Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Blog
Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Blog
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12:05 PM

Grand Re-Opening: Comfort Inn

Congrats Comfort Inn! They celebrated their new location and extensive remodel today with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony attended by family, friends, staff and prominent business leaders in the community.

Comfort Inn is located at 3648 Olde Scotland Road in Chambersburg and offers complimentary breakfast, free WiFi, beautiful views of the countryside, a new fitness center, accommodations on three levels, easy access to Interstate 81 and much more. Learn more about them by clicking here or call 717-264-6288.

9:22 AM

Public Transportation Options in Chambersburg

By Jenna Reedy, director external affairs, rabbittransit

Franklin County is Hopping - Getting to Know rabbittransit

One of the area's regional transportation options is rabbittransit. We offer public transportation to a 10-County region, including the residents of Franklin County. Nearly 8,000 people depend on rabbittransit each day to get to work, medical facilities, school and other life-sustaining activities. 

On April 1, 2016, rabbittransit became the Shared Ride Coordinator for Franklin County after being appointed by the Franklin County Commissioners. Under the partnership agreement, the Franklin County Transportation Department transitioned from being a county-based department and was consolidated into the rabbittransit organization.

rabbittransit offers “Shared Ride” service, sometimes referred to as “Paratransit.” This door-to-door service is a public transportation program that transports multiple people who are traveling in one direction at one time. Shared Ride service is based on demand. This requires passengers to be flexible with their travel schedules, however, suggested travel guidelines are in place to guide customers accordingly.  

There is a required application process. Participants must register for the program and advance reservation is required for trips. Passengers call for pick-up times the business day before. Transportation fares or “co-pays” vary, depending upon age and eligibility for funding subsidization programs. The Senior Shared Ride program assists riders with visits to the grocery store, senior centers, banks, adult day care, medical appointments, social services, fitness centers, physical therapy and work.

Customers are able to utilize an automated call back system, rider alert feature, trip reminders and imminent arrival calls that are designed to make sure riders reach their destination.                         

rabbittransit’s Mobility Planning Department provides support for Shared Ride service. They offer outreach presentations to groups and individualized travel training to ensure riders fully understand the services available and feel comfortable accessing them. Mobility planners can also address possible mobility barriers and how to overcome those challenges. All rabbittransit vehicles are ADA accessible. 

As part of a larger initiative, rabbittransit offers a program called “Find My Ride PA” to Franklin County residents. The project allows riders to not only identify transportation options in their county, but actually book a ride with just their date of birth and rabbittransit ID number through the website using a computer or smartphone. Additionally, an expansion to the FindMyRidePA project allows riders to find out when their Shared Ride bus is arriving by logging on to the website.

Additionally, rabbittransit is participating in an innovative pilot program that was previously announced by Governor Wolf in October 2016. PennDOT received a special $1.2 million federal grant that will underwrite the pilot program to enhance Access to Care opportunities, which could potentially integrate medical appointments with ride scheduling in Franklin, Adams and York counties.

“Daily patients at Keystone Health miss health appointments in medical, dental and behavioral health because they lack access to transportation,” said Keystone’s President and CEO Joanne Cochran. “I believe this program has the potential to greatly reduce missed appointments and result in improved health outcomes. Access to care is a pressing public health concern, and greater access to care has been related to better health status, more frequent use of preventive services, and lower hospitalization rates. This funding will allow us to help improve community health, and it was a pleasure to work with rabbittransit and the Department of Transportation on it.”

“rabbittransit is excited to work on a project that focuses on the removal of transportation barriers and provides easier access to health care to help our community achieve its wellness goals,” added Richard Farr, rabbittransit executive director.

rabbittransit assists residents in having a more active and independent lifestyle.  Visit the website or call 1-800-632-9063 for more information on how to get started and “hop” on rabbittransit! 

          rabbittransit, a regional public transportation provider, offers a variety of transportation services to the residents of Adams, Columbia, Cumberland, Franklin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Perry, Union and York Counties.  More than 8,000 people depend on rabbittransit each day to get to work, medical facilities, school and other life-sustaining activities.  rabbittransit is dedicated to helping all residents in the region get to where they want to go.

9:22 AM

Ribbon Cutting: The Local Carwash Co.

Congratulations! The Local Carwash Co. just celebrated its Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting after its extensive renovation. The business has been located at 331 W. Loudon St. in Chambersburg since 1974. 

The new and improved car wash has several unlimited wash packages as well as free vacuums with the purchase of every wash. They also provide the free use of towels and spray to tidy up your vehicle. Stop in and see one of the best and most modern carwashes in Franklin County today!

Learn more by clicking here.

3:13 PM

Ribbon Cutting: NestFresh

Welcome NestFresh to Chambersburg and the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce! William Houser, plant manager, cut the ribbon surrounded by many well wishers including friends, staff, and community leaders. They are located at 147 Industrial Drive in Chambersburg. 

NestFresh has 100% cage free eggs! Since their founding, NestFresh has been committed to treating their hens humanely -- happy hens means healthy humans! Thank you for showing us your facility and hosting our guests - welcome to the community!

For more information, contact them at 717-261-1818 or

12:04 PM

Grand Re-Opening: Franklin Family Services

Franklin Family Services celebrated its Grand Re-opening with staff, friends and members of the community recently at 131 E. McKinley St. They are dedicated to helping people flourish through holistic psychiatric services. Read More

2:25 PM

Chambersburg Peaches to Take Home

by Laiton Suders, Intern, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce

Peaches and apples 2011Have you ever been asked by an out-of-towner about the “famous Chambersburg peaches” and been at a loss for what to say? If you’re anything like me, you may have lived in Chambersburg for as long as you can remember and still not be aware of the market for peaches that seems to be well-known everywhere except Chambersburg.

(Check out our previous blog post, “What’s So Special About Chambersburg Peaches?”)

Nevertheless, Chambersburg peaches are in high demand from people who live both in and out of state. They’ve become a source of pride for the community, and a representation of Chambersburg as a whole.

We’re about ready to reach the peak of peach season, so if you’re looking to sink your teeth into a juicy Chambersburg peach, look no farther than Shatzer’s Fruit Market or Windy Knoll Farm Market.

peach stress ballsIf your love for Chambersburg and peaches extends beyond just your stomach, stop by the Heritage Center Gift Shop on the square in downtown Chambersburg. The gift shop is the exclusive retailer of Chambersburg Peach souvenirs.

Peach-scented soap, sugar scrub and bath bombs smell as delicious as our peaches taste. Not to mention they’re locally made, so you can care for the community as well as your nose! Thanks to Cynthia Newman of Cynsational Suds, our hometown source of peachy bath products, you can enjoy a luxurious experience that just might make you crave peaches even more.

peach mugsCandles made locally by Thompson Soy Scents offer the same fruity aroma you can extend to the rest of your house. Ceramic mugs and plastic tumblers will always remind you that “Life is Peachy,” and don’t forget—my personal favorite—peach shaped stress balls!

Visit the Heritage Center Gift Shop at 100 Lincoln Way East. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays May through October from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call for more information at 717-264-7101.

3:31 PM

Chambersburg Winter Wonderland: Part 1

by Bethany Edwards, Intern, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce

Do you have trouble finding fun things to do in the winter for the whole family to enjoy? Look no further, because Chambersburg is filled with so many winter activities that it is going to take three blog posts to talk about it all!

Downtown Winter

First, we’ll cover two big events that happen in downtown Chambersburg annually that really put an emphasis on community and holiday spirit.

christmas parade bandChambersburg Christmas Parade
Saturday, November 21 at 5:30 p.m.
Our annual Christmas Parade is an event that brings everyone together from all ages and backgrounds for one common goal: To celebrate. Spectators fill Main Street to enjoy time with their family and friends, or watch their loved ones on the wide array of floats.

Floats are designed by various community groups and organizations, from school sports teams to churches and more. To add some friendly competition, there will be judges present to judge the floats in various categories such as creativity, best in show, best innovation and more. The competition aspect of the parade calls for some great fun and even better floats.

You won’t see people leaving this parade early because everyone knows Santa Clause is coming and he has a big surprise! In the middle of Memorial Square, Santa Clause will light up the enormous Christmas tree for the season while everyone stands in amazement of how beautiful it is. While the parade may finish after the tree lighting, the spirit lives on.

Lotus for BlogSmall Business Saturday in Downtown Chambersburg

Saturday, November 28
Giveaways from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

A week after the parade, everyone is back downtown enjoying Small Business Saturday. You’ve heard of Black Friday… Small Business Saturday adds a new community-centered spin to your holiday shopping traditions. Sponsored by Abe’s Auto Service, Inc. and Orrstown Bank, the day promotes the Shop Local, Shop Small movement. You get to shop and support all the local, small businesses that make up our community while having a great day in downtown Chambersburg. 

In addition to supporting local businesses, Small Business Saturday is about two more things: holiday shopping and giveaways. Who doesn’t love those two things? (Okay, at least if you don’t like holiday shopping, you can’t argue about the giveaways!) Spend at least $25 at a downtown merchant, restaurants included, on Small Business Saturday then bring your receipt to the Courthouse Plaza and you’ll receive a giveaway right there. You’ll draw an envelope with either $10 or $25 worth of Downtown Dollars to spend that day at participating businesses. More than $2,000 in Downtown Dollars will be given away! 

Downtown merchants – many of which rely on Small Business Saturday as their biggest sales day of the year – will also be offering special holiday deals throughout the day. With the one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants downtown, there is something for everyone to enjoy. You won’t go home empty handed with all the great deals that are being offered! 

Come back to the blog soon to see what else Chambersburg has in store to help make the most of your Winter Wonderland!

2:34 PM

Franklin County's Newest Winery: Jan Zell Wines

Downtown Chambersburg is welcoming a new business to the neighborhood this month: Jan Zell Wines. The newest Franklin County winery is owned and operated by Arnie and Laura Jansen. They began their winery adventure in May 2014 when they started a production facility in Fort Loudon. This month, the Jansens opened their first tasting room in Chambersburg at 251 Grant Street.

As they prepare to celebrate the Grand Opening of their tasting room on Thursday, October 29 at 5 p.m., we took some time to hear from the owners about their experiences starting-up a winery...

Jan Zell Header

Chamber (C): What inspired you to begin your own winery, and why in Franklin County?
Arnie (A): Inspiration for making wine resulted from a gift we received. The giver (Chris Williams) sent us a bottle of his wine. We made our first six gallon batch in 2012 and we were hooked. Laura and I progressed from one batch to two, to six, on up to around 20 batches at a time. We also started touring wineries and realized there is a void of wineries in South Central Pennsylvania. That void is shaped roughly like Franklin County, only larger. Tuscarora Mountain Winery was the only winery from Adams County in the East to Bedford County in the West, and from the state line of Maryland to Harrisburg. We felt we could help fill this void.

C: How has the start-up experience been so far?
A: The experience of starting this business was exciting, challenging, and rewarding. There are so many hats to wear, and while operating under these hats we sought mentors who could help us strengthen our knowledge in each area. There are so many people to thank for their time and patience while answering our many questions.

At the root of this support are the wine makers. Without their input, our products wouldn't be at the high level we are experiencing. Scott Bubb from Seven Mountains Wine Cellars, Ken and Sue from Tuscarora Mountain Winery, Mary Beth Seibert of Knob Hall Winery, Lloyd from Four Springs Winery, and Roy and Linda of Royal Rabbit Vineyard, were all big supporters of our efforts. Blain from Homebrew4less was instrumental in sharing his understanding of equipment and supplies. Our tasting team, who never required any arm twisting, graciously tasted sample after sample while sharing their opinion on product strengths and weaknesses.

C: Any advice to share from your experience for aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to build a knowledge of project management or hire experienced resources in this area. The process of starting a business requires many task lists, but don't look at these as daunting. Prioritization is the key.

C: What are you most excited about for the opening of the tasting room in downtown Chambersburg?
A: The Chambersburg area brings many opportunities to our tasting room. Of utmost importance is our Grant Street location. The area offers ease of access and plenty of parking. It is exciting to think of the storied history of the 251 Grant Street building; from its origin as a freight office for the Cumberland Valley Railroad, to the Grant Street Station Restaurant, to a Jennings Chevrolet property. I think back with fondness to the day Skip Jennings listened to and liked the idea for this tasting room at this location. I am so grateful that he helped make this a reality.

One added benefit is the area's recent revitalization efforts. We are proud to join Roy-Pitz Brewing, Nathan Miller Chocolate and Jim's Farmers Market on the North End. We look forward to our new neighbors who are planning a new brew pub/distillery for the area. Things are shaping up nicely in the North End of Chambersburg.

C: What is your favorite wine you’ve ever made?
A: My favorite wine is in our private collection and is made from oranges. In the early months, everyone hated it. The citric acid just didn't feel right on the tongue (most wines have predominately tartaric acid). We often opened a bottle and received bad reviews so we stopped sharing.

About a month ago, I was consolidating our personal wine cellar and was going to throw out the last three bottles, which were now two years old. I stopped and decided to open a bottle for one last taste. I quickly called Laura down to the cellar. We both agreed the wine was superb. Something happened in the aging process to smooth out the flavor and acid. About a week later I came home to find Laura enjoying the second to last bottle of this wine. That is it, I declared, the last bottle is off limits. So, I am reserving this last bottle for a yet to be determined special occasion.

The name of this wine is a little too risque for print media. Stop in to the tasting room and I'll be more than happy to share the name quietly.

Support downtown’s newest business and join us on October 29 for their Grand Opening. Also be sure to drop in the tasting room, which is now open (hours). Guests are invited to bring a picnic basket and snacks while stopping in for tastings, a glass or bottle. Some snacks are available on-site.

2:45 PM

Making Downtown (and Chambersburg) More Livable

livability-logoby Noel Purdy, President, Downtown Chambersburg Inc.

How livable is Chambersburg? What does that even mean?

The AARP Public Policy Institute created a Livability index that measures quality of life. Attributes like green space, access to healthcare, education, public transportation and pedestrian and bike-friendly amenities make a community livable. The livability score for Chambersburg is 53 (on a scale of 100). 

The physical design of a community can affect its livability. Access to complete streets can also affect the health and well-being of a community. Safe, attractive sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes and multi-modal transportation options can make a community healthier, by increasing the opportunity for physical activity.

A community health needs assessment conducted by Summit Health in 2012 revealed that Franklin County’s obesity rate increased from 33 percent in 2008 to 36.5 percent in 2012. On the national stage, nearly two-thirds of the population is obese. Many factors such as education, access to healthcare and food can affect the obesity rate. 

The “livability” of a place is becoming a top consideration for baby boomers and millennials as they evaluate places to live, which is why it is more important than ever to improve Chambersburg's livability to attract and retain these generations for years to come.

Creating a Pedestrian- and Bike-Friendly Town

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.netA recent survey conducted by the American Planning Association (APA) finds that baby boomers and millennials want cities to focus more on investing in new transportation options, walkable communities and making communities as attractive as possible. Whether the community is a small town, a suburban city or an urban location, 49 percent of respondents someday want to live in a walkable community, while only seven percent want to live where they have to drive to most places. says that Chambersburg is a car-dependent community and has a walk score of 46 (out of 100).This means that most destinations in Chambersburg require the use of a car and or public transportation (which is lacking).

Recently, leaders from Summit Health and the Franklin County Cyclists Club approached the Borough to develop a Pedestrian and Bike Improvement Plan that will evaluate the existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure and will make recommendations on how to improve it. The group is raising $36,000 to hire a consultant to do the plan. 

Sharrows ridersBorough Council recently approved the preparation of an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for the installation of Shared Lane Bicycle Marking (also known as sharrows). Sharrows help convey to motorists and bicyclists that they must share the roads on which they are operating. The purpose of the markings is to create improved conditions for bicyclists by clarifying where they are expected to ride and to remind motorists to expect bicyclists on the road.

If the application is approved, sharrows will be added in Chambersburg on U.S. Routes 11 and 30 in the Central Core zoning district as well as on Route 11 north to the Borough line and on King Street from Route 11 to Hood Street and the Chambersburg Bike Park. 

A diverse group of community stakeholders are working hard to improve the livability of Chambersburg - your support is always appreciated!

9:54 AM

Chambersburg's Benjamin Franklin statue turns 150

Ben Franklin Statue 3One hundred and fifty years ago marks the rebuilding of the courthouse after the burning of Chambersburg during the Civil War. With it came the replacing of a new Benjamin Franklin statue on the courthouse dome, since the original was burned along with the courthouse. Standing at 8 feet tall and weighing nearly 250 pounds of pure pine, the gold-leafed statue was made in 1865 by Frederick Mayer of Pittsburgh to pay homage to the man for which Franklin County is named.

Benjamin Franklin was the tenth son of Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger, born in Boston on January 17, 1706. Unable to afford more than one year of schooling, Ben began to apprentice for his older brother, who was a printer. After five years he ran away in 1723 to continue his life elsewhere, settling in Pennsylvania.

In 1729 he bought the Pennsylvania Gazette where he authored and printed the first political cartoon. Living for work, Ben also created Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1733 where he coined memorable phrases such as “a penny saved is a penny earned.” A few other achievements included helping establish the Library Company in 1731, creating the Union Fire Company of Philadelphia in 1736, launching the American Philosophical Society in 1743 and forming the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1751. Most notably, however, Ben is known for being a colonial representative for Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts until 1776 when he helped draft the Declaration of Independence and became one of our nation’s Founding Fathers.

Ben stood vigil atop the Franklin County Courthouse dome until June 14, 1991 when he was taken down for restoration and replaced by a weather-proof replica made of fiberglass. A group of volunteer craftsmen, Clarence Harbaugh, Emmert Whitaker, John McClellan and Elmer Young, put approximately 500 hours of work into the old statue to undo the damage time and weathering had caused.

Ben Pic Collage for Blog
Picture captions: Left photo - The damaged statue before repairs began; Middle two photos - Volunteer craftsmen carefully work on restoration of the statue; Right photo - The four volunteer craftsmen who worked on restoration stand proudly in front of the primed statue waiting to receive new gold leafing. 

Good Night Heritage CenterAfter replacing his feet, legs just below the knee, a few fingers and fifty pounds of wood putty, we now find the 1865 Ben statue restored to its full glory in the Chambersburg Heritage Center. During weekday business hours, you'll see Ben facing inside to watch over the Chamber of Commerce and Heritage Center. The rest of the time, Ben faces Chambersburg's Memorial Square to keep watch over the town through his own personal window (pictured right).

The Chambersburg Heritage Center, located at 100 Lincoln Way East in downtown Chambersburg, is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding national holidays), and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays from mid-May through mid-October. Drop in to wish Ben and happy 150th birthday!