Eight Principles of Success (of revitalization)

I wanted to share the following principles from the the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, the non-profit, member-focused and service oriented organization for Pennsylvania’s downtowns, downtown revitalization has eight guiding principles that set it apart from other redevelopment strategies:

1. Comprehensive: Downtown revitalization is a complex process requiring a comprehensive strategy. No single project such as lavish public improvement, “name-brand” business recruitment, or endless promotional events can revitalize the downtown.

2. Incremental: Basic, simple activities lead to a more sophisticated understanding of the revitalization process and help members of the community develop skills to tackle more complex problems and ambitious projects.

3. Self-Help: Local leaders must have the will and desire to mobilize local resources. That means convincing residents and business owners alike of the rewards for their investment of time and money in the downtown as the heart of the community.

4. Partnership: Both the public and private sectors have a vital interest in the downtown. Partnership means that all stakeholders are contributing time, money, and expertise—often individually, but sometimes sitting as a group around the same table.

5. Assets: To give people a sense of belonging and pride, downtown revitalization must capitalize on the unique assets it already has – distinctive buildings, neighborly shop owners, and human scale that cannot be copied at a strip or shopping mall.

6. Quality: A high standard of quality must be set for every aspect of the downtown district, from window displays to marketing brochures, and from public improvements to storefront renovations.

7. Change: Changes in attitude and practice are slow but definite and essential. The “Main Street” approach often brings about a major shift in downtown’s use, purpose and future.

8. Action-Oriented: The downtown focus is to simultaneously plan for the future while creatingvisible change and activities now.


Welcome to Main Street

I came across interesting reading from the National Trust Main Street Center from their Promotion Handbook. I want to share this excerpt with our readers.

“Most traditional commercial districts will never again be able to provide the range of goods and services they offered 20 or 30 years ago. To support the rehabilitation and maintenance of downtown commercial areas in today’s market, we must aggressively expand Main Street’s business mix—and market area.

■ Main Street is not “city hall’s responsibility” and yet our “Mom & Pop” business owners can’t do it alone. A collaborative effort, combining the unique skills and vantage points of both public and private sectors, is essential.

■ Main Street’s renewal doesn't happen overnight; it’s a gradual process that begins with small steps, eventually building our capacity to tackle larger, more complicated revitalization projects and problems. “Big fix,” overnight solutions to downtown revitalization almost always fail.

■ Traditional commercial districts, like shopping malls, require full-time, professional management.

Main Street is more than an economic asset. It is also a community’s crossroad, a place in our hearts and minds that evokes strong emotions and helps. Clearly, Main Street needs an ally, an advocate, a leader...and that’s where you come in.”

The Chamber hopes to form a DownTown Promotions Committee that members will lead in projects and activities and set achievable goals to revitalize the downtown area. Contact the chamber if you’re interested in joining this movement.


Heritage Days Needs You!

The Heritage Days Committee is in the final stretch of planning for the 12th annual event held in Riverside Park. New this year is Knockerball, which are inflatable wearable balls that allow people to slam into each other. People wear them to play games that include knocker soccer, last man standing, and musical chairs.

Heritage Days will also feature the inflatable rides that attract kids each year. The committee still needs volunteers to help with the rides. They need to cover five rides for nine hours. Yes, the company can provide this service - with a cost. Committee Chair Jean Carr estimates this cost to be between $2,000 and $3,000.

Organizers are also looking for non-profit groups to sell concessions during the movie on Friday night (July 5). All they ask is that a portion of the proceeds be donated back to the committee.

Heritage Days Committee will meet every Tuesday at 6 pm in the Chamber’s conference room. All are welcome to attend.

Newsletter/Blog Sponsor

Newsletter/Blog Sponsor

2019 Director's Message

Anyone who has had a child who played a sport (or played themselves), knows the value of teamwork. It takes the whole team to effectively move the ball toward the goal. We can apply the same principles used to create a cohesive team to our community. Although we are individuals, we have to be able to complement each other to accomplish a common goal. An effective team pulls together the skills, experiences, and knowledge of a diverse group of people to achieve great things. What does it take to create a great team?

All the members of a team must be fully committed and devote a reasonable amount of time and energy to achieving the team's goals. Each member must be able to trust that all other team members are doing the same. Mistrust can lead to petty squabbles.

Team members must have open, honest communication. They must never be hesitant to communicate with other members about issues and concerns, as well as new ideas or personal observations.

Bringing together people with common skill-sets typically leads to lots of discussion with little subsequent actions. Ensuring that each team member possesses a unique specialty allows the team to trust each other for certain aspects of achieving the goal, while fully understanding what their own contribution is expected to be.

Team members should be able to rally together and meet new challenges head-on, rather than splintering into ideological factions or banding together to resist change. Change is unavoidable, and the most effective teams have the ability to roll with the punches and change the way they work together on the fly.

By working together as a team following these basic principles, we can develop and achieve the goals that will advance Greenville forward.


Giving Trees Return to Greenville

Greenville Giving Trees have returned to Central Park and are  
currently in need of donations.

Established in 2017 by Holly Patterson and her children, Catherine,  
Joshua and Brianna, the Giving Trees are set up for anyone who is  
walking through town to grab a dry hat, scarf or gloves/mittens to  
keep out the cold. Seeing it for themselves, the Pattersons started  
the idea to make sure that even the little thing like a dry pair of  
gloves can make a difference for someone who is cold.

Items, including new or gently used but clean hats, gloves, mittens,  
headbands, scarves and socks are needed to fill the trees. Donation  
boxes have been set up at a number of locations including the Chamber  
office, Steph's, Family Video, The Record-Argus lobby, Care-Fill  
Pharmacy and the Greenville Fire Station.

If you are unable to make a purchase of items and put them onto the  
trees, monetary donations will also be used to purchase items to keep  
the trees filled as long as they are up.

For information, call or text Holly at 724-651-2951.


National Flag Day

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation deeming June 14 as Flag Day. President Wilson stated, “It is the anniversary of the day upon which the flag of the United States was adopted by the Congress as the emblem of the Union.” He also wrote, “On that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts.”


Main Street RR Crossing Work

Beginning on May 17, work begins on the railroad crossing in Greenville. The affected intersection is near Sheetz at the Clinton, Plum and Main Streets intersection.

Crews will be making their way south along the 40 mile Meadville line to the Shenango Valley. Norfolk-Southern stated, "Length of closure [at various road intersections] will be dependent on track time and/or equipment or weather-realated issues."

The commercial detour for Main Street from the west is state Route 18 N to state Route 285 to US Route 19. Sidewalks are also closed; however, during the work day, work crews will assist those walking to cross the tracks.

Crossings detours to include:

  • KO Road
  • Countyline Road
  • Calvin Road
  • Kennard Road
  • Riley Road
  • Werner Road
  • Williamson Road
  • Main Street
  • Plum Street
  • Clinton Street



The Chamber's Year in Review

The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce finished 2017 with a brightly lit Christmas parade with 29 units – which did not count the fire trucks that formed the beginning of the parade.  What a great demonstration of community spirit! The chamber has been involved with the Christmas celebration since the 1940s. The parade was a great ending to the 70th anniversary year of the Chamber.

The Chamber was also host to several other successful events, including Business & Community Expo, Grapes & Growlers, Halloween Parade, and Small Business Saturday promotions. In addition, the chamber co-hosted the Annual Auction with the United Way of Mercer County and the Business & Industry Day with Greenville Area Economic Development Corp.

The chamber has been actively collaborating with the other county chambers. They participated with the Commissioners Meet N Greet hosted by Mercer Area Chamber; 40 Under 40 awards spearheaded by Shenango Valley Chamber; and a Multi Chamber Mixer coordinated by Grove City Area Chamber.  All the chambers participated in discussions with other stakeholders and elected officials on how to save the State Correctional Facility in Mercer and the 400 plus jobs it represented. Greenville Chamber organized a breakfast presentation by DCED Secretary Dennis Davin, who spoke on the importance of early childhood education in industry.

The chamber is more than an event sponsor. Participating with the Downtown Task Force, the chamber hosted the successful Property Showcase, where landlords opened up their commercial properties for prospective tenants, and the Greenville Chamber Challenge award. The Showcase led to the opening of Athena Study Abroad, The Boutique on Main and Ready Value Auto.

The Chamber Challenge was a $5,000 award for a business to locate in the Greenville business district. The panel of judges was pleased to present the award to Seth Allison, owner of Hometown Jiu-Jitsu on Main Street.

The Chamber is looking forward to new initiatives in 2018 to create value for its members, to help business prosper, and to make the community a great place to live, work and play.


Chamber Turns 70!

The Greenville Business Men’s Association began meeting in 1944. First on the agenda was to vote to take on the responsibilities of the 7-man post-war planning committee permanently, which eventually would lead them to purchase the Camp Reynolds site from the federal government. Since they were going to take on the post-war planning, they voted to also take on the responsibilities of a Chamber of Commerce. Dues were set and committees established.

Among those committees was Industrial and Retail. The Camp Reynolds purchase, as well as other property purchases, was led by the Industrial Committee. It would take nearly three years for the committee to achieve their goal of purchasing Camp Reynolds from the War Assets Administration. As the purchase progressed, three individuals fronted no-interest loans to aid in the purchase. They were paid back a year later. In addition, the committee secured a pre-paid three year rental agreement from Westinghouse. A permanent GBMA committee was formed in 1950 to oversee and manage the assets of Camp Reynolds. To aid in this, a manager was hired in 1951.

The Retail Committee busied itself with cooperative promotions including advertising, Christmas decorations and shopping hours. In October 1946, the board voted to support a “Hallo’ween Celebration.”

Another committee that was formed was the Community Chest. These were being formed all across the United States and Canada to raise money from local businesses and workers for community projects. Sound familiar? Many of these Community Chest organizations would later become United Ways.

While these were the main concerns of the directors, they also involved themselves with recreation, education, housing, transportation, and veteran’s affairs.

At the end of 1947, December 8 to be exact, the incorporators met. It was at this meeting, which followed the regular board meeting, that the details of incorporation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were read and voted upon.

While the group discussed changing the name to Chamber of Commerce in 1948, the name change would take another 26 years before becoming official in 1974.

President William R. McMillen announced a new name in the 34th Annual Report & Membership Directory.

“A new name—Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce—and the excellent opportunity afforded in 1974, of working together in a true spirit of dedicated purpose and cooperation.”

One last interesting note, Ruth Martstellar was the paid “Secretary” noted in 1944 minutes for this group of businessmen who formed the association. And, it was truly all men. She would later be named Executive Secretary. In 1970, she became the Executive Director. Two years later she appears in the membership directory as an honorary member. Quite an accomplishment for a woman of this time.



Greenville Chamber Challenge

The Chamber announces the Greenville Chamber Challenge business contest. The Downtown Task Force generated the idea to attract businesses to the Greenville Business District. The winner will receive $5,000 to use for rent, down payment for purchase, or renovation and remodeling. Contestants must submit a business plan by September 18 to the chamber of commerce. Assistance in completing the plan is available from the Gannon Small Business Development Center located in the chamber office building. Five contestants will be selected by a panel of judges to give oral presentations, and then one winner will be chosen from those presentations. Criteria and eligibility guidelines are available at the Chamber office or you can download a copy here.


Big Top For Sale

It's not the circus; it's a building available through the Greenville Reynolds Development Corp.

Building Specs:

  • Building is 86’x272 on one side and 86’x242’ on other side.
  • Cranes: 2 are 20 ton and 1 is 10 ton. Rail height of cranes is 22’-7”. Center to center rail is 79’-6”.
  • Building has 32’ eaves. 28’-9” clearance under frame.

Click here for a picture of the building.

Those interested should contact Brad Gosser, 724-646-1144

Greenville Main Street Showcase

A task force was formed at the suggestion of an engineer's study after the closure of Main Street, and we began to explore better ways for the Borough and the downtown merchants to communicate. The group participated in a couple of meetings sharing ideas not only about means of communication, but also about the general business environment in Greenville. 

These open discussions have led to the planning of an event on November 19 that will feature open tours of available rental space, as well as giving interested entrepreneurs an opportunity to talk with local bank representatives, a borough code representative, and a member of the Gannon Small Business Development Center.

This is an exciting venture, and the group is positive as we look for ways to market the business climate in Greenville. The next meeting is Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. in the chamber's conference room.

To view the flyer for reservation information, click here.



66th Annual B&I Day

Well, it's almost here: the 66th Annual Business & Industry Day at The Greens of Greenville. Image having the privilege of coordinating the longest running community event of its kind. I hope that I make the day as enjoyable as previous years. While the event has seen many changes over the years, this is still a great outing to bring together business and community leaders in a relaxed atmosphere. While the weather may prove unkind, it's the one thing we can't control. We still plan to have an enjoyable day.

We see teamwork on the course, but there is also teamwork behind the scenes. The success of B&I Day is due to the continued support of our sponsors, players and volunteers. This year's Birdie Sponsors are Greenville Savings Bank and UPMC Horizon, and our Par Sponsor is ILSCO Extrusions. Many hours go into planning an event of this caliber, I feel a sense of accomplishment when I witness everyone having a good time.

It is encouraging to see the many people who support the initiatives of the GAEDC and GACC. Proceeds help us with the vital mission of promoting economic development and community promotions.

PA Sunshine Law

Sunshine laws, also known as open-meeting laws or public-records laws, support government transparency and accountability, allowing citizens to know what goes on when government officials transact public business. As the majority of county municipalities, the Borough of Greenville holds a council work session and a regular council meeting, and both of these meetings are open to the public. Regular council meetings are held the second Monday of the month with the work session held the previous Thursday. 

According to the law, advance notice of the meetings must be given. The Record Argus publishes meeting dates on the bottom left corner of the front page. The Borough also posts the dates on their web page under the "Borough Information" tab. There is a link on the home page that directs users to a portal containing agendas and minutes from previous meetings as well as other public documents.

An important differentiating note here is that deliberation surrounding motions occurs during work sessions, and the actual vote happens at the regular council meetings. Public comments are heard at the beginning of the meeting and then again at the end of the meeting. However, any comments given at the end of the meeting must pertain to agenda items discussed during the meeting. If you are attending a regular council meeting and want to voice a concern, visitors have the floor during the beginning of the meeting and are each given five minutes to speak.

Local government is for everyone. Local government is responsible to its citizens, and they want to make sound decisions regarding community needs and the best use of resources to create a sustainable community.

Origins of Memorial Day - a short history lesson

American Legions and VFW Posts with volunteer help spend hours placing flags and markers on our veterans' grave sites in preparation for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. We all realize it's more than a three-day weekend, but a day to remember those that have fallen defending our freedom. Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans' Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans' Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

Memorial Day has been around longer than any of us remember. It started as "Decoration Day" in the late 1860's after the Civil War. More than 600,000 Americans died during the Civil War, and both North and South wanted to commemorate them. Under the leadership of women during the war, an increasingly formal practice of decorating graves had taken shape.  In 1865, the federal government began creating national military cemeteries for the Union war dead. Many cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day including, Charleston, SC; Waterloo, NY; Boalsburg, PA; Carbondale, IL; Columbus, GA; and Columbus, MI.

In the years following the War Between the States, the North and South held various ceremonies to honor the fallen Union and Confederate soilders. In 1868, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued what was called General Order Number 11, designating May 30 as a memorial day. Beginning with Michigan in 1871, states passed laws making the holiday official. May 30 was chosen as it held no particular relevance to any battle, and flowers would be in bloom for the decorating. However, it wasn't until 1971 that Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday by an act of Congress. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Memorial Day is celebrated differently in communities across the nation; however, all Americans are supposed to pause for a minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time to pay tribute to the men and women who died while serving the nation. Congress instituted this practice in 2000 with the passage of The National Moment of Remembrance Act, so this is one Memorial Day activity that is actually the law.

While we look upon Memorial Day as the beginning of summer, let's also remember that there are more than 260,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery alone of men and women who gave their lives so that we may celebrate the arrival of summer. (For actual counts of military deaths during war, visit Military Factory.)

"From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion..." from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Message from Dan Weigmann, Spring Thiel Intern

This semester I interned at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. This was a spectacular way for me as the Junior Chamber President and a college student to get involved in the Greenville community.  As the intern I worked at least twice a week in the office under the direct supervision of the Office Manager, Janice Schwanbeck. I worked with her on several projects including the annual Community and Business Expo, Chamber Annual Auction, several seminars, special events, and other projects.  All of these projects involved preparation work, including spread sheets of those involved, planning of the actual event, and implementation ideas the day of. For example for the business expo, I created spreadsheets displaying where the businesses were located within the Thiel Dome. Throughout my internship I also worked on expanding the chamber's business perks program, which are discounts and offers chamber members offer to each other. While I have been working on this project, I added ten businesses to the perks program which gives a direct benefit to the chamber membership. I have also coordinated contracts with five amusement and theme parks to give group rate discounts to the chamber members as another added benefit.  By attending the events in the evening such as the 40 Under 40 recognition and the member refresher, I gained so much knowledge in how business owners interact with one another and how I can network with others better. Additionally, I helped create a new unique relationship with Thiel College, who is assisting the chamber with the Business Next Door video series. This partnership will continue to benefit both entities now and into the future. Being an intern at the chamber was an amazing experience that has allowed me to gain knowledge in so many different areas. This has been such a positive experience for me, and I look forward to applying the skills I have learned in my education and into my future career in business. 

The Power of Networking

One of the benefits of Chamber membership is the opportunity for business networking. The power of networking cannot be underestimated. Networking is about building and maintaining relationships. It's a personal form of communication that helps people build trust. Networking is a skill.

Amassing business cards isn't networking. Quality is more important than quantity. Direct your networking toward cultivating personal connections. Once you make a new connection, you need to leverage it by following up with the person. The follow up is what creates the connection. Write notes on the back of a business card about your interaction; then use those things to create the follow up.

While social media helps people make connections. it's not a substitute for traditional face-to-face networking. Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to connect to hundreds of people and most likely interactions with these connections is limited. The power of networking lies in how well people know you, how much they trust you, how much they gain from having you in their network, and how often you communicate with them.

Networking can happen anywhere. Arranging meetings and workshops, attending seminars and conventions, running conferences and ceremonies, and serving on a board of directors or on a committee are all excellent ways of meeting other industry professionals.

Engaging with people, leaving a great impression, and staying in touch will provide you with future business opportunities.

What is a Chamber of Commerce

The term “chamber of commerce” is a widely known organization that is associated with business.  But really what does this organization do? The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives defines this phrase as “an organization of businesses seeking to further their collective interests, while advancing their community, region, state or nation.” (acce.org).

The chamber of commerce is the major support system of community businesses, bringing all types of industry together to achieve a common goal.  Having large and small businesses working together to improve the region is what provides not only strength to the commerce of the Greenville area, but it is what makes communities stay strong and grow.  The more members the Chamber has, the better we can represent the business community.  We accomplish collectively what no business could do alone.

The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce relies upon its members to participate and make the community stronger.  Through events, seminars, and community gatherings the chamber offers so many different opportunities for individuals and businesses to meet new people and improve their networks.  The wide variety of events, when taken advantage of, can greatly improve your business and open you to opportunities that are only available with your participation in this chamber.  The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce is promoting businesses throughout the region, it is you who must decide if you want to join and reap the benefits or watch from the sidelines.  

Chamber Office Manager Change

Chambers are an important component of any community, and I'm excited to be a part of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. I look forward to meeting and working with its members on our various initiatives and goals. This is an especially exciting time at the Chamber with the introduction of the new enhanced tiered membership program. If you haven't yet made your selection, please visit the membership dues section to review the benefits of each tier.

My previous experience includes development of copy writing, brand communications, event management, newsletter preparation, website maintenance, and project management. I hold a master's degree in English from Slippery Rock University.

Please feel free to contact me at the office 724-588-7150 or jschwanbeck@greenvillechamber-pa.org. Again I look forward to working with you.