LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — When the pandemic began, The Factory on Main Street in Dickson City was not considered an essential business.
The furniture store that once relied on mostly foot traffic closed its doors for three months.
When the store re-opened, owner Cory Fangio wanted to be prepared if something like this ever happened again.
"Being a small business, you do what you know, or you think is right, but you don't have all the answers, and that's where they were able to come in and really give us the guidance and some of the knowledge that we were lacking and that I knew that we needed," Fangio explained.
The Factory is one of the dozens of small businesses that signed up for a program called "Get Connected."
"Essentially, this helped them survive because now they're online. They figured out how to make those transactions, how to set up their PayPal or whatever the system is that they use and still sell their items and learn how to do pickups and deliveries and things like that," CEO/Owner Holly Pilcavage explained, Coal Creative.
Three marketing agencies, including Coal Creative, partnered with Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance to support these small businesses with their online presence.
The Alliance has already received two rounds of funding to make it happen and is waiting on a third.
"A lot of the folks that were enrolled in the program there were tears of joy. It was a great feeling to be able to help people in their greatest time of need," said Vice President Kurt Bauman, NEPA Alliance.
Fashionable Laundry in Dunmore is using the "Get Connected" program to upgrade its website.
The Factory is revamping its social media presence. Businesses that sign up for the program get $3,500 to spend on work with a marketing agency.
"Now they'll be reaching out to say, 'Hey, can I get this in a different color, a bigger size?' so it's definitely made it more accessible for us to reach a segment of our audience that we were not reaching previously," Fangio said.
NEPA Alliance is now looking for more small businesses to sign up for the program. To be eligible, you must have fewer than 100 employees and be located in the seven-county area NEPA Alliance serves (Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, Pike, Carbon, Monroe, and Schuylkill).
You can also contact Kurt Bauman at 570-510-4419 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.