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Winners Announced for “Get on the Trail” Entrepreneurial Business Plan Contest

The Oil Region Alliance of Business Industry and Tourism is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 "Get on the Trail!" Entrepreneurial Business Plan Contest for along the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail.

First Place: Karma Coffee Company.

Owned by Marie and Shaun Alcorn

Karma Coffee Company is a new creation that offers a wide variety of specialty coffee, smoothies, pastries and many other unique food items and gifts. Our baristas and chefs make Karma the perfect destination for your food and beverage needs. The industrial décor adds to the big city feel in the heart of Oil City.

Karma offers exceptional beans imported and roasted locally by Elmo Fired Roasters. Sourced locally grown produce and fruit used in our smoothies and juices. Gift baskets that are coffee or tea oriented offer unique gift ideas for any special occasion or holiday. We offer special in house or off site catering for any special event.

Waterproof flooring was added in 2017, fresh paint, indoor bike storage area, and signage for bikers to be able to house their bikes while grabbing a beverage and food. While we capture a great deal of business from our biking and recreation, we are open year round. The space is perfect for holiday events, meetings and music all year long.



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Second Place: Oars Allegheny River Services

Owned by Jeff Brunton

Established in 2008, our passion is putting people on the water. OARS has put nearly 12,000 people on the Allegheny River and French Creek, including folks from 17 countries, and all but four states! Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned paddler, we strive to make your experience a memorable and easy one. We realize the effort and planning it takes to drive great distances to enjoy our waterways. During the weekends and holidays, we offer a completely hassle-free experience, where you decide what time you’d like to leave, and what time you want to catch a shuttle home. We want to add to your enjoyment by creating a fun, safe atmosphere.

We are proud to also offer scheduled Special Floats, including: youth floats, ladies-only themed floats, early morning Kayak & Coffee floats, Wednesday evening group floats, and romantic couples floats. We are happy to help you plan an Overnight Trip, and our Day Trips are always popular. We have plenty of experience working with large groups, including the Boy Scouts.

Bicycle Rentals- We have a fleet of new Cannondale Adventure 3 bikes available to rent!

Rent a bicycle and enjoy one of our beautiful local bike trails (including the Allegheny River Trail, the Samuel Justus Trail, and the Sandy Creek Trail). Cost is $8 per hour, or $30 for a full day.

Shuttles

We will shuttle groups of 4 or more anywhere from Titusville to Foxburg (including trail heads at Titusville, Oil City, Franklin, Kennerdell, Emlenton, and Foxburg).

Paddle & Pedal

Torn between wanting to enjoy the river and riding the trails? Why not enjoy having the best of both worlds? With the Paddle/Pedal trip you combine a 9-mile float with a 9-mile bike ride (or longer). All you have to do is arrive at our office with your bike in tow, or rent a bike from us, and we’ll provide the canoe or kayak for the float. Take out at Fisherman’s Cove where your bike will be waiting for you. Then you can enjoy a leisurely ride on part of the Rails to Trails bike trail that will lead you back to your vehicle. Call us for more information at 814-388-9122.

Oar will use contest winnings to purchase a stand-alone building that would house a bicycle repair shop, purchase parts inventory, add "specialty" rental items and make changes to our webpage to reflect our offerings. The repair shop would generate and keep revenue local, customers could shop local, provide emergency/overnight repairs for cyclists, employ an additional 1-2 employees to work in the repair/rental business and our specialty rentals will generate additional revenue from families with tots and those looking for tandem bicycles. Their prize is $2,000 cash.

Third Place: Little It Deli

Owned by Julie and Jeff Powell

Little It Deli has been providing made from scratch Italian Cuisine and hand tossed brick oven pizzas for over 3 years. We are located approximately one block from the entrance to the southern trail head of The Allegheny River Trail across from Farmers National Bank in Emlenton, PA. Our business is a very nice blend local people and tourists coming to use the bike trail and river all of which seem pleased as we have wonderful reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor.

Our motto is “Big city flavor at a small town price” and that is what we try to do each day at Little It Deli. We use the most fresh and best ingredients available in all of our food. Our dough is made in house as well as our sauces, soups, dressings and we feel it makes a difference. No one walks away hungry from Little It Deli as we believe in healthy portions. We also provide catering services, teach culinary classes and we are about to open a gourmet Italian food shop located in the back of our restaurant. The gourmet shop will have imported pastas, sauces, vinegars, olive oils, spices, coffee and teas.

Little It Deli is a full service restaurant that operates year-round and although there is defiantly a “season” we are hoping that incorporating a winery into our business will help us be less dependent on the summer season.

Julie will use her contest winnings to build an L- shaped bar with working bar sink, refrigeration equipment and furniture to aid in the expansion of the wine business. In doing this we hope to increase our restaurant business as well as create more foot traffic in our area and become a destination in Emlenton. Her cash prize is $1,000.


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The goal of the ‘Get on the Trail!’ Entrepreneurial Contest for Business Development and Expansion along the Erie To Pittsburgh Trail was to offer rewards to new and expanding businesses which submitted solid business plans to provide vital goods and services to users of the Erie To Pittsburgh Trail segment reaching from Hydetown in eastern Crawford County to Foxburg Borough in western Clarion County.

The contest officially got underway this past April. Two educational forums were held, and by the deadline on September 16th, ten contestants had submitted their applications. The contest winners were announced in conjunction with Light Up Night festivities in Franklin Pa during the annual November celebration that included an Electric Lights Parade, Downtown Open House, and Ground Fireworks Display.

Project Manager's Kim Harris and Mary Cochran have indicated that the contest was made possible by a grant the ORA received from the County of Venango.