November 4, 2016 / This week is National Veterans Small Business Week, so I’d like to give a shout-out to a couple of entrepreneurial veterans who are part of Downtown Allentown’s vibrant community. They are our neighbors and friends, and their success stories are inspiration for other vets re-entering the workforce or embarking on new business adventures after serving our country.
The old saying is really true: We are the land of the free because of the brave. That is why, in advance of Veterans Day on November 11, the City Center team would like to express our sincere gratitude to the men and women who have served, and continue to serve, in our military.
Jimmy’s Barber Shop
Nestled on the 600 block of Hamilton Street in the heart of Downtown Allentown, the ultimate neighborhood barbershop is operated by Jimmy Moyer. He opened his first barbershop on Allentown’s Jordan Street at age 21 after serving in the U.S. Navy. This is the second business location for Moyer, who followed his father, George Joseph, operator of Eskimo’s Barber Shop on 19th Street in Allentown, into the trade. Jimmy’s Barber Shop is helping bring back old-fashioned barbershops for a whole new generation of men downtown. Guys come in for a trim, a shave or maybe a shoeshine, and they get a chance to socialize and talk about the matters of the day.
5th & Walnut Parking
With his company name and location all wrapped into one, U.S. Army veteran Mike Rosenfeld took over the family business, 5th & Walnut Parking, more than a decade ago. From the long-term-parking lot he operates, Rosenfeld has watched Downtown Allentown’s renaissance with much pride and excitement. He says, “The NIZ [Neighborhood Improvement Zone] has been really good for our business. The revitalization downtown has been generated largely by local businesses and organizations, and it has created a situation that is very inviting for veterans looking to get into the workforce or start a business. There are a lot of options to look into, and the economic incentives are here.”
Resources for Veteran Small Business Owners
“The Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council (LVMAC) is an incredible resource for veterans, I can tell you from my own personal involvement. The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley offer good help, too,” says Rosenfeld. Here are the links to connect you with these local resources:
- LVMAC.org offers business and educational assistance programs and many other services to support veterans and their families. LVMAC is building a strong network for veteran business owners and entrepreneurs.
- NaVOBA.com is the website for the National Veteran-Owned Business Association, which unites current and future veteran-owned businesses by acting as the national voice for the veteran business movement.
- careerlinklehighvalley.org is PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley’s online resource for veterans. CareerLink offers programs for veterans to assist them with job searching, retraining and supportive services. Veteran representatives are available to speak with you in the Allentown office and can help you identify the services for which you may be qualified.
In addition, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is committed to empowering veterans, active duty service members, Guard and Reserve members and military spouses through entrepreneurial training and education programs, business technical assistance, special access to capital programs and federal procurement training. They offer:
- Local events
- Social awareness through business stories shared using the hashtag #MyVetBiz
- SBA’s resources to help you start or grow a business
The SBA’s veteran offerings include: entrepreneurial training and education programs, such as Boots to Business and Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE ); business technical assistance via outreach centers and development officers; access to captial through special programs and federal procurement programs.
If you know a veteran business owner downtown and would like to give them a shout-out as well, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.