South Lancaster City Business Research

research cover map

In September 2013, ASSETS Lancaster moved to Southern Market Center from its long-time home on North Prince Street. As outreach to and interest from the south side of the city increased, they realized there was something missing.  No one—not the city Economic Development department, not the Mayor’s office, not the Chamber of Commerce—knew exactly which businesses were operating in the south of the city, who owns the businesses, or what type of support they might need.  Aiming to remedy this lack of much-needed information, ASSETS recently conducted a 3-month long mapping and survey project of businesses in South Lancaster City, including 239 businesses mapped and 70 surveyed.

Some interesting results of the findings include:

  • Most common business type is grocery retail
  • 71% of business owners are male, while 29% are female
  • 46% of business owners are Hispanic
  • 3% of business owners are African American, despite making up 18% of the population
  • Southwest Lancaster has twice the number of businesses as Southeast

An increased focus on South Lancaster City by ASSETS and other institutions is crucial for city-wide economic development because of the long-standing disparities between the southern and northern halves of the city.  For example, poverty rates in South Lancaster City are 40%, nearly double those of North Lancaster City, at 22%.

For ASSETS, this mapping serves as baseline data about the economic condition of a significant portion of our city, and an identification of the private sector stakeholders who can be engaged in the work of economic development and increasing access to prosperity for all Lancaster citizens.

Download PDF of report here:  ASSETS- South Lancaster City Business Research Project 2014

You can also access an interactive map of South Lancaster City businesses by clicking the following link.  Once in the webpage, click the “Show Contents of Map” tab, followed by the box for each sector.   Access map here.

Thanks to Lancaster City Alliance and City of Lancaster Economic Development & City Revitalization Department for their support of this project.

The report was also featured in multiple news sources in August:

 

ASSETS Lancaster surveys south city businesses

LNP highlights a survey conducted by ASSETS researching businesses on the south side of Lancaster City. To view the original post, with images and the map we created based on our findings, click here

Assets Lancaster has released a survey of businesses on the south side of Lancaster, a report it says is the first of its kind.

“We didn’t know what’s there,” Assets program director Jonathan Coleman said. “What are their needs?” No one knows.”

Assets is an economic development nonprofit aimed primarily at small “mom-and-pop” entrepreneurs.

Its report is called the South Lancaster City Research Project. For it, the nonprofit mapped 239 businesses and received survey responses from 70.

The work took three months to complete and cost about $5,000. The city of Lancaster and the Lancaster City Alliance underwrote it, Coleman said.

Among the findings:

  • Groceries are the most common type of business in the area.
  • Among business owners surveyed, 71 percent are male, 29 percent are female.
  • 46 percent of business owners are Hispanic.
  • 3 percent of business owners are black.

The high representation of Hispanics among business owners is notable, given the nation’s ongoing debate over immigration, Coleman said.

WIth more than 100 Hispanic businesses on the south side, “that’s a heck of a lot of job creators,” he said.

Conversely, blacks would appear to be underrepresented, given that they make up 18 percent of Lancaster’s population.

Assets has just started to present its findings to local African American leaders and “they recognize that that’s a problem,” Coleman said.

Assets hopes to engage with them to encourage more black business formation, he said.

Poverty on the south side is nearly double what it is on the north side: 40 percent versus 22 percent, Assets said.

Assets realized there was a need for the survey after officials there completed paperwork for the city’s CRIZ program, Coleman said.

The CRIZ requires the compilation of detailed information on businesses in a designated zone, to establish a tax baseline before issuing bonds for more economic development.

But the CRIZ is based in the city’s center and northwest, not the south.

Assets realized that similar information would help organizations in designing economic development programs for the south side, Coleman said.

But up to now, it hadn’t been collected.

“No one — not the city Economic Development department, not the Mayor’s office, not the Chamber of Commerce — knew exactly which businesses were operating in the south of the city, who owns the businesses, or what type of support they might need,” Assets said in a statement.

Coleman called the report a “working report,” and said Assets is looking for feedback on it.

The Lancaster City Alliance is sponsoring a citywide economic development plan, being put together by a Baltimore consulting firm.

Assets has been involved in that process, and has provided the consultants a copy of the south side report, Coleman said.


Assets Lancaster has created a map based on its research. Click the link or the image below to view it.

Once you’re there, you can click on the “Details” button to see business categories. Click on each business to see its information.

Study looks at business in south Lancaster City

CPBJ highlights a study conducted by ASSETS discovering the poverty rate in the south part of Lancaster city. To view the original post, on CPBJ’s website, click here.

The poverty rate in the south part of Lancaster city is 40 percent — nearly double that of north’s 22 percent – and a new study by Assets Lancaster examines business in that less-considered sector

“No one — not the city Economic Development department, not the Mayor’s office, not the Chamber of Commerce — knew exactly which businesses were operating in the south of the city, who owns the businesses, or what type of support they might need,” a news release says.

Assets realized that after moving from North Prince Street to Southern Market Center in September 2013  and subsequently embarking on a three-month mapping and survey project.

The study “serves as baseline data about the economic condition of a significant portion of our city, and an identification of the private sector stakeholders who can be engaged in the work of economic development and increasing access to prosperity for all Lancaster citizens,” Assets says.

Some notable findings of the study are as follows:

• Grocery retail is the most common business type.

• 71 percent of business owners are male, 29 percent female.

• 46 percent of business owners are Hispanic.

• African Americans are 18 percent of the population and 3 percent of the business owners.

• Southwest Lancaster has twice the number of businesses as Southeast.

• Of 70 businesses surveyed, 45 reported a positive relationship with the city; eight said it was negative; 13 were indifferent; and four said the relationship was complicated, with positives and negatives.

A nonprofit, Assets Lancaster “has focused on microenterprise support for entrepreneurs in Lancaster County for 20 years.” The news release thanked Lancaster City Alliance and the City of Lancaster Economic Development & City Revitalization Department for supporting the study.

Great Social Enterprise Pitch: The Common Wheel takes top prize

 LNP wrote up a recap of our 2014 Great Social Enterprise Pitch. Click through to view the original post, with images from our 2014 event.

In the end, The Common Wheel rolled to victory.

The community bike center, which opened for business last month in the former pump house at Reservoir Park, took top prize Friday evening at the Great Social Enterprise Pitch.

Co-founders Chris Caldwell and Brad Copeland earned themselves $5,000 plus products and services worth more than $13,000, donated by local companies.

“We’re very happy,” Caldwell said.

“Ecstatic!” Copeland chimed in.

The prizes provide a little financial “cushion,” allowing for more peace of mind as they pursue their dream, they said.

Plus, the win is an affirmation, they said: The judges endorsed their vision as having value for the community.

The pitch is the culmination of a process that began in the spring, when the Lancaster County Community Foundation and Assets Lancaster joined forces on a program to nurture local “social enterprises.”

Ten individuals and teams signed up to learn business skills and try to bring their ideas to fruition.

Social enterprises are organizations that combine a for-profit business model with a focus on doing good.

Common Wheel, for example, sells refurbished bicycles as well as parts and accessories. It will offer training in bike repair to at-risk youth and promote bicycling as a fun, healthy alternative to car-centric transportation.

“Our ultimate goal is to get as many people on bikes as possible,” Caldwell said.

Besides Common Wheel, Friday’s five finalists included:

  • Jackie Gerlitzki and Jonelle Renno: 2 Fish 5 Loaves, a pay-what-you-can food truck.
  • Sam Fisher: Nomadic Animal Grazer, a portable animal grazing system.
  • Mark Walmer: Record Eraser, a pardon and expungement service.
  • Nancy Keeler: Whimsy, an apparel company that empowers at-risk women.

The pitch took place before an audience of some 200 or so at the city’s Fulton Elementary School. The finalists had a brief five minutes to make their presentations.

Fisher told the audience God had called him to create his grazing system, a sort of portable cage that allows livestock to feed safely and sustainably on limited land.

Walmer spoke about the thousands of people who struggle in life because of criminal charges that never led to conviction but were never dismissed.

Technology has created a society that has “forgotten how to forget,” he said.

Gerlitzki and Renno described their vision of a food truck that could journey from prosperous neighborhoods to poor ones, selling wholesome food to all, while Keeler explained how Whimsy would enable progress on three women’s issues at once: objectification, prostitution and jobs.

The company would employ women to make clothes that don’t cast females as sex objects, and use the proceeds to fight prostitution.

While the judges deliberated, the Rev. Julius Walls delivered an impassioned speech on the importance of using business to drive social change.

He is the former CEO of Greyston Bakery, a thriving Yonkers, N.Y.-based enterprise that employes at-risk people to make foods, primarily brownies.

He described the extra effort Greyston’s leaders make to help and support its employees. But they also are held to high standards with no excuses allowed, he said.

You’d be surprised how often people live up to, or down to, the expectations you have for them, he said.

Tom Baldrige, president of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry, was one of the judges.

Choosing among entrepreneurs who displayed so much passion was “gut-wrenching,” but also inspiring, he said.

Fisher and Keeler finished second and third, respectively, earning cash and in-kind prizes along with Caldwell and Copeland. Altogether, the prize packages totaled more than $38,000.

Organizers hope to make the Pitch an annual event, said Melody Keim, the foundation’s vice president for programs and initiatives.

Husband and wife Michael and Ronita Horning attended the Pitch with Michael’s cousin, Erica. They knew several of the contestants, and thought the evening was inspiring.

It makes you think about how businesses you buy from in your everyday life impact the wider community, Michael said.

In coming weeks and months, the Pitch organizers will have followups with all of this year’s participants, not just Friday’s winners, helping them along, Keim said.

Then there’s planning for the Great Social Enterprise Pitch of 2015.

“We’re not done today,” she said. “This isn’t the end.”

The Great Social Enterprise Pitch is tonight, and we’re live-tweeting it

As originally posted on LNP. To view the original post, as well as live tweets from the event, click here.

If you’re interested in organizations that combine a business focus with a commitment to making their community a better place, tonight’s the night to head over to Fulton Elementary School, 225 W. Orange St.

That’s where the finale of Lancaster’s Great Social Enterprise Pitch will take place.

Can’t make it? I will be live-tweeting the event on this page. (See the @timstuhldreher feed on the left side of this page.) Things get under way at 7 p.m.

Teams have been working through spring and summer to develop business plans for their particular “social enterprise.” This evening, five finalists get five minutes each to explain their ideas to a panel of judges and the audience.

The top three win cash and prizes. There will also be a “pass the hat” vote, in which audience members can donate to the ideas they like best.

Tonight’s keynote speaker is the Rev. Julius Walls, former CEO of Greyston Bakery, one of the best-known social enterprises in the U.S.

The five finalists are as follows:

You can click through to their Rockethub profiles (and those of other participants) via this page.

The Great Social Enterprise Pitch is a project of the Lancaster County Community Foundation and Assets Lancaster.