All posts tagged venango county

How to Work On Your Business When You Can’t Work In Your Business

Your customers are being told to only leave for necessities, your employees are working from home, and you’re looking around an expanse of open space in what used to be a bustling business. What do you do when you can no longer function as the business you’ve always been? Use this time to work on your business, not in it. 

If you are looking for a partner at this time, (someone to help you navigate the uncertainty, help you get your technology updated so you can work remote, or just a peer to reach out to and collaborate with) check our Membership Directory!

Professional Development  

Learn more about your industry, growing a business, and how to lead. You know that feeling you have when you come back from a really good professional training? Where you are motivated and can’t wait to implement the new things you just learned? You can still get that feeling; there is so much information to glean from books, podcasts or seminars.  

TED Talks for Business Owners
10 TED Talks for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs
10 Must-See TED Talks for Entrepreneurs
The Most Inspirational TED Talks for Small Business Owners

Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

See what your local library has to offer! The Oil Region Library Association has resources for businesses like:
Gale Business: Plan Builder pw: pl2612
Gale Courses pw: pl2612
Job & Career Accelerator
As well as other resources to keep active and minimize cabin fever like OverDrive (eBooks, eAudio), Kanopy (streaming), etc. Visit their website for more information or email with questions.

Update Your Skillset

Have you always wanted to learn photography to better market your products? Or maybe you need help organizing your information, or you’ve always wanted to perfect your bread making.  Maybe you need a refresher in Quickbooks or to learn how to set up and update your website so you don’t have to hire it out. Heck, maybe you’ve wanted to pick back up the guitar. You’ve got time on your hands, it’s the perfect excuse to learn a new skill.


Implement Systems 

Systems can be great for your business. They help you to respond faster, not have to duplicate processing over and over, batch tasks, and can help you run more efficiently.  

• Set up email auto-responses
• Create checklists for repetitive tasks
• Organize your physical and digital files
• Update your customer databases
• Clean out your inbox
• Set up online recurring payments

Tackle That Project 

You know, the one you’ve been avoiding. We all have projects that we have been procrastinating about that we mean to do. They may seem to be too much time, energy or they will be too disruptive to business. Well, now that you’re out of excuses, it might be the perfect time to do it.  Think of how good you’ll feel when it’s done. And it could be a nice distraction.

• Update your website
• Launch an e-commerce site
• Reorganize your office or store layout
• Upgrade computer systems

Looking for someone to help develop your website, someone to provide legal guidance, or any other partner in this time? Check our Membership Directory!

Find a Mentor

It’s nice to get the perspective of someone who’s been there. And while you’ll probably be bereft of finding someone who’s gone through this exactly; you can certainly find someone who has weathered storms before. Below you’ll find a list of a few great programs for business owners or those looking to start a business. But reach out to us – we would love to connect you with someone in your field!

• Clarion University Small Business Development Center
• Small Business Jump Start

Get a Different Perspective 

Look at your company as if it was someone else’s. What advice would you give them? How does your customer see your business? What suggestions might they have for you? If you were to start all over; would you do anything differently? Are there things that you are doing that don’t provide value? Are there things that could be added that would create value?

• Send a survey out to your customers
• Create a focus group
• Reach out to your peers

Speak up  

Keep communications with your customers and supporters as well as other businesses.

• Let customers know how they can support you during this time
• Continue to post on social media and send out e-newsletters
• Communicate with other businesses; check in with your peer group
• See what others are doing and where you can collaborate
• Network and connect through phone, email, or online business groups and virtual meetups
• Use telecom resources like FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and more. Let us know if you need help getting started!

Get Creative 

Are there other ways that you can provide value to your customers? Can you offer services or inventory in a different way? Could you offer online training or sales, virtual updates, delivery options, meetups or classes? Now is the time to step out and try something different. You’ve got nothing to lose and could potentially have a lot to gain.

Support Others 

What will you have wished that you had done with this time looking back? Are there opportunities that you can support or offer your time to organizing? Everyone is going to be feeling the effects of this. Reach out to your local nonprofit or check-in with at-risk populations in your community if you have something to offer. At the very least use your platform to share what others are doing.  


Things are tough now, but nothing is permanent. Take a step back sometimes. It can be overwhelming and scary with so much uncertainty. Take some time away from the business.  Connect with family and friends. Reconnect with nature. Meditate. Get some rest. Take care of yourself and your body. Know that you are doing everything you can and allow that somethings that are outside your control.  

Most importantly, know that you are not alone; everyone is feeling uncertain. No one knows what the future holds. Prepare as much as you can so that when it does bounce back; you’ll be ready, stronger than ever. 

Please let us know how we can help. We are here to support you!
Call (814) 676-8521 or email anytime.

Business Resources for COVID-19

Below you will find a list of resources from a local, state, and federal level. We will continue to update this page as new resources become available. If you know of something that should be listed here, please let us know! Contact the Chamber at 814-676-8521 or if you have any questions.

The Venango Chamber is collecting updates from local businesses. View all updates here.

The US Department of the Treasury, IRS, and the US Department of Labor announced on March 23 a plan to implement coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and medium sized businesses. Find more information here.

Unsure if your business is still allowed to operate under the order from Governor Wolf on March 19? View the list of Life-Sustaining Businesses here. To request a waiver to keep your location open, submit the form found here.

View live daily briefings from the PA Department of Health for the latest news and updates on COVID-19. View their webpage here.

The CDC has developed a list of resources for businesses and employers. View their resource page here.

Governor Tom Wolf is updating his website and Facebook page with resources, press conferences, and orders. View the website here.

The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus: View the COVID-19 webpage here.

The U.S. Chamber has released a comprehensive resource kit for businesses. View the kit here. 

The PA Chamber has developed a list of business resources. View their resource page here.

Updates and resources from the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce. View their update page here.

Guidance for Businesses & Employers from the Small Business Administration (SBA). View the SBA Loan Resources page here.

The Venango County Commissioners are conducting a survey to assess the impacts of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on local business. Complete the survey here.

The PA Chamber hosted a webinar with speakers Dr. Rachel Levine and Jonathan A. Segal on March 19. View the webinar here.

How can residents help support local business?

As you know, the Governor announced recommendations intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 across PA, including a closure of dine-in services, bars, gyms, casinos, and theaters. We understand that these decisions are being made with the best interest of the health of our state, but also recognize that this has a significant and potentially devastating impact on our local businesses. This is new territory for all of us.

The Venango Chamber encourages everyone who has the means to support local at this time. Many restaurants are working hard to offer take-out and pick-up services. Find a list of business updates here.

You can also buy gift cards for later use, shop online, and share positive information on social media to spread the word about shopping local.


March 2020 Young Professional Profiles: Jamie Stack & Juliet Hilburn

Jamie Stack grew up in the area and graduated from Oil City High School in 2017, then went on to earn her associate’s degree in Physical Therapy Assistance from the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville.

She’s currently waiting to take her Board Exam, and is working at two local, young professional owned businesses—Core Goods and Eckert Chiropractic.

“I enjoy how personable the jobs are,” she said. “The coworkers and employers are very invested in their employees. I love much I have learned and how much I know they care about my growth.”

At Core Goods, Jamie helps customers, cooks, keeps the store stocked, and more, and at Eckert Chiropractic, she helps with childcare and various office tasks.

Jamie recently got engaged and is excited to marry her fiancé, Devon. Other future plans include pursing a more full-time job.

She’s not certain exactly where or in what field, but told us: “I am not limiting my future to what my degree is in. I want to achieve happiness in whatever life throws at me and wherever I am in the next few years.”

In her free time, Jamie can almost always be found with Devon, usually outdoors biking, walking, hiking, kayaking, and basically anything else outside.

In Venango County, she enjoys experiencing the history and learning facts about how this area was created. She also appreciates the beautiful nature and close-knit community, and related it to Cheers—”You want to go where everybody knows your name.”

Jamie is enjoying working in Venango County and is also excited to see where her future takes her.

Juliet Hilburn recently joined the team at the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College as Student Success Specialist. She graduated from Mercyhurst University in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in history and earned a cumulative 4.0 GPA. In high school, she also graduated as Valedictorian.

Juliet was born and raised in Titusville, and continues to live here, though her position takes her all over Forest, Crawford, and Venango Counties.

She enjoys her new position and, looking to the future, hopes to continue as a higher education professional helping students succeed in their post-secondary careers. She also looks forward to continuing her own education by pursuing a master’s degree in Communications or a related field.

In the community, Juliet serves on the Board of Directors for the Titusville Council on the Arts and plays flute in the Oil City volunteer ensemble Mostly Brass. She can also often be found reading and is a part of the Benson Memorial Library book club.

In college, Juliet had a minor in film studies, so she enjoys watching movies, especially at The Movies at Cranberry. She’s a fan of local events, too, like BridgeFest in Oil City and AppleFest in Franklin.

“I very much wish to remain in the area where my family is located,” Juliet told us. “Venango County is so scenic and beautiful at all times of the year.”

Like many, Juliet loves the wooded hillsides and gorgeous historic architecture, as well as the people here. “It’s nice to be greeted with a smile everywhere you go,” she said.

Congratulations on the new position, Juliet, and welcome to FLEX!

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) February 2020 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

First-Hand Experience: Encouraging Students to Explore Local Businesses

How do businesses attract and retain the incoming workforce? It’s a question that is asked across the region, state, and country. With the current situation of more job openings than candidates to fill them, it is critical that we expose today’s students to the jobs that exist.

Many local students are required to spend time in businesses as part of their career exploration. The benefit to local business is that this is a time to make a great impression on a student about your business.

While students become familiar with the skills and knowledge required in various employment opportunities, many businesses benefit from an introduction that may lead to a future employee.

High school and college students are looking for those opportunities right now. In many cases, shadowing a business or interning is a requirement for graduation. Several college students have already sent their resumes to the Chamber for consideration. We are happy to share them with those businesses that are interested in having a college student join their summer workforce.

See some examples below of students gaining experience at local businesses.

Are you looking for an intern or willing to host a job shadow?
Contact the Venango Chamber at or (814) 676-8521.

Halyne Riley, senior at Oil City High School, job shadows at UPMC Northwest. Justine McClaine, student at Clarion University, shows her the X-Ray machine. Halyne has recently committed to also attend Clarion University next year and wants to pursue a career in the medical field.

Students in eAcademy meet with Cindy Elder at Clarion County Community Bank. There are four students in the program this year from Cranberry, Oil City, Rocky Grove, and Titusville High School, and the group takes frequent tours of local businesses.

SaVahna Scott, junior at Cranberry High School and student in the Culinary Arts class at Venango Technology Center (Vo-Tech), job shadowed at Core Goods in Oil City a year ago and is now working part-time at the store through Vo-Tech’s co-op program.

Anna Moore, senior at Cranberry High School, completed her job shadow at Nicole’s Bridal in Seneca and continues to volunteer at the store. Anna plans to pursue business after graduating high school.

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

Leadership Venango Holds Fifth Session: Honorable Leadership

The 2020 class of Leadership Venango met for their fifth session in February in Franklin to learn about local governance and honorable leadership.

The day began at the County Courthouse Annex with a panel discussion facilitated by Randy Arnold, 2019 Leadership Venango graduate. The panel included Jason Ruggerio (County Planning Commission), Mike Port (Cranberry School District board member) and Tracy Jamieson (manager of the city of Franklin). They were asked about their respective jobs including motivation and challenges, and gave advice on how to obtain similar leadership positions.

Next was Joseph Grunenwald, past President of Clarion University and an active community member. He spoke on what it means to be an “honorable” leader and traits these leaders have, including honesty, courage, long-term persistence, humility and doing the right thing even when it’s hard. The best leaders are forward thinking and put service above self.

The group walked to the Barrow’s Little Theatre for lunch and a discussion with the three County Commissioners. They discussed job responsibilities, challenges of the County, and their hopes for moving the County forward as united leaders.  They also encouraged questions and stated their open door policy of hearing constituents’ concerns. 

After lunch, members of the FLEX Young Professionals gave an overview of the group’s mission and activities and encouraged participants to consider membership.

Trenton Moulin, President/CEO of Bridge Builders Community Foundations, then gave a presentation on Boardsmanship.  He discussed the importance of serving on a board that lines up with personal values. As a future resource, he gave each member of the classa copy of the Handbook for Directors of Nonprofit Corporations in the United States of America. Prior to leaving, Zach Covington gave the class a tour of  the Barrow-Civic Theatre.

The last stop of the afternoon was to visit Judge Lobaugh and tour the Venango County Courthouse. Judge Lobaugh was a gracious host describing the history of the building and its contents. He exemplified the qualities of an honorable leader as it was clear he has devoted his career to child advocacy and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.  It was also clear that he had a passion and love for Venango County.

The next session will be in March at UPMC Northwest and will focus on “Leading a Healthy Community.”

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