Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Blog
Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Blog
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10:06 AM

New president of Downtown Chambersburg Inc. joins Chamber of Commerce staff

We are pleased to welcome Sam Thrush as the newest member of the Chamber of Commerce team to lead Downtown Chambersburg Inc. (DCI). DCI, an affiliate of the Chambersburg Chamber, is focused on business development in the downtown region.

 

Sam joined the Chamber staff in mid-July as president of DCI and has spent the past five years serving on DCI’s Board of Directors as well as volunteering at events and participating on committees. He formerly served Franklin County as a Planner III and has over seven years of experience in land use planning and community development. Sam recently graduated from Leadership Franklin County Community and in 2018 achieved the premier planning certification from the American Institute of Certified Planning.

 

“We are excited to have Sam on board to focus on development in the downtown region as the leader of DCI,” said Stephen Christian, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. “His work ethic, enthusiasm and dedication to downtown is exceptional, and we are fortunate to have such a strong leader join our team to facilitate growth in our community.”

 

Prior to serving Franklin County, Sam worked for Bradford County, Pa. He is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a degree in Geography-Land Use and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems. Originally a native of the Chambersburg area, he was happy to return to the area in October 2012. Prior to graduating from Chambersburg Area Senior High School, Sam earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

 

In his spare time, you can find Sam with his family and friends, at the Chambersburg YMCA, cycling throughout the countryside and in-town, hiking, watching baseball or playing his musical instruments. It's not uncommon for Sam (when he has time) to cycle 50 miles or more in one day. He and his wife, Jeana, have two children. 

 

In addition to serving with DCI, Sam has spent time volunteering with the Borough of Chambersburg, Franklin County Cyclists, North Square Farmers Market, United Way's Stream Cleanups and Healthy Franklin County. In 2016, Sam received the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award for his outstanding service in the community. To contact Sam directly, please call 717-264-7101 ext. 204 or email sthrush@chambersburg.org.

 


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3:30 PM

The ducks are back!

More than 2,000 little rubber duckies will race down the Falling Spring Creek, over the falls and head to the finish line near the bridge in Chambers Fort Park. The 5th Annual Duck Derby presented by Patriot Federal Credit Union will be held on Saturday, September 22 in downtown Chambersburg to raise funds for downtown revitalization.

 

Winning ducks will receive up to $250 and the last duck to cross the finish line will receive $25. Ducks are $5 each or $25 for a Quack Pack of 6. Please purchase your ducks in advance as they sell out quickly! Spectators are welcome to cheer their ducks to the finish line on September 22 at 2:30 p.m.

 

Interested in sponsoring? Opportunities are available including the Duck Tent Sponsor for $1,500, Golden Egg Sponsor for $1,000, Quackers Sponsor for $500, Feathered Friend for $250, and Duckling Darling for $100. Please contact Sam Thrush for more information at 717-264-7101 ext. 204 or sthrush@chambersburg.org

 

The Duck Derby is coordinated by Downtown Chambersburg Inc. (DCI). Learn more at DowntownCburg.com.


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9:20 AM

Ribbon Cutting: The Shook Home Rehabilitation & Wellness Center

Congrats to The Shook Home for the grand opening of their new Rehabilitation and Wellness Center! They celebrated with many community leaders and Shook Home residents at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, September 22. Guests got to tour the new facility while enjoying delicious food from Main Street Deli and Catering... Read More

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1:06 PM

As local industry grows, so does small business

By Amy Weibley, Interim Executive Director, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce


Chambersburg’s location on the I-81 corridor has made it a prime spot for industries like manufacturing and logistics. As more and more distribution centers and manufacturing facilities located here over the years, with them has come growth. The county’s population is estimated to be 153,851, an increase of more than 4,200 people from the 2010 Census. The population growth ranks Franklin County as the sixth fastest growing county in the entire state of Pennsylvania.


untitled_copy4The area’s new investment is bringing jobs and energy while maintaining the community’s quality of life and affordability. The addition of exit 17 and spur of development along Norland Avenue is a prime example. National chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Pie Five Pizza Co. are popping up more frequently because of our town’s growth and its desirable location.


National companies and large corporations aren’t the only businesses springing up in Chambersburg. With our local economy showing growth and promise, entrepreneurs are seeking opportunities to start their own businesses in Chambersburg. Just in the past 18 months, 32 businesses have opened in Chambersburg, 24 of which are small businesses.

 

The residents of Chambersburg are extremely supportive of small businesses and make an effort to buy local, so these entrepreneurs find a supportive community to cultivate their business. GearHouse Brewing Co. is a great example of this. They opened with an outpouring of excitement and patronage from the community. People want a local experience, and they want to have pride in the businesses in their community, so they are supportive of entrepreneurs.

msa_copyIn addition to business growth throughout the Chambersburg area, the Chamber has seen a significant uptick of interest in businesses locating downtown. The hard work of revitalization efforts from the past few years of Chamber affiliate Downtown Chambersburg Inc. have come to fruition as more investments take place. Multi-million dollar projects by organizations and private investors are underway including the Coyle Free Library, Central Junior High School, The Shook Home Therapy Center and HUB Building. Other large-scale investments like the Fort Chambers building, 1 N. Main St. and 15 S. Main St. are in the works. Community-led efforts like the Chambersburg Community Mural Project in summer 2016, which installed two large-scale mosaic murals downtown, have contributed to the vibrancy of downtown. 


All of this has spurred smaller investments and attracted small business owners. For the first time in years, there are no available Main Street storefronts between King Street and Washington Street. Just in the past year, nearly 20 businesses have either opened, relocated or plan to open downtown.


It is fantastic to see our local small business owners and residents recognizing the assets downtown. Downtowns are the heart of a city and region - and having a healthy heart is essential to having a strong town. With the community working together, we can revitalize downtown and make it a vibrant destination for business and leisure.

However, the answer isn’t revitalizing downtown alone. Downtowns and surrounding areas along with industry and small business must work symbiotically to grow the economy. Strengthening our downtown core will complement the development happening throughout the area, which will attract more people to live here while encouraging investors and entrepreneurs to seek opportunities here, in turn improving quality of life for Chambersburg as a whole making it an even better place to live and work.nflkds_copy1

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3:09 PM

Why Biking is Good for You and the Community

by Sam Thrush, Planner, Franklin County Government

Sam Thrush with BikeI started riding a bicycle out of necessity. We are a one car household and my wife needed to use the car, so cycling became my main mode of transportation. I ride about 1 mile to and from work every day. I ride to mid-day meetings and to get lunch. When the weather is awesome and our grocery list is short, I bike to the market or the grocery store. I ride to downtown and stop at various storefronts. I complete many of my errands on my bicycle.

Bicycling may have started out of necessity, but now it is my preferred mode of transportation. Not only are the health benefits great, but it has also become a fun (and economical) family leisure activity. Now I can easily crank out 30 miles within 2 hours and 15 minutes. I am hoping to ride a 42-mile course in June.

As a healthy activity, cycling transforms your lower body, boosts your cardio-vascular system and helps you lose weight. When I am not using my commuting bicycle, I use my road bicycle to get exercise. Twenty miles are nothing to me anymore and the ride is enjoyable. I get to see the beautiful countryside, climb hills and explore new paths.

Biking can be more than just exercise, too. Occasionally on my rides I partake in ice cream or adult beverages. Trickling Springs and the Historic Ice Cream Station are regular stops during recreational family rides. When I am with a friend, generally we stop at Roy-Pitz or Gearhouse Brewing.

In addition to personal benefits of bicycling, there are also economic benefits for communities that embrace bicycle-friendly infrastructure. The Borough of Chambersburg is currently working with a consultant and group of community stakeholders on a Bike and Pedestrian Improvement Plan to evaluate the existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure and make recommendations on how to improve it. I serve on the committee and am excited about the opportunities this process will bring for our community.

18422836_1409314075800090_3666625403137138781_oWhy am I sharing my story about bicycling in the Chambersburg area? May is National Bike Month and I encourage everyone to bike this month to celebrate – or to take it a step further and make biking a regular activity.

Recently, the Franklin County Commissioners and Mayor of Chambersburg proclaimed Friday, May 19 National Bike to Work Day. On Saturday, May 20, two rides will happen to promote National Bike Month: A kids ride (about 1 mile) and an adult ride (6.5 miles).  These two rides are entirely in-town and are designed to give riders confidence to ride in-town and to demonstrate how to ride within a town setting. (More details)

Locally, the Franklin County Cyclists host recreational rides on Tuesday nights starting in April and concluding in the fall. There is something for everyone. They have four to five courses for every ride. [AF2] Some courses are 8 to 10 miles and others 24 to 32 miles. On the first ride for 2017 about 200 riders came out.

So, whether you bike to work, cycle for exercise or simply enjoy a leisurely ride with family and friends on occasion, there are countless benefits for you and the greater community. I hope to see you on the road soon!




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12:43 PM

Let’s paint the (down)Town!

13_copy4Downtown Chambersburg Inc. (DCI) is coordinating the 5th Annual Downtown Mural Project that will add color and creativity to the public spaces in the heart of Chambersburg. Area artists are invited to create an individual mural that will be displayed at various outdoor locations in the downtown area.

Prepared canvases (1/4” primed plywood) will be available free of charge at the Chamber office, 100 Lincoln Way East, and The Foundry, 100 S. Main St., beginning on May 15 and will be 2-by-4-feet in size. The deadline for submissions is August 1. The installation will be unveiled at a First Friday Event on September 1. The murals will be judged and awards will be announced on October 21 on the Downtown Chambersburg Facebook page. Community members of all ages are encouraged to participate.

Guidelines for Murals:
  • Must be the artist’s individual work in design and execution.
  • Advertisements and business names are prohibited.
  • Must be able to withstand outdoor display for eight months. Two coats of spar varnish or other exterior grade finish are required.
  • Content must be suitable for all ages. Committee has right to determine the suitability of work.
  • Must use a new canvas provided by the Chamber or The Foundry. Reused murals degrade more quickly. If your mural becomes damaged or degraded, it may be removed. Provided canvases are designed to fit the display areas, whereas homemade canvases or modified canvases may be unable to be displayed.
  • Your name and age must be written on the back of your entry. Please also denote on the back with an arrow which side is the top of your mural.
Submissions will be photographed and posted on the Downtown Chambersburg Facebook page. For entry forms and more information, visit www.DowntownCburg.com or call 717-264-7101.

Special thanks to the 5th Annual Downtown Mural Project presenting sponsor, Corey L. Alleman, LMFT. Supplies for the project have been donated by Carter's Lumber.

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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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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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2:23 PM

#ShopSmall and Buy Local in Chambersburg: Part 3

by Melanie Llinas, Intern, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce

_DSC5222The #ShopSmall Sweepstakes is officially in its FINAL DAYS! Don’t miss your chance in entering to win up to $300 and support small businesses during the holidays. (Turn in your completed card to the Chambersburg Heritage Center & Gift Shop by 5 p.m. on December 15 to be entered to win.)

Some of my favorite childhood memories are going back to school after the holiday break with all my brand-new outfits. Showing off your personality in your wardrobe is important not only for kids, but for adults too. Chambersburg has many places to go where you can spice up your wardrobe, or, in the spirit of the holiday, donate clothing.

The start of a new year typically means the making of new memories. J&B Bridals & Formals can be the perfect place to find a snazzy new dress or suit for those upcoming special occasions.

For a place a little less formal but still looking snazzy check out the Franklin Clothing Outlet. They have consultants ready to help pick out designs and fabrics best suited for you. Once you pick everything out they will tailor and hand deliver your garments. What could be better?

IMG_8158Lyons and Company is another great, local store to refresh your wardrobe. Lyons offers famous national brands in sportswear, tailored clothing, accessories and shoes. In addition, they offer the finest in formal wear to purchase or rent and distinctive corporate business wear.

Satisfy the fashionista in you with a trip to Here’s Looking at You. Shop for fashionable women’s clothing in a relaxed environment where personal service is priority. With brands like Tribal, Nic & Zoe, FDJ French Dressing, Renuar, Iguana, Tianello, Neon Buddha and many more, you’ll find just the look you’ve been searching for.

Although some of us are fortune enough to buy brand new things year after year, not everyone has that luxury, and being a part of a community means to help those around you. Act II North is a great place to take your gently used/new unwanted clothing to make a few bucks! It’s is also known for having nice stylish, brand named clothes, shoes, and outerwear. Check out what they offer to expand your wardrobe, and fill a space on your #ShopSmall Sweepstakes card. Easy, right? Now you’re one step closer to winning big!

While getting paid for unwanted things is always great, what are the holiday’s without giving back? You could also donate your unwanted clothing to Dress to a Tea, to help brighten not only the day of another family, but their closets, too.

Make the most out of this holiday season not only for you and your family, but for all the families in this community!

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10:32 AM

The Gift Enclosure's Grand Re-Opening & Anniversary

Congrats! The Gift Enclosure celebrated their Grand Re-Opening & Anniversary in downtown Chambersburg with many friends, family members, staff, customers and others from the community. The store, located at 78 S. Main Street, has operated downtown for over 30 years. Kara, the current owner, just celebrated her third year as the owner.

The Gift Enclosure proudly offers residents unique gifts from traditional to whimsical and everything in-between. Their favorite product lines include Vera Bradley, Polish Pottery, Byers' Choice Carolers, Melissa & Doug and Crabtree & Evelyn. Check back often as new items are arriving all the time! Learn more by callng 717-264-1695 or visit them online at http://thegiftenclosure.com/.

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