opportunities, named Sandra Chilton executive director.

Real estate

East Pennsboro Township-based Landmark Commercial Realty named Jamie Keener senior adviser. Keener has more than 30 years of business and land planning experience and will provide strategic guidance and support for clients’ commercial real estate needs.

Self storage

York-based Investment Real Estate Group of Companies named Justin Quinto vice president of acquisitions and asset management. Quinto will oversee the research, evaluation and selection of properties to add to the Moove In Self Storage portfolio. Elizabeth Kirchner was named human resources coordinator. Kirchner will maintain employee files and personnel-related data; track the annual performance review process; and assist with employee orientation, training programs, compensation and benefits.

Compiled by Amy DiNunzio

Dauphin County companies partner to provide photography service

Harrisburg-based Exhibit Studios is partnering with SKUpics Studios of Palmyra to offer product photography and enable an array of new service offerings and streamlined workflow for consumers of all different industries. 

“We’re excited to have SKUpics join our team, having them here will allow us to bring professional photography for our clients and their products,” Mike Fink, co-owner of Exhibit Studios, said in a statement. 

“It will also add a new level to our design department and their capabilities. This partnership is going to open so many doors for Exhibit Studios.” 

Exhibit Studios has provided visual marketing solutions for more than 20 years.  The company specializes in trade show displays and supports clients in aspects from show services to booth design and product photography. Exhibit Studios designs and fabricates displays from concept to completion. 

SKUpics Studios is a division of Kyvin Studios. Founded in 2012, SKUpics Studios supports e-commerce operations with cost-effective solutions for photographing product lines.

Central PA LGBT Chamber celebrates Pride Month with business mixer

Harry Young has been with the Keystone Business Alliance since 2012 and has seen the organization grow on several fronts during that time. 

“We were founded in 2007, so we’ve been around for quite some time,” said Young, who joined Central Pennsylvania’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce as a board member and was hired in 2018 as Executive Director. “There are some key facets to what we do. 

“We work as a body that engages in advocacy political and otherwise. So we’re looking at issues that impact business through an LGBT lens politically. 

“An even larger facet of our advocacy is around LGBT business enterprise certification, which is very similar to other diverse business certifications like veteran-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses to help connect LGBT certified businesses with contracting opportunities. 

“We provide networking opportunities, and educational opportunities as well.” 

To celebrate Pride Month, which is dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride, the Harrisburg-based Keystone Business Alliance (KBA) teamed recently with Lancaster Pride to host a business mixer. Lancaster Pride also recently hosted its 15th Annual Pride Festival, the event this year being held at the Convention Center in Lancaster City after three years at Clipper Magazine Stadium. 

A goal of the mixer, Young said, is “bringing together like-minded businesses.” The business mixer is the latest step forward the KBA has taken in the Central Pennsylvania area. 

“It’s been pretty impressive to see what we’ve done in the past decade-plus,” said Young. “We have around 150 member businesses, and we’ve been really successful in helping to advocate for those LGBT certified businesses. We were instrumental in working with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to become the first state to include LGBT owned businesses in their small diverse business program. 

“Similarly, we were instrumental in getting the same recognition for those businesses in the Supplier Diversity Program in the City of Harrisburg. We’ve developed numerous corporate partnerships through the year. We work with LGBT-owned businesses, but we work even more with businesses seeking to serve their LGBTQ employees and consumers.” 

Young said the KBA has been expanding beyond its Harrisburg borders. 

“We’ve seen growth in membership,” he said. “We’re based in Harrisburg and when we started most of our members were around Harrisburg. We’ve made a concerted effort to grow beyond Harrisburg and serve all eight counties in South Central Pennsylvania but in an attainable way for sustainable growth. 

“We’re really active now in the greater Harrisburg area as well as in Lancaster and York and we kind of continue to expand as we’re able to.” 

As the KBA expands beyond the state capitol area, it seeks to work in concert with various chambers of commerce in other parts of Pennsylvania. 

“We partner with general market chambers, like the Harrisburg Regional Chamber, as well as the Lancaster Chamber because we see our work as complimentary to what they do and not in competition with them,” said Young. “We’ve got good, strong relationships with several other LGBT-focused organizations in the mid-state. 

“We partner with the Lehigh Valley Chamber and others to deliver our services to their members specifically around the certification piece of what we do.” 

Young said that as much as ever, Pride Month is important, not just as a celebration but also to draw attention to several key issues and concerns. 

“We’re seeing a continued anti-LGBT legislation happening across the country,” said Young. “So, we’re certainly not in a place where we have to stop fighting. I think it’s important to be visible in our communities and in our business community. 

“I think Pride Month is more important now than ever.”

May home sales better than April’s but still lag because of tight inventory

In much of the region, homes sales were up in May from the previous month but down significantly from the year before.

Prices, meanwhile, continue to climb as inventory can’t keep pace with demand.

York-Adams

The Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties reported 104 homes sold in Adams County in May, a 10% decrease from this time last year. In York County, 505 homes sold in May, a 15% decrease from 12 months earlier.

Year over year, 382 houses sold in Adams County through May, which is 18% fewer than a year ago, and 2,045 settlements were recorded in York County, a 20% decline.

The median sales price in Adams County was $275,000 through the first five months, a 2% increase from 2022 at this time. In York County, the year-over-year median price was $255,000, a 9% increase from last year.

In May alone, the median sales price in Adams County was $317,000, a 14% jump since last year. York County recorded an 8% increase in median sales price, to $270,000.

In a release, Reid Weinbrom, 2023 president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, said the housing market “is witnessing a steady increase in median home sale prices alongside a decline in the number of home sales compared to the previous year. This can be attributed to the basic principles of supply and demand. The demand for homes remains strong, with numerous eager and financially capable buyers in our community.”

“However, the limited inventory of available homes is unable to meet this demand. Sellers who choose to list their homes are still experiencing a high demand, often resulting in multiple competitive offers.”

Harrisburg area

In Cumberland County, closed sales in May fell 25% year over year, from 320 to 240. They were, however, up from 193 the previous month, a rise of 24.4%.

The median sold price of $299,950 in May was up 1.7% year over year ($295,000) and up 5.2% from April ($285,000).

Average days on market was 29, and average sold to original list price ratio was 99.8%.

In Dauphin County, closed sales dropped to 258 last month, down 16.5% year over year (309) and up 10.7% from April (233).

Median sold price in May was $234,200, inching down 0.3% from May 2022; it was up 9.5% from April ($213,900).

Average days on market in Dauphin was 21 last month, and the average sold to OLP ratio was 100.2% – just above asking price.

Perry County, with its smaller sample size, saw closed sales rise 19.2% year over year in May, from 26 to 31, and 63.2% month over month, from 19 to 31.

The median sold price of $217,841 was down 10.4% from a year ago ($243,000) and down 0.5% from April ($219,000).

Average days on market in May for Perry was 32; the average sold to OLP ratio was 96%.

Wendell Hoover, president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, wrote in an email, “We continue to see extremely low inventory, although both inventory and sales numbers have increased for the fourth consecutive month in both Cumberland and Dauphin counties.”

He said it’s still common to see multiple offers on homes priced near market value.

Lancaster County

In Lancaster County, closed sales in May fell from 485 to 409 year over year, a decline of 15.7%. Month over month, however, they climbed 27.8%, from 320 to 409.

Year to date, Lancaster County home sales are down 17.3%.

The median sold price of $310,000 in May was up 1.9% from May 2022 and up 3.3% from April 2023.

Average days on market was 14, while average sold to OLP ratio came in at 103.3%, significantly above asking price.

H. Joseph Younger, 2023 president of the Lancaster County Association of Realtors, said in a statement:

“Although May improved over April, we are still well below our five-year averages across the board. New listings, pendings and closed sales are still underperforming our targets. Our low inventory level is putting pressure on our median sales price as it continues to climb.

“A $310,000 median sales price with an average DOM of 14 days is making this an extremely competitive market to enter. Potential sellers sitting on the sidelines would be well served to list now to take advantage of pent-up buyer demand and receive top dollar.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer