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Posted on: August 1, 2022

New Businesses Bloom in Wayne County's Economic Garden

Brittany Chadderdon seated on a tool box and surrounded by surrounded by the tools of her trade.

The Wayne Tomorrow! economic development strategy takes a simple approach to job creation – give entrepreneurs and small business owners the tools, support and access to funding they need to develop their ideas, open new businesses and grow those they have already started.

The Stourbridge Project Co-working Space and Business Incubator (TSP) in Honesdale serves as both a gardener and as a tool shed in the Economic Gardening strategy. Director Susan Shaffer told the Wayne Tomorrow! Community Impact Network recently that TSP supports 44 jobs directly.

She introduced Walter Rice, the newest tenant in the facility, once an elementary school on the Park Street Complex property.

Rice is an IT Consultant who actively searched for a more rural community to relocate his family, which includes a young child with Autism. He said Wayne County had it all – good schools, downtown vitality, active churches. Everything, that is, except reliable, high-speed internet. “The Stourbridge Project was hugely supportive in making Wayne County doable,” Rice told the group.

Shaffer said Rice hosted a virtual conference online this spring, which encouraged him to rent office space in The Stourbridge Project as the latest tenant.

Luring professionals like Walter Rice to Wayne County makes up one prong in the strategy. Encouraging entrepreneurs with a connection to the region to build or bring their enterprises closer to home is another. Brittany Chadderdon of BC Goods & Grain embodies this strategy.

A Honesdale native, she returned to the area after 10 years in Boston, Philadelphia and New York and started her business in her Newfoundland-area home. She connected with Wayne Tomorrow! through the Community Hub outreach efforts in that area and sought out The Stourbridge Project as she looked for space to develop a maker studio. Chadderdon found a sympathetic ear in Director Susan Shafer, who is intimately familiar with the challenges she faced in the area, and eventually found a location in Hamlin

Chadderdon received a grant from the Wayne County Economic Development Fund, created by the County Commissioners, and the new NEPA Circle of Aunts & Uncles just announced she and her BC Goods & Grain have been chosen as one of the first two enterprises to receive a micro-loan from the organization, which is supported by the Wayne County Community Foundation. She used the funds purchase a large laser for the DIY Workshop she is developing at her studio at 454 Cemetery Road in Hamlin.

In another example of this element of the gardening strategy, Shaffer pointed to a new beef jerky company relocating from the Lehigh Valley to Waymart, bringing this successful business closer to its owner. The Stourbridge Project’s collaboration with the Ben Franklin Technology Partners helped secure a $60,000 investment in this locally owned company that recently secured contracts in two large national supermarket chains.

Challenges remain, like the growing need for a USDA-certified meat processing facility cited by Shaffer as just one example, but Wayne Tomorrow! -- through its Task Forces and partners -- is working to overcome them. Learn more and get involved at www.WayneTomorrow.com.

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