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Lehigh Valley Economy Featured on Marketplace Radio Program

By Colin McEvoy on May 6, 2022

The logo for Marketplace, the Peabody Award-winning show produced and distributed by American Public Media.

Just over a week after the Lehigh Valley economy was featured on CBS Sunday Morning, the region has once again generated national publicity after being featured in a segment on the popular Marketplace radio program.

Marketplace, the Peabody Award-winning show produced and distributed by American Public Media, dedicated a full segment to the Lehigh Valley and the ways in which the regional economy has transformed and diversified following the decline of the steel industry.

“Allentown, Pennsylvania took on a rust belt brand when factories shut down throughout the surrounding Lehigh Valley, but now the region is seeing new manufacturing plants open up to make things other than steel,” said David Brancaccio, Marketplace host and senior editor.

The full three-minute segment aired on May 5 and can be heard in its entirety on Marketplace’s website. Marketplace’s broadcast portfolio is heard by more than 14 million unique listeners each week on more than 800 public radio stations nationwide.

Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), was interviewed for the broadcast, during which he discussed the multifaceted nature of the regional economy and its many thriving economic sectors.

“The Lehigh Valley really has emerged as both a center for e-commerce — for moving product to population centers — and fortunately for us, making product,” Cunningham said during the segment. “Manufacturing is the second biggest part of our economy.”

The broadcast also featured Spot & Tango, a pet health and wellness company that announced last year it would establish its first manufacturing facility in Upper Macungie Township. The $20 million project was expected to create 96 new full-time jobs over three years.

Russell Breuer, founder & CEO of Spot and Tango, said the region’s central location, proximity to major markets, and well-developed transportation infrastructure make it an attractive location and allow the company to shorten supply chains.

“I think controlling our destiny — and that includes the supply chain — is a really important feature and facet of our business,” said Russell Breuer, the founder and CEO of Spot and Tango,” Breuer said, noting the facility’s proximity to an Ocean Spray bottling plant, Amazon fulfillment center, and a FedEx Ground megahub, all located in the Lehigh Valley.

“We’re a young company and we’re thriving and being around and with like-minded individuals and entities and businesses is very exciting for us,” Breuer said. The Spot & Tango plant is expected to open in July.

Cunningham said in the segment that the Lehigh Valley is located within a day’s driving distance to around a third of U.S. consumers, which makes the area particularly attractive to manufacturers and those in the e-commerce industry seeking to operate in the Northeast.

The segment was produced by Chloe Nouvelle of WLVR, the Lehigh Valley’s National Public Radio affiliate. She is part of Lehigh Valley Public Media’s Reporter Corps, a team of multimedia journalists who cover the Lehigh Valley with in-depth local reporting.

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2020 Gross Domestic Product

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