Cre814 Launches in the First Frontier – New Maker Micro Loan Fund Established
I can read dozens of old strategic plans that envisioned our mountain main streets one day lined with small, vibrant, happy, businesses. You know the ones – more than just sustainable economic generators, we all hoped for businesses to be transformative destinations in-and-of themselves. Streets bustling with business owners who would advocate for their neighboring business and community alike. They would shout “this is our street, these are our shops, our products, and come heck or high water, we are going to be the best we can be. Please join in!”
Economic developers can plan, push the vision, and ensure there are relevant resources in place to help things along. But in the end, only the business owners, investors, and risk takers can make it happen. They are the ones that need to believe it, live it, and take it on. Lots of smaller communities never see that type of vision take hold.
Well, it’s happening here in Blair County.
Many of our newer start-ups identify as makers, doers, owners, and change-agents. Coffee Shops, breweries, flower shops, dress boutiques, housing developers, specialty soap makers, performers, artists, web developers, culinary artisans (deep breath), have been slowly filling in spaces along-side larger players like hospitals, higher-ed and manufacturers. Those former “in between” spaces have become places where people feel less obligated to go out of a sense of duty and more because it’s fun, impactful, different and on the rise…it’s the place to be.
A group of next generation businesses and change makers with diverse skills and backgrounds announced the formation of “Cre814.” A doer-led and owned movement designed to cultivate the maker community. The group’s mission is “to support, recognize, encourage and celebrate creators’ in the 814-area code.”
In addition to organizing ad-hoc street performances and promoting maker products, the first launch event will be a one-day festival on Saturday, September 22nd to showcase, celebrate and provide exposure for local creatives.
The event is being held at Heritage Plaza in Downtown Altoona showcasing creatives from across the 814 with booths, maker-spaces and tables, original live music, dancing from area schools, sidewalk chalk competition, local food and drinks with plenty of healthy and vegan food options, and more.
From vision, to planning, to doing. Our smaller destination business owner-advocates are making their way – owning not only their businesses, but the streets and community as well. ABCD Corporation is here to help them along with investor networks, financing programs, planning support and connections to talent. In fact, ABCD is establishing a new First Frontier Mountain Main Street Micro Loan Fund targeting maker start-up businesses along our many mountain street communities. For more information about the loan fund contact Rich Lasek at Richl@abcdcorp.org.
Registration for the Cre814 event is open to any-and-all creatives throughout the 814-area code. Space is on a first-book basis and will remain open until all available are fully reserved. All proceeds of the event go towards funding more opportunities for creative small businesses. Check out their site www.cre814.com