Harvest Moon Bagel Co.: Philly-Style Bagels brought to Lancaster

Chelsea Zawisa has always worked in the food industry. “At times I wondered if I should get a job outside of the food industry, but saw no reason to, I love food.”

In High School, Chelsea worked in various restaurants and bakeries, building a passion for her own cooking. In 2011, she went to YTI for their pastry arts program and began to master baking. Once finished, she worked at bakeries and cafes, including Commonwealth on Queen. During this time, she began to think about owning her own business. “I feel like everyone in the restaurant industry wants to own their own business.” After planning and some research, Happy Belly Bakery was created in 2014.

However, the bakery was only a part-time business and Chelsea would only sell baked goods at the Lancaster East Side Market. An idea began to form inside her mind. For months, Chelsea had visited Philadelphia and saw the success a particular kind of bakery was having: bagel shops. “When we were in Philadelphia, I would walk into every bagel shop I could find and talk with the owners if I could.” After months of research and support from family and friends, Chelsea began planning the transition of her business to solely selling bagels and condiments with a focus on buying fresh, quality ingredients from the Lancaster community. The name would also be changed to the Harvest Moon Bagel Co.

While preparing for this transition, Chelsea knew the ASSETS Learning Circles was a perfect fit for her. While having a great deal of experience within the food industry, she still had only a smattering of experience and knowledge about owning a business. When the first Learning Circles was available, she immediately signed up. She was put into contact with professionals who had real experience and helped her immensely with multiple areas like marketing, the city’s laws, basic accounting, etc. Chelsea found ASSETS itself to be incredibly open and friendly. “I don’t think there is anything like this in many places.”

The owners of Commonwealth on Queen also helped her in starting her business by allowing her to use their oven to bake bagels and also help make the logo for her business. With the support of friends, family, ASSETS and Commonwealth, Chelsea finally officially opened the Harvest Moon Bagel Co. on Sunday, June 26th, 2016.

In the future, Chelsea wants to continue perfecting her bagels and experimenting with different flavors for her butter and cream cheese. She wants to have her own storefront in downtown Lancaster and also have the best bagels in the county while also providing a friendly, community-oriented atmosphere. 


Cultivate Lancaster returns!

Take your business idea to the next level.

Do you have a business plan that could use some help getting fleshed out? Want an opportunity to network with peers and connect with small business resource providers?

The Cultivate Lancaster Entrepreneurs Forum is your chance to present your big idea to a community of thinkers just like you! Presented by the Lancaster City Alliance and ASSETS, Cultivate Lancaster is a free workshop for budding entrepreneurs to connect with influential thinkers and doers and learn about the many resources and small business support services that are available in the community.

Since its debut in December 2015, the Cultivate Lancaster Entrepreneurs Forum has engaged more than 400 local entrepreneurs and resource providers across two forum events, offering a unique opportunity for budding innovators and existing small business owners to find the resources they need to get establish or grow their business.

The third Cultivate Lancaster Entrepreneurs Forum returns to Downtown Lancaster on December 8, 2016 at the Southern Market Center (100 South Queen Street) from 5 pm to 9 pm. Register Today!

Sign up for the Cultivate Lancaster newsletter to stay up to date on future event announcements and information on how you can connect with other local entrepreneurs while addressing and solving business challenges, brainstorming ideas and learning from one another!

More information and registration at www.cultivatelancaster.com

New Year = New Programs

Start 2016 right by participating in one of the ASSETS programs that seek to create economic opportunity and cultivate entrepreneurial leadership.  You, your business, and your community will benefit.  Visit our website for more information www.assetsPA.org

Women’s Leadership Circle:

Applications are open for the Women’s Leadership Circle that begins February 24.  This group women come together one evening a week for ten weeks in a safe and supportive environment to deepen their personal capacity for transformational leadership, acquire new tools to use in their leadership and build their circle of support.  There will be weekly assignments to be completed between sessions.  Visit the WLC page for more information and to apply before the January 31 deadline.

Lending Circle:

ASSETS has a unique lending program for micro-entrepreneurs that provides access to capital and business technical assistance services while establishing or improving credit history. Our Lending Circles is made up of entrepreneurs who need financial services and are willing to work together to make that happen.  Info sessions for the next Lending Circle is being formed will be held January 11 and 13 (5:30-6:30 PM).   Please sign up at info@assetsPA.org

Learning Circle:

Are you trying to start a business but don’t know where to start? Are you looking for way to refine your business idea and interact with like-minded entrepreneurs? Do you want to use your business to positively impact your community? If so, Learning Circle’s business planning program may be right for you.  These ten classes meet weekly and will begin February 16, contact us to enroll info@assetsPA.org

Sustaining One Business, Starting Another

This summer, ASSETS clients Kam Li Tangbau and Brang Gan Maran opened a new restaurant in North East Lancaster City. But the story behind the restaurant, Burma Road, runs much deeper than you’d expect. When the duo came to ASSETS in 2013, they’d been operating a business for nearly 3 years. Refugees of Myanmar, Li Tangbau and Gran Maran started a sushi franchise providing pre-made sushi in a local grocery store. They came to ASSETS looking for help growing their enterprise.

“It’s not necessarily expected that the business idea someone brings at the start of the course is the business that actually gets started in the end. Hopefully, through the lessons learned in the course, prospective entrepreneurs learn the skills and knowledge to start any business, even if the first idea doesn’t pan out” ASSETS Director of Programs, Jonathan Coleman, said. That’s exactly the case here, except this dynamic duo has continued operating and growing their sushi franchise, and opened the new restaurant, Burma Road.

Learning Circles is a program intended to equip local entrepreneurs with business fundamentals and understand feasibility studies. While the name has changed and fallen under new direction over the years, Learning Circles was and remains the foundational tool by which ASSETS hopes to build a stronger Lancaster. Connecting entrepreneurial minds to resources and education necessary to start and sustain small businesses is essential to creating economic opportunity for everyone. According to the Small Business Administration, 64 percent of new jobs in the US, between 1993 and 2011, were created by small businesses. And as Lancaster continues to grow, ASSETS believes the county’s small business leadership should reflect our changing community.

So while Li Tangbau and Gan Maran have their hands full with culinary enterprise, the staff at ASSETS can’t help but feel inspired. It’s this kind of dedication that ASSETS feeds off of. Community members with creative ideas and passion–that’s what gets us fired up about economic change, and that’s what inspires us to keep doing what we’re doing.


The moral of the story is this: whether you currently own a small business or you have an inkling of a business idea, ASSETS wants to help you. Our next Learning Circles program is staged to begin this fall, on September 22. But don’t wait! The application deadline is this Friday, September 11.

For more information contact Jonathan Coleman at jonathan@assetslancaster.org or give us a call at (717) 393-6089.

Opportunity for All Breakfast – August 4

We’re all better off when we’re all better off.

We’ll be talking about inequality in Lancaster and what we can do about it to create opportunity for all on Tuesday, August 4 from 7:30 – 9 AM at the ASSETS Transforming Communities Through Business Breakfast Series. Find more information about the breakfast series and its inspiration through the highlighted links and register by emailing events@assetslancaster.org.

Angelique Arroyo will lead a panel and table discussions about how real security comes from embracing the strengths of a diverse community. Breakfast, catered by Upohar, will begin at 7:30 am and end promptly by 9:00 am at the Southern Market Center

Panelists include: 

Dr. Stephanie Crumpton: Stephanie joined Lancaster Theological Seminary in Fall 2014 from Salisbury, N.C., where she was assistant professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Hood Theological Seminary. Previously she was an adjunct professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, a lecturer at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and a teaching fellow at Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center. In Georgia she has served as a state court advocate, and consultant on the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She received a Doctor of Theology, Pastoral Care & Counseling, from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia; a Master of Divinity from Johnson C. Smith Presbyterian Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta; and a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Oklahoma’s Langston University.

Fran Rodriguez: Fran joined the Lancaster County Community Foundation team in 2014 as the lead of the Ah-Ha Seed Fund grantmaking, scholarship program, volunteer recruitment and to work with the Extraordinary Give. Fran has an extensive background in community building, including being a founder of the Latino Empowerment Project and Lancaster Adelante Education Committee. Fran has spent the past 10 years working with and advocating on behalf of Latino-driven issues within Lancaster County and Pennsylvania. She has worked in the areas of public education, state government and the legal community.

Marylee Sauder: Marylee worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 10 years before starting her own corporate writing business, Sauder INK, in 1994. She writes for Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies and healthcare systems.  A Philadelphia native, Marylee lives with her family in Lancaster and is an active community volunteer. Currently, she is involved with social justice and sexual assault prevention work through the YWCA Lancaster. She also writes on a pro bono basis for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and PA Says No More. 

Live Pitch Guest Speaker: Reverend Julius Walls Jr.

Community Voting is done and The Great Social Enterprise Pitch is on to the next step: The Live Pitch. Five of the social enterprise ideas will move on and present idea to a panel of judges in an exciting Live Pitch on August 8 at 7PM to determine the winner of the Great Social Enterprise Pitch. All are invited to come and be a part of the first annual Live Pitch. It will be an exciting and historic evening. Reverend Julius Walls Jr. will be our guest speaker at the Live Pitch.

Julius Walls Jr. is a dedicated ordained minister, devoted husband, and dutiful father and is known for his preaching, teaching, and speaking. Rev. Walls is the pastor of Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, a historical church in Yonkers, NY. Rev. Walls is also the President of Greater Centennial Community Development Corp., which engages in real estate development and management (housing/homeownership), youth programming, and financial empowerment.

Rev. Walls has worked in business, academia, and ministry. He has served as Chief of Staff of Greater Centennial Church, a 6000 member church; CEO of Greyston Bakery, a $7 million social enterprise; Vice President of Operations for Cocoline Chocolate, a $23 million chocolate manufacturing company; and as an adjunct professor at the business graduate schools at New York University and Bainbridge Graduate Institute. He serves on several local and national non-profit and government boards and has co-authored MISSION, INC., The Practitioners Guide to Social Enterprise, 2008. Additionally, he has developed life skills programs, affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities, and performed strategic planning that have lifted individuals, families and organizations higher. In his various roles he has met with Presidents (Clinton and Obama), spoken at multiple universities including several Ivy League, served and serves on corporate, non-profit, and government boards as chair and member at-large. Rev. Walls has built businesses and consulted for others, coached executives, mentored students, and inspired thousands of people to be the best they can be.

In his current role as the president of GCCDC, Walls oversees the strategic and operational direction the 501(c)3, non-profit organization located in the city of Mt. Vernon. The GCCDC was formed in affiliation with Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church to work with underserved individuals and families who reside in Mt. Vernon to assist them achieve economic stability and self-reliance. As he serves as pastor of Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, Rev. Walls has participated in the historic 100 year-old church God-led resurgence launching programs that serve the community beyond the Sunday worship service with their after-school program, feeding program, and summer camp vacation bible school—all for free to the community.

We are excited to have Reverend Julius Walls Jr. as our guest speaker for The Great Social Enterprise Pitch!

Social Enterprise from the eyes of our Executive Director Jessica King

IMG_5057There is a two-fold way of looking at social enterprise that really motivates me. One is the reality that the systems and structures that exist aren’t up to the tasks at hand around social inequality and environmental degradation. The other, more hopeful part is the vast opportunity to employ creative solutions and new approaches inside business and civil society toward meeting those needs in new ways. I’m thrilled that ASSETS and the Lancaster County Community Foundation are launching The Great Social Enterprise Pitch because Lancaster is a perfect place for this with its deep and successful business history and the needs around us. I’m excited to see what new ideas gain some traction through this process toward a better future!

Jessica King



ASSETS Lancaster Disburses Microloans to Introductory Lending Circle

Lancaster, PA.  ASSETS Lancaster is proud to announce the official launch and loan disbursement of its first Lending Circle, as part of the newly developed PRECAPS Microloan Program.

The PRECAPS program has been developed for Lancaster-based entrepreneurs in partnership with FINANTA, a certified CDFI and SBA Microloan Intermediary based in Philadelphia. FINANTA developed the PRECAPS program in 2011 and has since extended 281 microloans and invested $1.4 million in micro-businesses. The unique Lending Circle model provides access to capital, business consulting services, networking opportunities, and a focus on establishing or improving credit history for entrepreneurs. Members of the circle guarantee the loans of all other group members, providing a form of “personal collateral.” This method not only helps to mitigate the risk of the loans, but also creates a community of entrepreneurs who have a vested interest in the success of their colleagues, leading to increased collaboration, higher loan repayment rates, and stronger business growth. The first Lending Circle consists of 8 entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and industries who are receiving loans of either $1,200 or $3,600. After completion of the 12 month program and repayment plan, they will be eligible for larger loans, either through a new Lending Circle with ASSETS or potentially from traditional lenders.

ASSETS Lancaster, based in the Southern Market Center at 100 South Queen Street in Lancaster, seeks to change lives and promote economic development by providing business support services to aspiring entrepreneurs from underserved populations.

The loan closing will take place tommorrow, March 14, at 10:00am.

For more information contact ASSETS Lancaster at 717.393.6089 or email info@assetslancaster.org.