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Tech Tip: Preparing for the Holidays

Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be here, soon followed by Christmas and New Years. This time of year can be busy and overwhelming, but these tips should help you prepare your marketing and technology:

  • Start early & schedule: Things will get chaotic, so start getting ready now. You can even schedule social media posts ahead of time.
  • Look at your reports & prepare accordingly: How much of your products do you sell each week? What time of day is busiest? Look at your reports so you know how much extra inventory to stock and when to schedule staff.
  • Make sure technology is ready: If you plan on adding new items or holding sales, be sure to add them to your POS system. Also, don’t forget to update your social media and website with any special hours, and make sure to train staff on any changes. This is a great time to update software to newer versions if needed, too.
  • Get creative: You could have some of your best sales days during the holidays! Do your research to see what people would be interested in buying. Plan giveaways and sales, add new items and create special gift boxes or baskets, and consider shipping products to customers. Don’t forget to tell your audience online what you’re doing!
  • Get your staff involved: Don’t only focus on the customers—happy staff will treat customers well. Dress up, decorate, or have a party! Also encourage your staff to share your posts online.
  • Keep on top of your office work: During the busyness of holiday prep, it can be easy to forget about your accounting, billing, and payroll. Make time each week to take care of this.
  • Collect data: You will most likely have a lot of people shopping with you, including many new faces, so get to know your customers. Ask them questions in person, like where they come from and how they head about you, and collect information online, too, by using your website and social media insights. Use this data to make decisions later.

We discussed this topic at our Tech Talk on Friday, November 15, at the Venango Chamber. More details coming soon on our next Tech Talk. We wish you the best of luck during the holidays!

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Oakwood Heights Receives Award

Pictured (left to right): Carrie Karns – Lifestyle Engagement Director, Angelo Phillips – PAPA president, Rose Campbell – Lifestyle Engagement Team Leader, and Tami Burton – Lifestyle Engagement Assistant.

The Lifestyle Engagement Team at Oakwood Heights was recently awarded the Creative Programming Award at the Pennsylvania Activity Professionals Association annual conference held in Penn State October 6-9.

Their program “Armchair Travel” was awarded as one of the top programs being offered in long term care settings. Each month, Oakwood Heights residents “travel” to a new country over the course of two days. Day one consists of education about the country and day two includes food native to that country, prepared by the Lifestyle Engagement staff. Each resident has a passport where they document their travel adventures and they receive a stamp for that country.

The program launched in January of 2019 with plans of running through December 2019. Because of its growing popularity amongst the residents, the program will be extended indefinitely, as the residents have many more places they want to go.

For more information about the program, please contact Carrie Karns at (814) 676-8686 x117.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Why Local Matters

Shop Local has become such a common catchphrase that it may be tempting to dismiss the impact a small purchase can make on the local economy.

The Multiplier Effect is the additional economic benefit to an area from money being spent in the local economy. On average, 48 percent of each purchase at local, independent businesses was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores (according to studies by private research firm Civic Economics).

How does this work in Venango County? Our cover features two businesses who not only are impacted by local spending by those who purchase from them, but also redistribute their profits to other local businesses and to the community.

Clarks Donuts, locally owned and operated, may have a sale of a donut, which costs as little as the change in your pocket, to the more common sales of dozens of donuts from regular customers. They credit their expansion in recent years to the opportunity to work with businesses throughout the region.

Meagan Neidich, title, remarks: “We make daily deliveries to those who resell at locations convenient to a broader consumer base, but also have businesses who routinely order dozens of our donuts and baked goods for employee and work events.”

When we asked Meagan about Clark’s reinvestment, she easily listed off many local businesses and Chamber members, who they use for goods and services. Direct impact is spending done by a business in the local economy to operate the business, including inventory, utilities, equipment and pay to employees.

One of these many businesses that Clark’s reinvests with is Northpointe Automotive, the local car dealership where several of Clark’s fleet vehicles were purchased in recent years. Northpointe’s owner, Jim Corwin (pictured on the cover with Meagan) further explains: “We invest in our employees and in charitable donations, as well as paying taxes, which inures we have adequate schools and infrastructure in our communities.”

An important consideration in buying and spending local is knowing where to find the goods and services you need. Additionally, most consumers are interested in spending money with businesses they know and/or trust.  Before making a trip out of town or visiting an online store, consider calling your chamber or visiting our website at, to explore where you might make your purchase locally.  Chamber members and staff are always willing to make suggestions if you can’t find a supplier easily. 

While we all appreciate the convenience  of chain and online stores and may have purchases that are only possible at these businesses, it is important to remember that the more frequently we can shift our spending to local, independent establishments, the more we contribute to the economic future of our community.

You can read more about the Multiplier Effect at

Invest in your community! Shop local.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

November 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Ivy Kuberry & Emily Lewis

Ivy Kuberry has returned to our area and we’re looking forward to getting to know her and having her involved!

Originally from Pleasantville, Ivy left for college and worked in state parks throughout the state. “My goal was to eventually come back to Venango County and work at Oil Creek State Park,” she told us. So when a position opened up at the park recently, she jumped at the opportunity and got the job!

Ivy is now an Environmental Education Specialist through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and works in Oil Creek, a beautiful state park right in our backyard.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Edinboro University and has a number of other certifications. She is certified as an Interpretive Guide from the National Association for Interpretation Leave, No Trace Trainer, Kayaking Instructor from the American Canoe Association Red Cross, lifeguard, and more. These allow her to offer fun and safe outdoor recreation programming.

Some of Ivy’s achievements she’s most proud of are completing a conservation-focused study abroad trip in South Africa and Botswana, presenting a college research project at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting, and creating new and exciting environmental and recreational programming at Oil Creek State Park. One of her main goals is to get more people out to enjoy all the park has to offer.

It’s to no surprise that some of Ivy’s favorite activities to do in her free time include hiking, camping, swimming, and biking. She also likes reading and spending time with family and friends, and can often be found at local businesses and events, including Trails to Ales, Karma Coffee, Applefest, Movies at Cranberry, and Oil Heritage Festival. Ivy is getting married to her fiancé Eric next fall and looks forward to starting a family soon.

“Venango County is breathtakingly beautiful and has a great amount of history. There is always more to see, do, and learn,” she told us. “The people of Venango County have always had a special place in my heart. People truly care about each other here, and it creates a feeling unlike what I have experienced anywhere else. Getting to work here is truly a blessing.”

We’re so glad you’re here, Ivy!

Emily Lewis is Executive Director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority, the lead economic development organization in the county created in early 2018. The Authority’s goal is to remove barriers to growth for businesses and create an inviting place where people want to live.

Helping our area succeed is a passion of Emily’s, especially since she is a Venango County native who grew up in Jackson Township (just outside Cooperstown) and attended Rocky Grove High School.

After high school, Emily studied at Slippery Rocky University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with minors in Business Administration and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

During college, Emily worked as a GIS intern and then a Planning intern at the County of Venango, which led to a full-time job with the Planning Commission upon graduation. Emily has always worked in Venango County, but lived in Cranberry Township near Pittsburgh for a brief time.

Professionally, one of Emily’s achievements includes heading the Cornplanter Square Building project in Oil City, which she describes as a “great building with good bones that means a lot to the community,” and she’s excited to play a part in bringing it back to life. She is also proud of the launch of eAcademy, a new program providing education and training on entrepreneurship to high school seniors, and being awarded a grant she wrote to create a sidewalk to connect Franklin and Sugarcreek.

A personal achievement of Emily’s includes climbing Mt Washburn during a recent visit to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Emily and her husband Josh live in Franklin with their dog Bo, and enjoy hiking, especially at Two Mile Run County Park and spending time with family. Emily is also a huge fan of house plants and enjoys decorating, such as repurposing old furniture.

There are many reasons Emily is glad to live and work in Venango County. “The people are probably my favorite part,” she said. “I love the feeling of walking down the street and seeing everyone smiling at each other, and I feel like people are willing to try new things and take risks.”

Emily looks forward to continuing to grow the organization and seeing how she can be useful to the community. Thanks for all your hard work, Emily!

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) November 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

“We All Count in Venango County!”

Preparations for the 2020 Census are Underway

The momentum is strong as Venango prepares residents for the 2020 Census. Conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the federal government’s largest statistical agency dedicated to providing current facts and figures about America’s people, places, and economy, census datashapes communities nationwide.

Why We Do It

The U.S. Constitution requires that each decade we take a count— or a census—of the U.S. population. The country has counted its population every 10 years since 1790. Federal law protects the confidentiality of all individual responses the Census Bureau collects.

The results of the census determine your congressional representation and federal funding for states and communities. Every year, more than $675 billion goes toward hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and more. A complete and accurate count is critical, as the results of the 2020 Census will also affect funding allocations for programs and services that we all enjoy, including parks, libraries, social services, and many other vital resources. Census data helps businesses determine if they should stay and grow, relocate here, or leave. An accurate population count impacts all of us.  

When You Can Take the Census

Around March 12, 2020, households will receive an invitation in the mail to participate in the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau encourages households to respond early online or by phone, where the Census is available in 12 languages. Should a household not reply within a few weeks, a paper form will be sent via mail. Following the paper form, if a household has not yet responded, a Census Taker will visit the address to collect responses.

Local Jobs

The Census Bureau is looking to hire hundreds of jobs locally. The part-time, flexible positions pay up to $17.50 per hour, depending on the position and the county in which the applicant resides. The goal is to hire local people for local jobs.

Not only are these jobs ideal for seasonal workers, students, retirees, and temporary workers looking for their next gig, but they are critical to the 2020 Census. Information about local Census hiring events can be found at

Whether completing your census or working for the census, your participation will help to ensure federal funding flows right back here to Venango and stays in our community.

Learn more: visit  and and follow the US Census Bureau on Facebook and Twitter.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.