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Just Born gets special visit, honor

By LVEDC Staff on June 10, 2014

Dawn Ferrante, director of regional competitiveness, is shown during her recent Business Outreach Program visit to Just Born.

Dawn Ferrante, director of regional competitiveness, is shown during her recent Business Outreach Program visit to Just Born.

On the heels of receiving yet another national accolade, acclaimed Bethlehem confectioner Just Born entertained members of LVEDC and its rejuvenated business retention and expansion program for a plant tour and a frank discussion of the current business environment – and the firm’s future needs and initiatives.

“The goal of the Business Outreach Program is to create a Lehigh Valley wide, seamless, integrated business calling program that helps address the needs of existing businesses,” explained LVEDC’s Director of Regional Competitiveness, Dawn Ferrante, who will head up the newly named Business Outreach Program (BOP).

Working with key partners throughout Lehigh Valley, LVEDC will identify challenges facing existing businesses, become an advocate for solutions to those problems, identify opportunities for growth, and connect businesses with other companies that can prove beneficial to both parties.

While conducting the recent BOP visit with LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham, Ferrante learned of Just Born’s latest national recognition.

The company that has long been a winner in the sweets game was recognized at the 2014 North American Effie Awards for its PEEPS “Express Your Personality” campaign. Company officials accepted the honor at a gala event held June 5th in New York City.

“The focus of our campaign was the new Brothers campaign which debuted last Easter,” Matthew Pye, vice president of trade relations and corporate affairs, told LVEDC.

For years cousins Ross Born and David Shaffer – and the entire Just Born staff – has been a good citizen and ambassadors for Lehigh Valley.

“Just Born has been operating in the Lehigh Valley for 82 years of the 91 years it has been existence,” said Pye. “Our owners, Ross Born and David Shaffer, feel that in order to have a strong and growing candy business you need to have a strong and vibrant community.”

The company gives back to the Lehigh Valley through various philanthropic, product donation and corporate volunteer programs. This past year Just Born awarded cash grants to 136 non-profit organizations. The company sweetened its commitment to community with 450 candy donations and nearly 1,400 hours of volunteer work.

Pye provided a few more examples of Just Born’s award-worthy work ethic.

“Last year, Just Born was named one of The Morning Call Top Workplaces which is a testimony to all of our associates who rated us as a great place to work,” he said.

“Our Bethlehem headquarters and factory earned the status of a landfill-free facility. We recycle 92 percent of our waste and the rest is converted into energy. We want to set an example for other Lehigh Valley businesses that being green is good for business,” Pye said.

About BOP

On May 13th the BOP program was launched with representatives on hand from Lehigh Valley’s three cities, two counties, economic development organizations, and other LVEDC partners that included the Manufacturers Resource Center, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Small Business Development Center of Lehigh University, and the Workforce Investment Board.

A small army of individuals from these public-sector agencies will be conducting interviews with business leaders across Lehigh Valley.

“The buy-in from our public-sector partners with this initiative has been outstanding,” said Ferrante. “They’ve committed to make consistent visits and share that information.”

The scheduling of those visits was discussed during a follow-up meeting with partners on May 27th. The topics: identifying companies for visits and assigning a BOP member to take ownership.

“The most important part is capturing the visit after it’s completed,” said Ferrante.

And capturing that data and placing it into a central repository will be one of the great legacies of the program, according to Ferrante.

“The impact of having a state-of-the-art data system that is exclusive to the Lehigh Valley companies will be tremendous for many reasons,” said Ferrante.

Look for the official rollout of BOP to take place this summer. But in the meantime, team members will continue collecting their all-important data.

“We’ve spent months preparing for this in a methodical approach,” added Ferrante. “And now we’re ready to get underway.”

For more information on BOP, contact Ferrante at [email protected] or (610) 266-6633.

FUN FACT: Just Born got its name when founder Sam Born proudly displayed in his store window an evolving line of daily-made candy, declaring them “just born.”

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