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Area business leaders networked with one another about all different types of projects, both big and small, at a multi-chamber mixer Tuesday evening at Legacy Banquet and Conference Center in Mercer.
Seven different chambers of commerce from Mercer, Lawrence and Butler counties in western Pennsylvania were represented at the third annual event. Along with food and fun, there was plenty of conversation about ways to better position the region to take advantage of economic development opportunities.
As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all ships.
“When one specific area is doing well, then the region does well because we can all pull off of one another’s business. If they’re shopping or staying in my area, then they may be eating out or visiting across count lines,” said Beth Black, executive director of the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce.
The purpose of the multi-chamber event is for chamber leaders, political leaders and business owners to network and drum up support for each other.
“Last year for instance, at this same event, some of our folks from the bank were here, and now those folks are our business customers, and they refer business back to us because of the service they received,” said Aubrey Hulings, vice president of operations for Farmers National Bank.
Health care accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and continues to grow. There’s a hospital within every community involved in the multi-chamber mixer and they are usually the largest employers.
“People think they have to go to Cleveland, or Pittsburgh, or Hopkins, and you associate quality of hospital care with those larger institutions, but they can get it right here locally as well,” said Albert Boland, director of community and public relations for UPMC Horizon.
There’s plenty of residual business opportunities from the oil and gas industry, Grove City Outlets, and the upcoming Lawrence Downs Casino and Racetrack, but one young lady created her own non-profit organization right from home.
Arielle Reiser, 11, founded the CHIP-IN project, which stands for Contribute Household Items for People In Need. She was seeking donations at the chamber event.
“That we give to the American Red Cross, food pantries, nursing homes and schools, that could put our clutter to good use,” Reiser said.
The non-profit takes unused items from one person’s junk drawer and turns them into another person’s treasure.
“It makes me feel good cause I’m making a difference in my community,” Reiser said.
Beth Black encourages small business owners to get involved in their area Chamber of Commerce, or even in multiple chambers, to take advantage of cross-advertising and other resources that help promote economic development and new business opportunities.