Our 10 most popular stories of 2022


By Cara Aungst

Every week, HappyValley Industry features innovation, customer success — and the many reasons that people love to live, work and play in Happy Valley. From among the more than 150 stories that we published this year, here are the 10 most popular, along with a few reasons why they’re worth another read.

Why Bellefonte? What’s behind the small town’s rise in popularity

One of our first stories of 2022 has remained the most popular. It started with a question: If State College is Happy Valley’s version of New York City, is Bellefonte Happy Valley’s version of Brooklyn? Is it the hip, artsy, creative mecca of Central Pennsylvania? Our writer (and 20-year resident of Bellefonte) unpacked the idea in this great look at the town. (So is it Brooklyn? Click here to find out.)


"I’ve lived all over, but State College is home"

Bill Kidd dropped out of Penn State and started working for Andy Zangrelli, then went on to work around the world in hotel management. A few years ago, he came back to enjoy semi-retirement and teaching a new generation of students. His story was one of four interviews with people who couldn’t wait to come back to their happy place (you can find their stories at the end of his interview). As for why Bill Kidd — and the other retirees — love it so much… you’ll have to read it.


The road to redemption runs through Tyrone

Everybody likes a comeback story, especially when it’s happening in our community. This particular story starts out with a failed business and economic collapse and then rises like a phoenix from those ashes to turn into the No. 1 BMW motorcycle dealership in the Mid-Atlantic region. This one is worth a read (or re-read).


Bringing a Goldilocks theater to downtown State College

One of the many benefits of living in a university town is the opportunity to attend big events at first-rate venues, this story posits. There’s the Bryce Jordan Center, Eisenhower Auditorium and the State Theatre. And now a sweet spot “just right” multi-purpose theater? This story reported on a proposed Nittany Performing Arts Center to make the area an even stronger entertainment destination. (Want the scoop? It’s here.)


Pennsylvania’s first-ever carbon capture project will have major local, statewide impacts

In short, KeyState’s nearly $1 billion project is going to play a role in Pennsylvania becoming a “hydrogen superpower” over the next 30 years, and Penn State is helping lead the way. This story has insight from both the project’s champion as well as the Penn State team that will partner to create change. If you missed this story, it’s worth a quick read now, since it will be making so much impact in the next few years.


Hometown turnaround: Entrepreneur offers free Lewistown storefront

The Facebook post read like the opening of a good book: “I will be offering a free storefront for 12 months. Looking for something unique that is proven to be successful to downtown Lewistown to make it a walking town. Submit an actual business plan, not just a vision.” No writer could turn down such a tempting lead — and the rest of the story turned out to be just as good.


Steller Floors: The curious case of the growing company that didn’t want to sell

What happens when an idea turns into an actual product and that product goes super-viral on YouTube? And then — in the middle of COVID — that product defies all odds and hits $1 million in sales after only 24 months in existence? In a lot of cases, it’s time to sell the company. But Steller Floors said no. And they told us why.


Penn State was a clear choice for Gorilla Glass inventor, no pun intended

If glass and ceramics had a hall of fame, there’s a good chance that there would be a lifesize (glass, of course) statue of John Mauro at the entrance. He’s the co-inventor of Gorilla Glass, has been to the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors, and has just been named as the editor in chief of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society. And he said that Penn State was his top choice, hands down. Here are the reasons.


From ‘major flop’ to market breakthrough

Two Penn State grads had a startup idea born out of barber shears, free haircuts and a Management 485 class … but then it flopped … big time. The pair accessed what they call a “cheat code” that turned their project from failure to growth. Here’s how they did it.


More entrepreneurs betting big on Bellefonte

It’s only fitting that Bellefonte would bookend this top 10 list, and even more fitting that the article starts with the line: “In this week’s episode of ‘Everybody Loves Bellefonte,’ more big things are happening.” Find out about the armory development project that will add to the growing — dare I say, Brooklyn-esque — vibe of Bellefonte. Read on.


What’s next for 2023? Whether it’s private equity, new breakthroughs, expert insight on weathering the economy or tips on how to enjoy this beautiful piece of the world, we’ll be telling that story. (And if you have suggestions on what you’d like to see, please take the year-end survey HERE!)


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