All posts tagged venango chamber

Meet Our Board – Ryan Bell


Ryan Bell, plant Manager at Webco Industries in Oil City, joined the Venango Chamber Board of Directors just this year.

Originally from the region, Ryan resides in Rockland Township and is married with four children and one grandchild. He has been a member of the Rockland Volunteer Fire Department for 15 years and a coach for youth football at Cranberry Elementary. He also enjoys fishing and shooting sports in his free time.

“I appreciate the opportunity to move back here with my wife to make a life for our family and raise our children in the community that I have always called home,” he said. “We are an outdoors family, so the opportunities Venango County offers make it a perfect fit for us.”

Ryan’s career has always been in the pipe and tube industry, in which he worked for Sawhill Tubular and Wheatland Tube prior to joining Webco in 2004. He became involved in the Chamber’s Advocacy Committee last year and is the committee chair for 2019.

“The Chamber Board is a very diverse group and I see my role as bringing a voice and perspective from manufacturing and industry,” he said. “I hope to see the Chamber continue to build upon its current role as a business connector in our community as well as continuing to represent the voice of our area businesses through advocacy.”

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

Making Your Mixer Memorable


Mixer at Deer Creek Winery

In the last two issues of VenangoWorks!, we’ve shared why mixers remain a valuable opportunity to bring members of the business community together and then how to go about planning to host an event at your business.

Now, we’d like to encourage you to consider how you can make your mixer as unique as your business. At one time, mixers were considered to be the like of a clique, getting together just to “hob nob” and share drinks after work. In the last decade, we have seen these events take on a very different flavor, each uniquely planned by the business or organization hosting. 

While some things just seem to work well, like inviting people to stop by from 5 to 7 p.m., before retiring to home for the evening; everything else is open to your designs.  They can be held inside or out and include elaborate feasting, light appetizers, or desserts.  While many hosts opt to serve beer and wine, it is not necessary to serve alcohol to have a successful event.

Mixer at Deer Creek Winery

So, why not plan for how you can make a memory around your business and plan a business after hours that will keep your business top of mind for months or even years to come?

The real key is to get excited about your business and help us tell people why now is the time to visit you.  Are you celebrating an accomplishment? Are you a new business or simply have something new to share, like a remodel or new products? Some of the most memorable mixers have included a theme.  Who could forget the Hawaiian shirts and limbo contest more than a decade ago?  And the annual joint Christmas mixer at Cross creek each December makes it on our calendar months in advance, a sure sign of the upcoming holiday.

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

Chamber Members Focus on Environmental Responsibility


Happy Earth Month! April 22 is officially Earth Day, but many celebrate “Earth Month” for all of April. Several Chamber members make efforts to be environmentally responsible, including:

Victorian City Art & Frame

This frame shop in Franklin uses all LED lighting, reuses incoming boxes and packaging materials for shipping out products, and sells old frames to local artists who can re-purpose them at a very reasonable price. The business also recently started recycling all other corrugated boxes with Moonlight Packaging in Oil City and donates scrap mat boards to Child Development Centers for art programs.

Although they haven’t found a solution for their glass as most of it has special coatings, they do have a line of FSC and PEFC certified moulding which ensure the product comes from responsibly managed forests that promote sustainability.

Personally, staff enjoys the local farmers market on Saturday mornings for refreshments or flowers for the gallery, and if they need to run an errand in town, they choose to walk anywhere within a couple miles in any season.

Webco Industries

As a local manufacturer and community leader, Webco Industries is committed to improving processes and reducing the environmental impact of their waste streams wherever possible.  In addition to complying with all regulatory requirements, the following recycling programs exist at Webco:

• All metal waste products
• Sorbit collection system that keeps over 40,000 pounds of oils from being landfilled each year
• Aerosol can puncturing system
• Corrugated cardboard bailing
• Office paper collection
• Wood pallets
• Plastic bottles and containers

Other notable highlights are their commitment to monthly employee education & training on environmental topics and moving high use items to bulk container purchasing to eliminate the need for so many small disposable containers.   They are also currently conducting an investigation on transitioning to electric powered mobile equipment instead of combustible engines.

Core Goods

Year-round, this market in Oil City encourages customers to reuse containers to fill with bulk foods, nut butters, olive oil, kombucha, and more. The store composts scraps and paper bags, uses vegetable scraps for homemade broth, and recycles what can’t be reused.

Core Goods also focuses on local foods, such as organic vegetables, meat, and bread, which creates less pollution and reduces the amount of pesticides that affect the environment and people’s health.

During the month of April, Core Goods will host a “Earth Month Contest,” with prizes offered for taking steps to be more environmentally-friendly, like using a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, shopping with a tote bag, and conserving water (learn more at core-goods.com/earth-month).

Oil City Main Street Program

Each year, the Oil City Main Street Program hosts a Cleanup Day—this year on Wednesday, April 17—to encourage community members to pick up litter and debris throughout town. Businesses and organizations can also “Adopt A Block,” throughout the year and keep that section of town clean.

We encourage you to make environmentally-friendly decisions, not only during April, but throughout the year, in your business and your home!

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

Venango Chamber First Quarter Wrap-Up


At the end of the first quarter of another year, we are excited to share how much has already been accomplished by you and your chamber.

Continuing to follow our strategic plan and the commitment to connect business to business, the Chamber’s Annual Dinner brought together over 200 business representatives to celebrate success in the region. 

To add to the excitement, the new website at www.venangochamber.org was launched that very day. The new website put our member businesses front and center, sharing the stories of what they do and providing a dynamic directory that will continue to add promotional value to each listing.

This quarter, members met on several occasions, including the Lee James Business Mixer, the Oil City High School Career Fair, and the Cranberry Mall Expo. April, we’ll host our first Membership 101, where you can learn how to best utilize your membership listing.

Leadership Venango met each month, in January at UPMC, in February at Clarion University – Venango, and in March at Komatsu Mining Corp.  After two more sessions, this first class of 13 will graduate on May 22.  Save the date to join them for their celebration that evening from 5 to 7 p.m.

Planning is well underway for the Oil Heritage Festival, with a few tweaks planned to this year’s event.

A new offering for members are Tech Talks, held on the third Friday of each month, at the Chamber from 8 to 9 a.m.  This round table discussion is perfect for those who are already established on social media, looking for peers to network with, and share tips or explore challenges.  Contact us if you are interested in participating in the next meeting.

Now that Spring has arrived and we all begin to move about more, we invite you to stop by the Chamber, let us know a great time to visit you, or check out our calendar for the next chance to meet up at an event!

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