All posts tagged business

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.

Meet the Leadership Venango Class of 2019

Randy Randy Arnold is a senior mechanical engineer at Pioneer Energy Products (PEPRO) in Oil City. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Grove City College and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania. Randy’s focus is on designing product that is built with pride in Oil City and surrounding areas to serve the telecommunications and emergency communications around the nation. His passion is for engineering and product design and focusing on how to combine that with a business plan to create growth.


TessaLVTessa Byham is an Oil City native with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Edinboro University. She is the Executive Assistant at the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce and loves being involved with the growth of the region through the position. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, kayaking, reading, and attending local events. She is also an active member of the FLEX Young Professionals Group and an Ambassador for the Be Here Initiative.


LindseyLindsey Canchola is the Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Presbyterian SeniorCare Network and oversees the outreach for Oakwood Heights here in Oil City. She has been employed at SeniorCare for just shy of  7 years. Lindsey graduated suma cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh. Lindsey resides in Meadville Pa with her husband, Anthony and their two sons, Landon and Connor. Lindsey is involved in: Aseracare Foundation Board, treasurer for Randolph League, University of Pittsburgh Board of Alumni.


JeffJeffrey Fedei is currently the manager of the robust Environmental Services department within UPMC Northwest. Jeffrey started his career in the healthcare setting in 1999 where he worked as an environmental services technician and has continued to advance his career through on-the-job-training and education.  He has served as a corporate representative with the UPMC Health System and Value Analysis Team where he provides input on strategies for the prevention of microorganism transmission.  He has also served as a product evaluator to ensure the ease of use by environmental service workers.


DanDan Flaherty, born and raised in Oil City, is Executive Director of the Oil Region Library Association (ORLA). ORLA is responsible for the operations of the three county public libraries (Cooperstown, Franklin, Oil City). Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in History and a master’s degree in Library Science, both from Clarion University. He is married to Ashley Flaherty, also an Oil City native. Together, they have fun hiking and canoeing with their dog, Keasbey, time at home with their cat, Jim, and entertaining with family and friends. He also enjoys reading, home brewing, and gardening. Dan has helped organize local Disc Golf events at the Hasson Park course and has contributed in various roles to the Pennsylvania Library Association.


GregGreg Lander is a Venango County native who attended St. Stephen Elementary school and Oil City High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Penn State Erie, the Behrend College, and is  Vice President of Klapec Trucking Company in Reno, PA. He enjoys driving the KTC trucks in the local parades and transporting the City of Franklin Christmas tree. He serves as an active member of St. Stephen Church where he is a greeter and helps with the annual St. Stephen Heritage Festival. He volunteers at St. Stephen School by helping with the students swim classes and the Reverse Raffle.


MarcMarc Lander is an Oil City High School graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Science and Technology from the California University of Pennsylvania. He began driving for Klapec Trucking Company after college, then moved into the office to learn the different areas of the business.  Currently, he is the Operation Manager at Klapec Trucking Company.  Marc is a member of St. Stephens Church, where he and his wife donate 25 hours of service each year. He is also a proud parent of three delightful girls.


EmilyEmily Lewis is a native of Venango County, with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Business Administration and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Slippery Rock University. As Director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority, she is responsible for the development of several area projects including the revitalization and re-use currently underway at the Oil City National Bank building and the continued development of the county’s fiber optic network. Before becoming Director of the Authority, she was Deputy Director of the Venango County Regional Planning Commission.


LaurenLauren Lupinacci is a native of Venango County with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. As the Program Manager for Bridge Builders Community Foundations for the past five years, she leads the fiscal aspects of the Community Foundation while also administering a scholarship program that grants out over a quarter of a million dollars annually from over sixty different funds. She assists in the administration of the National Transit Building and Annex. Lauren is a member of the FLEX and is excited about becoming a more integral part of the group. In her free time, she enjoys participating in community events with her family and friends.


BRIANBrian McNulty is the Assistant District Executive for the Design Unit of PennDOT Engineering District 1-0 in Oil City. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and is a professionally licensed engineer in Pennsylvania. Brian directs and oversees the planning and design of approximately $130 million of highway and bridge projects in the Erie, Warren, Crawford, Forest, Mercer and Venango counties annually. He is a member of the Franklin Chapter of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE) and is on the School Advisory Council of St. Patrick Elementary School in Franklin.


AshleyAshley Smith is a Franklin native with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology Management and an associate’s degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design from Clarion University, and has taken technical courses at Triangle Tech-Dubois. She is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Youngstown State University. Ashley is employed at the Venango County Regional Planning Commission as the Land Use Planner. In her free time, she is a Franklin High School Marching Band Bandfront advisor and helps coach with Franklin Middle School Cheerleading. She is a new member of FLEX and an ambassador of the Be Here Initiative.


MalloryMallory Spence is a native to the Venango County area, residing in both Franklin and Oil City for extended periods of time. She attended Clarion University where she studied Business Administration and Finance. Since school she has gained 7 years of experience in specialized areas of accounting. She is currently employed at United Way of Venango County as the resource specialist, where she is responsible for accounting operations, overseeing marketing, and campaign account management.


RyanRyan Sweeney is a native to Venango County who holds the position of Quality Engineer at Webco Industries, where he is responsible for the development of new products at both the Oil City and Reno facilities. Sweeney holds a bachelor’s degree in Science and Mathematics, associate’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, and a minor in Environmental Studies from Edinboro University. Sweeney enjoys all outdoor activities and spending time with his family.



Leadership Venango is a nine-month program of the Venango Chamber designed to identify, educate, involve and motivate individuals who desire to become more effective leaders. 

Learn more about the program at

Leadership Venango Logo




This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s November 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.


Social Media Tip: Updating Your Google Listing

Google ListingWhile Google isn’t a social media channel (unless you’re using Google+), it’s essential to have an updated listing. What is a Google listing? When searching for your business on Google, this is the rectangular box on the right side of the screen (or at the top on mobile).

You want your listing to have updated contact information, hours, photos, and more, so people are able to find you and your channels easily.

To begin, you need to verify your business. To do this, visit, click “START NOW,”, and follow the steps. It will ask you for your business name, address, category, phone, website, and more.

After this, you will reach a page where it prompts you to verify your business, which will be by a mailed postcard. Once you receive the postcard, you can log in and continue updating your listing. When signed in, you’ll see tabs for info, photos, and more and you can update them as much as possible. We suggest adding a brief business description, photos of your business and logo, hours of operation, and links to your website.

On the home page, you will also see a section for reviews. Customers have the opportunity to write reviews and add photos from their experiences at your business—yet another way to connect with them.

Updating your Google listing can be overwhelming, but we encourage you to explore the service and do what you can to get your accurate information on the web!

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Gary Jackson – Finding Customers Their Best Insurance Fit

DSC_0522Gary Jackson opened the doors to Gary Jackson Insurance on January 1, 2018 upon taking over the business of thirty-two years, following the retirement of Roger Baker. Gary is an agent of State Farm and offers auto, home, and life insurance along with financial services. Shirley Evans, with fourteen years of prior agent experience, and Sarah Brown both joined Gary as full time employees, alongside part time employee, Tim Hart.

Gary grew up in Oil City and enjoys being able to help family and friends that he has known for years. The best part of the job for Gary is being able to help and educate customers on the different available products and working with customers to find their best fit. State Farm has over 100 products to offer. Many people don’t realize the benefit of enrolling in certain products when they are younger. Gary looks to provide the best possible coverage for customers and their loved ones.

Gary remarks, “It is very satisfying to assist people in better understanding their policies. They often are surprised at what they learn.”

Prior to entering the insurance business, Gary worked as a Kmart retail manager for nineteen years in nine different stores. Through his LinkedIn profile, Gary was made aware of the opportunity to work for State Farm. The change provided a work schedule better suited for his family, wife Brandy, and two school aged children. When he is not working in the office, Gary dedicates his time to the board of the Oil City YMCA, the Oil City Junior Baseball Association, and coaching his son’s baseball team.

Gary will have a tent at the Rocky Grove Fireman’s Fair, Cranberry Fireworks, and the 4H Fair if you would like to meet him and learn more about his business endeavors.

Social Media Tip: Representing Your Brand

1898759_640719425965494_2098128373_oIf someone sees a post from your business on social media or visits your page, can they easily recognize what the business is and what you do? Like with your signage, merchandise, and other materials, your brand should be consistent on your social media accounts. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Profile Photo: Your profile photo should be your logo, a version of your logo, or a photo of your sign (with your logo on it). Keep it simple!
  • Cover Photo: Your cover photo should coordinate with your profile photo and make a person understand your brand immediately when visiting your page. You could have a nicely designed cover photo (like the one in this article) or simply a photo of your product or inside your business
  • Post Images: You should always try to include an image with posts to catch your audience’s attention. Try to include a representation of your brand in that image as much as possible. You could have a product or merchandise (with your logo) in the photo, or create a graphic yourself, with your logo on it.

For creating your own images for your profile photo, cover photo, or post images, is a great tool. We also have members who help businesses with social media. Visit our member directory for more information.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.