All posts tagged business

Joe Taylor Ford Changes Hands, Now Griffin Phillis Ford Motors


Amy Phillis and Joe Taylor have a lot in common beyond their love of selling cars. While operating their own dealerships in different counties, they both upheld a commitment to their communities and share values around the kind of employers they wanted to be. 

Thankfully, they also shared a mutual friend, who introduced them to each other.  Amy, who owns Griffin Motors in Meadville, was looking for an opportunity to return to Venango County, having previously owned a dealership here.  At the same time, Joe was preparing his succession plan, one that would retain his commitment to his employees and customers.  Months of conversation led to the sale of Joe Taylor Ford, effective April 30.

Now known as Griffin Phillis Ford Motors, much about the dealership remains the same.  However, customers current and future will notice the change in signage and a new website griffinphillisford.com. Amy says “We believe in having a strong digital presence to make it easier for our customers to find their next car with us.”

Amy shared that Joe will still be dropping by the business and working on occasion.  She is excited to continue the relationships she already has with other local dealers and looks forward to meeting more of the community.  Grand opening celebrations are planned for July, with a Chamber mixer scheduled for July 18.  Join us in welcoming Amy and congratulating her team!

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

First SEE Event Held at Vo-Tech


Businesses and students came together at the Venango Technology Center (Vo-Tech) in May for the first Student Employment Event (SEE). This wasn’t a typical job fair—it was held for businesses currently hiring and students looking for employment currently or soon.

More than 20 businesses and 100 students attended, and many students scheduled filled out applications and/or scheduled interviews at the event.

“We appreciate all who were involved with planning and carrying out the SEE event,” said Terri Williams, guidance counselor at Franklin High School. “Early feedback from employers and students was very positive!”

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

The Importance of Relationship Building


By Casey McVay

Relationships are one of the most important aspects of living a good life. Yet, often times, we don’t value the conversations we have or pay close enough attention to those around us. What I have learned in my young life is relationships help us when we reach the proverbial fork in the road.

When we face challenges or opportunities, our relationships, our network and connections, personal and professional, guide us to choose which path to take. We shouldn’t always make decisions independently, so when we need help seeing what is best for us, we can rely on those closest to us.

Many important aspects of networking help build these connections and relationships, such as having a smart conversation starter or your “elevator speech,” which I remind you should not be boring like elevator music or so rehearsed that it feels forced. However, the simplest of tips are the essential ones, too: Be yourself, be open, inquire, and be generous.

  • Be yourself. What’s not to like? You’re awesome. Don’t sweat trying to be anything but who you are and people will appreciate your authenticity.
  • Be open. Not an open book, but open. When we are “all about business,” we tend to come across cold, so shake it off, and don’t fear revealing something somewhat personal – it lets the other person know you’re real.
  • Inquire. Don’t forget “it takes two” in a relationship. Here are some great, easy to remember questions to ask: How do you like working at your company? How’d you get into that? Have any tips for _____?
  • Be generous. Once you have made a first connection, the best way to keep it going is to be a resource for the other person. No need to overdo it here, though, but providing something interesting or helpful to them, a referral or link to information, can make the difference in building a stronger relationship. 

Little, simple things like these can add up to big, amazing long-lasting and reliable relationships, and living a really good life with great people around you.

Photos from the FLEX Annual Meeting in October, taken by Chett DeLong

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) June 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Creative and Unpredictable Ways to Attract Business


Creating more or better exposure continues to be one of the greatest challenges for our businesses and communities.  Whether you are trying to attract customers, employees, or attention, it seems harder than ever to stand out in the crowd of distractions.

When it has become easier than ever to simply get what we need from the convenience of our home or office, with online ordering and communication, the burden is on us to give our audience a reason to show up.  Several local businesses have taken a chance in doing something unpredictable or special and we have noticed!

Who doesn’t know Gina? 4 Your Car Connection’s business ambassador, providing a fun greeting from in front of the business, but also engaging in social media and fun stories that engage members from across communities.

Pets can be a great way to show your friendly business climate, as customer greeters or creating a stress-free work environment for employees.  Dr. Kate Eckert brings her English Lab Bruno to work every day.  The Oil City Warehouse Mall and Best Printing both have pet kitties who lounge around the businesses and often are a pleasant surprise to customers, conveying a relaxed atmosphere.  And of course, the Venango Chamber dog Niko, Susan’s golden retriever, provides a connection to our neighbors and visitors walking by (pictured on cover).

Using color can be a great way to call attention to your business.  G Rex Wireless, in Seneca, stands out in the crowd along Route 257 with their bright green building, and the butterfly mural on the side of Buffalo Street Lanes is a popular photo attraction for visitors to Franklin.

Hoss’s recently added the option to bring your own bottle, giving customers the choice to compliment their meal with their favorite wine or beer, which can now be conveniently purchased next door at Sheetz, the chain making a significant investment in adding beer caves to its stores. Fat Dogs in Oil City is capitalizing on its proximity to a scenic overlook and by adding weekly concerts during the summer, providing another reason for customers to visit their ice cream and hot dog shop.

With the change of seasons, it is the perfect time to consider trying something new and creative, possibly taking inspiration from those shared in this article.  To get the most mileage out of any new tactics, be sure to share stories and pictures on social media. And be sure to let us know at the Chamber, so that we can tell others!

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 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.