Member News – June 27, 2018

Member News

  • Community Options, Inc., a provider of residential and employment support to people with disabilities, is seeking individuals interested in serving on a new business advisory committee for Community Options’ Bloomsburg office. Community Options’ mission is to promote the integration of persons with disabilities within the communities in which they reside, enabling them to become viable and contributing neighbors, employees and citizens of the community. The purpose of this committee is to discuss and implement ways to help the organization better integrate into the community and bridge the gap between the community and the individuals it serves. If you may be interested in serving on this committee, or for questions, contact associate executive director David McConaghy at 570-638-6007 or email. The next committee meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, June 28 at noon at Community Options’ Bloomsburg office, located at 1117 Old Berwick Rd.


  • The Bloomsburg Area YMCA will hold a summer open house all day this Friday, June 29, from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m. Staff will be available throughout the day to give tours and share how the Y’s fitness facilities, group aerobics classes and certified wellness coaches can help you achieve the goals that matter to you. From 12-5 p.m., the community is also invited to help make a difference by participating in a blood drive to support the American Red Cross. The Y is also holding a membership special all day Friday: anyone starting a Y membership at the open house will pay no joining fee and start their first month free. For more information, see the event’s Facebook page


  • The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers recently announced that Bucknell SBDC business consultant and incubator manager Dennis Hummer has been awarded the organization’s 2018 State Star. Each year, top performers from across the network of America’s SBDC’s are recognized for their excellence. Hummer’s selection is the second in recent years for the Bucknell SBDC, following assistant director Maureen Hauck’s selection in 2015. This Facebook Live video announced the award winners. In addition to his duties at the Bucknell SBDC, Hummer also serves on the board for DRIVE


  • The Bloomsburg Public Library will be holding a “Country Fair” on Saturday, July 14, to help kick off Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s production of Charlotte’s Web, and is looking for a large popcorn machine to use for this event. If you or your organization has one available and would be willing to loan it to the Bloomsburg Public Library to use on this date, please contact Lydia Kegler, library director, at 570-784-0883 or email. The library is also looking for carnival type games that could be set up inside the children’s library or possibly outside in the parking lot. 


  • The Bucknell SBDC will host its annual Celebration of Small Business breakfast, which will also mark a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Bucknell SBDC, on Monday, July 16, from 8-10 a.m. at the Elaine Langone Center’s Terrace Room on the 2nd floor on the Bucknell campus. Business owners, legislators, economic development partners and startup enthusiasts are invited to join the SBDC for breakfast to recognize the entrepreneurs and leaders of the region. Special presentations will include the U.S. Small Business Association Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Eastern PA, the Product Innovator of the Year and the Charles H. Coder Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, named for the Bucknell SBDC’s founding director. Register online or call 570-577-1249.


  • Bloomsburg University will present an exhibition of photos from a soldier who served in the Vietnam War. Titled “Blaine Cooper: Images From a Local Soldier in Vietnam,” the exhibition will take place on Friday, July 27, from 6-8 p.m. in the Gallery at the Greenly Center, located at 50 E. Main St. in downtown Bloomsburg. This event is free and open to the public, and complimentary light refreshments will be provided. Cooper will then be part of a speakers’ panel from 6:30-8 p.m. For more information regarding this event, contact Bob Heckrote, Office of Military and Veterans’ Resources, at 570-389-4696 or email, or graduate assistant Briann Halpin at 570-389-3858 or email


  • Looking to showcase your business to students at Bucknell while also getting some free consulting work? Bucknell is launching a new pre-orientation program, Design-Thinking Leadership (DTL), providing an opportunity for your business to connect with Bucknell’s newest students. Student teams in the DTL program will formulate actionable solutions to real-world problems posed by local business owners. The program, which runs Aug. 10-14, is seeking 4 -5 business owners to speak with students and present a problem or opportunity in their business. During the next two days student teams will conceptualize, research, and refine a solution; and then pitch to the business owner at the end of the program. This is a perfect opportunity to showcase your business, make lasting connections with students, and benefit from fresh perspectives and ideas. If interested in participating in this program as a business owner, submit this Google form, and for questions, contact Bucknell SBDC director Steve Stumbris at 570-577-1249 or email

On-Time Budget Agreement Reached as Gov. Wolf Signs $32.7 Billion Spending Plan

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

For the first time in a long time, Pennsylvania has an on-time budget.  Well in advance of the June 30 deadline, lawmakers and the Wolf administration announced that they’d reached agreement on a $32.7 billion budget for the 2018-19 Fiscal Year, which is $560 million more than the current year’s spend total (a 2 percent increase).  

House Bill 2121 – which passed the House in a 188-10 vote last Wednesday and the Senate in a 47-2 vote on Friday and was signed by the governor as Act 1A of 2018 – is heavy on education funding,  providing an additional $100 million for basic education, $20 million more for pre-K Counts, $5 million more for Head Start, $15 million more for special education, $25 million more for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program and a $30 million increase for the career and technical education appropriation in the Department of Education. The budget will also increase funding to the State System of Higher Education and state related universities by 3 percent.  Another $70 million is dedicated toward school safety ($10 million of which will be allocated to an existing safe schools initiative), which became a priority for lawmakers this year following the mass school shootings in Florida and Texas. There is also more funding to help people with intellectual disabilities receive services and funding to help combat the state’s opioid crisis by granting 800 more families access to evidence-based home visit services.

The Fiscal, Human Services and Public School Codes that accompany the budget were also passed by the legislature late Friday.  These bills, along with the General Appropriations bill, were signed into law by the governor on Friday.  The governor said of the collection of bills in a statement: “This year’s bipartisan budget continues to increase opportunities for all Pennsylvanians and shows the results of our hard work to get our finances under control.”

Welcome Advanced Realty Solutions, LLC

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, Advanced Realty Solutions, LLC to help us fulfill our mission.

Advanced Realty Solutions is a relatively new real estate agency based in Berwick. Founded in 2017 by broker/owner Michelle Reyes-Smith and realtor/owner Brad DeFranco, ARS is a full service real estate firm that devotes every effort to delivering excellent results its clients while always looking out for their clients’ best interests. Michelle and Brad have previously flipped houses in the Berwick and Bloomsburg area, and their knowledge of the market, understand of value and involvement in all facets of the transactions make them broadly-skilled residential sales agents. The staff at ARS also includes realtor Lindsey Farrell, a Berwick native. ARS is located in downtown Berwick at 239 West Second St., and can be reached at 570-752-1202 or visit their website or Facebook page. 

Happy Retirement to Economic Development Colleagues Jim Wilson & Steve Phillips

Bob Dressler (left), immediate past chair of the DBA, offered thanks and well wishes to retiring Executive Director Jim Wilson (center) at the organization’s recent quarterly gathering. In addition to other board members and Danville businesspeople, Wilson was joined by his wife, Dr. Gerda Breitwieser (right).

Two individuals involved in efforts to strengthen our area’s economy and communities are retiring this week. After 10 years as Executive Director and Main Street Manager with the Danville Business Alliance (DBA), Jim Wilson is retiring. Steve Phillips, Executive Director of the Berwick Industrial Development Association (BIDA), is also retiring after 29 years with the organization. Board members, area businesspeople, and colleagues recently gathered at separate events to congratulate the two and thank them for their efforts.

In partnership with Danville Borough, DBA has spearheaded many efforts to enhance Danville’s central business district during Wilson’s tenure. The organization coordinated a feasibility study for high-end apartments on second and third floors of downtown buildings. Parks, greenspaces, and murals beautify the downtown, and the redevelopment of Canal Park will soon be getting underway. Events including Spring Fling, holiday festivities, and the first Taste of the Nations Food Festival coming up this Saturday, June 30 draw people to the downtown throughout the year. All of these efforts make downtown Danville an attractive place to operate a business.

Wilson has been a member of the Chamber’s Montour County Task Force and the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Chamber and Visitors Bureau, as well as a former member of the Visitors Bureau and Partnership boards.  “Jim understands the importance of regional collaboration and has been a valued partner in our collective efforts to enhance our communities,” said Fred Gaffney, Chamber President. “As a colleague, he is trustworthy, reliable, and adept at consensus building.”

Steve Phillips

It is expected that Wilson’s successor at the DBA will be selected in July.

The BIDA complex in Berwick houses a number of companies providing a combined 1,000+ jobs. Supported by Steve’s network of relationships, the organization has helped to market and reuse other available industrial and commercial properties in the area and provide assistance to existing employers to retain jobs. BIDA also supports efforts to strengthen the community including the downtown Berwick enhancement plan and community festivals and events.

“Steve’s success is a testament to the importance of relationship building,“ said Gaffney. “In his desire to retain good job creators and bring new jobs to the area, he always knows who to reach out to.” “I add my thanks to Steve and Jim for their efforts over the years and wish them both many enjoyable years of retirement.”

First Keystone Shows Off Spacious Headquarters, Offers Great Food and Drink at June Business After Hours

The staff at First Keystone Community Bank welcomed Chamber members to its headquarter branch in downtown Berwick on Wednesday, June 20, for the Chamber’s June Business After Hours. Held in and around its spacious main lobby, the event offered attendees an opportunity to get out of the late afternoon rain and humid air on the last official day of spring and network with a large group of fellow professionals from throughout Columbia and Montour Counties, while also enjoying a tasty spread from Lucy’s Kitchen & Catering, beer from Berwick Brewing and other refreshments. There was also an opportunity to speak with several staff members from the bank, including representatives from customer service, business and consumer lending, investment, accounting, management and more. 

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will be held at Frosty Valley, located at 1301 Bloom Rd., Danville, on Wednesday, July 18, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. There will be a ribbon cutting for Frosty Valley’s new Iron Fork restaurant and The Barn at Frosty Valley beginning at 4 p.m.