All posts tagged oil city pa

New Women’s Rally – Sunday, March 8


International Women’s Day’s 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual

Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive. A gender equal world can be healthier, wealthier and more harmonious – what’s not to love about that?

The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, and gender equality in health and wealth—so let’s make it happen. Let’s be #EachforEqual.

The first local event to celebrate International Women’s Day will be held in Central Avenue Plaza and everyone is invited! Chamber President Susan Williams will act as Master of Ceremonies on March 8 at 1:00 pm. Speakers will include keynote speaker Brea Hall-Schmidt of “The Thinking Branch” (pictured left) and remarks by Judy Etzel, Mary Jo White, Denise Jones, Hope Lineman, Betsy Kellner, and Jennifer Friedhaber.

Learn more on the Be Here calendar or by visiting the event on Facebook.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s March 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

FLEX Member Highlight: Bobbie Jones


Congratulations Bobbie Jones on the opening of Trailasana Yoga Studio! It is located at 211 Seneca Street in Oil City and opened with a ribbon cutting on January 6. Trailasana offers a variety of classes and workshops for all skill levels.

“January was a busy month for the studio and I am humbled,” Bobbie said. “We have three core values: community, kindness, and good deeds.  Each night, I lock up the studio with a grateful heart because I feel we are holding true to these values. We (studio, clients, and community) are a community of kind people with good hearts. I cannot wait to see the relationships strengthen.”

Bobbie discovered yoga when she was recommended to supplement ultra-running with a yoga practice. She quickly learned the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits and fell in love with the practice. She obtained her 200-hr Teacher Training from Broad Street Yoga in 2017. 

Bobbie also works as Human Resources Manager at Webco and has an associate degree in Legal Business from Clarion University and a bachelor’s degree in Labor Relations and Employment Studies from Penn State University. She has been involved with FLEX for more than five years and was a Young Professional of the Year nominee twice.

Check out Trailasana at trailasanayogastudio.com, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) February 2020 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Honoring Our Business of the Year: Webco Industries


The Venango Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize Webco Industries as the 2019 Business of the Year. One of Venango County’s largest employers, the company has continued to make significant investments in its local operations.

This past year marked Webco’s 50th anniversary. In 1969, F. William “Bill” Weber started the company, which manufactures carbon steel, stainless steel and other metal tubular products. He served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer until his daughter, Dana, took over as CEO in March of 2011. Mr. Weber died in September of 2018 at 92, at which time Dana became Chairwoman of the Board.

Bill Weber’s philosophy was to foster a culture: “Where people make the difference,” and from the beginning, he was dedicated to building a lasting company that would treat employees well. His legacy continues.

Encouraging & Investing in Employees

Webco, employing 171 at its Oil City plant and 42 in Reno, is committed to providing opportunities for employees to learn and grow. Employees are pulled from at least five surrounding counties.

Director of Operations Ryan Bell explains that over the last four years there has been an increased commitment to communicate company values to all employees, regardless of the position they hold. Staff meetings always begin with a focus on the company’s 16 principles, which are displayed throughout the facilities. All employees are thoroughly trained on the company history and culture through a program called Webco 101. The process encourages employees to ask questions and explore the reasons behind decisions that will impact their work and the work around them. Webco makes every effort to promote from within the company, whenever possible.

Webco has increased its starting wage to no less than $15/hour for entry level positions. Among other valued benefits are the Zero Card program, which offers employees access to many outpatient services. This means that many services are offered at no cost to employees including tests, surgery, and other medical related procedures. Webco continues to explore other wellness programs to be offered in the future. They also offer financial counseling and programs, hoping to ensure that every employee can look forward to a secure future.

Community Stewardship

Webco takes community stewardship very seriously.  The company has extended sponsorships of local playground projects and participates in the “Adopt A Block” program. Recognizing that they are connected to Oil City‘s downtown landscape and the impact that can have on the businesses around them, they seek to always be a good neighbor.

Among the most visible of Webco’s investments has been the purchase of blighted properties located on Oil City’s North Seneca Street. This acquisition is beneficial to the operations of Webco, but they went the extra mile to build an attractive wall to screen the manufacturing operation and are working to minimize dust that is naturally created by the truck traffic.

In addition to helping create a more vibrant downtown, Webco supports local organizations through the United Way of Venango County, including the Oil City High School Food Pantry and Salvation Army.

Commitment to Education & Leadership

Ryan has taken a leadership role in local advocacy, serves on the board of the Venango Chamber, and has been very involved, along with his staff, in working with local educators to reach students about manufacturing careers in Venango County. Webco has taken a lead role in working with the staff of Venango Technology Center (VTC) to offer an advanced manufacturing certification.

They have worked with approximately a dozen other local businesses to establish a curriculum that is a nationally accredited certificate program. The program, which officially launched January 21st, will give high school students the opportunity to become certified as a production and/or logistics technician. The program is intended to be offered to adults and high school students not enrolled in vocational training at some point in the future, but is starting with students currently enrolled in VTC programs. These programs will benefit all manufacturers in the Venango region. Webco will guarantee an interview to anyone completing the program and are hopeful other businesses will as well.

“We are excited to be working with Venango Technology Center to help bring this educational opportunity to our area.  There have been many local manufacturers, educators and community members who have all aided in these efforts,” Ryan said. “We believe this curriculum will provide students with a well-rounded skill set that will not only help them find employment in our area, but give them the tools to be immediately impactful in whatever manufacturing path they may choose.”

Among those educational programs that Webco continues to support is Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW), a statewide entrepreneurial program that is consistent with Webco’s core values and principles. Webco’s commitment to leadership extends beyond their training for internal positions, preparing employees to better serve in the community.

Join us in celebrating Webco Industries and the Oil City Main Street Program, our Partner in Business of the Year, at our Annual Dinner on February 19. Register here.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s February 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Honoring Our Partner in Business of the Year: Oil City Main Street Program


The Oil City Main Street Program will be recognized as the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 Partner in Business.

The Program, embarking on its eighth full year of operation, follows the Main Street approach, a comprehensive, volunteer-driven strategy used to revitalize older and historic downtown and neighborhood business districts across the country using four main pillars:  Design, Promotion, Organization, and Economic Vitality.  A cooperative effort between the City of Oil City and the Oil Region Alliance that launched in fall 2011, it is led by Main Street Manager Kathy Bailey.

Designation & Funding

A significant achievement for the Oil City Main Street Program came in fall 2019, with the news of its recent designation as a Keystone Main Street by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). 

In late December 2019, the City of Oil City received the news that an August application to DCED successfully netted a new round of $50,000 in façade grant funding for downtown storefront improvements. OCMS has implemented façade grant funding between 2012-2017, awarding $109,069 in grants for 47 projects that were matched by $178,660 in private investment, resulting in $287,729 in storefront improvements.

The Oil City Main Street Program’s Design Committee coordinates the façade grant program as well as a storefront window display contest, historic preservation initiatives, and other physical improvement projects.

ARTS Oil City

A program focused on artist relocation and revitalization has been under the umbrella of Oil City Main Street since October 2017.“ARTS Oil City is an economic development initiative that has attracted over 45 professional artists from around the country to our community,” noted Bailey. “The mission of ARTS Oil City goes hand-in-hand with the mission of the Oil City Main Street Program.”

The program is fronted by Stew Armstrong, who joined the Oil City Main Street Staff in 2018 as Artist Liaison and Marketing Coordinator to continue the program’s efforts.

“The mission of ARTS Oil City is essentially based on two points of focus,” stated Armstrong. “First, to reach out to artists across the country to let them know that Oil City is a wonderful place to practice and create, and invite them here. Second, we encourage and promote the already-vibrant arts community here, working with individuals and organizations that support and participate in the arts locally.”

“Top 10” Recognition and “Townie”Award

In June 2019, the Oil City Main Street Program was named one of the ten Best Performing Programs for the previous year by the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC), and received its third Townie Award, this one in conjunction with the Oil City Arts Council. The 2019 award, presented at PDC’s 2019 Annual Conference in Erie, was for the inaugural 2018 BridgeFest under the category of Community Marketing/Special Events.

“BridgeFest is a truly unique event: featuring a great big party on two different bridges, on two different evenings, each organized by two separate organizations,” stated Bailey.  The Oil City Main Street Program earned two prior Townie Awards:  one in 2017 for its Downtown Murals initiative, and one in 2018 for the Center Street Bridge Illumination Project.

Downtown Events

In addition to BridgeFest, the Oil City Main Street Program hosts a variety of events to attract people into downtown Oil City.  The robust schedule includes two “Oil City Uncorked” wine walks each year plus Music on the Square, O.C.toberFest, Small Business Saturday, Oil City’s Christmas Past, and the Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk. In 2019, OCMS organized two new elements for the Oil Heritage Festival events, including a Touch-A-Truck display, and a Main Street Beer Garden to enhance the Justus Park concerts. 

Community Clean-Up Day & Planting

The Oil City Main Street Program organizes an annual Community Clean-Up Day and Adopt-A-Block program.  Twenty-two groups and five individual volunteers either participated in the April 17, 2019 clean-up even tor committed to keeping an assigned area clean from spring through mid-November. 

Each spring, the Safe, Clean & Green Committee installs approximately 30 flowering planters on sidewalks along various downtown streets and 12 hanging flower baskets near the Town Square.  The group also organizes the installation of “winter baskets” featuring live greenery around the square.

Economic Development Initiatives

The Oil City Main Street Program’s Economic Vitality Committee works behind the scenes to foster a healthy business district.  In 2019, the committee spent time updating a Business Resource Guide, and developing strategies to help market available space.  The guide and other resources for downtown businesses will be released in early 2020.  

Bailey notes that 2020 will be another vigorous year for downtown Oil City. 

“2019 was another whirlwind for us, and there is no slowing down.  We are delighted with the successes we can celebrate and will continue to roll up our sleeves what lies ahead.  Despite the challenges and setbacks that can face us, we are committed to carry out our mission of making downtown Oil City an attractive and vibrant place.  With the continued partnership and support of the business community, our local leaders, and residents, Oil City will continue to brighten in the years to come.”

Join us in celebrating Webco Industries and the Oil City Main Street Program, our Partner in Business of the Year, at our Annual Dinner on February 19. Register here.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s February 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Trailasana Yoga Studio to Open in Oil City


Trailasana, a new yoga studio owned by Bobbie Jones, will open in Oil City this month! The first class will be on Monday, January 6, at the studio at 211 Seneca Street.

Types of practice at Trailasana will include yoga for runners, beginner and gentle yoga, heated vinyasa, ashtanga, and more, and classes will take place in the early morning, lunch time, evenings, and weekends.

Bobbie also plans to hold “Good Karma” classes each month, with proceeds going to a local non-profit.

Join us on January 6 at 12:30 p.m. for a ribbon cutting, and look for a spotlight article in an upcoming newsletter. Learn more about the business at trailasanayogastudio.com.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s January 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.