All posts in Chamber Blog

Upcoming SBDC Training & Events

Looking to brush up on your business know-how? The SBDC’s offer educational programs geared towards entrepreneurs. Training resources include:

  • First Step Seminars
  • Business Workshops
  • Online Training
  • Pennsylvania SBDC Seminar Schedule

Business Skills Workshops

WordPress Beginners: Thursday, March 7 in Oil City
Learn How to Create Your Own Website:

This workshop will teach you:
• Getting Your Website Set-Up and Moving Around
• Using Your Dashboard
• Choosing a Theme
• Adding Pages and Menus

Fair Labor Standards Act: Tuesday, March 19 in Clarion

How does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) affect your business? Whether you are looking to hire your first employee or if you are ready to expand your staff to 100, this seminar has the answers you are looking for. A U.S. Department of Labor specialist will present on the following topics:

• Wage and Hour’s Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) Program – how it works
• FLSA’s Minimum Wage and Overtime Requirements
• Compensable Hours Worked and Recordkeeping
• Minors – When and Where Can They Work?

Marketing 101: Wednesday, March 20
Marketing Your Small Business:

This Workshop Will Teach You:
• How to keep your marketing consistent
• How to understand your customers
• How to choose the right advertising
• How to measure your efforts
• How to build a marketing plan

WordPress Advanced: Thursday, March 21 in Oil City
Getting the Most from Your Website:

This Workshop Will Teach You:
• Working with Images and Video
• Widgets and HTML
• Linking
• Plug Ins
• Users/Security and Basic Optimization
• Social Media Tools

LaunchLINK: Wednesday, March 27 in Clarion
Know the Rules of Engagement for 1099 Independent Contractors:

In this webinar, you will learn about the issues surrounding the mounting problem of employee miss-classification, how to avoid the most common-and costly-classification mistakes, and how to create a paper trail that will protect your company-and you- in case a claim is ever made against your organization.

Facebook For Business: Thursday, March 28 in DuBois (This is taught by Ask Me.)

Have you been using Facebook for your business, but wonder how you can get more from it? What can you do to get more “likes”? What are these “Ads” all about? Do I need to sponsor my posts? Join us to learn how to get the most out of Facebook Business Pages. We’ll discuss getting started through proper planning, utilizing apps to help you manage Facebook, using insights, Facebook ads, creating quality content and more!

Topic: Facebook for Small Businesses: This workshop will teach you how to use Facebook as a marketing tool for your business by optimizing your time and efforts. You will learn how to grow your reach, expand your fan base, and build valuable relationships online.F

First Step Seminars

The First Steps to Start and Finance Your Business

Clarion: Saturday, February 2, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Find more details about SBDC programs at

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

Why Business After Hours Mixers Remain Relevant

“It’s our human-to-human links that make the most meaningful moments of our lives,” suggests Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of The Seventh Sense and The Age of the Unthinkable.

While in many ways it seems we are more connected than ever, our busy schedules and screen time are keeping us from meeting face to face with businesses in our communities.  It is in meeting that we can most effectively collaborate, celebrate, and even commiserate.  But let’s get serious—who really wants to go to another meeting? 

We are encouraged to “grow our network,” understanding there is a lot to be said for who you know when trying to get things done. 

The chamber mixer model has long provided an efficient template for bringing people together, specifically within the business community. We believe there is great value in meeting, especially when it provides the chance to meet new people and businesses, or reacquaint ourselves with someone we haven’t talked to in a while.

So, what makes for the perfect chamber business after hours mixer?  The same thing that works for any great get together, an enthusiastic host and an invitation.  Still not convinced?  Check out Priya Parker’s The Art of Gathering. Parker offers a decoder ring for the secret forces at work when we gather for business, crises, or celebration.

And remember, “many of the best things in life happen when people gather,” said Chris Anderson, owner and curator of TED.

To schedule a mixer, contact the Chamber at (814) 676-8521 or

Stay tuned next month for an article with tips on how to host a successful mixer.

February 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Kat Thompson & Leah Walentosky

Kat ThompsonWe’re excited to introduce Kat Thompson, this year’s FLEX Vice President/Secretary and the Talent Engagement Facilitator at CareerLink.

Kat grew up in Hydetown, just outside of Titusville, and moved to Oil City while in high school. From kindergarten through 12th grade, she attended Christian Life Academy (CLA), then went on to Spring Arbor University in Michigan where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in global economic development. She also received her Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification through Oxford Seminars.

For three years, Kat lived in China teaching Oral English and Reading Comprehension at Sias International University. While in China, one of her fond memories is performing, usually choregraphed dances. They would sometimes give performances in front of thousands of students and once on TV for a basketball tournament.

Kat has traveled and lived all over the world (she’s been to 30 countries and over 40 states) and loves meeting new people and learning about different cultures, but she is happy to call our area home. “It’s where my family is and I’m proud of way the community is growing here,” she said.

As the new VP/Secretary of FLEX, Kat is looking forward to helping others get more involved in the organization and the community.

In her free time, she enjoys relaxing on her patio with her cat, Ellie, while bird watching. She also participates in outdoor recreation, like hiking, biking, and kayaking throughout the region. She loves watching wildlife, including deer, foxes, a bear, racoons, a porcupine, and a lot of birds just around her house. One of her favorite stops in our area is Core Goods, a new store in Oil City.

“I truly appreciate the sense of community in Venango County,” she told us. “There is a strong network between businesses, economic development, and community organizations. There are so many people working towards improving the quality of life in this area and I’m happy to be a part of that.” We’re happy to have her a part of it, too, especially as a new officer of FLEX!



Leah WalentoskyLeah Walentosky is one of our newest FLEX members. Born and raised in Oil City, Leah has fond memories of going to the YMCA, getting ice cream at Butler’s Candies, and biking to the Marina with her brother.

Leah graduated from Oil City High School in 2009 and attended Clarion University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in library science and education. She currently works for both the Allegheny National Forest, and as a substitute teacher.

Leah enjoys reading and photography, she said she never leaves the house without a book or a camera. She also enjoys staying active by doing yoga once a week and hiking every day in the summer. In the colder months, she spends time at the YMCA and takes Taekwondo classes.

Among her favorite things to do in Venango County, Leah loves to visit galleries and enjoy the work of local artists. She tries to shop local as often as possible, and often grabs a bite to eat at the Taco Shack.

She is proud of her work with the forest service and was recognized by winning a Safety Award and Peer Recognition Award. Leah also completed the PA Hike 50 Challenge in 2018, which involved hiking at least 12.5 different miles in each of the four PA chapters of the North Country Trail Association.

As far as the future, Leah stated, “I am prepared for whatever life has.” She hopes to land a full-time job with the government and earn her master’s degree in archival science. Personally, she’d like to spend more time gardening and traveling, and eventually buy a house of her own.

Leah loves the arts community and rural landscapes of Venango County, and is proud to call it home. We are so excited to have Leah join FLEX and bring her fun-loving spirit and positive attitude to our organization.


These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) February 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter. Find more young professional profiles here.

Fifty Cups of Coffee

SusanA new year brings new goals and among mine is the wish to expand my network over 50 cups of coffee.  In the spring of 2016, I had the good fortune to hear Bobby Audley’s TEDxPSUErie talk “The 50 Cups of Coffee Challenge.” You can view it here:

So, here goes.  If we have not had the chance to meet, I’d like to invite you to “grab coffee” with me this year.  Just a quick cup before or after work—I’ll buy! I’d like to make 50 new connections, so if we’re old friends, introduce me to someone new.

I’m keeping track and need your help to reach my goal.  Call (814) 676-8521, text (814) 758-2753 or email with the best day/time for you.  And I hope you’ll share your goals with me when we meet.

Thanks in advance,
Susan Williams

Member Spotlight: Ocean Spray Car Wash

Best Car Wash & Gas Prices in Town

Ocean SprayDowntown Oil City is now the home of a new car wash and gas station. Ocean Spray Car Wash opened its doors on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, with an official ribbon cutting on November 13.

Ocean Spray has a state-of-the-art LaserWash 360 Plus car wash system, including four different touchless wash cycles, providing service as close to a hands-on detailing as possible. On site, customers also have access to two vacuums, and radiant floor heat, preventing snow from building up on the premises.

In addition to the car wash, the business has a pay-at-the-pump gas station, with all brand new equipment—tankage, lines, and dispensers. The gas station offers the best prices in town, with an option for even more discounts through bundling. If a customer purchases gas the same time as a car wash, there’s an opportunity to get up to $0.20 more off per gallon.

Although Ocean Spray Car Wash is a new business, it was opened by Daniel L. Heath, owner of Heath Oil, Inc., a longstanding local business. Since 1970, Heath Oil has served our area, starting at its Victory Heights location on Route 322 in Franklin. The business has evolved from a single station to a large wholesale enterprise, with multiple retail sites and bulk facilities throughout the region.

“Venango County has been a great place to live and run a business, and working hard to benefit this rural area has been rewarding,” said Daniel. “The car wash is just another way to continue providing services here. We are happy to provide Oil City with a great car wash without having to travel out of the community.”

Whether you’re looking for convenience, top of the line service, competitive prices, or all three benefits, stop by the new Ocean Spray Car Wash in Oil City!

ABOUTOcean Spray Logo

Ocean Spray Car Wash is a state-of-the-art car wash and gas station in Oil City, with all new equipment and competitive prices.


  • Features state-of-the-art LaserWash 360 Plus car wash technology
  • Has best gas prices in town
  • Offers opportunities for further gas discounts when car wash is purchased


299 Duncomb Street
Oil City, PA 16301

Hours of Business
Open 24/7
Manned hours:
Monday – Friday
10 a.m.-6 p.m.



(814) 437-7802


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