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Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Blog

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Chamber
Chamber
February 22, 2017 8:26 AM

Ribbon Cutting: Power Train Chambersburg

Congrats Power Train Chambersburg! They celebrated their Grand Opening at 1007 Wayne Ave. in Chambersburg with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Power Train is focused on individual achievement through personalized, results-driven sports performance and fitness training programs. They offer personal training, sports performance training and a boot camp.
Learn more at www.powertrainsports.com/.

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Chamber
Chamber
February 17, 2017 11:20 AM

Latino Business Owners in the Chambersburg Community

by Amy Weibley, Communications & Strategic Initiatives Director, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce

Best_copy1Latino merchants visited the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce yesterday to sit down and start a conversation about bridging the gap between Latino businesses and the greater business community. A number of Chamber members and prospective members – nearly 30 people – met with the Chamber to voice their desire for Latino business owners to work together with the Chamber to embrace the Latino and migrant community within the business framework of the area.

“The Latino and immigrant community make up an important segment of our local businesses and workforce,” said Noel Purdy, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. “I’m glad we were able to hear from the Latino business owners today about their experiences and how they want to get involved.”

According to a recent study commissioned by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), the number of businesses owned by people of color are growing. In the U.S. between 2007 and 2012, the number of Latino-owned businesses grew by 34.5 percent. Additionally, the study reports the number of businesses owned by immigrants is growing. A quarter of all new businesses in the country are started by immigrants, now representing 18.4 percent of the self-employed population.

On a local level, the Chambersburg Latino business owners discussed with the Chamber how to increase visibility of their stores. They want to contribute to the positive happenings within the community, such as participating more in local festivals and getting involved with the Chamber.

“Latino merchants want to make it known that we are here, we have a voice and we stand together,” said Carlos Perez, owner of Central PA Wireless – Boost Mobile and a member of the Chamber’s board of directors. “We are Latinos offering the best of ourselves to the community as a whole. We want to be part of all the wonderful events that take place every year and we want to improve the level of service we offer to the community.”

CPA WirelessIn addition to sharing their desire to integrate with the greater Chambersburg community, merchants expressed their concern about the decrease in Latino customers. The recent national discourse has spread fear within their community, and some businesses explained that up to 60 percent of their customer base has decreased in the past few months because Latino consumers are afraid to spend money.

The Borough of Chambersburg was 17 percent Hispanic as of 2015, according to City-Data. “Losing these consumers is a concern for the entire business community and has an impact on the local economy. This is something we cannot ignore,” said Purdy.

The ACCE study revealed cities and regions that embrace diversity do better economically. According to the report, economists at the Cleveland Federal Reserve found that high levels of racial inclusion and progress on income equality correlate with strong economic growth. Income inequality, geographic concentrations of the poor and racial segregation are all associated with slower growth over the last three decades.

The initiative from local business owners was spurred by the national movement, A Day Without Immigrants, but their desire to integrate with the business community has been growing for a while.

“We’re here [in Chambersburg] to better ourselves,” said Francisco Espinosa, co-owner of V&F Multi-Service located downtown. “We want to be part of the community and build this community stronger – not as Anglos or migrants, but as a united people.”

Yesterday sparked the beginning of many more conversations to come about how the Chamber can support Latino businesses and provide a constructive forum for Latino merchants to integrate with the greater business community. As the largest business advocacy organization in Franklin County, the Chamber will continue working with stakeholders that come to the table on strategies to accomplish this.

If you'd like more information or to get involved, contact the Chamber at 717-264-7101 or chamber@chambersburg.org.

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Chamber
Chamber
February 17, 2017 11:01 AM

Ribbon Cutting: Pie Five Pizza

Welcome Pie Five Pizza to Chambersburg! They recently opened at 580 Walker Road and offer delicious personal pizzas made to order. Everything from their hand-cut veggies to their homemade desserts, they have the perfect combination at Pie Five. Learn more at www.piefivepizza.com.

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Chamber
Chamber
February 14, 2017 2:21 PM

Grand Re-Opening: Modern Home Furniture & More

Congrats Modern Home Furniture & More on their Grand Re-Opening and new name in downtown Chambersburg! They are a local business serving the public's needs when it comes to furniture, home accessories and appliances.
They are a three-generation family-run business that has been operating since 1937. Located at 301 South Main St. in Chambersburg, stop in or visit their website at www.yourmodernhome.com/.

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Chamber
Chamber
February 10, 2017 2:07 PM

A Resolution You Can Keep: 6 Ways to Leverage Your Chamber Membership

by Troy Garman, Realtor for RE/MAX Realty Agency and Board Chair of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce

_DSC5737We are one month into 2017, so that means most of us have probably abandoned or failed our New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I have never been much on New Year’s resolutions simply because of their history of not being followed. Of course the word resolution derives from the word resolve. Dictionary.com defines resolve as: to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something).

Although I may not be a fan of resolutions, there is nothing wrong with setting a goal. With that in mind here are suggestions of things you could resolve to do through your local Chamber of Commerce in 2017:

  1. Attend a Chamber Mixer - Going to mixers is an excellent way to make new connections and reconnect with fellow members. Networking at mixers can generate leads, because you never know who is looking for a house, needs IT help or is searching for a caterer.

  2. Host a Lunch & Learn - Get your business in front of members for an hour by hosting a Lunch & Learn seminar providing valuable information about important business topics. This can launch you as a thought-leader in the community and put you top of mind for those who attend. For details, contact Membership Director Doug Harmon, 717-264-7101 ext. 202 or dharmon@chambersburg.org

  3. Join a Chamber Committee - If you’ve resolved to get more involved in the community, there’s no better place to start than with the Chamber. Joining a committee for the Chamber or an affiliate opens the door to build relationships with other civic-minded people while making an impact on the success and growth of our community. 

  4. Attend the Annual Awards Breakfast - More than 200 Chamber members will be at the breakfast, offering a great networking opportunity. You’ll also get to celebrate the success of local businesses and individuals, which gives warm fuzzies all around!

  5. Go to a Ribbon Cutting - What better way to support fellow members and local businesses than celebrating significant milestones with them? Ribbon cuttings are regularly posted to our event calendar. You can also ask for invitations to ribbon cuttings by contacting Doug.

  6. Recruit a New Member - Increasing the Chamber network only adds more value to everyone’s membership. By referring one of your clients, vendors or partners to join the Chamber, you’re showing them you care about their business success. Refer potential new members to Doug.
I think my favorite part of the definition of resolve is “to do something.” The first rule when setting a goal is to make sure it is obtainable. If we keep that in mind and simply do something, that certainly is better than doing nothing.

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Chamber
February 1, 2017 2:22 PM

Blight and Revitalization

The Challenges of Blighted Properties and How to Address Them

by Noel Purdy, President, Downtown Chambersburg Inc.

Mason Building 1Did you have a chance at IceFest to share what you’d like to see happen to this building on S. Main Street between Molly's Restaurant and Ludwigs Jewelers? Have you often wondered why someone doesn’t do anything about this particular building?
 
It’s easier said than done.
 
First of all, you can’t do anything with a property that you don’t own or are not in control of. It helps to have a property owner who is willing to sell, but in many cases of blight, the property owner is often absent and has no interest in improving the building. In other cases, the property owner is asking for a price that is far above market value. Other constraints and minutia that can prevent a sale or site control are title issues, economies of scale and resources.
 
This particular property has had a string of outside investors since 2009 who have done nothing with the building. They don’t pay the taxes or utilities. The local municipality has to file claims/liens with the courts in order to collect on delinquent payments.

These types of properties are often on a track for some kind of public sale facilitated by the taxing authority. According to public records, this particular property was most recently purchased at a tax sale in 2013 for $36,000 by Matthew Dunleavy from Philadelphia, who then sold it to the Tafari Property Trust which is located in Philadelphia for $90,000, which was financed by The Entourage Group, LLC - also located in Philadelphia (and all of these parties are affiliated). This property is on track for judicial sale later on in 2017, which would allow an investor to purchase it free and clear of all liens.

What Can Be Done with Blighted Properties?

_DSC6333Municipalities and redevelopment authorities have certain tools they can use to help remediate blight. One tool is called eminent domain. In order for eminent domain to be used, a property has to meet the definition of “blighted” and/or be “condemned” by the local municipality. In this case, 115-117 S. Main Street has been condemned. Most municipal entities and redevelopment authorities do not want to use eminent domain because it can be an expensive and long legal process that is politically distressing. Any citizen can ask the local municipality to consider eminent domain.
 
Another tool that can be used is conservatorship, a relatively new tool in Pennsylvania, where a nonprofit or redevelopment authority can petition the courts to gain control of a blighted property. The nonprofit must come up with a plan to remediate blight if it should be granted the authority to be a conservator. Utilizing this tool can also be time consuming and expensive; an attorney must be hired.
 
Other communities have land banks; ours does not. Land banks are quasi-governmental entities created to return blighted properties into tax-producing properties. Land banks can receive real property directly from a taxing authority, thereby passing public sales and mitigating risk of another poor investor from acquiring it.

Mason Building 2The Future of this Blighted Property...

The biggest consideration, is what to do with the property once an investor or intermediary has control of it. This particular property needs significant rehabilitation. Many potential investors have looked at this property but, for many of the aforementioned constraints, have hit a wall with it.

During IceFest, a grassroots campaign sought feedback from the community on what they would like to see in the space. More than 400 people gave their input by writing on a sticky note and taping it to one of the front windows. Bakery, pet store, bookstore, vegan/vegetarian restaurant, arcade/game store and ice cream shop are just a few of the businesses people would like to see there. Cat café was one of the most popular responses, which is a new trend in cafés where patrons can watch and play with kittens and cats while enjoying their coffee, sandwiches and salads. 
 
What would you do if you could gain control of the property? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

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Chamber
Chamber
January 27, 2017 2:37 PM

Ribbon Cutting: GearHouse Brewing Company

Congrats GearHouse Brewing Company at 253 Grant St. in Chambersburg! They are the newest spot in downtown Chambersburg. GearHouse Brewing Co is dedicated to providing quality craft beer and food t local neighbors and friends. Learn more about them: http://gearhousebrewingco.com/

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Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce
100 Lincoln Way East, Suite A  |  Chambersburg, PA 17201 
(717) 264-7101  |  Fax: (717) 267-0399