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Entrepreneurs Find Success at LindenPointe

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HERMITAGE, Pa. — It’s one of the first above-freezing days of the year and already people are out jogging, walking their dogs or taking strolls. At the entrance to LindenPointe business park along state Route 18, just south of Hermitage, Pa.’s, central business district, trails created in the snow lead into a small woods and around ponds.

Even on a rainy afternoon in March, there are people, young and old, using some of the sidewalks cleared throughout the development.

What was carved out a decade ago for business development has turned into a community park. And those in the park say that’s a plus for their businesses.

“There’s plenty of community engagement from normal people who don’t have business here. We can go out and play basketball at lunch or things like that, just to have a break during the day,” says Gray McKenzie. “Having the ability to do that is nice.”

McKenzie is a co-founder of GuavaBox, a Web design and online marketing company in the eCenter@LindenPointe, a business incubator.

Ron Anderson, co-founder of Anderal Technologies, points out the “campuslike” environment throughout LindenPointe, something he says is good for the city. Anderal, an eCenter portfolio company, is developing a method to commercialize a way that would make metal more flexible.

“Having all of these other offices here makes it feel like a campus of businesses that are all modern and high-tech,” he explains. “It gives a new life to the city. There’s always a lot of people coming through, walking their dogs even, and it’s becoming more and more well-known. It’s just a beautiful, open, technical area.”

At the rear of LindenPointe – or as far back as space has been developed – new sites continued to be added. Butler County Community College operates a campus here. Director John Suesser says having so many innovative new businesses nearby benefits students.

“With the demographics in Hermitage, this was an ideal situation and the location at LindenPointe lends itself to a professional setting. There are so many professional buildings in this little area,” Suesser says. “We can give to the residents of the Hermitage area a quality education.”

While other colleges and universities are losing students, Suesser notes, the LindenPointe branch of Butler County Community College saw a 20% increase in enrollment this school year.

Wandering through the development, one sees little variety in the businesses: mostly doctors’ offices and technological companies, along with a Training & Workforce Development Center. That doesn’t seem to bother the few dozen tenants of the park. Instead, the tenants see themselves offering something new to Hermitage.

“LindenPointe brings a professionalism that you don’t see anywhere else in the city. Walking trails are everywhere. All of the wiring is underground. The buildings here are modern and innovative,” says Linda Richardson, founder of All Clear Translations. “It brings something that wasn’t here before that was needed.”

For eCenter startups and established businesses alike, LindenPointe is beneficial, many say. Instead of having to go to cities such as Pittsburgh or Cleveland to find like-minded companies on the cutting edges of their industries, they can find them just down the road.

Pixelque founder Andrew Pavlick returned to Hermitage after working a few years for a company in Cleveland. When he started his 3-D computer modeling and rendering company, he says he chose LindenPointe because he wanted to stay in the area and the business park was “basically in my backyard.”

Keeping young people such as himself in the area, Pavlick adds, will help Hermitage and LindenPointe continue to grow.

“You have these professionals coming to the area and students coming here from Grove City [College], Penn State Shenango and other universities in the region. They can stay here and get their roots here,” he says. “The more you can bring to the city, the better it is.”

And even if prospective companies considering either starting up in or moving to Hermitage don’t choose to be in LindenPointe, the business park still has a role to play, says Linda Smiley, co-founder of Blissed Out Design, a home products company.

“Things like this help younger people with ideas stay here. That’s always a big focus: bringing people that are our age back to the area and retaining them,” she says. “It brings businesses to the city.”

PICTURED: Mike Sakony and Linda Smiley operate Blissed Out Designs, a portfolio company in the eCenter@LindenPointe.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.