Local Entrepreneur Acquires Former GUARD Insurance Buildings
WILKES-BARRE — After 18 months in the works, local entrepreneur Kris Jones acquired properties formerly owned by GUARD Insurance at 16 and 24 S. River St. in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
He was awarded a $1 million state grant to help him buy and renovate the two downtown buildings.
Plans for the acquisition include setting up a business accelerator and the new headquarters for Jones’ companies, LSEO.com, KBJ Capital and Special Guest App, an entertainment booking service.
The accelerator will work with businesses that have achieved product-market fit and are in the growth phase, Jones said. A ribbon cutting and unveiling is being planned for May, he said.
“Once unveiled later in May, this accelerator will be working with businesses that already have traction and are in growth phase,” Jones said.
He said the businesses will have access to extensive acceleration support and services, including finance, accounting, legal, growth marketing, mobile and web development and business consulting to help them accelerate their businesses resulting in job creation and revenue growth.
Jones founded Pepperjam as a gourmet food business in 1999 and it later became a top Internet marketing agency. Ten years later, Pepperjam was sold to eBay.
He said Pepperjam led to the launch of multiple successful technology businesses that have helped “jumpstart and inspire the entrepreneurial culture of Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
“This acquisition represents one of the most exciting days of my entrepreneurial journey,” Jones said. “I remain committed to building and supporting innovative companies that provide high-paying jobs and positively impact our region.”
Wilkes-Barre Council members Tony Brooks and Beth Gilbert praised the news that Jones posted on Facebook about the acquisition.
Gilbert posted she is “incredibly proud to work for such business-minded, future-driven people with such a strong work ethic that is hard to come by.”
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