SCORE is closing its downtown Williamsport office, but the local chapter will continue to offer outreach services to prospective and existing business owners seeking help in running their companies.
David Stone, who served as North Central Pennsylvania SCORE chairman, said the office has relocated to the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave.
A decline in the number of volunteers who offer help to entrepreneurs prompted the decision to move the office and integrate its operations with the Central Pennsylvania Chapter in State College, he noted.
"We still have a small but dedicated group here," he said.
SCORE services, which include counseling and advice in marketing, financing and other business operations, are offered free of charge to people. Qualified counselors from a variety of business backgrounds are available for mentoring and counsel. Stone said the relocation of SCORE to the Pajama Factory brings it within a facility housing a number of fledgling small businesses.
"The Center of Creativity is letting us use this space," he said.
The non-profit organization operates out of the Pajama Factory to help revitalize the surrounding neighborhood.
"We are hoping our SCORE office here can help people here," Stone said.
By combining with the State College chapter, the local office can tap into a wider spectrum of resources, he added.
"They have a larger membership," he said.
All administrative services for the Williamsport location will be handled through the State College office. Many resources will continue to be offered on line.
Stone, a SCORE counselor, has found it rewarding to help aspiring and new business owners.
"Many people still have the American Dream of owning a business," he said.
Unfortunately, those same people often lack the knowledge and experience of running a company, and that's where SCORE can help.
You truly get some strange businesses," he said. "It's interesting to see what is really out there."
Among the common questions Stone and other counselors hear from prospective business owners is how they can secure government grants for funding. Such financing is often not available, and many banks aren't willing to lend money to people who are bad risks, Stone noted.
Other people need help with marketing or just learning the basics of operating a business.
To schedule an appointment with a SCORE counselor, call 814-234-9415.
More information is at scorepa.org.