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Partner in Business of the Year: Barrow-Civic Theatre

barrowThe 2018 Partner in Business Award goes to the Barrow-Civic Theatre (BCT), owned and operated by the Franklin Civic Operetta Association (FCOA).  The FCOA’s mission is to be a leader in the cultural growth, diversity, and vitality of the region, with a vision to provide opportunities for quality programming and entertainment by tapping the resources of all age groups and encouraging the pursuit of artistic talents.

The FCOA celebrated it’s 25th anniversary in 2018 and had a full schedule of events, presenting award-winning literature from a diverse array of genre.

With a commitment to improving processes, staff made major updates to production guidelines by streamlining the process. Multi-member production teams developed into a new standard, ushering in several non-board members as FCOA show producers and members of the Programming Committee.

BCT’s Little Theatre maintained a lively schedule of events. The Off-Barrow Committee completed an internal review over the summer and created a Committee Overview document for the Board Development Committee. A production of the play Wait Until Dark was a great hit in November, selling out several shows, and proving the Little Theatre is a special and unique downtown venue for smaller plays and events.

The first phase of building improvements began in the Little Theatre over the holidays. A new technical booth featuring an audio snake, light board, and new stage are part of the improvements. Barrow

The Youth Theatre program produces annual shows and workshops that allow our area’s youth to develop skills in all aspects of theater. The program encourages parent participation, and the staff continue to work as a team to empower each young participant.

The Barrow Theatre Institute (BTI), a series of after school, evening, and weekend classes and workshops taught by local instructors is gaining momentum and hopes to recognize continual growth in registrants and classes offered.

Another educational event included an Artist In Residence, in collaboration with Erie Arts & Culture (EAC) and Pennsylvania Partner for the Arts (PPA).  Two Teaching Artists spent several weeks working with local youth to install a mosaic tile installation for the entrance to The Little Theatre (see left).  The finished product tells the stories the participating youth gathered to answer the question “Why Franklin?”  This is a much-needed, vibrant and colorful update to the facade of the Little Theatre.

2018 was an active and productive year for the FCOA Board Development committee. A Board Retreat was held in September, focused on values and Board roles.

The theatre presented over 100 ticket vouchers to area non-profits for fundraisers.  The theatre was represented at downtown events and FCOA cast members attended festivals and concerts in the park to promote shows, and the theatre opened its doors for concessions and rest room facilities.

Many building improvements were made or begun in 2018, including the replacement of pumps and one of the boiler units.  Staff members painted the outside alley wall, a much-needed improvement to the cosmetics of the building. Additional improvements included the replacement of two damaged doors, as well as carpet throughout the building.

“The opening of the Barrow-Civic Theatre 25 years ago was a dream come true. Today, this organization is still making dreams come true for performers and the community,” said Zach Covington, Executive Director.

The Barrow-Civic Theatre will be honored at our Annual Dinner on Wednesday, February 27.

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

Business of the Year: Matric Group

Matric with Tagline Transparent

Our 2018 Business of the Year, Matric Group, is an electronics manufacturer based in Seneca that has reliably and affordably provided original equipment manufacturers with safe, effective electronics for 47 years.

In 2018, Matric saw healthy revenue growth, increasing 30 percent over 2017, which increased 21 percent from 2016. With all this success, Matric had the need to expand, adding more than 100 new employees in 2018, with a total workforce now at 330.

This growth led to record-breaking numbers on the production floor. Matric placed 19.6 million parts last year, beating its previous high of 17.9 million set in 2014. This effort was fueled by production on the company’s new high speed SMT line, which placed 41 percent of the parts.

MatricFor the third time in four years, Matric was presented the Komatsu “Premiere Supplier” award in July. This honor requires recipients to demonstrate an exceptional level of quality–less than 3,000 defects-per-million or 95 percent on-time delivery–in addition to hitting a minimum sales threshold. The two companies have a partnership extending back nearly 50 years.

The company was also selected as a recipient of the 2018 Governor’s Award for Safety Excellence for a second time (the first was in 2015). A deciding factor in Matric’s nomination was a record-breaking medical-claim free streak lasting 753 days from March 2016 to April 2018. Although the streak has ended, Matric associates continue to prioritize safety and continue to work hard towards building another impressive run.

Away from the facility, business development efforts took place across the country at various trade shows. Matric and its sister company Dynamic Manufacturing exhibited shows in Cleveland, OH, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, Las Vegas, and Nashville, TN.

Outside of business, Matric and its associates strived to make a difference in the community in which we live and work. This year, Matric associates raised $16,004 for the United Way of Oil City, a total matched by the company.

MatricIn December, the “Fill Up the Matric Van” initiative invited associates to provide food and supplies in assistance of Family Services and Children’s Aid in Oil City. Originally founded as a benefit for a disabled Matric associate in 1993, the tradition has come a long way, with nearly 18 boxes of goods collected this year.

As we move into 2019, the focus at Matric is the same as it’s been since President Rick Turner bought the company in 1993: “As with the last 25 years, we are committed to slow, profitable growth with continued reinvestment in our business.”

Matric will be honored at our Annual Dinner on Wednesday, February 27.

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

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Divani Chocolatier & Core Goods

Two of our members—Divani Chocolatier in Foxburg and Core Goods in Oil City—are working together this Valentine’s Day. On Sunday, February 10, from 12 to 3 p.m. at Core Goods, you can enjoy samples of chocolate covered strawberries from Divani, and place an order for strawberries that will be made fresh and delivered on February 14.

For people unable to attend on the 10th, Core Goods will have forms available leading up to the event, so chocolate covered strawberries can still be ordered.

In December, Core Goods started selling “Bliss Bites” from Divani, which are dark chocolate bites  filled with organic nuts.

Divani Chocolate      Core Goods Logo2

Victorian City Making Changes in Honor of 25th Year

VCAF_NVictorian City Art and Frame is gearing up to celebrate 25 years of business in 2019 by redesigning the gallery over the next few months. They plan to work with local businesses through this transformation. Some have already helped them to redesign the logo and print new signage.

They will hold a clearance event February 8 and 9 during Franklin on Ice to clear out old stock and make room for new art. Victorian City Art and Frame is located at  1273 Liberty Street in Franklin.

FLEX Launches Leadership Development Resources Drive

FLEX is pleased to announce the launch of the FLEX Leadership Development Resources (LDR) Drive!

The personal and professional development of young professionals (YP) is crucial to making a positive impact in the Venango area. The FLEX Leadership Development Resources Drive offers young professionals access to videos, podcast recommendations, professional documents, books, and personal YP stories, and members can upload their favorite resources as well. As we embark on our YP journeys in 2019, it’s important we continue to learn, network, and grow from our experiences together–the FLEX LDR Drive is a great way to connect on one shared drive.

Please click the link below to access the drive and bookmark it in your browser. Let us know your thoughts!


FLEX Leadership Development Resources Flyer