Anyone who questions whether or not social media and networking are really worth it should study the story about how Creditsafe USA, a European-based company that supplies online business credit information, made it to South Whitehall.
After all, South Whitehall and Creditsafe aren't an obvious match. The company could have located anywhere, and let's face it, Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley aren't necessarily known for their business-friendly tax structure.
So, how did it happen?
It started in March on LinkedIn. Creditsafe reached out via LinkedIn to Joe Facchiano of JoFash Enterprises, an Allentown business coach, consultant and former Dun & Bradstreet employee with a list of experience matching Creditsafe's needs.
From there, Facchiano said, he helped coordinate meetings with former Dun & Bradstreet colleagues to investigate the viability of an American operation and help choose a location. Dun & Bradstreet is a company that specializes in providing businesses with information on other businesses.
In April, Facchiano said, Creditsafe approved the idea of an American headquarters. They scheduled a visit and Facchiano organized a meeting with some of the Valley's business leaders.
The meeting was held in the conference room at Alvin H. Butz Inc. in downtown Allentown and Facchiano said it was attended by: Jim Harbaugh, executive vice president and COO of City Center (the development company heading up much of the development around the future Allentown hockey arena); Mark Jaindl, CEO of Jaindl Properties; Greg Butz, president and CEO of Alvin H. Butz Inc.; Todd Collins, city of Allentown business development manager; Andrew Twigger and Ryan Dunn, principals of Dunn Twigger Company, and John Crampsie, business manager of NAI Summit.
"Creditsafe came in and saw these guys sitting around the table, putting their egos aside and it really impressed them," Facchiano said. "It's a great story about a bunch of people helping out...no one cared whose name was on the lease."
Frank Facchiano, executive vice president, member relations and operations for The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, and other chamber staff provided ongoing support throughout the visit.
In a press release officially launching its South Whitehall headquarters, Creditsafe said, "We invested a lot of time researching the best location from which to launch our U.S. operations. Allentown-based business consultant Joseph Facchiano of JoFash Enterprises introduced us to an impressive group of local business and government leaders, and we feel strongly that the Lehigh Valley will provide us with the ideal business environment in which to grow our ambitious international business. We are poised to shake up the American credit-reporting market and are thrilled to officially launch our U.S. business from Allentown.”
NAI Summit helped Creditsafe find its new U.S. headquarters in the Winchester Plaza at 1550 Pond Road and next it was time for all those hours of networking to pay off for a list of local companies.
"Creditsafe does business with everybody I introduced them to and everyone is a chamber member and locally owned and operated," Facchiano said.
The list of local businesses and their representative follows:
- NAI Summit – Crampsie
- BSI Corporate Benefits – Tony DaRe
- hireVision Group, Inc. – Tina Hamilton
- AD Computer – Donna Vrabel
- Computer Aid Inc. – Tom Salvaggio
- Interior Workplace Solutions – David Torrence
- J & J Luxury Transportation – Denise Cali
- Embassy Bank for the Lehigh Valley – Bryan Lobach
- Vaughan Communications Group – Jeff Vaughan
"It is such a great win for the Lehigh Valley and I am proud of it," Facchiano said.
Creditsafe employs 24 people right now but plans to expand to more than 250 over the next five years.
According to its press release: Creditsafe already has data on 47 million U.S. businesses, and its American customers will have access to 67 million records for European companies as well. The company offers high-quality reports that are easy to use for the non-specialist but contain all the business data and information an expert user needs. An annual subscription to the Creditsafe service gives customers unlimited access to vital company information, such as solvency, payment record and payment timing, from a range of public and private sources.
Jeff Vaughan, who handles Creditsafe's public relations in the U.S., said he met his client through Joe Facchiano.
"Joe was showing Creditsafe around the Lehigh Valley and he called me and set up a meeting," Vaughan said. "Before Creditsafe hired me I know there were so many people from the Valley involved."
He said a grand opening is being planned for January.
Facchiano also credited the following people for their help in attracting Creditsafe to South Whitehall:
- Frank Facchiano, executive vice president of The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. Frank and Joe are brothers.
- Collins and Sara Hailstone from the City of Allentown
- Cindy Feinberg from Lehigh County
- Karen McAndrew Bush from CareerLink
- Janet Smith from the Governor’s Action Team
- Bob DeSalvio from Sands Casino
- Mayors Ed Pawlowski and John Callahan and former Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham
- PA Rep. Jennifer Mann
- Marta Gabriel from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s Office and Ellen Kern from state Sen. Pat Browne’s Office
- Gregg Feinberg from Feinberg Law Offices
- Greg Butz, J.B. Reilly, Jim Harbaugh, Mark Jaindl, Ryan Dunn, Andy Twiggar