Low Interest Loans Available to Chamber Members

Members have access to a low interest loan program through the Chamber. Loans of up to $10,000 are available at an interest rate of 3% for a maximum term of five years. A recent change to the program is that interest only payments are required for the first six months of the loan.

Loan applications are available by contacting Chamber President Fred Gaffney at 784-2522 or [email protected]. A loan committee reviews applications and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors. Funds will be awarded for business development projects.

Information on Small Games of Chance

In 2012, the PA Legislature made several changes to the Small Games of Chance Act. As a result, non-profit groups, organizations and clubs with a Small Games of Chance license are required to track games and will be required to report to the Commonwealth starting in 2014 if proceeds exceed $2,500. With these changes, there have been many questions about the types of games that are legal and how to properly run games. The types of gambling authorized by the act are as follows:

1) Pull-tab games
2) Punchboards
3) Raffles
4) Daily drawings
5) Weekly drawings

In an effort to help groups understand the act, Representative David Millard sponsored a seminar in March, 2013. Sgt. Jeff McGinnis from the Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement was present to provide information and answer questions. Thanks to MetroCast Channel 10 and Doug Farley, video of Sgt. McGinnis’ presentation is available on the Audio & Video page.

Save Money on Your Home Energy Costs

PPL Electric Utilities changed its generation service charge on March 1. The utility’s generation and transmission rates combined make up the “price to compare” for the purposes of shopping among alternative suppliers.

For residential customers, the new price to compare is now 7.237 cents per kilowatt-hour, down from 7.544 cents per kilowatt-hour.  The small decrease to the price to compare for residential customers for the March through May period is due to lower market prices for power supply.

PPL Electric Utilities does not profit on the generation portion of customers’ bills. It merely passes along the cost of that supply to customers without markup. PPL Electric Utilities’ primary focus is on electric delivery, billing and customer service. PPL Electric Utilities encourages its customers to seek opportunities to save on power supply costs by shopping for deals with competitive electric suppliers.

ChamberChoice now offers a  Residential Energy Program through OnDemand Energy available to Chamber member employees and their friends and family.  This is a great way to bring value to your employees without touching your bottom line.  The ChamberChoice price to compare off is 6.45 cents/kwh fixed until December 2014!

You can visit www.ondemandenergy.com to access this very low rate. If you would like a flyer promoting the Residential Program to highlight in your place of business please contact the Chamber office at 570-784-2522.

For small business customers, the new price to compare will increase to 10.814 cents per kilowatt-hour, up from 10.206 cents per kilowatt-hour currently. A full list of PPL Electric Utilities’ new rates for all rate classes can be found at www.pplelectric.com/choice.

More than 619,000 PPL Electric Utilities customers, or 43 percent of all customers, have already shopped and obtain their power from other suppliers. More than 74 percent of the total amount of energy delivered by PPL Electric Utilities comes from alternative suppliers, including almost all power used by large commercial and industrial customers.

Federal Government Announces $15 Million for Flood Protection

Today, officials announced $15 million in Federal funding to help provide flood protection to two Bloomsburg businesses which employ a combined 900 people. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine and U.S. Representative Lou Barletta made the announcement this afternoon at Autoneum North America. The dollars will be combined with $12 million already committed by the Commonwealth and private funds to build flood protection systems around Autoneum and Windsor Foods.

Following the notification by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last June that the long anticipated flood protection system was not viable, local leaders began meeting with State and Federal officials to try to find solutions for two of the largest employers in Bloomsburg and Columbia County. Chamber President Fred Gaffney was part of the team that submitted a $12 million application to the Commonwealth for funding last fall. SEDA-COG coordinated the Federal application, and will be overseeing the two projects. With the Federal funding now secured, it is anticipated that construction can be completed in approximately four years.

Following the announcement, Chamber President Fred Gaffney participated in an economic roundtable discussion with the Assistant Secretary, Representative and local business and elected officials.

In addition to supporting these important projects, the Chamber continues to advocate for other flood protection efforts including relocation of United Water’s Bloomsburg treatment facility out of the floodplain. During the flooding in 2006 and 2011, the Bloomsburg service area lost water service for multiple days, hindering or shutting down hundreds of businesses throughout the area. In 2012, United Water conducted an engineering study on constructing a new treatment facility away from the bank of Fishing Creek. The company is currently evaluating the results of that study and expects to determine a course of action this year.

Congratulations to All the Chamber Award Recipients

The 2013 Annual Dinner , sponsored by PPL Corporation, was held at the Rolling Pines Golf Course last Thursday, February 7th. This year’s event was the most highly attended Annual Dinner to date with 250 people in attendance.

The Chamber elected board members and honored the service of Rudy Singh, who has served on the board for 8 years. We also reviewed the activities of the past year and previewed the year ahead.

Each year the Chamber recognizes businesses and an individual that go above and beyond in the community. We presented 5 awards this year to deserving members of the Chamber:

Small Business of the Year, Old Forge Brewing Company

Business Longevity, Al’s Men’s Shop

Large Business of the Year, Berwick Offray LLC

Community Progress, Turkey Hill Brew Pub

Outstanding Citizen, Bette Grey of Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine

winners sm







For more pictures of the Annual Dinner and Awards visit the Chamber’s Facebook Page.

Thank you again to all of those that attended this great event and if you weren’t able to make it we hope to see you next year!

A big thank you to the businesses that chose to sponsor the Annual Meeting and Awards.


PPL Corporation


Outstanding Citizen of the Year- Berwick Industrial Development Association Small Business of the Year- First Columbia Bank & Trust Co. Large Business of the Year- Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth Community Progress- Berwick Hospital Center


United Water Pennsylvania , Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, InnoTek Computer Consulting, MetroCast Business Services, Geisinger Health Plan