Swiftwater, PA- Following the capture of suspect Eric Frein, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), joined by local Poconos’ business leaders and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) officials, promoted the region’s businesses and destinations as ‘open for business.’ Reports indicated that businesses suffered during the search as customers stayed away. Casey, who urged the Small Business Administration (SBA) to aid these businesses, described the region as an ideal place for families and tourists to come. Senator Casey has previous helped to secure over $2.2 million from the SBDC to educate companies on how to operate during challenging circumstances, such as during natural disasters or during the recent manhunt.
“There’s no question that these last few weeks have been incredibly difficult for families, police and businesses across the region,” Senator Casey said. “These services provided by the SBDC and the SBA will help business owners who have felt the impact of their search on their businesses. There’s no doubt about it: the Pocono Mountain Region is open for business. This region has been, and remains, one of the top destinations for families in the country.”
According to the Pocono Mountain Visitor Bureau, the Poconos tourism industry supports over 33,000 jobs and provides nearly $3 million in state and local taxes. Visitors to the Poconos Region spend approximately $3 billion annually on lodging, recreation, retail, food and beverage, and transportation.
Senator Casey recently wrote to the SBA, urging them to provide counseling and assistance to businesses affected by the manhunt. The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
The Honorable Maria Contreras-Sweet
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 3rd Street, S.W. Suite 7000
Washington, DC 20024-3212
Dear Administrator Contreras-Sweet:
I write to request that the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide counseling services to businesses in several townships in Northeastern Pennsylvania, including Blooming Grove, Porter, Lehman and Greene townships in Pike County and Barrett, Price and Paradise townships in Monroe County. Numerous small business owners in these counties have been negatively impacted by the manhunt stemming from the September 12, 2014 shooting at the state police barracks that resulted in the death of Corporal Bryon Dickson and wounding of Trooper Alex Douglass.
Over the past several weeks, there have been several media reports about small business owners who are suffering financial hardship due to the continued search for the survivalist shooter that has lasted over five weeks. I urge you to offer your services to these small businesses in this area. The suspected shooter, though not apprehended, has been spotted in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains. Many of these companies would greatly benefit from the SBA’s counseling and training services particularly at a time when business has been severely affected by circumstances outside of their control. These services would be particularly helpful in getting these small businesses back on their feet.
I respectfully request you to expedite your consideration of this request and keep me informed of any new developments. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my staff. Thank you for your attention to this request.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator