McConnellsburg, Pa., Local Startup Alleghenies Entrepreneur Recognized as First African American Woman to launch a Business in Fulton County

 In Fulton County, News

Startup Alleghenies and Pennsylvania Senator Judy Ward (R-District 30) will recognize Stephanie Branche, founder of Stephanie’s Party Planning and Catering, for her entrepreneurial efforts on Tuesday, August 13, 2019, at noon in Senator Ward’s McConnellsburg Office located at 201 Lincoln Way West, Suite 102, McConnellsburg, Pa.

Pictured left to right: Rodney McCray, Fulton County commissioner; Stephanie Branche, business owner; Michele Ivory, Senator Ward’s aide out of the Hollidaysburg office; and Pete Lynch, Fulton County commissioner.

Senator Ward will present Stephanie with a certificate recognizing the establishment of her new business.  According to research conducted by the Fulton County Historical Society, this business is historically significant as she is the first African American woman to launch a business in Fulton County.

“Stephanie is pursuing her passion for cooking and sharing her heritage with others through her family recipes.  The assistance provided by Startup Alleghenies to entrepreneurs like Stephanie is invaluable in helping them achieve success,” said Senator Ward.  “I am happy to be part of this exciting and historical achievement in Fulton County.”

“Our family has been part of Fulton County for over 100 years,” said Branche,“ and I deeply appreciate Senator Ward’s recognition that I am the first African American woman to start a business in the county,” adding, “I only wish my mother and grandmother could be here to share this milestone with me.”

“Stephanie joins nearly 400 Startup Alleghenies entrepreneurs (,  who are helping jumpstart the economy across six counties in the Alleghenies, said Debbi Prosser, director business-development, Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC), the organization that launched Startup Alleghenies. “Our goal is to ensure that each and every one of them succeed, and along with our outstanding partners, such as Huntingdon County Business and Industry (HCBI), to provide them with all the help and support they need to achieve their goals.”

“Recently, a friend told me that now’s the time to do something just for me. I love to cook and make people happy, so starting my own catering company is a dream come true.”

About Stephanie’s Party Planning and Catering

For many years, Branche devoted herself to taking care of her mother and grandmother, both of whom have passed. Over the years, they always encouraged her to do something she loved.

“Recently, a friend told me that now’s the time to do something just for me,” she explained. “I love to cook and make people happy, so starting my own catering company is a dream come true.” Branche hopes that the recognition she’s receiving will help inspire other women who have business ideas to pursue their dreams, as well.

Stephanie’s Party Planning and Catering is a full-service party and catering company, serving homemade family recipes ranging from traditional American party fare to Caribbean and Louisiana specialties, Curry favorites, and homestyle Southern cooking. In addition to Fulton County, she also serves Blair, Somerset, Franklin and Huntingdon counties.

According to Debra Clark, Director of Business Development and Entrepreneur & Innovation Coach at Huntingdon County Business and Industry (HCBI), “my role as the Startup Alleghenies Coach for entrepreneurs in Fulton and Huntingdon counties is to mentor and connect them with all the resources available throughout the vast entrepreneurial network that Startup Alleghenies has created.”

Stephanie’s Party Planning and Catering Grand Opening August 31, 2019

The company’s official  grand opening will take place on August 31, 2019 from 1-5 p.m. at the McConnellsburg Fire Hall, located at 112 East Maple Street.  “Everyone is invited to come and sample a variety of dishes from my menu that day. I’m looking forward to meeting you, and learning about what family favorites make you happy,” said Branche.

About Startup Alleghenies: Startup Alleghenies is a free program that connects existing and potential entrepreneurs with experienced Coaches to help them navigate a vast network of partners at economic development groups, private organizations, colleges and universities. It was launched with a POWER grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), a federal-state partnership investing in the socioeconomic future of 420 counties in 13 states in the Appalachian region. The support of the PA Department of Community &Economic Development also was instrumental in establishing SUA.