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Delaware State Officials and SBA to Join Kent County Launch of Small Biz Boosting Initiative along Del.'s Historic 'Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway'

Advisory Date: 
Friday, July 24, 2015
Advisory Number: 
15-15
Contact: 
Jennifer Pilcher | 302-573-6294, ext. 222 | jennifer.pilcher@sba.gov
Camden, Del. Press Conference and Small Biz Tour on Eve of Weekend's Local Peach Festival to Spotlight Pilot Program Harnessing Tourism Dollars for Local Small Biz

WILMINGTON, DE –U.S. Small Business Administration officials; State of Delaware representatives; and local leaders will conduct a Friday, July 31, press conference in Camden, Del., launching the ‘Tubman Byway Initiative’ in Kent County Del., followed by small business walking tour through Camden, Del.’s business corridor, tracing the southern reaches of Delaware’s ‘Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.’  The ‘Tubman Byway’ is a roadway route marking some of Harriet Tubman’s documented movements ferrying fugitive slaves from bondage along Maryland’s eastern shore to freedom in the North during the pre-Civil-War era. The ‘Tubman Byway’ Initiative is a pilot program joining Byway-adjacent small businesses together to offer and jointly promote incentives to travelers to visit the Byway, patronize its small businesses, and get to know the First State and its history, one character-filled town at a time.

The July 31 press conference will announce the Camden-Wyoming businesses joining the ‘Tubman Byway’ effort and unveil the ‘Tubman Byway’ roadway signs slated to mark the Tubman Byway’s roadway route through Delaware, from its entrance from Maryland into the First State at Kent County’s Sandtown, Del., north through Kent and New Castle Counties, and exiting into Pennsylvania where Del. Route 52 crosses the Pennsylvania state line. Following formal remarks, officials will visit ‘Tubman-Byway’-affiliated small businesses lining the ‘Tubman Byway’s’ path through Camden, Del., the first condensed, commercial stretch of Delaware’s portion of the ‘Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway’ after it crosses the border from Maryland into the First State. This event will be open to the press.

“The Tubman Byway’ Initiative will look at revenue drivers for Byway affiliated businesses like: coupons redeemable at participating businesses (known in other states as “Byway Bucks”); special events hosted by Byway-affiliated businesses; tourist discovery areas within businesses; signage and byway improvements; and grant opportunities to entice tourists to visit byways and patronize their businesses,” explains Delaware DOT Byways Coordinator, Ann Gravatt. “This pilot program aims to demonstrate increased patronage in Byway-affiliated businesses to promote year-round, statewide tourism in Delaware and instill new a sense of neighborhood pride in our byway communities, all while helping First State businesses succeed. This pilot program is truly a ‘win-win’ scenario.  If it is successful, it is slated to expand to all six Delaware state-designated byways.”

WHO:

  • Del. Congressional delegation representatives
  • Delaware State Senator Brian J. Bushweller (D)
  • Delaware State Representative Lyndon D. Yearick (R)
  • Ken Anderson, Director, Entrepreneurial & Small Business Support, Delaware Office of Economic Development
  • Town of Camden, Del. Mayor Justin King
  • Town of Wyoming, Del. Mayor Frankie Dale Rife
  • Ron Rucker, Chairman, Harriet Tubman Byway Management Organization
  • John Banks, SBA Delaware Deputy District Director
  • Travis Smith, ‘South Bridge Connects’ Commercial District Affiliate Representative

 

WHAT, WHEN & WHERE:

10:00 a.m.       Kick-off Press Conference and ‘Tubman Byway’ Roadway Signage Unveiling

Delaware Bay Trading Company and General Lockwood’s Coffee House

                                    102 S. Main Street

Camden, DE 19934

Owner: John and Tracey Green

Opening remarks, media availability, and ‘Byway Business’ storefront seal placement. Situated directly on the ‘Tubman Byway’s’ path through Camden and housed in the National Historic Register’s ‘Edward Cole House,’ (c.a. 1780), the Delaware Bay Trading Company and General Lockwood’s Coffee House  host a formal press conference announcing Camden and Wyoming, Del., businesses joining the ‘Tubman Byway’ Initiative and unveiling the road signage slated to mark the ‘Tubman Byway’ statewide. The Delaware Bay Trading Company is an eclectic gift shop, featuring unique fashion accessories, as well as home and garden items.  Many of the shop’s wares – including jewelry, glass designs, custom woodworking, art and photography are hand-crafted by local artisans. The co-located General Lockwood’s Coffee House offers custom blend coffees, teas, fresh baked muffins, and more.

11:15 a.m.       Knight’s Fine Jewelry

                        240 East Camden Wyoming Avenue

                        Camden, Del. 19934

Owner: Beverly Knight

                        Knight’s Fine Jewelry opened in 1986 in Camden, Del., and moved to its current location in the

town’s fully-restored, 150-year-old Odd Fellows building in 1994. The store is operated by mother-daughter team Beverly and Cheryl Knight, the second and third generation of their family in the jewelry industry.

12:00 noon      Yarn and Bone Pet Supply Company

129 N. Main Street

Camden, DE 19934

Owners: Matt Moorefield and Michael Morris

Tour, media availability, and ‘Byway Business’ storefront seal placement. This brand new business opened in May 2015 in Camden, Del.’s newly-constructed CR Plaza Shopping Center. Yarn and Bone offers healthy, all natural pet food, as well as unique pet accessories (including leashes, bowls, and the like), as well as a self-service pet wash.  

OF NOTE:      For one-on-one interviews, contact Jennifer Pilcher (Jennifer.pilcher@sba.gov).

“We all have a stake in homegrown Delaware business’ success,” said John Banks, SBA Delaware Deputy District Director. “Small businesses like the ones along the ‘Tubman Byway’ in Camden tie communities together. They are what make ‘home’ ‘home.’  “We are proud to support their success by supporting programs like this pilot partnership program for small businesses lining Delaware’s byways and by providing entrepreneurs with financing, technical assistance and federal government contracting support.”

 

The ‘Tubman Byway’ Initiative launched Delaware Byway wide in Wilmington, Del.’s Southbridge section, in March 2015.  Businesses joining the ‘Tubman Byway’ Initiative in Southbridge include: Harvest Christian Retail Stores; Sepia Pre-Paid Dry Cleaning; and Ms. Bonnies Savvor the Flavvor Seefood Restaurant.

 

 

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This media alert does not constitute or imply an endorsement by SBA of any opinions, products or services of any private individual or entity.

 

All of SBA’s programs and services are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.

 

The SBA is an independent federal agency, created in 1953, to assist small businesses start, grow, and prosper. The SBA provides financial assistance by: (1) making loans to help families and businesses recover from national disasters and (2) providing loan guarantees to commercial financial institutions for working capital (7a loans), buildings/land/equipment (504 loans through the Certified Development Corporations), and for exports. Through our resource partners, the SBA also offers a variety of business development programs and services such as training, government contracting and export assistance. SBA resource partners include Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE (Counselors to America's Small Businesses). For information on the SBA’s programs and services contact us at 302-573-6294 or www.sba.gov/de.

 

Delaware’s Byways are transportation routes adjacent to or traveling through an area with particular scenic, historic, natural, cultural, recreational or archeological qualities.  It is a road corridor that offers an alternative travel route to Delaware’s major highways, while telling a story about Delaware’s heritage, recreational activities or beauty. In total, Delaware has six designated byways: The Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway; the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway; the Route 9 Coastal Heritage Byway; the Red Clay Valley Byway; the Western Sussex Byway; and the Lewes Byway.

 

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway (HTURB) was designated in 2009 and became a full-fledged byway in 2012.  It is nearly 100 miles long, includes Kent and New Castle Counties, and begins where the Maryland byway of the same name ends, at Sandtown, Del. The HTURB includes sites of importance in the stories of Harriet Tubman and other freedom seekers, as well as abolitionists who assisted them.  The HTURB is administered by the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware and was made possible by support from the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, The City of Wilmington, the University of Delaware, Delaware Byways and many volunteers.

 

South Bridge Connects is a Main Street Commercial District Program which encompasses Historic Preservation, Business Development and Economic Development within Wilmington, Del.’s, Southbridge neighborhood.