Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Blog
Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Blog
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1:55 PM

How to Be the Change You Want to See: Lessons from Leadership Franklin County

by Rebecca Bowling, Eastern Region Sales Manager, Kegerreis Outdoor Advertising, Leadership Franklin County Class of 2015

LFC2Do you have a business located in Franklin County? Do you work in the area but don’t feel connected to the community? Do you want to serve on a board, become more involved in local government, or simply be more engaged in the community but aren’t sure how to go about it? If any of this is applicable to you, then I encourage you to check out Leadership Franklin County.

I’ve lived and worked in Franklin County for going on a decade, and I learned more about the area I call home in the 9 months I participated in this program than I did in the previous 9 years combined! What did I learn? Where to begin…

Genuine Connections - Building More than Just a Network
Initially, you are introduced to a group of strangers or acquaintances at best. Over the course of the program you will develop REAL relationships with this group of fellow classmates, alumni and volunteers through educational seminars, team building activities and project planning. In addition to recognizing your own leadership strengths through the DiSC assessment, you’ll also learn how to develop strategies for dealing with all personality types that will improve your professional interactions. You’ll leave the program with a strong network of business contacts and new friends, along with a true appreciation for our little slice of America here in Franklin County, PA.

Economic Development – Why is it Important?
Who is the area’s biggest employer? How do companies decide on making this area their base? What kind of companies do we work to attract, and how is this done? You’ll have the opportunity to hear about leading companies from a variety of industries who have made Franklin County their home and how they impact our area.

LFCMake a Difference – Inspiring Action
Do you ever wonder what the real function of a Board of Directors is for a business or non-profit and what they accomplish in meetings? You’ll learn about what being an effective Board member entails and how you can be involved with causes that are important to you; maybe it’s the animal shelter, or abused women, or children’s services. You’ve always wanted to help, but now you will learn how you can make a difference to turn that desire into action.

Get Out in the Community – It’s About Experience!
Have you ever attended a Franklin County Commissioners meeting? Or borough council meeting? You’ll have the opportunity to attend a local government meeting, a non-profit Board meeting, and a School Board meeting to appreciate first-hand exactly how your community is impacted by the decisions of these influencers. And you’ll see how you can make your voice heard!

You’ll also tour the county, meet with local law enforcement members, hear from the local health systems and experience the importance of arts to the community. Everyone knows who Benjamin Franklin is – but now you can learn more about the history of our county and how the past has shaped our present.

Essentially, you’ll receive an in-depth overview of all these different aspects – from government and education to art and history – that together form our rich and diverse community.

18601_10100102792739435_6355873498760873950_nSo, What Does All of this Have to Do with Leadership? EVERYTHING!

If you aren’t connected to your community, how can you be a leader at your organization – an organization which serves as a vital piece of the community’s make-up? If you live and work here, you owe it to yourself and your company to be a part of Franklin County as more than just a spectator or commentator. See how you can make a difference by learning HOW and WHY your community operates. You can then determine what causes or issues are important to you, and how you can be involved on a local level.

Leadership, after all, is about being a positive influencer. Leadership Franklin County provides you with the knowledge and tools to truly be a part of the change you want to see!

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1:38 PM

Investor Plans New Life for Prime Downtown Property

by Noel Purdy, President, Downtown Chambersburg Inc.

Tito's TacosLast summer, the Community Development Corporation of Franklin County (CDC), an affiliate of Downtown Chambersburg Inc. (DCI) and the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, purchased 1 North Main Street at sheriff’s sale. The property is situated on the square in downtown Chambersburg. It is quite possibly the most prime location in the downtown.

The CDC has worked over the last year to find a developer that would invest in the property rather than let it deteriorate. Significant investment along N. Main Street and within the northwest quadrant over the past ten years has spurred more interest in the downtown by investors and businesses alike. The CDC wanted to make sure that 1 N. Main Street, a linchpin to the physical character of downtown, was not forsaken by an investor who would not breathe life into the building.

Drawbaugh Development, a real estate development company based in Greencastle, PA, has purchased the property and looks to start gutting the building as soon as possible. Chris Drawbaugh, president of the development group, plans a mixed-use commercial project. The first floor is 2,998 square feet and laid out as a restaurant (it was formerly Tito’s Tacos); Drawbaugh would like to keep this space a restaurant to complement the offerings downtown.

Titos before and rendering

For the second and third floors, Drawbaugh plans to convert them into commercial office space. He says the biggest challenges will be code compliance issues as the change in use from residential to commercial will require an elevator (removal of the existing staircase) and the addition of a sprinkler system. Should the code compliance issues provide unsurmountable, the back-up plan is to keep the residential use on the second and third floors. There is roughly 2,900 square feet on each of the upper floors.

Chris Drawbaugh already owns property in downtown Chambersburg. He says that when he came across the opportunity to purchase 1 N. Main Street he thought it was a good investment that had good potential. If you’re interested in leasing space, contact Chris at (301) 991-4393 or email drawbaughc@comcast.net.

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1:22 PM

Ribbon Cutting: ACNB Bank on Wayne Ave.

ACNB Bank celebrated the opening of its new location at 915 Wayne Avenue in Chambersburg in May with a ribbon cutting and reception. Bank staff were joined by members of the community to celebrate the occasion. Attendees at the reception enjoyed... Read More

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1:57 PM

Meet the Staff: Membership Director Doug Harmon

by Eric Foreman, Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager, Susquehanna Bank


Doug Harmon has done a fantastic job as the Chamber’s Membership Director for the past 10 years helping to enhance the membership experience at the Chambersburg. Last week, I sat down with Doug to learn more about him and discuss his insight regarding our member base, membership benefits and what’s on-tap for our members in the near future. Below outlines a few of his thoughts from our conversation:

Most of our members know you from Chamber events. Can you tell a little about yourself and what you like to do outside of the Chamber?
This month marks my 10th wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife Shannon. We have two wonderful girls: Madison, 7, and Kendall, 3. I have also been at the Chamber for 10 years. I am a native of Chambersburg with a BS in Marketing from Penn State and an MBA in Marketing from, Mount Saint Mary’s University. I love spending time with my family, I am active at First United Methodist Church, and like to golf, bowl and spend time outdoors. 

What are some ways to get the most out of your Chamber membership?
1. Attend chamber events. This is YOUR chamber and your participation can only help make the events better, thus providing more profit for your business and all other Chamber businesses. Get involved and engaged and take ownership.

2. Take advantage of your member benefits. The Chamber provides you many tools to help you make your business grow. For more details, email us at chamber@chambersburg.org.

3. Read your weekly update! Available to all chamber members, this concise, weekly email delivers all the important news and upcoming events in and around the Chambersburg area. We are happy to add anyone from your organization to our list.

4. Promote your business to your fellow Chamber members. At no additional cost, you can submit an article for the newsletter, distribute Chamber Cards to your employees, contribute a blog post, offer a residential utility savings program to your employees, post jobs, post events and post coupons and classifieds.

5. Join a Chamber committee. There are various boards and committees that allow you to work directly with community leaders as well as be a leader yourself. These committees always welcome new members and are a great way to meet other members quickly through indirect networking.

What is the make-up of our current Chamber membership?
Over the last 10 years, the Chamber has averaged between 900 and 1,000 members, going over the 1,000 member mark in 2008. Members range from one employee up to a few thousand. However, the majority of members, about 80%, have less than 10 employees. The three largest business sectors represented in the Chamber’s membership include: Manufacturing/Industry/Construction, Healthcare and Food & Beverage Service.

What’s in the pipeline to enhance member engagement & experience?
The young professionals group, 11/30 Network, recently kicked-off earlier this year. The 11/30 references the intersection of Routes 30 and 11, which symbolize how the group connects young professionals who live and work across Franklin County. There is an opportunity to meet fellow young professionals and gain access to opportunities to get involved.

If you'd like more information about the Chamber or member benefits, please feel free to contact Doug at any time: 717-264-7101 ext. 202, dharmon@chambersburg.org.  


8:07 AM

Entrepreneurs: Chasing the American Dream

By Lynn C. Rotz, CPA, President & CEO, Rotz & Stonesifer, P.C.

[Editor's Note: The Chamber is celebrating National Small Business Week 2015 from May 4-8 with several free events, including Entrepreneur Night on May 6 from 5-7 p.m.]

Image courtesy of 89studio at FreeDigitalPhotos.netIf you truly think about it, most everyone is passionate about something.

For the past thirty years, my professional passion has been small businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them. 

I am continually amazed by the hard work, dedication, and indeed passion exhibited by our clients. I am a CPA, and our firm is the business advisor to hundreds of small to medium-sized business owners. I thoroughly enjoy working with the decision makers; the men and women who make it happen. Some call it the chase.

Many times there is no board of directors, and no committees to report to. The owners report to themselves. I advise that same owner as we strategize, plan and try to make it all come together. Whether a start-up, merger, acquisition or a succession planning engagement, we typically assemble the team of bankers, lawyers, and insurance professionals to increase profits, decrease taxes, and manage cash flow.

Having started my own companies, surrounded with the right people, I understand what it's like to risk it all among the fear and doubt of "is this really going to work"? It's to be a calculated risk as one joins the ranks of being self-employed. It is still the American Dream. Even the experienced entrepreneur continually seeks guidance to navigate the maze of outside forces.

Layers of government regulations and tax structures are constantly present. But therein lies the chase I refer to that actually stimulates the entrepreneur to figure out a way. Many times there is no safety net. In a word it takes courage. Whether your heart is poured into a brand new idea, or expanding a currently successful company, it becomes very emotional. Many clients have become close friends in the process, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

I started from a card table in my townhouse bedroom. To date, Rotz & Stonesifer employs 40 plus professional men and women in an accounting firm I refer to as a "teaching hospital." In everything you do, do it right, and avoid the easy short cuts. We marry the most current and relevent college classroom training with real life experience, to tailor the advise our business and individual clients need. The business owner needs support; he or she needs to know where the land mines are.

In the end my goal is to assure my client that he or she is not alone. Because owning your own business carries with it an inherent feeling of being alone. There is no guaranteed paycheck and no one else to pay the bills. Fear can creep in and it is a very crippling emotion. Deep down, fear is why many business opportunities are never implemented.

And also in the end, we all just want to know that we are going to be okay.

Owning your own business carries tremendous responsibilty, and the need to keep multiple promises you have made to yourself and to your family.

There is no room for mediocrity in being an entrepreneur, yet plenty of room for desire. However in my experience, the truly successful ones wouldn't have it any other way.

The really cool part: when it works, it is like no other feeling in the world.