Welcome MaxWorx

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, MaxWorx, to help us fulfill our mission.

MaxWorx is the employment services arm of Hope Enterprises, Inc., which also just joined the Columbia Montour Chamber. MaxWorx provides solutions previously provided by Hope for business and industry. Services provided include custodial services, vendor managed inventory services, mobile car wash services and industrial solutions, which includes such tasks as shrink wrapping, light manufacturing, packaging, bulk mailings, fulfillment and others. MaxWorx is located at 2401 Reach Rd., Williamsport, and serves the entire surrounding areas. It can be reached at 272-202-4435, by email, or visit its website

Welcome Hope Enterprises, Inc.

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Hope Enterprises, Inc., to help us fulfill our mission.

Hope Enterprises’ mission is to enhance the lives of people with developmental disABILITIES by providing them with caring supports and responsive programs and services. Founded in 1952 in Williamsport, where its headquarters remain, Hope is a leading organization in Pennsylvania in providing community services to people with development disABILITIES. Its services are focused in four main areas: 

– Children – providing early intervention and therapies for young children that have been identified as having a developmental disABILITY

– Residential – providing an array of programs that allow adults with developmental disABILITIES to live on their own

– Employment – putting adults with developmental disABILITIES in ideal places to work based on their strengths and interests

– Home and Community Support – this includes companion services, home support, building life and work skills, and engaging adults in community participation

For over 10 years now, since 2007, Hope has had a presence in Columbia and Montour counties ever since it merged with the former CMSU Service System. It has an office in Danville located at 351 Church St., and also provides several residential homes for adults that it serves in this two-county area. Its Danville office can be reached at 570-275-8691, or visit its website or Facebook page

PPL Foundation Grant Applications Now Available

PPL Electric Utilities offers major grants once a year to nonprofit organizations through its charitable Foundation and is now accepting applications for major grants. The grant application period opened on Aug. 1 and will close Sept. 15.

The PPL Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to partnering with community organizations to improve the lives of people in the communities in the 29 counties the PPL serves in North and Central Pennsylvania. The PPL Foundation supports a variety of nonprofit organizations with a special focus on those that support education and sustainable communities.

Grant applications are reviewed by regional review committees made up of PPL employees that live and work in the communities PPL serves. Recommendations are made to the PPL Foundation board, which makes the final decision. Major grants range between $25,000 and $100,000, and the application process is competitive. 

Interested organizations can learn more and apply at pplcares.com.

The Advantages of Taking Work Breaks to Boost Productivity

From ChamberChoice and Smart Business Pittsburgh

Many of us spend our work time sitting at a desk, staring at the computer screen, straining our eyes and wondering why we have a nagging ache in our neck and shoulders.

“We are all guilty of not taking enough breaks at work — or any at all,” says Doug Fleisner, sales executive at JRG Advisors. “A workday without breaks drains our mental capacity and lowers productivity; while taking breaks throughout the day is extremely beneficial, both physically and mentally.”

Smart Business spoke with Fleisner about the benefits of stepping away from your office or workstation to take a breather and recharge.

What impact can short breaks have on employees?

  • It promotes creativity and passion. Even if you do not think of yourself as the meditating type, studies have proven that breaks during which meditation and mindfulness are applied lead to a boost in creativity, both in and out of the office. Mindfulness and meditation also increases your compassion and reduces your stress level, which could play a major factor in getting through your work day without flying off the handle at a co-worker, depending on your office environment.
  • It re-focuses your attention and concentration. Did you know that the average attention span for adults ranges from 15 to 40 minutes? Everything that you do throughout the course of a day subtracts from your cognitive resources, which can leave you feeling like you are running on empty at times. Your attention span and concentration need to be rebooted at several points throughout a day. Simply stepping away from your desk to take a walk can actually help the brain regroup, get back on track and focus better.
  • It trims the waistline. Who isn’t looking to trim a few inches from their waistline, right? Turns out a fancy gym membership isn’t the only solution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting up and moving around for five minutes every hour, which can lower your body mass index and help your waistline, too. Although it’s not rigorous exercise, getting up to stretch and get a glass of water for a few minutes is body movement and every little bit helps.
  • It improves brain function with lunch. Remember mom preaching that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? A midday meal is equally as important. While taking time out for lunch increases productivity, it is important to remember to choose foods that don’t make you feel tired and sluggish. Recommended foods include fish, vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts and even dark chocolate.
  • It protects against job-related accidents. Exhaustion and fatigue are the two main causes of on-the-job accidents. Keeping yourself mentally refreshed and alert with regular breaks can help prevent clouded judgement and keep on-the-job accidents to a minimum.
  • It promotes healthy and happy eyes. Constantly staring at a computer screen for prolonged periods of time can lead to a condition called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of CVS include eye strain, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain. Taking your eyes away from your computer screen, phone or tablet every two hours for 15 minutes, and looking into the distance for 20 seconds will help keep your eyes, head, neck and shoulders feeling great.

What else should employees expect from taking regular breaks?

It keeps your stress at a minimum. Overloading your brain with continuous thoughts and concerns is not healthy. According to the American Psychological Association, taking time to step away, recharge and relax has a major impact on lowering stress and preventing work burnout.

Developing a ‘break routine’ will force you to stick to a schedule and improve your work effectiveness and productivity. Our thought process isn’t built to be continuous; it needs a breather as much as the rest of our body.

Chamber Seeking Input of Impacts of Tariffs

President Donald Trump held a rally Aug. 2 in Wilkes-Barre, where he touted his “America First” trade policy that has included the imposition of tariffs on a variety of goods from countries with which the United States has traditionally enjoyed a strong trade partnership, including Canada and Mexico.   These tariffs have prompted approximately $75 billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on American products – increasing costs on American families, workers, consumers and job creators. The Chamber is seeking input from members on positive and negative impacts of these tariffs on businesses in our area.

The administration is reportedly considering hundreds of billions of dollars in additional tariffs – including on autos and auto parts – which many business leaders and economists are saying will invite more retaliation against American businesses.  The U.S. Chamber is leading an effort to educate the business community and the general public about the negative economic impact of these tariffs through a comprehensive website, TheWrongApproach.com, which highlights the economic losses that each state could endure through the imposition of these tariffs.

The data on the website shows that this emerging trade war is threatening to undo the good that was achieved through last year’s Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, along with regulatory reforms that have been implemented since the start of the Trump administration.   Retaliatory tariffs imposed by other countries on U.S. exports will make American-made goods more expensive, resulting in lost sales and potentially 1.6 million lost jobs. In Pennsylvania, $1.7 billion worth of exports are at risk, including coffee, motorcycles, and steel; along with 1,658,100 jobs in the Commonwealth that are supported by global trade.

Members are invited to provide information on any impacts of tariffs to Chamber President Fred Gaffney at 570-784-2522 or email. Information can be kept anonymous at member request.