All posts in Chamber Blog

Social Networking Just Fun and Relevant for Business?


Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes with me recently is well aware that Social Networking is a hot topic for me. And those who have known me for long know that if I can find a way to use technology, well…I’m all over that! So now the challenge becomes for me and for you, is this time well spent?

What I know is that in a few weeks I have seen my networks grow exponentially. So yeh, it’s been fun. While I watch T.V. in the evening I watch friends, family (kid in college) and chamber members posting messages about what they’re up to. But here’s the cool thing. I also see a tweet from Congressman Thompson announcing his support of the Secret Ballot Protection Act http://tinyurl.com/c3sft5, important to preserving workers rights and protecting business in PA. In can also check into a networking sight for those involved in the pursuit of Main Street designation for Oil City, www.ocmainst.ning.com.

Now for those who really just want to watch T.V. I get it. You might not have time for this, but if you’re with me, tweet me, skype me or invite me to be your friend!

Trade Show Success! It can be yours.


On Saturday I took a field trip to Meadville to visit Charlie and the gang at the Meadville Chamber’s First Annual Trade Show and got far more than I bargained for. The show took place in the Meadville Downtown Mall, typically a rather quiet venue. It was anything but on Saturday. Despite a bit of anxiety over participation a few months ago, the show boasted participation of more than 85 businesses. As one vendor told me, had no one other than the exhibitors attended this show was a great success. Most businesses had at least 2 associates, which allowed for them to take shifts visiting the other booths. Often small businesses are too busy to get out and visit other businesses in the community.

Several Venango Chamber members participated in the Meadville Show. These very forward thinking businesses understand how important it is to get out and show thier services and visit thier customers.

The bonus for me was discovering that the mall had several stores that I didn’t know about. On April 24th the Venango Works Trade Show will be held at Cranberry Mall. Why not join us as an exhibitor or a visitor to see what great things you can discover.

What’s so great about the Annual Dinner



Everything! The Chamber’s Annual Dinner, like all of the other events each year, is preceded by months of planning. Long before the details fall together the location must be secured and the date confirmed. About three months prior to the dinner the call is put out for nominations for Citizen of the Year. A month or so later a special meeting is convened where the applications are reviewed and the choice is made as to who will be honored. Having witnessed this process several times now, I can attest that each year there are more than a few worthy nominations. Once this choice is made things begin to fly!

Now two days after the Dinner it is fun to think back on what a week ago had us jittery. Would we get everyone’s reservation entered correctly? Would each attendee be happy with their table companions? Would Dr. Pilewski arrive safely from Florida? Would all of our awards be perfectly inscribed? The list goes on…

Well, for those who were fortunate to have joined us, you know that in fact it all worked out perfectly. The details, like weather, food and seating offered little challenge if any.

Dr. Pilewski was at the top of his game. Everyone was delighted to meet his family. He accepted his award with complete grace and made us all laugh a bit. We honored our committed board members Frank Gill, Frank Pankratz and Joe Pastor. We honored Amanda Williams as our “Superstar” Volunteer of the Year. And we delighted in the opportunity to see so many of our faithful chamber members, who support as year after year.

And so it begins, the journey toward next year’s event.

Website Progress


I know, I know…I’ve been talking about our new Chamber website for months now, but I promise it will be worth the wait. In the last week we’ve had the opportunity to review the working site. I am more confident than ever that the Venango Chamber website will be among the best chamber sites out there. While much of the site will have similar content to what your accustomed to hearing about from the chamber, this site will encourage us to be far more dynamic in our information and will encourage feedback from our members and community.

We’re excited to be adding a few new social media applications, such as twitter and linkedin. If these are new to you, join us for our next brown bag lunch on February 11th. We’ll clue you in.

Perhaps one of the best parts of the new site is the membership directory. In addition to the information members have included in the past, members will be featured on the site’s homepage, with logos and pictures. While we encourage members to have their own websites, this will provide an online presence for those who do not. So, mark your calendar for March 11th, when the waiting will be over.

Meeting Members


Life at the Chamber is ever changing and certainly never predictable. Here at the Venango Chamber we keep a tight schedule and live by the calendar, but anyone in Chamberland knows that our members (and potential members who are everyone else) come first!

Tabitha had done a fabulous job of arranging for me to meet with several members this week and despite the incredible continuing snowfall all week, I was able to meet with every one of them. A few came to my office and for others I ventured out. Everyone I met with this week is passionate about their business and you’ll have the chance to read about what they’re doing in the next few newsletters.

I continue to be amazed by the new things I learn about businesses in our community. I believe that if each of our chamber members would just plan to meet with another member once a week (even once a month) to get to know them better and find out about their business, we would see amazing things happen in our region. How would you decide who to meet? Use your Chamber Directory, printed or online. There are over 400 to chose from!