This article was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, December 10, 2015

By Robin Fitzpatrick 

Stop for a moment and consider all the tools, gadgets, and modern conveniences you use every day. I’m sure your list would be inconceivable to compile, from the computer keyboards literally at your fingertips during your workdays, to the buttons pushed in your car and home, to drive and operate countless appliances.

Today I’d like you to think about ACEDC in these terms as well. We are here to put a multitude of helpful tools right at the fingertips of Adams County business owners. Think of us as the folks able to put Staples’ famous “easy button” within your reach, with economic development tools, products and services ready to assist you and your business!

We are trained and reviewed annually by the Commonwealth in order to be the county’s only certified provider (CEDO) of the Department of Community and Economic Development’s products and services. Let me explain how we do this!

We are part of a dynamic and knowledgeable network of service providers, some of which you already know—Chambers of Commerce,  Main Street and Elm Street programs, and local governments to name just a few. Through these partnerships we advocate for small and large businesses alike as the “feet on the street” when asked by elected officials for community and economic development information. We help small business start-ups by bringing in the Small Business Development Center for assistance with writing business plans. We also refer businesses to the World Trade Center Harrisburg for support with international sales. Did you know that part of Adams County is within a Foreign Trade Zone?

Additionally, we help businesses apply for flexible financing products to help businesses grow and flourish. Let’s focus on this area—financing—for a moment, to examine the track record we’ve established for Adams County businesses. Since 1996, ACEDC has assisted more than 100 county businesses by plugging them into available financing programs. Adams County’s three pillars of industry are almost equally represented: We have helped 41 farmers or agriculture-related businesses, 41 businesses in the tourism/hospitality industry, and 56 diverse and unique manufacturing businesses. Partnerships are the backbone of each and every one of these loans or grants. Every loan requires a lending partner, the majority of which are local and regional banks. State and federal lending programs don’t replace the need for your banker; they add value to the project.

How are we, as a non-profit, able to provide all of these vital services and tools? Funding from the state and county are critical sources for which we are thankful. But YOU—whether you’re an individual Adams County resident or business owner—are an equally important and critical member in our circle of partnerships.

We invite all Adams County residents and businesses to partner with us as investors in 2016. Every single investor receives benefits mentioned above—investor advocacy, certified economic development  expertise, financing assistance, as well as networking opportunities.

Investment (or membership) levels are available at a wide range of levels suitable for all businesses, nonprofits, or individuals—offering benefits designed to increase your partnerships: complimentary advertising in our widely-read quarterly e-newsletters to business leaders, links and listings on our ACEDC website, or even an article written about your company in this very column space!

Local, grass-roots relationships and partnerships are key to our collective continued success in the Adams County community. Call us today, to ask how you can invest in ACEDC so we can continue putting tools at your fingertips and the fingertips of all Adams County businesses and nonprofits to take us into 2016 and beyond!

Robin Fitzpatrick serves as President of ACEDC and can be reached at 717-334-0042, ext. 1. For additional information, see, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Adams County business news.