WILKES-BARRE — It wasn’t a deal with Mr. Wonderful, Mark Cuban or some other celebrity investor, but a longtime local business walked out of The Woodlands yesterday a little bit richer.
The Baut Studios, located in Swoyersville, won $5,000 at the first-ever NEPA Sharks competition at the Streamside Lounge at The Woodlands Inn.
The Times Leader Media Group and Golden Mile Funding partnered for the occasion.
Alan Peterson, president of Golden Mile Funding, said he and Times Leader major account executive and digital strategist Mike McGinley had been talking about the event for about seven months. The goal was to put a spotlight on local businesses, and the Times Leader used its platform to spread the word about the $5,000 Golden Mile was offering.
“There are lots of people trying to make positive change,” Peterson said.
“Our hope is to continue to do it year after year.”
The Baut Studios was founded in 1927, and is in its fourth generation of Baut family employees. It crafts stained glass windows and doors for religious, commercial and residential use. It also makes a specialized aluminum door.
Siblings Emily and Peter Baut said the company has survived through apprenticeships with local vo-tech students.
“We love doing business here because of the work ethic NEPA natives possess,” said Peter, 21.
With the money, the business plans to put its aluminum doors through element testing so they can be used in colleges, and medical and government buildings.
Emily, 27, said they were shocked to hear they won the $5,000.
“That was amazing,” she said. “We really weren’t expecting that.”
Both Emily and Peter said they wanted to get their name out in the community and the event provided an avenue to talk about their business. Some of the other projects the company has worked on include the coal to diamonds statue in the Mohegan Sun Pocono lobby.
‘Winning night for all’
Six local firms gave the history of their companies, why they love operating in Northeastern Pennsylvania and pitched what they would do with the prize money. Besides Baut Studios, the competitors included City Brokers LLC Real Estate, of Wilkes-Barre; Electric City Escape, of Scranton; TNT Subs and More, of Nanticoke; Asspressions LLC, of Dunmore; and Northeast Snacks, of Wilkes-Barre.
The “sharks” included Mike Murray, publisher of the Times Leader Media Group; Joseph Boylan, CEO and founder of Argent Eagle; Helen Lavelle, CEO and chief creative strategist at Lavelle Strategy Group; Anthony Melf, instructor and career navigator at PA CareerLink of Luzerne County; and Steve Ubaldini Jr., general manager of Wyoming Valley BMW/ Porsche in Plains Township.
The board asked questions about the businesses and offered advice before scoring each presentation.
McGinley, who served as master of ceremonies, said he couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
“I’m honored the Times Leader Media Group allowed me to host such a special night,” he said. “It was a winning night for all the businesses.”
Mike Murray said the Times Leader was “extremely excited” to work with Golden Mile Funding, of Kingston.
“We were able to sit here and listen to some outstanding presentations,” he said. “I think it was an outstanding event. I can’t wait to do it again next year.”
Reach Brigid Edmunds-Lawrence at 570-991-6113 or on Twitter @brigidedmunds