COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

Success Stories

Entrepreneur Beats Life-Changing Diagnosis While CreatingOne-of-a-Kind Cookie Business

The SBA Helps Altoona Pizzelle Maker’s Business Heat up with Global Sales


ALTOONA, PA – When Maryann Cook was diagnosed with celiac more than a decade ago, she never dreamed it would become the catalyst for an international business.

A craving for her favorite cookie, she no longer could consume – an Italian pizzella – prompted Cook to use her last remaining dollars and purchase some eggs, flour and sugar. Once Cook poured the batter into a pizzelle maker, her kitchen was wafting with the childhood scent of the flat, flavorful delights she and her mother once made side-by-side.

Because of her celiac disease, an immune disorder in which people can’t eat wheat gluten because it will damage their small intestine, Cook tweaked the recipe. Instead of wheat flour, she experimented with her own flour to create gluten-free pizzelles. “And, that’s how my business began... Read More

Entrepreneur Ensures it’s “All Systems Go” at Local Facilities

SBA Assistance Helps Local Firm Grow


VALENCIA, PA – Twice, a frantic Brenda Henwood dialed 911 for emergency assistance, grateful for the rapid response and peace of mind she received.

Today, Henwood works alongside the 911 call dispatchers she admires so much. Now the owner of Henron Electrical Resources has an office at the new Allegheny County 911 Call Center, since she was recently awarded a project management contract for the county’s new, state-of-the-art, 67,000-square-foot facility.

“We’re so grateful to be assisting because we’re talking about lives and people calling with a crisis,” Henwood explained. “The center employees rely on a system and its components never going down; that’s now our 24/7 responsibility.”

The contract, allowing Henwood to employ a 12-person team, is a crowning achievement spanning a four-year relationship with... Read More


Boutique Blossoms in Mon Valley

Artisan Arranges Antiques, Flowers and Gifts Growing Specialty Store


BELLE VERNON, PA – Everything’s coming up roses for Mon Valley resident Jean Ann Gallo.

Gallo, owner of Vintage and Vines on Broad Avenue, has seen business bloom since 2013 when she planted her unique home décor store in the town’s once-shuttered flower shop.

Hand-painted, farmhouse-chic antique tables and shelving units hold a unique cornucopia of specialty items from fresh and dried flowers to handcrafted soaps, jewelry and candles and an array of antiques ready to compliment any home’s interior or exterior.

“For Jean Ann, it’s a labor of love repurposing that simple wood furniture into decorative and functional units housing home gifts,” said the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Western Pennsylvania District Director Dr. Kelly Hunt. “And, the business grew when my agency’s resource partners... Read More

Area Business Owner Creates Growth Formula

Combines Tax Cut Initiatives with Increased Employee and Community Benefits


SOMERSET, PA – President Donald Trump may not routinely shop at the nation’s big box auto and hobby stores, but he’s keenly aware their engine silicones and crafting epoxies are formulated in Somerset.

 After all, the owner of Guy Chemical Company, Guy Berkebile, and his team members have twice met the president to discuss how the Administration’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act initiatives are key components in the growth of the company’s business and its employees.

“It’s fun and exciting to receive a call from the White House,” said Berkebile. “The president wanted to know not only how I founded my business, but also how I was using the tax cuts to grow Guy Chemical versus pocketing the money.”

Soon, major media outlets and the House Ways and Means Committee all wanted to know how a former one-... Read More