Editor’s note: This story is part of the CDT’s Business Matters special section.
When it comes to the Philipsburg-Osceola area, it’s the quality of the people and the charms of the place itself that seem poised to remain the biggest draws for local business.
Dana Shoemaker, the executive director of Philipsburg Revitalization Corp., said that Philipsburg’s affordability compared to other locations in Centre County helps draw families and business owners.
Businesses belonging to relatively young entrepreneurs such as Thunder Tats Studio, Twisted Vine Winery and Thieves Market and The Country Peddlers have found a niche in the town.
“We are constantly seeing people open their eyes and say, ‘oh, what about Philipsburg?’ ” Shoemaker said.
The Philipsburg Revitalization Corp. is committed to helping companies and citizens find a multitude of reasons to stay in the area.
“We really work completely cohesively not to let anyone get away,” Shoemaker said.
Stan LaFuria, executive director of the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership, likewise thinks that things are looking good.
“2016 was a really good year for the partnership,” LaFuria said.
MVEDP is hoping to acquire the former Philipsburg Area Hospital site by the end of February, having successfully reached a sales agreement and negotiating the price tag down from $600,000 to $150,000.
Once the transaction is finalized, the site will be turned into Philipsburg Area Commerce Park. Depending on how the possibilities unfold, the space could be home to a single company or subdivided to accommodate multiple tenants.
As for the pre-existing business sites managed by MVEDP, they, too, appear to be in demand — only four are presently available. In the past year, ChemStation, Finger Lakes Chemical, Nittany Laser, Organic Climbing and Orkin have all renewed their leases at Moshannon Valley Regional Business Center.
LaFuria said that negotiating a lease renewal with Polymics and American Home Patient at Moshannon Valley Enterprise Center is among MVEDP’s 2017 priorities, as is recruiting another school or company to replace the vacancy left by DuBois Business College.
Falling under the heading of “coming soon” is a 48-unit apartment building to be constructed by Windy Hill Village, its second project in less than five years. Diamondback Automotive Accessories also has a new 38,000-square-foot facility under construction.
Diamondback manufactures truck bed accessories and was featured alongside APP and TMMData on Inc. Magazine’s list of 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies.
LaFuria attributes all of the success to the strength of the area’s local entrepreneurs.
“We’ve got good people running these younger companies,” LaFuria said.