Resort renaissance recharges Bedford County's supportive, innovative spirit.
Sponsored by: Bedford County Development Association
Resplendent views, restorative mineral springs and crisp mountain air have made Bedford County a natural retreat for city-dwellers since the early 1800s, and proximity remains a plus getting to and from Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.
What in 1804 consisted of a small inn has blossomed into the 2,200- acre, world-class Omni Bedford Springs Resort, which attracts 100,000 visitors annually ““ more than twice the county\’s population.
Continued investment in that long tradition of hospitality has brought new energy to local culture and the economy, and residents are embracing the inspiration and fresh experiences that have come with it. Even better, local entrepreneurs as there’s plenty of opportunities to share with fellow dream chasers.
“If you provide the infrastructure to allow people to chase the dream they want to pursue and provide the supportive atmosphere around them, you will see positive growth. That’s what we have here,” says Dave Heller of Olde Bedford Brewing Co. “Any idea is welcome, and it can be smaller like our brewery, or it could be huge like the REI and Walmart distribution centers.”
Heller opened the brewery in 2018 after fulfilling his vision of returning home to enjoy his family property following a 24-year career in the military and FBI.
Mallory Pachtman, another “homecomer,” found her career passion last year launching a healthy, fast-casual eatery, Next Door, in scenic downtown Bedford alongside partners Haley Feaster and brothers Stefano and Davide Ferrari, who own the adjacent market and trattoria, LIFeSTYLE, which is an anchor in the burgeoning dining scene.
“Our success can be attributed to great people, a little luck and the Omni Resort that has transformed our remote town into a resort destination,” Pachtman says. “This is an environment where people are rooting for you and want you to succeed. If you have an idea and are ready to fight for it, there are people ready to help.”
Just a sampling of other such ideas that have become reality: A luxurious River Mountain Retreat Center, Juniata Trading Co.’s new archery center, the Dalesmen Distillery 2021, and Kate’s Real Food locating to one of the county’s three business parks.
“There’s a lot to boast about, but what stands above the rest are the people.”
Bill Liedholm, General Manager of Omni Bedford Springs Resort
There are career opportunities with high-quality brands in the manufacturing sector, too, with the presence of industry leaders such as JLG Industries, Inc., CaptiveAire and Kennametal, Inc.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort General Manager Bill Liedholm says a huge part of the resort’s local impact is how guests see what the county has to offer even beyond the resort.
“There’s a lot to boast about, but what stands above the rest are the people,” Liedholm says. “The work ethic, family values and uncomplicated lifestyle allow residents to enjoy what’s special in the community, all while feeling safe. Add to that our network of transportation – locally and within a two-hour radius – and residents can enjoy the best of all worlds.”
That environment makes happy residents who aim to attract more of the same. When asked their favorite aspect of living and doing business here, both Heller and Pachtman replied with no hesitation: Simply waking up here with the knowledge the day will be great.
Learn more about the Bedford County Development Association.