By PAMELA J. SHUPP, August 22, 2016 LVB.com
Berks County is proud to be home to many leading companies on Lehigh Valley Business’ Top 100 list of privately held companies.
From concept to execution, East Penn Manufacturing, Penske Truck Leasing and Logistics and Sweet Street Desserts are internationally recognized and successful global companies, all started by entrepreneurs in Berks County. Along with the Boscov’s Department Store chain, which is based in Exeter Township, Berks is well represented in the top 12 on the annual list.
Established in 1946, East Penn Manufacturing is the largest single-site, lead-acid battery manufacturing facility in the world. The company occupies 3 million square feet of building space.
Over the last seven decades, East Penn grew from a one-room shop with a product line of five automotive batteries to one of the world’s leading battery manufacturers with more than 8,000 employees, 450 product designs and hundreds of awards for manufacturing and environmental excellence.
This company grew from a seed of an idea and is now one of the largest employers in the region. And yes, its global headquarters are right here in Berks County.
East Penn Manufacturing’s innovative technologies have made it a leader in the energy storage industry, resulting in its continued success.
Recently, I traveled to Japan on behalf of Berks County and Pennsylvania and talked about the growth of East Penn in our community and its ever-expanding global presence. Its impressive story played well to an audience that wanted to learn more about what it is like to do business in Pennsylvania.
Also, I specifically addressed our community’s ability to support this type of business growth and expanding manufacturing footprint.
Also headquartered in Berks, Penske Truck Leasing and Penske Logistics is one of the top 10 largest employers in the county with more than 1,500 people.
Established in 1969, Penske has continued its growth trajectory and now has more than 1,000 locations, 230,000 vehicles and 26,000 employees worldwide.
With a commitment to innovative logistics technologies, the company is a magnet for young professionals.
Berks County’s strategic location makes it a natural fit for this world leader of customized logistics solutions for business and is an invaluable asset to the Greater Reading community.
Sweet Street Desserts, a leading innovator in the gourmet dessert industry, is owned, operated and headquartered in Berks County. As the company has continued to expand its footprint, it has become one of the county’s top five manufacturing employers.
Sweet Street Desserts began when founder Sandy Solmon perfected her cookie recipe in a garage.
To say that the company has grown significantly is an understatement. It is a pillar of Berks County’s food industry and its gourmet desserts can be found in restaurants in more than 60 nations.
Her entrepreneurial passion, vision and commitment to pure and sustainable ingredients put Reading on the map in the global gourmet dessert world.
Energy storage, customized logistics solutions, world-renowned gourmet desserts – what do they have in common?
All made and headquartered right here in Berks County.
Pamela J. Shupp is president and CEO of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership (www.greaterreading.com). She has more than 30 years of experience in economic development.