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The Progress Fund Stories

A congratulatory note from the President & CEO

The Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy (formally the Allegheny Trail Alliance) and Fourth Economy (an economic development consulting firm) deserve a standing ovation for their just released Economic Impact Report on the Great Allegheny Passage. If you are interested in outdoor recreation, environmentally sustainable development and Trail Towns, I suggest you dig into their Impact Report.  I have seen thousands of … Continue reading

2021 GAP Annual Economic Impact Report

The Progress Fund is pleased to share the most recent study on economic impact along the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP).  According to Bryan Perry of Fourth Economy, “Tourism along the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage drove over $121 million in economic impact in 2019, according to a year-long analysis by Pittsburgh-based consulting firm Fourth Economy released on November 30, 2021. Fourth Economy conducted 64 interviews … Continue reading

Work then Beer

The Progress Fund is a fan of great beer, businesses.  You probably already knew that if you know us.  An everyone of those businesses we’ve helped involved a lot of new construction and renovation.  We are excited to be part of six new or expanding breweries in the works right now. Click here to read about the five new breweries … Continue reading

“The Nest” took over ten years to build.

“The  Nest” was over 10 years in the making.  “The Nest” is a cute, clean and comfortable one-bedroom apartment that just opened for rental at the Derailleur Bike Shop Café on the “Great” Butler-Freeport Community Trail, which runs for 20 miles across southeastern Butler County.  And yes, western PA has many “Great” destination trails in addition to the world-famous Great Allegheny … Continue reading

Water Rescue

The fear of crowded airplanes and mandatory quarantines deterred many people from hitting distant beaches.  Surprising numbers instead tested southwestern Pennsylvania’s many intersections of land, water and enterprise. Click here to learn about Hazelbaker’s Bottom Yough Outfitters, Silver Shores Restaurant and The Bear Paw Cabin revived their businesses along the local lakes and rivers during the Pandemic.

Trail Evolutions

Entrepreneurs along the region’s trails and rivers have reported that the pandemic cost them some customers, but brought them new ones, including demographics they hadn’t seen before.  People hungry to get out of the house turned to trails because they were amenities that couldn’t be locked down or subjected to occupancy limits. Click here to learn more about Bright Morning … Continue reading

Restaurant Evolutions

Restaurants are a cornerstone of the tourism economy, a key focus of The Progress Fund since its inception in 1997.  Investments in restaurants have transformed southwestern Pennsylvania into a food destination.  The pandemic infected nearly every business, but restaurants face particularly stark prognoses. Click here to learn more about The Trailside Cafe, Piazza Talarico and The Eastwood Inn that cooked … Continue reading

Booze n’ Cups

“Makers” create great things with their hands.  But creative thinking by Red Pump Spirits and American Mug & Stein enabled them to shift gears during the pandemic and thrive.  Their resilience is a great lesson in small business management.  It’s worth reading at NEXTpittsburgh.

Family Vacation Time

As the old saying goes…“A family that travels together stays together.” In the case of the Kruse family, instead of traveling, they are buying vacation homes in the Laurel Highlands and giving other families great places to stay-and-play.  Their Mountain Getaways put you in the center of the best of what the Laurel Highlands has to offer. The Progress Fund … Continue reading

You deserve the “Best”!

May we suggest that you reward yourself for all your troubles in 2020 with a taste of Pittsburgh’s BEST. Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream and Riley’s Pour House are recent winners in the City Paper’s 2020 Reader Poll.  You deserve some of their goodness for all you’ve gone through in 2020. Yes, both of these “Winners” are borrowers of The Progress … Continue reading