Sweet success in Milford as Project Pop-Up business celebrates opening

PATTYRIBBON2 MILFORD, Del. (Dec. 22, 2014) Something tasty just popped up in downtown Milford.

City, state and other local officials celebrated the arrival of Patty Cakes, a participant in this year’s Project Pop-Up program, with a ribbon cutting on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 at the business, which is at 22 S. Walnut St., Milford.

Patty Cakes, owned by Latricia Vicks, offers one-of-a-kind custom wedding cakes and cakes for other events; as well as an assortment of sweets baked on premises, from scratch, including cookies, cupcakes, brownies, cake truffles and other dessert items. The business is the second Milford-based Project Pop-Up participant – following Delaware Branding Company at 19 NW Front Street – to celebrate a grand opening this year.

Project Pop-Up, a joint effort between the Delaware Economic Development Office and Downtown Delaware, provides three months of rent-free commercial space during the holiday season along with the assistance of a business advisor to help launch and grow the business. The program has grown from three participating businesses in 2012 to 15 this year, including nine businesses in an incubator in Wilmington.

“We are proud to once again partner with the City of Milford to bring another promising business to the downtown area. Historic towns like Milford serve as the backbone of our state, and we need vibrant businesses like Patty Cakes to breathe new life into their main streets,” said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “Every large, successful business started somewhere, and we aim to nurture small businesses to put them on that path to prosperity. It appears that Ms. Vicks is well on her way.”

Vicks said she discovered Project Pop-Up at the perfect time, just as she was looking to move her showroom from Dover to a larger location.

“It has been absolutely amazing. The property has been a perfect fit for what we wanted to do. It’s a beautiful space,” Vicks said. “The partnership with DEDO has been wonderful. They’ve set me up with a number of networking opportunities. It’s given us a lot of exposure and press, which has been phenomenal. We have this anticipation of us opening the shop, and I hope we can live up to it.”

Diane Laird, State Coordinator of Downtown Delaware, said Vicks’ business and its line of sweets should do especially well in the heart of Milford.

“Latricia’s product is so unique that people will travel for it. It is these kinds of destination businesses that enlarge the customer base of our small towns,” Laird said. “They bring in people from the broader region which, in turn, increases foot traffic and helps all the businesses downtown.”

Last year, Milford’s Project Pop-Up participant, Milford Massage, Wellness and Yoga, saw business quadruple just months after opening, necessitating a move to a larger facility, where owner Paige Deiner now offers massage, Reiki, yoga and self-development classes.

The openings of Patty Cakes and Delaware Branding Company back an arts-related retail strategy in Milford that includes culinary arts, art galleries, and performing arts.

“From our very first meeting, we knew Patty Cakes and its talented business owner Latricia Vicks was a viable Project Pop-Up candidate,” said Ken Anderson Director, Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support for the Delaware Economic Development Office. “As we continued to vet her business model, review her unique and eloquently designed products, and gaged her long-term commitment to her business, we knew she would be a great addition to all the exciting entrepreneurial activity in the town of Milford. Patty Cakes will be very successful.”

About the Delaware Economic Development Office
The Delaware Economic Development Office is an executive state agency responsible for attracting new investors and businesses to the state, promoting the expansion of existing industry, assisting small and minority-owned businesses, promoting and developing tourism and creating new and improved employment opportunities for all citizens of the State. Visit dedo.delaware.gov.

About Downtown Delaware
Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, provides Delaware’s historic downtowns, communities, and small businesses with tools to revitalize their commercial districts, increase entrepreneurial opportunity, and enhance quality of place. To learn more about the Main Street program, visit www.delawaremainstreet.com.

Contact: 
Peter Bothum
Delaware Economic Development Office
Office: 302-672-6857
Cell: 302-632-6665
Peter.Bothum@delaware.gov


Three Project Pop-Up businesses celebrate grand openings in Milton

WineKnot, P.C. Rods and Nest Spa & Boutique launched with Wine Knot Ribbon1
the help of the state-run program

MILTON, Del. (Dec. 17, 2014) – For the second straight year, a state program has sparked the launch of new businesses in downtown Milton, helping entrepreneurs move their enterprises into once-vacant brick-and-mortar locations.

Wine Knot Shop, P.C. Rods and Nest Spa & Boutique, participants in this year’s Project Pop-Up program, each marked their official grand opening with a trio of ceremonies on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The business owners were joined by local and state officials at Wine Knot, which is located at 113 Union Street Unit F, Milton.

Project Pop-Up, now in its third year, provides three months of rent-free commercial space during the holiday season along with the assistance of a business advisor to help launch and grow the business in its new location. The program has grown from three participating businesses in 2012 to 15 this year, including nine businesses in an incubator in Wilmington.

“The growth of Project Pop-Up shows that Delaware is a place where entrepreneurs, if given the chance, are able to take their ideas to the next level and succeed,” said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “Small business is one of our greatest strengths, and this program is tapping into the roots of that sector by providing a very low-risk launching pad for these enterprising men and women.”

Last year, two businesses signed long-term leases in Milton: 302 Fitness and Milton Wellness Center, and the program has enabled two businesses to launch in Milford this year alone, including the Delaware Branding Company and Patty Cakes, whose grand opening is set for Friday.

Amy and Patrick Conroy are the ownPCRodsRibbon1ers and operators of two Project Pop-Up businesses. Amy Conroy described the Wine Knot Shop as an “off-the-wall gift shop” that sells personalized furniture such as shelves and benches, custom wine bottle labels for any occasion, paintings, cork and bottle cap art and other personalized gifts. P.C. Rods, which is in an adjacent space at 113 Union Street, is a bait, tackle and rod repair shop.

The couple worked at Irish Eyes in Lewes for several years and always wanted to step out and run their own business.

Amy Conroy said Project Pop-Up was especially helpful in overcoming their fear of the unknown.

“The initial stages starting up can be the scariest. We would have never tried to do this without the assistance of the Pop-Up program,” Amy Conroy said. “The classes, seminars and networking provided by the Pop-Up program gave us the knowledge and guidance to start our small businesses. We are up and running and are very excited about our future.”

“Project Pop-Up is a must for anyone dreaming to own their own business,” Patrick Conroy said. “This program really brings life back into small towns.”

Diane Laird, State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware, said the Conroys bring wit and a creative spirit to downtown Milton.

“The downtown is quickly becoming a hub of activity for food, theater, and fun shopping opportunities,” Laird said.

Ken Anderson, Director of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support for the Delaware Economic Development Office, was equally as optimistic about the Conroys’ chances for success.

“I have never met two people more excited about the opportunity to take their entrepreneurial pursuits to the next level, by acquiring their own brick-and-mortar location. If hard work, creativity and passion are critical elements for business success, then Patrick and Amy Conroy are certain to experience success in their new businesses in Milton,” AndNestSpaRibbon1erson said.

The third business taking part in this year’s Project Pop-Up is Nest Spa & Boutique, owned by Hillary Reid.

After hearing about Project Pop-Up, Reid decided to move her natural skin care business, then called Skin By Hillary, from a smaller shop in her native Milford to a larger property in Milton.

Moving the business, now known as Nest Spa, into its new home at 105 Federal Street has allowed Reid to expand her services to include spa, massage, nails and facials.

“Project Pop-Up has helped me get established. I would recommend it to someone who has a small business they want to expand or someone doing it out of their home or on the side,” Reid said. “If you’re scared and don’t have the finances to expand or get started, Project Pop-Up gives you that cushion of three months rent-free. Plus, the resources are there. If you need something, you can call.”

Anderson praised Reid for not only serving as a leader in her chosen industry, but for being a savvy business owner as well.

“Hillary’s persistence and willingness to take an already successful small business to the next level, by acquiring her own space, expanding her services and creating a beautiful, upscale environment for her clients, is a reflection of her faith and persistence that will serve her business and the town of Milton well for many years,” said Anderson, who worked with Reid extensively in the early months preparing for the opening.

About the Delaware Economic Development Office
The Delaware Economic Development Office is an executive state agency responsible for attracting new investors and businesses to the state, promoting the expansion of existing industry, assisting small and minority-owned businesses, promoting and developing tourism and creating new and improved employment opportunities for all citizens of the State. Visit dedo.delaware.gov.

About Downtown Delaware
Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, provides Delaware’s historic downtowns, communities, and small businesses with tools to revitalize their commercial districts, increase entrepreneurial opportunity, and enhance quality of place. To learn more about the Main Street program, visit www.delawaremainstreet.com.

Contact: 
Peter Bothum
Delaware Economic Development Office
Office: 302-672-6857
Cell: 302-632-6665
Peter.Bothum@delaware.gov


Delaware Branding Company celebrates grand opening in Milford

DSCN6661
From left: Mark Dissinger, of Downtown Milford Inc.; Irv Ambrose, President of Downtown Milford Inc.; Ken Anderson, DEDO’s director of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support; Diane Laird, State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware; Amy Perfetti, co-owner, Delaware Branding Company; Lee Nelson, Executive Director of Downtown Milford Inc.; Mike Perfetti, co-owner, Delaware Branding Company; Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe.

Project Pop-Up participant offers graphic design, body art,
and more in new Front Street spot

MILFORD, Del. (Dec. 3, 2014) – From art galleries to performing arts and, more recently, even culinary arts, Downtown Milford continues to build on an arts-related retail strategy. The arrival of Delaware Branding Company now adds graphic design to support this downtown strategy.

State and local officials joined business owners Mike and Amy Perfetti for a ribbon cutting on Wednesday Dec. 3, outside of the business at 19 NW Front Street.

Delaware Branding Company, a participant in this year’s Project Pop-Up program, will offer graphic design, sign making, body art, and DJ services at its new location.

Project Pop-Up, now in its third year, provides three months of rent-free commercial space during the holiday season along with the assistance of a business advisor to help launch and grow the business. The program has grown from three participating businesses in 2012 to 15 this year, including nine businesses in an incubator in Wilmington.

Delaware Branding Company also sells magnetics, banners, aluminum and wood signs and provides logo design, business card and flier design and van, truck and boat lettering.

“Project Pop-Up not only gives us the chance to move into our own building, it also provides us with the opportunity to connect with the community. A lot of what we do has a personal touch, and being in downtown Milford will allow us to get to know our customer base,” said Mike Perfetti, an award-winning graphic designer. “We can’t thank DEDO and Downtown Delaware enough for this chance of a lifetime.”

Diane Laird, State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware, said that Milford has been an excellent partner in Project Pop-Up.

Laird said she and Ken Anderson, Director of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support for the Delaware Economic Development Office, have worked together with Milford representatives to match businesses with available properties that support the arts focus in downtown.

“The DBC owners are seasoned business owners who bring significant business experience to Milford,” Anderson said. “It is the only business in a 20-mile radius that offers the unique combination of services that DBC has to offer. They successfully ran a business in Pennsylvania and they expect similar success and growth in their new Milford location.”

In 2005, Perfetti was honored by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) for Outdoor Transit Advertising in 2005.

The Perfettis would love to duplicate the success experienced by several Pop-Up selectees in Milford, Middletown, and Smyrna, who have already expanded their shops due to significant growth and expansion of their customer base. In Milford, Paige Deiner, a 2013 Pop-Up participant in Milford, saw business quadruple just months after opening, necessitating a move to a larger facility where she now offers massage, Reiki, yoga and self-development classes. Karen Gill, owner of Royal Treatments in Smyrna, just expanded into a vacant space adjacent to her Pop-Up shop, which is now home to Smyrna Cards and Gifts.

“The success of the Project Pop-Up businesses in Milford and elsewhere shows that if given the opportunity, Delaware entrepreneurs will rise to the challenge and build successful small businesses,” said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “Delaware’s economy is strong, with a growing job base, and that is due in large part to our thriving small business sector.”

About the Delaware Economic Development Office
The Delaware Economic Development Office is an executive state agency responsible for attracting new investors and businesses to the state, promoting the expansion of existing industry, assisting small and minority-owned businesses, promoting and developing tourism and creating new and improved employment opportunities for all citizens of the State. Visit dedo.delaware.gov.

About Downtown Delaware
Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, provides Delaware’s historic downtowns, communities, and small businesses with tools to revitalize their commercial districts, increase entrepreneurial opportunity, and enhance quality of place. To learn more about the Main Street program, visit www.delawaremainstreet.com.

Contact:
Peter Bothum
Delaware Economic Development Office
peter.bothum@delaware.gov
Office: 302-672-6857
Cell: 302-632-6665


Governor’s Weekly Message: Strengthening the Economy by Supporting Small Businesses

(Dover, DE) – In his weekly message, filmed at the Small Business Summit held at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, Governor Markell shares how the State is supporting small businesses throughout Delaware, with initiatives like Project Pop-Up and the Small Business Focus Program.

We know that small companies account for the majority of business sales and job creation, so it’s critical we provide the support and environment they need to thrive,” said Governor Markell. “Hardworking entrepreneurs across ours state have great ideas to serve customers in Delaware, throughout the country, and around the world. By ensuring they have the opportunity to reach their potential, we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

YouTube: http://youtu.be/kPT3IvD5wks
Delaware.Gov: http://governor.delaware.gov/podcast_video.shtml
By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/governormarkell
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FULL TEXT OF MESSAGE

Strengthening the Economy by Supporting Small Businesses – Governor Jack A. Markell Weekly Message

Delaware’s economy is getting stronger, with job growth outpacing the national average over the past two years. And we must ensure our state’s policies help continue this trend.

We know that small companies account for the majority of business sales and job creation, so it’s critical that we provide the support and environment they need to thrive. That means encouraging businesses of all types, from Miller Metal’s fabrication facility in Bridgeville to BrightFields environmental consulting in Wilmington to Royal Treatments, a home décor and window treatments shop owned by Karen Gill in Smyrna. Karen took advantage of our Project Pop-Up program, which provides small business owners three months of rent-free retail space in vacant downtown properties.She and her husband have now started a second company on Smyrna’s Main Street.

Project Pop-Up is part of our comprehensive approach to encourage small business growth. We’ve cut and modified state regulations; doubled the availability of research and development tax credit for small companies; and helped them develop relationships with partners around the world. Our efforts will only have their full effect if all small businesses have a fair chance to prosper. It’s why I was proud to announce the Small Business Focus Program, which helps state agencies consider small companies when purchasing the goods and services that they need. And it ensures that businesspeople with disabilities, as well as companies owned by women, minorities, and veterans, compete for state contracts on a level playing field.

Hardworking entrepreneurs across ours state have great ideas to serve customers in Delaware, throughout the country, and around the world. By ensuring they have the opportunity to reach their potential, we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.

 


Economy on the Mend, More Work Ahead

In January, Lt. Gov. Denn spoke to the Greater Kent County Committee about how Delaware moves ahead after coming back from the worst economic crisis to hit the state since the Great Depression. In three editorials over the next few months, he will share his thoughts regarding the economy, controlling business costs and education.

The national Bureau of Labor Statistics put our unemployment rate in Delaware at 6.5 percent in November. That’s the best it’s been in five years — it essentially puts us back to where we were when the national economy crashed in late 2008. Some people say that number is deceptive because the labor force is smaller now, but the labor-force number goes up and down over time — our state labor force today is larger than it was in November, 2010.

How does that unemployment rate compare to our neighbors? Maryland is right around where we are at 6.4 percent — but with a full 25 percent of its non-farm workforce in recession-proof government work, compared to 14.7 percent of ours. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is 7.3 percent. New Jersey’s unemployment rate is 7.8 percent. New York’s is 7.4 percent. Connecticut’s is 7.6 percent. Rhode Island’s is 9 percent.

Are we the best in the country? No. Are we even close to satisfied with being the best in the region? Absolutely not — we won’t be satisfied until every Delawarean who wants work can find it. But as we look ahead to determine how we will build on our success, we should appreciate how far we’ve come and the better place from where we start.

When we are at our best in Delaware in creating economic opportunity, we are doing three things well. First, we are making our state an attractive place for anyone to do business. We recognize that no one — least of all government agencies — bats a thousand guessing winners and losers in these unpredictable economic times, and we have to make sure that the fundamentals of our economy are such that we are an attractive place to move and grow for all types of employers.

Second, while we are strengthening our overall profile as a state to do business, we need to be smart about those economic areas where we have, or could work to have, strategic advantages, and pay special attention to those areas.

And third, when there are particular companies that are interested in locating or expanding here and offer the real prospect of putting Delawareans to work, we need to be extremely responsive to them. We can’t lose our focus on any of these three areas — it doesn’t matter, for example, how nimble or responsive we are to potential new employers, if the underlying economic environment in our state isn’t attractive to them.

Working with Chairman Gary Stockbridge, I recently announced that the state’s Workforce Investment Board is seeking permission from the federal government to implement a new program that would dramatically increase the workforce training funds made available to small businesses willing to hire and train new employees, and all businesses willing to hire and train Delawareans who have been unemployed for long periods of time.

If approved by the United States Department of Labor, the new program will allow the state to pay 90 percent of a new employee’s wages if that employee is hired by a business of 50 or fewer people or the new employee has been unemployed for over 26 weeks.

The program would be funded with existing federal workforce investment funds. The subsidy would last as long as the employee was receiving specialized training from the employer, and employers participating in the program would be required to demonstrate a commitment to keeping employees in the workplace after the expiration of the grant.

The program already exists in Delaware, but because it requires a 50-percent salary match from employers, it is not widely used.

It is a great opportunity for us to give our small businesses another tool to hire new workers and give them valuable training, and also a way for us to incentivize hiring of some of our neighbors who have been out of work for a long time. The best part is we can do it using job-training money that we already receive from the federal government.

The fundamentals are easily stated but hard to do. The governor and I hear them over and over from employers. Employers want a well- educated and trained workforce — students graduating from high school, college graduates, and adults who have learned skills after finishing school. Employers want a low cost of doing business. They want to be in a state that has a good quality of life — where they and their employees will want to live. And they want a supportive government, not one that necessarily gives them everything they want but one that listens and understands that for business, time is money.

On those fundamentals, we have solid progress to report but still a lot of work to do together.

Matt Denn
Lieutenant Governor