North Judson, Indiana – The 1st Annual North Judson Pitch Competition was held last Saturday night at the North Judson Town Hall. A total of four applicants were vying for prize money that could be equal to $10,000 in the event that the winner selected agrees to move their location to North Judson. Conceived as the idea of Kirt and Elizabeth Verhagen and with the assistance of Starke County Economic Development Foundation and the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center, the goal of the event was to either assist a business already in North Judson, or to entice a business to set up shop in North Judson.
The winner, as selected by a panel of judges which included Bruce Shanks, Commercial Loan officer with First Farmers Bank & Trust, Lorri Feldt, NW SBDC Director, and John Rowe, North Judson Town Council President, was Abrams Studios, LLC. Abrams is composed of four brothers, Wes, Jason, Derek, and David, all of whom were raised in North Judson, Indiana. Because of a love of hunting mushrooms and being out in nature, the brothers created a video game called Morels: The Hunt, which has been very successful thus far, having sold over 2500 copies since its creation in October of 2019 and receiving several good reviews. In order to finance the creation of this game, Abrams sold some of its digital 3D assets to other game developers, along with many major commercial and film studios all around the world. The company is currently working on a Virtual Reality game scheduled for release in October of 2021.
Finishing in 2nd place was Christin Bramlage-Blodgett, the owner of Loving Laughter Child Care in North Judson, Christin began this business in February of 2019 and has already run out of space in her home so she is seeking to establish a second home care facility to be called Happy Hearts Child Care. She currently operates the only licensed home childcare in Starke County and is working on improving her Paths to Quality Level 2 moving towards Level 3 with the State of Indiana. Her program is aimed at helping with kindergarten readiness with a curriculum and STEM standards.
Third place went to Kathi Holem who recently opened Rosa’s Arcade and Mini Golf in North Judson. This facility includes DVD, VHS, and game console rental, a haunted house for Halloween, two 9-hole mini glow golf courses, a coin arcade, and a mystery room. Other seasonal events will be offered along with an area for dancing and Karaoke events. Her business is aimed at providing residents with an inexpensive and safe location for families to enjoy.
The fourth applicant was Craig Harlamert, owner of Golf Fun LLC. Craig is an inventor of numerous products and his concept for this business is a golf tee that is designed unlike other golf tees, to sit evenly in the ground regardless of the terrain, which will improve tee shots of even beginners at the game. He has a manufacturer lined up for his business but is still seeking a large company to sell his invention to a mass market which would allow him to produce his invention.
With the success of the first Pitch Competition, plans are to go forward with next year’s event with additional sponsors, in an effort to create new businesses in North Judson which will create jobs for its residents.
The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is a not-for-profit local economic development organization (LEDO) providing economic development opportunities on behalf of Starke County, Indiana, the City of Knox, and the Towns of North Judson and Hamlet through the development of industrial parks, rail spurs, greenfield sites, shovel-ready sites, infrastructure and workforce development. For more information regarding the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, visit www.scedf.biz.