Celebration of Small Business

On Monday, August 27th, Enterprise Bank, Congressman Keith Rothfus, FHLBank Pittsburgh and the Regional Development Funding Corporation came together to celebrate the opening of Pitt Cycles, home of Indian Motorcycle of Pittsburgh & KTM of Pittsburgh.

After a brief tour of the new facilities there were moving speeches from Congressman Rothfus and the lenders in attendance. Finally, Bill Obaker and Mike Cartney took to the stage to talk about seeing their dreams come to fruition.

It was the culmination of a ton of hard work by all involved, and a celebration of Small Business.

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About FHLBank Pittsburgh
As an intermediary between global capital markets and local lenders, FHLBank Pittsburgh provides readily available liquidity, as well as affordable housing and community development opportunities, to member financial institutions of all sizes in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Annually, FHLBank Pittsburgh sets aside approximately 10 percent of its net income to fund the Affordable Housing Program, which supports projects that provide affordable housing to low- or very low-income households. The Bank is part of the Federal Home Loan Bank System, which was established by Congress in 1932 and serves as a reliable source of funds for housing, jobs and growth in all economic cycles. To learn more, visit http://www.fhlb-pgh.com.

About Enterprise Bank
Enterprise Bank first opened for business in October 1998 with the idea to create a bank that understood the needs of small business owners. They offered loan, deposit and banking services to entrepreneurs in a friendly, personable atmosphere that places the client first. With that ethos, they have worked hard to challenge the expectations small business owners have of a typical financial institution. To learn more, visit http://www.enterprisebankpgh.com.

About Pitt Cycles, home of Indian Motorcycle of Pittsburgh & KTM of Pittsburgh
With Pitt Cycles’ tag line, “Purveyors of Distinctive Brands”, Indian Motorcycles and KTM Sportcycles are a tailored fit. Indian and KTM are premium-brand motorcycles representing class-defining innovation in design and styling.

The Indian and KTM brands were chosen because of four important distinctions that the brands unknowingly share:
1. They share a significant motorcycle heritage.
2. They both suffered through economic hardships, but have persevered to become stronger and more viable in their respective market segments.
3. They share a history of technical innovation and performance that carries through to present day, thus creating premium product offerings for the distinguishing consumer.
4. They share a commitment to listening and understanding their client base and responding with products and services to meet their client’s needs and desires

With their strategic location in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, Pitt Cycles’ marketing territory includes the North Hills, West Hills, most of the city of Pittsburgh, and a significant portion of the South and East Hills. For more information, visit http://www.pittcycles.com.

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Enterprising Spartans 2

On Saturday, October 14th 2017, The Spartans of Enterprise Bank gathered in Steubenville Ohio for the Pittsburgh Sprint. The original team of Randy Davidson, Joe Fidler, Evan Hayward and Jay Murgi, was joined by Mason Lockard. The group faced many obstacles in the over 4 miles that made up the course, including the spear throw, a 7ft wall, the twister (rotating monkey bars), Barbed Wire, the herc hoist, bucket brigade, fire jump and, of course, tons of mud. 

All five completed the course successfully. Congrats to the Enterprise Spartans!

Enterprising Spartans

On August 26th, 2017, Enterprise employees Joe Fidler, Randy Davidson, Evan Hayward and Jay Murgi traveled into the heart of West Virginia to take on The Ascent Spartan Challenge, a 10 mile, 29 obstacle course. The four faced walls, barbed wire, rope climbs, cargo nets, throwing spears, fire jumping and lots and lots of mud, but emerged victorious. Congratulations to all four!

 

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Ascend: Mountain Climbing in The Wilds of South Side

Ascend is a stunning place to walk into. The first thing you notice is the literal indoor mountain that takes up the center of the 27,000 sq. foot space. It is at once intimidating and inviting, with bright colorful hand and footholds dotting every facet of the massive arching structure. It is joined by 4 more separate walls, all built by Walltopia, a leading manufacturer of climbing walls globally, with each one featuring different angles and heights ranging from 13 to 24 feet.

The facility also features a fully equipped and staffed Yoga center, a childcare center, a retail area with climbing gear, food and beverages, a fitness center for non climbers, locker rooms with showers and free, on site parking. All of this is housed in Pittsburgh’s South Side, an epicenter of commerce and culture for the city.

On Tuesday, March 14th, Ascend climbing gym opened it’s doors for the first time. It was the culmination of many years of dreaming and planning and hard work by Alex Bernstein, Paul Guarino and Aaron Gilmore.

Alex Bernstein started climbing around 10 years ago. He would climb in Pittsburgh with his father and sister while his mom would spectate. Around a year later, as they were visiting his sister in San Francisco and were visiting a climbing gym, his mom questioned, “Why doesn’t Pittsburgh have this?” A seed was planted. When Alex returned to Pittsburgh, he started planning. Between the business plans, financing proposals, and looking into real estate options, it was a daunting task. Time passed.

4 years later, after returning to the U.S. from getting his Masters degree in Austria, he wanted to start something new. He wanted to start something that “people get to enjoy in person and they’ll leave and can tell people about and smile and have a great time.” He wanted to make something tangible and real. The idea of the climbing gym returned. This time he sought out the assistance of fellow climber Paul Guarino and the two were joined shortly thereafter by Aaron Gilmore. Things finally started to come together.

According to Alex, the biggest challenges in putting together the gym have been finding the right real estate/location and the money to make it happen. Finding the right location for the gym was particularly difficult due to it’s unique nature. Size for a project like this is critical, and very hard to find, especially in the city. They had a few false starts, including landlords pulling out at the last moment and problematic zoning issues, but they finally settled on a South Side site 3 years in. The gym is funded by a combination of private investments, The Progress Fund and Enterprise Bank, and a loan from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

“The majority of the time it took was to raise the equity.” Says Jay Murgi, Relationship Manager at Enterprise Bank. “They were eager, very eager and they did whatever they had to do to get this to work.” Ascend started working with Enterprise in 2013, and Jay was there with them every step of the way. He recalled seeing the location when it was just an empty warehouse with CAD drawings on the walls. Once everything started to take shape and things actually  started to look like the drawings, he was impressed.

How has it been working with Enterprise? “Awesome.” Alex says. “Couldn’t have asked for a better bank.” He was surprised at the sheer amount of paperwork involved, but shared that working alongside Jay was a pleasure. “The process was not that bad for a loan and a project of this size.”

For Alex, the most satisfying part of the journey so far has not only been opening a climbing gym, but finding that it is so much more. “To give people a home and to be a hub for the community, not only the Pittsburgh community but also the south side community and the climbing community, we want this to be this hub of community and awesomeness.”

“We’ve been waiting for this moment.” “This is it, this is the dream being realized.”

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Industrially Unique: KinetiGear, LLC

When I walked into the KinetiGear, LLC, makers of BoXZY, headquarters I knew I was in a unique space. There were mechanical pieces and parts everywhere and the people looked energized and happy. BoXZY is a 3D printer, CNC Mill, and Laser Engraver in one made to help fill a gap in the industry.   As a client of Enterprise Bank I was granted the opportunity to visit the headquarters and speak with one of the founders, Joel Johnson. After a tour of the headquarters itself I sat down with Joel, who started the business with his brother Justin, and talk about their experience creating BoXZY from the ground up. Joel and Justin have experienced extreme success with BoXZY earning the title of Pennsylvania’s Most Successfully Funded Tech Campaign on Kickstarter and Pittsburgh’s most Successfully Funded Campaign. I decided to start from the beginning and ask Joel what is motivation was to become an entrepreneur with his brother. “I always say that being an entrepreneur is who we are,” he replied, “I don’t think you just suddenly say you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s just us.” Joel continued to tell me about how he and his brother would constantly be evaluating their surroundings, asking themselves how they would sell certain products or make a profit off of them. Since they were kids they have been indulging their entrepreneurial spirit and challenging themselves until they came up with the idea for BoXZY. “It was actually an extended process,” Joel explained as he started to tell the story of BoXZY. Joel had decided to help his brother run a contracting company and started talking about small business issues and education’s link to it. Then they started investigating local maker/incubator spaces such as Tech Shop and noticed the three things that were most used in those spaces; 3D printing, CNC milling, and Laser engraving. And that was how BoXZY was born.

I had to find out more about their process creating BoXZY completely from scratch and how they would describe their entrepreneurial journey. “It was wonderful… and horrible, all of the above,” Joel explained, “I was a psychology and philosophy major and I had to learn robotics.” He further explained to me that Justin was the inventor out of the two of them, but both of them had a lot to learn before they could launch BoXZY. Joel also told me about how their different view points coupled with their sibling competitiveness fueled their processes. “Conflict is not bad, it’s not the kind of thing that should leave a stain, it’s the kind of thing that should come to a conclusion and a solution,” Joel said while describing how their brotherly competition stays friendly and always gets resolved. This way they are able to continue to be partners and keep their relationship in tact. While Joel admits that their journey through creating their company wasn’t perfect, he chooses to see mistakes as feedback and information about their environment. Sometimes through mistakes you learn more than you would have if you had “done things right”. “The one thing I would do differently is use an experienced contractor in situations where I don’t need labor. Mistakes in labor can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars before you even know what happened. A mature contractor can stabilize a lack of experience,” Joel explained.

Joel’s favorite item that they made using BoXZY? “It’s not going to sound cool, but it’s a utility knife. It’s super pretty, super personalized, and it’s definitely my favorite.” Joel explained that they have made a lot of different projects that he is really proud of, but he is most proud of the diversity of the projects. They have participated in artistic projects such as paintings, gear sets, and fine woods. A big part of what Joel and Justin do is go to Maker Faires to network and show off what their product can do. “Maker Faires have… people from art, crafts, robotics, someone making their first product for Kickstarter,” he explained. It’s an incredibly diverse network of people coming together to learn more about how they can make what they love. The intellectual capital exchange is Joel’s favorite part of the Maker Faires because they inspire Joel and Justin to create better improvements. What is Joel’s advice for those looking to become an entrepreneur? “Avoid venture capital, think of yourself as a small business, interrogate your environment and your life for resources,” he said. He says also to take advice with a grain of salt, as advice is uni-directional. Instead of having someone tell you the path you should take, you should have someone who challenges you constantly. “You need to be brutal when you look at the resources available to you,” he continued.

Joel and Justin found Enterprise through well-placed connections in the industry. Joel explains that he knew someone who received a loan from Enterprise and were happy with their experience. Joel then went to his financial advisor to talk about if Enterprise was the right choice, which we were. Joel only has nice things to say about Enterprise and his experience with us as a whole. “They’re partners with us in the process and have consistently overcome obstacles,” he explains. He explains the process as adaptive and flexible with Enterprise focusing on their needs as a small business. He says that while many organizations said they would help, no one ever really lived up to what they said until Enterprise.

After my discussion with Joel I went to discuss their success with their Relationship Manager Randy Davidson. Randy is incredibly proud to be able to witness the success of Joel and Justin with BoXZY. “My first impression of them is that they were highly intelligent and high tech,” Randy told me. He continued to talk about how they had a great vision for their future and the future of BoXZY. When Enterprise and KinetiGear, LLC met, KinetiGear was still in the start up phase but was growing rapidly. Enterprise was able to provide an SBA loan to Joel and Justin for inventory purchases and working capital. Throughout the process Randy describes Joel and Justin as very cooperative which led to a smooth process. Randy also mentions working with Hadley Pratt, the Head of Corporate Services, with which he has developed a good, strong relationship. “Joel and Justin are headed in a really strong direction and I’m excited to see how they continue to grow in the months and years to come.”

To learn more about BoXZY please visit http://www.boxzy.com/.

 

Family Matters: Lake Raystown Resort and Pure Events

In the summer of 1984, Jules Patt opened up the Lake Raystown Resort on the shores of Raystown Lake. Fast forward to April 30th, 2013 when Jules’s children, Samantha and Josh, decided to buy the business from their father. Samantha and Josh then opened up the company Pure Events to manage the Lake Raystown Resort. I got to speak with Samantha and Josh to learn more about their experience with running Lake Raystown Resort for the past three years and how they uphold their father’s legacy. My first question for the siblings was what it is like continuing the business that their father started and ran successfully. “It’s about upholding the legacy. It’s been great being involved in something that was built from the ground up,” Samantha explained. She told me about how she has grown up with the business and it feels wonderful to be carrying on the tradition. This is a business that her children can be involved with and their children’s children. In a nutshell, Pure Events owns and operates Lake Raystown Resort which is a 400-acre outdoor destination. Pure Events leases this land from the Army Corp of Engineers. Because of this unique business, Samantha and Josh never have the same day twice. Samantha told me, “We are very actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Lake Raystown Resort and we always help out where we are needed.” Josh complimented that statement by explaining how sometimes they make pizzas or lifeguard, whatever is needed that day. Samantha and Josh are very actively involved at Lake Raystown Resort and obviously care very much about how the business is run. Recently Samantha and Josh have implemented some updates and changes to Lake Raystown Resort to make it even better. They have added permanent yurts, which are furnished round tents, for visitors to stay in. Samantha explained that these have been very successful thus far and they are looking forward to putting up more of these. They also replaced one of their docks with 64 slips with the ultimate goal to replace one dock per year. Continuing with the renovations and updates, Samantha and Josh renovated one of the lodges about 2 years ago. When updating and renovating Samantha and Josh make sure to give their own style to the grounds while still keeping to their roots and the legacy their father laid down.

The legacy of the Lake Raystown Resort is a very strong and successful one with a rich history. In the summer of 1984, the resort was opened as a small campground, similar to a state park. But as the area grew in popularity, Jules put in more amenities such as water, electric, and cable TV. Lake Raystown Resort started with six cabins and has grown exponentially since then due to the amazing vision of Jules Patt. Jules had multiple properties as a real estate developer such as shopping centers, hotels, and everything in between. The waterpark opened in 1985 and had the highest waterslides in Pennsylvania when they opened. Samantha and Josh have been involved in the resort ever since they were in high school, working different jobs and learning different parts of the business. Once Samantha and Josh graduated college they both moved to different areas of the east coast to pursue their careers. But, their father called them both and asked them to come home to help him run the company. They moved back in 2000 and 2004, respectively, and became limited partners in the business. I asked Samantha and Josh if they had anything they would have done differently in their process of working for, and owning, the business. “Even when you wish things were different, it’s a life lesson. It makes you stronger and more adaptable,” they said. The lesson here is that things may not always turn out the way you thought they would, but sometimes you get lead to a better place.
Enterprise Bank has been connected to Pure Events since 2000, when Enterprise did a round of financing for approximately 30 cabins and 3 houseboats. Joe Novitski has been their relationship manager ever since helping them with whatever they may need. I asked Samantha and Josh about their experience in their 16 years with Enterprise and the response was incredibly positive. “Enterprise has been great, they helped a lot in the purchase of the company from our father. In fact, they were our first call,” they said. They told me that the bank is big enough for the financing they need, but not too big as they get lost in the shuffle. “We know a lot of people by name at Enterprise and it really is a great relationship to have,” said Samantha.
My last question for Samantha and Josh was about what their advice is for those looking to start a business or run a business successfully. “It’s important to stay true to your roots,” they started, “It’s really easy to lose sight of where you started and what started the company.” They also said to make sure you’re involved in what’s going on with the company, and that you’re out there working with your staff. Having a connection with your staff is the backbone of a successful company.


After my discussion with Samantha and Josh I spoke with Joe Novitski, their relationship manager, about his experience with them and how he became connected to Pure Events. My first question was about Joe’s first impression of Samantha and Josh. “They were young and ambitious,” he explained, “they wanted to keep this a family-run business, keep it successful, and make it grow.” Joe spoke very highly of the entire family with an emphasis on how the second generation has thrived as they’ve owned the business for the past 3 years. Joe became connected to Pure Events through another bank that Jules was working with back in 2000. The bank was looking to do financing but needed another participant, so they called Joe Novitski to help with the loan. From there, Joe has also helped with other deals including the sale of the company to Samantha and Josh. “They have been very easy to work with throughout my time with them. They are hands-on operators of the company and strong leaders,” Joe told me. My final question for Joe was about his experience at the resort itself and how he enjoys his time there. “It’s a fun, relaxed, family atmosphere for summer recreational fun. There’s boating, camping, fishing, and so much to do. They also have an old time showboat called the Proud Mary that they do parties and cruises on,” Joe explained, “It’s beautiful.” Joe also told me that the land used to be a town inside of a valley, which the Army Corps flooded for their own use. It is said that the town is still perfectly preserved under there. After talking with Joe I can see that he has a large amount of respect for the entire family and has enjoyed his time working with them.
To learn more about Pure Events and Lake Raystown Resort please visit http://www.raystownresort.com or call 814-658-3500.