Nov. 10, 2005
Many people are drawn to the beauty and slower-paced lifestyle of Perry County, but developing a business in such a rural area can be a challenge.

Now two solutions are being offered by HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College - the new Perry Artisans' Marketplace and Rural Outreach Program.

On Saturday, November 19, 1-4 p.m., HACC will celebrate the grand opening of Perry Artisans' Marketplace on the Smile Spinners business property at 1975 Valley Road, Marysville. The purpose is to give area home-based businesses a place to show and sell their products.

"The Marketplace is part of our Rural Outreach program that we designed here at HACC to reach out to people in rural areas that have home-based businesses," said Mary Anne Van Arsdale, director of HACC's Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, Workforce and Economic Development division.

"They have product that they sell, but they don't have a place to sell it. In marketing terms, it's access to market. There may not be a sufficient market in rural areas to sell their products.

"Often they don't produce enough product, have a place to sell it or have enough people to buy it. So they wind up doing incidental marketing, selling at a craft show or Christmas gift show. An oil painter, for example, may not be able to produce enough paintings to have a gallery. And there are reasons why many people such as potters work from home," Van Arsdale explained.

The marketplace will be administrated as a cooperative effort between HACC's Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies and Smile Spinners, an existing business in Marysville owned by Cathy Queitzch.

Smile Spinners has an extra building on the property where quilting classes are taught. HACC will use that building for the Perry Artisans' Marketplace for a one-month period, Nov. 19 through Dec. 24. Hours of operation will be Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

"If this works, we will apply for money to do this in Perry County year-round," said Van Arsdale. "We believe there's a general interest by the public in a place to shop for handcrafted items, but those places are limited. Marysville is a good location choice since it is part of rural Perry County, but also has the advantages of being close to bigger towns in Cumberland County and Harrisburg in Dauphin County. It's only a short drive from these areas."

Partial funding for the program was provided by the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Keystone Innovation Zone program.

The Rural Outreach Program of HACC's Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies offers free one-on-one business counseling and business start-up advice, with specific programs for residents in Upper Dauphin and Perry County. Counseling is available at the YWCA in Elizabethville and the New Bloomfield Courthouse.

Information may be obtained by calling HACC's Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at 717-221-1311.

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