News

Sweets Melendez becomes first business to use new downtown Hazleton shared kitchen incubator

Dominican desserts company Sweets Melendez recently became the first business to launch using the new downtown Hazleton shared kitchen incubator inside the Hayden Family Center for the Arts.

Owner Maribel Chavez began thinking about creating a food-based business in November of 2019 when she started making Dominican sweet beans before transitioning to desserts.

“All of our desserts are handcrafted and made with love. They are made with fruits, a hint of cinnamon and vanilla and contain no preservatives, artificial color or high fructose corn syrup,” Chavez said.

The shared kitchen incubator was created through a partnership between the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the Hazleton Art League, The Hazleton Launchbox, CAN BE and other members of The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC). The organizations worked together with local and regional food, entrepreneurship and culinary arts education providers to develop a program designed to support aspiring and existing food entrepreneurs. 

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Startup Ranek Technologies finds ideal home to launch its operations at CAN BE Innovation Center

Ranek Technologies founder and CEO Joe Halcisak had the idea and vision for an innovative app. But, he needed to find the guidance to create a business plan and a place to launch his computer software development startup. It all came together when he discovered the CAN BE Innovation Center.

Halcisak formally founded Ranek Technologies in May of 2020 and officially moved into the CAN BE Innovation Center this year. But his association with CAN BE and CAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock began in 2018. Halcisak was a member of a team that won the tecBRIDGE High School Business Plan Competition that year and went on to be named the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, an award that is sponsored by CAN BE.

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Halogen Hair Co. owner Ashley Evert has utilized CAN BE virtual services to build a thriving small business

For many entrepreneurs, having a vision and innovative idea for a product or service is the easy part of starting their own small business. The challenges come in figuring out what to do next.

As Halogen Hair Co. owner Ashley Evert said, “No one really tells you how to run a business in beauty school.” However, Evert’s decision to reach out to CAN BE and CAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock when she opened her salon has been vital to the success of her operation.

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