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ORA Publishes 2019 Visitor Guide


The Tourism Promotion Advisory Council, a committee of the  Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism (ORA) has recently published the newest version of the Oil Region National Heritage Area Visitor Guide (pictured right). This magazine style guide is full of area amenities and historical information.

Following a “trails” theme, the guide takes you through the region touching on heritage, recreation, and attractions as well as culture, food and drink, and shopping. There are also detailed maps of local cities and descriptions of local parks.

It’s packed with activities, events, and things to do in our region as well as great photos and information. A PDF version will be available on the oilregion.org website in the coming weeks.

Grab your copy at the ORA office, located at 217 Elm Street in Oil City, or at the Chamber.  If you’d like a larger amount of copies to have at your business, call Emily at (814) 677-3152.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s April 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Cross Pollination is Good For Business


If you have ever watched a bee visit flower to flower in your garden, you understand how this species is vital for the garden’s life. This same principal should be applied to the community of business and development. Cross pollination is essential in our region as small businesses struggle to prosper and evolve to the needs of the consumer.

Located in the southern tier of Venango County, Emlenton is a community like many others in our region that requires connectivity to other businesses for survival.

One business, The Barnard House Bed and Breakfast, is striving to promote the special qualities that make the valley unique.

A Mother’s Day Tea themed “Women Celebrating Women” and planned for May 11 has been uniquely created by 11 regional businesses found in Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Sharon and Venango Counties. These 11 businesses are owned or co-owned by women.

When businesses share in the development and creation of an event, there is so much more to offer the consumer. The Mother’s Day Tea is beautifully set in an aesthetic and intimate atmosphere along the river. The event will feature items prepared by Chef Don Ras and 70% of the foods served will be regionally grown and produced.

It is their hope that other businesses in our region will continue cross pollination in other venues. To learn more about this style of networking or to make a reservation for this event, please call (724) 867-2261.

The 11 business involved in this event include: Core Goods, DiVani Chocolatier, Do The Macarona, Going With The Grain, Grateful Life Farm, Mirakai Farm, Plot Twist Farm, Sandra Jackson Photography, Stella’s Sundries, The Singing Sparrow, and The Barnard House Bed ‘n Breakfast.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s April 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Leadership Venango Holds Seventh Session: Business & Economic Development


The 2019 class of Leadership Venango met for their seventh session to learn and discuss diversity, local economic development, and conflict management. The session was hosted by Komatsu and included a tour of the research and development facilities the company uses to move their product forward.

Komatsu’s Alan McBride provided the first presentation on Komatsu’s approach to inclusion and diversity. There is a strong business case for making sure your teams are focused on respect and having an open mind. Having or allowing personal judgements in a group causes people to shut down and dampens creativity. Alan shared how one of the biggest hurdles can be getting the executive team to buy into the value of diversity and actively promote open mindfulness. Working with people who are different is all about learning what we can from people who see things from a different perspective.

The biggest areas for improvement include gender diversity, disability inclusion, and cognitive diversity. Cognitive diversity is simply accepting different ways of problem solving and different methods of thinking. Left unchecked, unacceptance of different ways of thinking will obstruct a productive work environment. Alan also shared with us how, as a company, Komatsu works toward development of individuals in these types of areas through professional networking and mentorship.

The second part of the morning involved an “MBA in an hour” where Frank Hajduk of SCORE discussed economics and particularly, the economics of the local economy. He provided input on the capitalist and socialist dynamics of the American economy. A lot of focus was put on our local economy, its history, its potential future, and what it needs to succeed.

The local economy is defined by its job centers and everything within a one hour travel time. One of the most important dynamics, according to Mr. Hajduk, is the flow of money and product into and out of the local economy. If money is brought into the area, the area will see economic growth, but if money is carried or spent outside of the local area, it hurts the local economy.

This stressed the importance of the shop local mentality and the Be Here initiative.

The final discussion was brought by Pamela Watkins about conflict management. Pam is an experienced human resources (HR) professional who is the director of HR at Matric Limited and provides HR consulting through Watkins HR Strategy. There are many things that create conflict in a workplace and in any group involving people. The discussion of causes of conflict correlates closely with the discussion on diversity.

Many of the biggest issues start with barriers to communication and respect of peoples’ position and perception. There are many methods that people use to deal with conflict ranging from detrimental to constructive, and the most constructive way may not always be the same. In the end, there are real and measurable costs associated with conflict. Building on the theme of the day, we need to learn how to manage conflict as part of maximizing productivity and enhancing the benefits of life in the local economy.

Pam challenged the group with further reading of the book Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott.

Leadership Venango will meet again on April 10 at the Venango County Fairgrounds on Empowering Your Community. For more information, visit leadershipvenango.org.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s April 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Chamber Members Focus on Environmental Responsibility


Happy Earth Month! April 22 is officially Earth Day, but many celebrate “Earth Month” for all of April. Several Chamber members make efforts to be environmentally responsible, including:

Victorian City Art & Frame

This frame shop in Franklin uses all LED lighting, reuses incoming boxes and packaging materials for shipping out products, and sells old frames to local artists who can re-purpose them at a very reasonable price. The business also recently started recycling all other corrugated boxes with Moonlight Packaging in Oil City and donates scrap mat boards to Child Development Centers for art programs.

Although they haven’t found a solution for their glass as most of it has special coatings, they do have a line of FSC and PEFC certified moulding which ensure the product comes from responsibly managed forests that promote sustainability.

Personally, staff enjoys the local farmers market on Saturday mornings for refreshments or flowers for the gallery, and if they need to run an errand in town, they choose to walk anywhere within a couple miles in any season.

Webco Industries

As a local manufacturer and community leader, Webco Industries is committed to improving processes and reducing the environmental impact of their waste streams wherever possible.  In addition to complying with all regulatory requirements, the following recycling programs exist at Webco:

• All metal waste products
• Sorbit collection system that keeps over 40,000 pounds of oils from being landfilled each year
• Aerosol can puncturing system
• Corrugated cardboard bailing
• Office paper collection
• Wood pallets
• Plastic bottles and containers

Other notable highlights are their commitment to monthly employee education & training on environmental topics and moving high use items to bulk container purchasing to eliminate the need for so many small disposable containers.   They are also currently conducting an investigation on transitioning to electric powered mobile equipment instead of combustible engines.

Core Goods

Year-round, this market in Oil City encourages customers to reuse containers to fill with bulk foods, nut butters, olive oil, kombucha, and more. The store composts scraps and paper bags, uses vegetable scraps for homemade broth, and recycles what can’t be reused.

Core Goods also focuses on local foods, such as organic vegetables, meat, and bread, which creates less pollution and reduces the amount of pesticides that affect the environment and people’s health.

During the month of April, Core Goods will host a “Earth Month Contest,” with prizes offered for taking steps to be more environmentally-friendly, like using a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, shopping with a tote bag, and conserving water (learn more at core-goods.com/earth-month).

Oil City Main Street Program

Each year, the Oil City Main Street Program hosts a Cleanup Day—this year on Wednesday, April 17—to encourage community members to pick up litter and debris throughout town. Businesses and organizations can also “Adopt A Block,” throughout the year and keep that section of town clean.

We encourage you to make environmentally-friendly decisions, not only during April, but throughout the year, in your business and your home!

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s April 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Venango Chamber First Quarter Wrap-Up


At the end of the first quarter of another year, we are excited to share how much has already been accomplished by you and your chamber.

Continuing to follow our strategic plan and the commitment to connect business to business, the Chamber’s Annual Dinner brought together over 200 business representatives to celebrate success in the region. 

To add to the excitement, the new website at www.venangochamber.org was launched that very day. The new website put our member businesses front and center, sharing the stories of what they do and providing a dynamic directory that will continue to add promotional value to each listing.

This quarter, members met on several occasions, including the Lee James Business Mixer, the Oil City High School Career Fair, and the Cranberry Mall Expo. April, we’ll host our first Membership 101, where you can learn how to best utilize your membership listing.

Leadership Venango met each month, in January at UPMC, in February at Clarion University – Venango, and in March at Komatsu Mining Corp.  After two more sessions, this first class of 13 will graduate on May 22.  Save the date to join them for their celebration that evening from 5 to 7 p.m.

Planning is well underway for the Oil Heritage Festival, with a few tweaks planned to this year’s event.

A new offering for members are Tech Talks, held on the third Friday of each month, at the Chamber from 8 to 9 a.m.  This round table discussion is perfect for those who are already established on social media, looking for peers to network with, and share tips or explore challenges.  Contact us if you are interested in participating in the next meeting.

Now that Spring has arrived and we all begin to move about more, we invite you to stop by the Chamber, let us know a great time to visit you, or check out our calendar for the next chance to meet up at an event!

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s April 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.