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Wilkes University Small Business Development Center Client Wins U.S. Small Business Administration Award

Wilkes University Small Business Development Center Client Wins U.S. Small Business
Administration Award

September 29, 2020|Submitted by: Gabrielle D’Amico

Tri-County Lumber and Truss of Berwick, Pa., received the Eastern Pennsylvania Entrepreneurial
Success of the Year Award.

A client from Wilkes University’s Small Business Development Center is among the 2020
Small Business Week Award Winners from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Tri-County
Lumber and Truss of Berwick, Pa., is the recipient of the 2020 Eastern Pennsylvania
Entrepreneurial Success of the Year Award. Tri-County President John O. Coates received
the award during a virtual ceremony held by the Small Business Administration on Tuesday,
Sept. 29.

Tri-County was selected among nominees located across Pennsylvania’s 40 eastern counties.
The business offers building materials; design and remodeling services for kitchens,
baths, decks and outdoor spaces; lumber products; contractor educational courses and
events; tools and tool maintenance; and services for contractors and homeowners.

The business was nominated by Ray Haden, a business consultant at Wilkes University’s
Small Business Development Center. Since 2017, Haden and Coates have worked to develop
a business plan and financial projections for the construction of a new 10,000 square
foot kitchen and bath showroom and design center. Named Forest & Field, the company
plans to open the design center in Jan. 2021 in the Columbia County Business Park,
Bloomsburg, Pa.

“The expansion project is one of personal pride for Mr. Coates. He will create jobs
in our area while being a product of our area,” said Haden. “Through our work together,
we identified the goals of the expansion project – showcasing designed kitchens and
baths, appliances, window and door displays and a working kitchen for chef demonstration
– and plan it in a way that best served the operation and surrounding areas.”

“Mr. Coates’ deliberations with the expansion project also took into consideration
what would work for his employees,” adds Dorothy Lane, Director, Wilkes SBDC. “COVID-19
slowed them down for two months, but with SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, EIDL
Advance, and Paycheck Protection Program Loan, they were able to maintain payroll,
prevent layoffs and continue to purchase inventory and stay current on their existing

“It’s wonderful to be recognized as SBA’s Entrepreneurial Success of the Year,” said
Coates. “We’re honored that Wilkes University SBDC nominated us and that SBA selected
our business. The support from the SBA, Wilkes SBDC and SEDA-Council of Governments
enabled us to expand and construct a state-of-the art kitchen and bath showroom and
design center that will revive the local economy with job creation and sales revenue.”

This local recognition is part of the annual Presidentially-designated National Small
Business Week, which recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the
U.S. economy.

“Each year, SBA’s National Small Business Week awards recognize the achievements of
small businesses and the organizations that assist them in eastern Pennsylvania,”
said SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Director Steven Dixel. “It’s an honor to present
these awards. Each business is exceptional and deserving of recognition because they
represent the very best of the eastern Pennsylvania small business community.”

The Wilkes University Small Business Development Center serves clients in Carbon,
Columbia, Luzerne, Schuylkill and Sullivan counties. Founded in 1980, it was one of
the state’s original seven SBDCs. It is funded by grants from the U.S. Small Business
Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
and support from its host institution – Wilkes University. The Wilkes University SBDC
provides education and no-
cost consulting services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Its one-on-one
management consulting emphasizes education and guidance in finding practical solutions
to business problems. Consulting is confidential and provided by a staff of skilled

About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership
a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the
strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business
owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses,
or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network
of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn
more, visit

About Wilkes University
Wilkes University is a private, independent, non-sectarian institution of higher education
dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence through mentoring in the liberal
arts, sciences and professional programs. Founded in 1933, Wilkes is on a mission
to create one of the nation’s finest doctoral universities, offering all of the programs,
activities and opportunities of a large university in the intimate, caring and mentoring
environment of a small college, open to all who show promise. The Brookings Institution
ranked Wilkes 14th in the nation for middle-class mobility. In addition to 45 majors,
Wilkes offers 24 master’s degree programs and five doctoral/terminal degree programs,
including the doctor of philosophy in nursing, doctor of nursing practice, doctor
of education, doctor of pharmacy, and master of fine arts in creative writing. Learn
more at