by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

Postcard printed by The Laughing Owl Press

Throughout each year, I have the privilege and pleasure of traveling across the 10,000 square miles of NWIRC’s 13-county service area. Small towns, local communities, small to mid-sized manufacturers, and other small businesses are the fabric of this region. Incredible and meaningful things are happening in small towns and local communities among the people who love and care for their area, their neighbors, and quality of life.

Exciting happenings in Kane PA.

The Borough of Kane is a perfect example of a community coming together with a collaborative, creative, and spirited approach to develop a thriving area for businesses and families. With a supportive Mayor, Chamber of Commerce (aka Kane Area Development Center- KADC), and local businesses, everyone is working side-by-side to partner and help one another grow and prosper.

The community of Kane is located in the northern Allegheny mountain region of Pennsylvania, at the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, is known as the ‘star in the forest’, and has population of approximately 3500. Kane is named for the Civil War leader of Pennsylvania’s Bucktail Regiment, Thomas Kane, who founded the town in the early 1860s. Kane has a rich history in manufacturing with the Holgate Company, a wood handle manufacturer, who relocated to Kane in 1884 because of the abundance of timber and natural gas. In 1929, Holgate started manufacturing wooden educational toys under the leadership of Jarvis Rockwell, the brother of the American illustrator Norman Rockwell.*

During my recent visit to Kane, I met with Joe and Andrea Lanich, owners of TheLaughlin Owl Press, an authentic letterpress print shop. The Lanich’s returned to this region in 2012 and started their business from their garage. Since then, they purchased and restored an old building in town and have a creative partnering approach with expanded opportunities for the community. One of their employees, Presswomen Brooke Balliet, spoke very enthusiastically about her love of Kane and finding the position at The Laughing Owl which kept her in the area. With an art degree, she had no experience with the old press equipment so she was also able to learn a new trade.

I had the opportunity to meet Royce Novosel-Johnson, owner of Logyard Brewing with partner Mike Dunn. Royce returned to his hometown in 2012 from living in metro areas, such as Boston and DC. This is another new business venture contributing to Kane’s economy and providing new jobs. Logyard’s website is especially poignant, noting “We strive to use
Hyper-local™ partnerships and ingredients whenever we’re able. Our goal is to bring together like-minded companies to gather resource from their Hyper-local™ communities.” During a conversation, Royce noted that he recently worked with nearby manufacturer, Dangelo’s Custom Built, to move some large stainless-steel tanks with their heavy equipment. Stories about these companies and people are featured on the KADC’s blog called 100 Days of Kane, hosted by Kate Kennedy, Executive Director of KADC.

NWIRC knows the commitment of manufacturers in the Kane area from the relationships we’ve developed and our project work with some of the local companies, including Dangelo’s Custom Built, The Laughing Owl Press, Logyard Brewing, and Wilds Sonshine Distillery. Manufacturers we speak with are involved with community programs, attend school job fairs, are interested in apprentice programs, and visit the State Capitol to promote themselves and the Kane community.