Shop Local All Year Long

By Fred Gaffney, President, Columbia Montour Chamber

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has become known as Small Business Saturday, thanks to a campaign started by the American Express credit card company in 2010 to encourage holiday shopping at small businesses. Indeed, small businesses should be patronized and celebrated, but not just one day a year. The vibrancy of our communities is dependent upon people supporting local businesses all year long.

When you spend money locally, more of that money stays in our area. Your dollars support local jobs. Those businesses pay local taxes, and contribute back to the community in other ways. Local businesses support non-profit organizations, youth sports, and cultural activities that enhance our quality of life. The parades, festivals, and visits with Santa that will help us get into the holiday spirit in the coming days are possible thanks to the support of local businesses.

Online shopping may provide endless options and convenience in checking items off your list, but think about the value of talking with someone in a store when trying to find a special gift, or how much you appreciate dining options when you need a break from that shopping. Local businesses also provide the choice and customer service that we often take for granted. They also are an important part of what makes our area a great place to live. 

Contact the Chamber of Commerce if you need ideas on how you can support local businesses this holiday season, and throughout the year. The Chamber offers special gift certificates in any amount that can be redeemed at any local business during the year. They can be purchased at the Chamber office at 238 Market St. in downtown Bloomsburg. 

 

Joint Venture Partnership Opportunities Available in Pennsylvania Through Department of Community & Economic Development

Pennsylvania’s Office of International Business Development (OIBD), part of the Department of Community & Economic Development, regularly receives economic development lead opportunities from its authorized international representatives concerning businesses that have expressed interest in locating in, investing in, trading with, contracting with, or partnering with businesses located in PA.

Visit DCED’s website to view the latest opportunities from international companies interested in working with a Pennsylvania-based company. If you or your partner(s) are interested in learning more, please use the contact information at the end of this email to send your request for consideration. All information received will be kept confidential.

Please follow this simple process first for any potential leads before sending inquiries to OIBD for consideration:

  • Contact your local company to confirm they are interested in initiating the conversation.
  • Once confirmed, provide Cindy Hostetler at OIBD with the proper company/contact information.
  • OIBD will then confirm with the international client that they are interested in initiating the conversation and will schedule the introductory conference call, including the local EDC when possible.

OIBD will make every effort to include the local EDC and/or referring contact in any and/or all forward movement with the potential prospect(s).

For information about the available opportunities and/or to be added to the email list, please contact:

Cindy Hostetler, International Marketing Executive
Office of International Business Development
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North Street, 4th Floor | Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225
Phone: 717.720.7370 | [email protected]

 

Please submit any potential partner information as follows: 

  • Company Name, Address 
  • Phone, Fax, Email 
  • Website URL 
  • Principal Contact Name, Title 
  • Principal Contact Office Phone, Cell Phone, Email 
  • Project ID: JV#### 

All information received will be kept CONFIDENTIAL and should be sent to the OIBD contact listed above for consideration. These companies plan Pennsylvania visits when suitable partners are identified.

Future Careers Expo Helps Students Explore Career Options

Middle and high school students from the region and their parents explored career options at the 3rd Future Careers Expo held Thursday, Nov. 9 at Bloomsburg University. Nearly 40 employers and education providers were on hand to talk to young people about opportunities that exist in our area. The event was held in the evening at the Kehr Union so that parents could be part of the conversation.

The event is a partnership between the Bloomsburg University STEM Magnet program and the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber, and was supported by the Arconic Foundation and Williams. The Foundation works to support area employers through workforce development initiatives. In addition to this Expo, programs such as School Counts, Classroom on Main Street, and The Leader in Me develop employability skills in young people and provide exposure to a wide variety of career options.

Among the participating employer and education providers were Chamber members Arconic/Kawneer Company, Bloomsburg University, Columbia-Montour Area Vocational-Technical School, First Columbia Bank, First Keystone Community Bank, Geisinger, Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community, McTish, Kunkel & Associates, PA CareerLink Columbia/Montour Counties, Pennsylvania College of Technology, PPL Electric Utilities, SEKISUI SPI, Susquehanna Nuclear/Talen Energy and Williams

Bloomsburg University Business Conference Helps Students Prepare for Careers

Bloomsburg University’s Terry and JoAnn Zeigler College of Business (ZCOB) and the Zeigler Institute for Professional Development (ZIPD) hosted the 7th Annual ZIPD Business Conference, “Inspiring Future Business Professionals,” Nov. 2-3. Approximately 100 business professionals (including several BU alumni) participated. Over the two days, students had numerous opportunities to make valuable connections and gain knowledge in preparing for life after college through presentations, panel discussions, and networking events.

Chamber President Fred Gaffney once again participated in this year’s event. “The information and connections available to students through this conference is invaluable,” said Gaffney. “It is not only gratifying to help young people explore and pursue career options, but we hope that our involvement in events like this increases the awareness of career opportunities in our area.” Gaffney gave a presentation on communication skills and participated on panels discussing the importance of experiential learning, soft skills, and HR issues.

Williams Announces Grant Recipients, Which Include Four Chamber Members

Williams recently announced the latest recipients of the company’s Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program. In all, 35 organizations in 10 counties will receive a combined $292,834 in funding.

Two cycles of Atlantic Sunrise grant awards are announced each year – spring and fall. This cycle’s grant dollars were dispersed in the following broad categories: emergency response ($169,500), education ($59,000) and recreation or community enhancement projects ($64,334) within counties traversed by the project.

This announcement represents the sixth grant awards cycle since the program’s inception in 2015, during which time Williams has granted more than $2 million to 268 organizations in Pennsylvania. 

Included in this latest round of grant recipients are three Chamber members. Those are the Columbia County Traveling Library, which received $3K for its Bookmobile Means Business program; the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber, which received $5K for workforce development education; Hemlock Township, which got $81K for computer upgrades; and the Pennsylvania College of Technology Foundation, which received $10K for its Makerspace at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Other Chamber members that have previously received grants through the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant programs include: Buckhorn Volunteer Fire Co., Camp Victory, Benton Rodeo Association, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble and the Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School

For complete lists of previous grant recipients, visit one of the links below.

1st round grants (spring 2015)
2nd round grants (fall 2015)
3rd round grants (spring 2016)
4th round grants (fall 2016)
5th round grants (spring 2017)

The deadline for the spring applications is March 1. Please visit the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program page to learn more about the application process, eligibility guidelines, and how organizations are utilizing grant funds to improve their local communities.