Charleroi is located along the Monongahela River in southwestern Pennsylvania. The small town was once a key center for medium and heavy industry. Over the last fifty years industries like glass and steel left, and Charleroi fell into a lasting economic downturn. It is a similar story for many towns along the Mon Valley. In 2014, these challenging conditions prompted Bridgeway to open an office in Uniontown, PA. The location allows Bridgeway to better serve the area’s small businesses and nonprofits.
In 2015, Bridgeway financed Quality Pasta. Quality Pasta produces several types of macaroni and cheese products. The company uses wholesome and limited ingredients to create products with enhanced nutritional value, like higher protein levels. Quality Pasta operates in a 33,000 sq. ft. building previously occupied by a grocery store. The space sat vacant for five years before Quality Pasta repurposed it for production. The loan from Bridgeway enabled the business to purchase the materials, enhance the equipment, and hire the employees needed for a ramp up in production. For business like Quality Pasta, the ability to access working capital is essential for pursuing growth opportunities. Watch the video featuring Quality Pasta’s story.
“Bridgeway understands what we are doing and where we are doing it. We get a lot of our materials locally, and Bridgeway supports that local network.”
– Paul DeStefano, President of Quality Pasta
Keeping Opportunities Local
Bridgeway supports enterprises that create quality jobs. Job creation is a powerful tool for economic revitalization. Bridgeway’s loan to Quality Pasta created or preserved 11 jobs in Charleroi. In 2016, Bridgeway’s financing created or preserved 0ver 637 jobs across its 15 county market. In the areas Bridgeway serves, every added or saved job is another step up from economic stagnation. Reid Smith, Director of Bridgeway’s Uniontown Office observed that, “many of Quality Pasta’s employees walk to work or carpool together. It was an opportunity for them to have a livable wage in an area that has really lacked that for a long time.”
Like a Family
For stressed communities like Charleroi, the quality of the jobs created is as important as the quantity. Paul DeStefano, President of Quality Pasta, and the management team created a safe, orderly, and clean facility where employees are treated with dignity and respect. Besides repurposing an abandoned space in an underutilized strip mall, the business offers new career pathways for ambitious employees. “I started cleaning walls the first day” recalls Jesten March, Quality Assurance Tech at Quality Pasta. “They decided that they saw something in me. They asked if I would like to take on more responsibly. I said absolutely.”
Quality Pasta Company
100 Chamber Plaza | Charleroi, PA 15022 | www.quality-pasta.com