Susquehanna County may not seem to be the ideal home for an international business, but Fred and Katie Cicilioni disagree.
The couple owns the company Frugal Living LLC, which held a ribbon cutting ceremony at business headquarters on Main Street, Forest City, Monday afternoon, July 1.
In November, the Cicilionis purchased the building often referred to as the “Silk Mill” at 528 Main Street from Jim Spano.
The online retail sales business sells a variety of products through Amazon, WalMart and other online avenues. The business had established roots in Forest City by previously renting the annex of Spano’s building for five years.
As the business expanded the Cicilionis needed to expand their space. They rented a warehouse in Blakely and had one in Los Angeles but began to feel too spread out.
“We needed a place with three components,” Fred said. “It had to have a storefront, a garage door, and apartments above.”
He explained that they needed storefront for headquarter space and the garage door to accommodate shipping needs. The apartments would provide additional income to ensure revenue during business slowdowns.
While renting Spano’s annex the couple felt a connection with Forest City.
“We fell in love with the town and the people,” Kate said. “We believe in what’s happening in Forest City and wanted to be a part of it.”
The decision to locate there has people in Forest City and the county excited about the opportunity it presents and its impact.
“It’s made a positive dent in Forest City,” Forest City Mayor Chris Glinton said. “It’s exciting to see and has encouraged other businesses as well.”
Susquehanna County Commissioner Alan Hall feels the decision shows what can happen when different interests are brought together and fulfill each parties’ needs.
“This is a perfect example of when people pull together and want to revitalize a town,” observed Hall. “This is a perfect business for here.”
Kate and Fred currently employ five employees – three full-time and two part-time workers – and hope that expansion leads to more.
This is something Hall feels will fit some people’s needs. “They (businesses like Frugal Living) may not be providing 50 jobs at $100,000 a year, but it may provide opportunities for those looking for part-time, weekend or afterschool work,” said Hall.
Susquehanna County Commissioner Elizabeth Arnold feels Frugal Living’s decision shows how Forest City is progressing in today’s economy. “It’s awesome, this town is moving, going in a positive direction,” said Arnold.
Trent Lowenstein of The Lion Stone Group based in Colorado was also on hand at ribbon cutting ceremony and reflected on the uniqueness of Frugal Living and the community where it is based.
“Most of the companies we deal with are very corporate and huge,” said Lowenstein. “Here, Fred knows all the workers personally and is involved in community events.”