Category: Benefits

Why should I shop local?

Three years ago the Chamber and our Business Committee started an advertising plan to ask shoppers to shop local, and we are seeing positive reaction to that advertising.

Yesterday I visited several of our merchants in downtown Bradford, and I am happy to tell you, that they all had a great  weekend and were very grateful for all the customers that came in their store.  It was so great talking with them, and seeing their enthusiasm when talking about the rest of the holiday season.

Being an independent business person isn’t an easy career, believe me, I did it for 30 years, but it is a great job, because you meet some wonderful people who loved it when you called them by their first name, and were always so appreciative to have that special personal attention.  I noticed that yesterday when some of our merchants were waiting on customers, and I have to tell you, It brought back a lot of great memories of my years at James R. Evans Men’s Store.

One of my stops was Man’s World and I had a chance to  talk to owner Joe Butler, who was so proud of celebrating 40 years in business.  Congratulations Joe and Mike Butler on 40 years of serving the Bradford Area, and believing in Bradford!

So ask yourself this question, why should I shop local:

1.  Your money stays in the community.

2.  This is my favorite, the more local businesses we have, the easier it is to attract people to move to our town.

3.  Who do you go to when you want a contribution for your organization?

4.  Job creation

5.  Customer service is better

6.  Personnel connection

7.  Product knowledge

8.  Shopping local retains our community

9.  Local shops value you more

10.  It just makes sense

I could go on and on with reasons. but I think you get the message.

To all those folks who started the season off by shopping a local merchant, thank you for supporting these wonderful entrepreneurs!

So let me close by saying, spend some of your holiday money at a local stores, and by the way buy one of our Chamber gift Certificates, because all the money will be spent at a local chamber member business.

As always, stop on down to 121 Main Street, have a cup of coffee with us, and give us your ideas!!


Are we perfect?

I am writing this column to address some people in our community that are always finding the bad things and writing about them. I’ve been accused of only looking at the good things about Bradford and not the bad. That is the furthest thing from the truth. I do worry every day about the drug problems, the housing issues, and I worry that people, especially children, have a meal every night. I fully support the Friendship Table, Destinations-Bradford, the Elf Fund, and every nonprofit in this town. So the big question that I ask myself every morning when I look in the mirror is, “What can I do to make Bradford a better place to live?”

Recently we posted a “Welcome to Bradford” video that included interviews filmed during WESB/WBRR’s “Great Way of Life” campaign. It featured Bradfordians talking about why they like our town, along with wonderful scenic shots, and was created for us by Evoking Emotions Videography. We have been pleased with the reach the video has had online, and some of the positive responses it has received. I might add, WESB/WBRR does not charge us for their annual “Great Way of Life” promotion, they do it to support our town.

So my question to all these folks who spend their day putting Bradford down . . . what have you done for your town? Have you volunteered at the Friendship Table or the SPCA? Did you take part in any community clean-ups? Did you attend a City Council meeting and express your concerns? I could go on and on, but I’m sure you know what I’m saying.

It’s very easy to sit back and criticize our town, but I would rather take the other approach and try to find ways to improve our town. I’m sure some of these doubting Thomases will continue to find fault with anything we try to do, but I will not let their cold comments stop me from making this a better town!

I have had the opportunity to visit many communities in my lifetime, but after those visits I am always happy when I come home.

We are not perfect, we have our flaws, but we have many caring people in our community, generous people who when I call to ask for support with any community project they are there with their checkbooks or right beside us rolling up their sleeves to help.

So I would really welcome these doubting Thomases to come to our office, and lets sit down and have a conversation of how we can make Bradford better. We are here to listen, we are here to help, we are here to make Bradford a better community!

What does it take to be a good non profit?

After being in the profit business most of my life, the last three years in the nonprofit has been a challenge.  I guess for me the biggest challenge is that I had never done it before, but I soon realized that it wasn’t much different then the profit business.  You still have to control a budget, take care of your staff, take care of your customers, or in my case our members.

So this is my advise for anyone thinking about joining a nonprofit.  First you need to review ever aspect of your organization, and spend all your free time looking at other nonprofits in your field.  When I was with Wal-Mart, I learned early on, that our founder Sam Walton, had a hard and fast rule, “steal shamelessly from your competition”  I used that advice a different way by looking at other Chambers to see what they were doing to be successful.  Recently we joined with 14 other Chambers in a joint meeting at our office, and what a great day we had.  Learning what each other were doing to help their members.

Now I’m the first to admit that we have made mistakes along the way, but those mistakes have made us better, and again we are always ready to do something new!

The biggest lesson though is whatever you do in your organization that involves members, make sure it benefits them first, because they are the stockholders, and they deserve to have all of your attention.

With that all said, I am always looking for new and exciting ideas, so please respond to my blog, and because of that nasty spam, all replies have to be approved, hope you understand.  I get about five spams to every legitimate reply.

Thanks for reading my blog, and have a great week!!!

Why do I live in Bradford, Pennsylvania?

Hi Everyone,

I thought this title would get your attention, and I am hoping that I will get some responses back from Bradfordians.

I came to Bradford in 1962, which was my senior year of high school, and I have great memories of that year at Bradford High.  I made some great friends, and I graduated with the Class of 1962.  I later worked for Bovaird and Seyfang Company, the City of Bradford, and then went into the Army serving in Germany and Vietnam.  When I came back to Bradford in 1966,  I realized how lucky I was to have Bradford as my hometown!

In 1966, I married Terri Girard and we raised  three children in Bradford, and they all received a great education, and they learned excellent work ethics, by all of them having jobs after school and during college.  I know they all still love their hometown!

I guess the biggest thing for me though, is the people, and the caring hearts, that they all have.  No matter what the need is in our community, someone always steps up to help those in need.  This past year was an exceptional example of that spirit, with Zippo, American Refinery Group, and many other organizations, and individuals stepping up to help build the new center for Care for Children, that was dedicated in memory of Ashley Booth Griffin.  We will be so lucky to have this state of the art building, that will be dedicated to improving the lives of children of all abilities! Executive Director Tina Martin and her staff have great passion in building Care for Children for the Future!

Another great example is Futures Rehabilitation Center.  I have been the Chairman of the Board for the past 13 months, and it is so rewarding to me as a Board member, when I see the great work that goes on at Futures.

We provide a variety of vocational and social programs to over 200 individuals!

I always love going to the Center, and seeing all the smiles and how happy the participants  are in our workshop.  President and CEO Bill Leven and his staff have done a fantastic job, and we are so proud of their accomplishments!

Now I know that we have our problems, but so does every other town, and I think the biggest solution is to continue to improve things in our town, and stop the negative comments and start looking at all the positives.  I know that we have a lot of bad housing, but at the same time, I see a lot of improvements going on in almost every neighborhood in our town.  The city is solving those problems by removing some of the blighted housing, and improving our infrastructure. The Office of  Economic Development  with their Elm Street project, has made great improvements to many neighborhoods, and this year we will see great improvements to the Congress Street area. Executive Director Sara Andrews and her staff are committed to improving our town!

I am also involved with the Bradford Water Authority, and for those of you who don’t know the history of the Authority, we own 12,000 acres of pristine land, with three reservoirs that have a one billion gallon capacity.  We have a state of the art filtration system, and I am proud to say that  our water rates are some of the lowest rates in the country.  That is because we have run the authority like a business and since 2000 we have only had 2 rate increases.  I think we have the best water in the country, and Kim Benjamin and his staff and his crew and our Board of Directors are all dedicated in making sure we continue to improve our water system.

Finally, I had lunch this past week  with my good friend, Francie Ambuske,  who is the Director of Development for the Bradford Hospital Foundation.  Francie also loves our town and has so much passion to make Bradford a better place to live.  She even came up with a great addition to Bradford’s name and suggest that we promote Bradford as Bradfordable.  I love the idea, and we are going to come up with a campaign called “Bradford is Bradfordable”!

I could go on and on with what I like, but I want to hear what you like about our town.  I only want to hear the positive, because I have heard enough about the negative.  So stop on down to 121 Main Street or email me at and give us your ideas.

Why should I join the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce?

Hi Everyone,

At least once a week someone ask me why they should join the Chamber of Commerce.  I thought today would be a good time to share some of the benefits.  As a member of our chamber you are also a part of Chamber Choice.  They will develop a comprehensive plan to protect your business, your family, and your bottom line.  Their extensive portfolio includes:

  • Individual and Group  Health Insurance
  • Medicare Supplement
  • Dental and Vision Insurance
  • HR solutions
  •  Business Insurance with Dividend Potential, which includes commercial auto, property, general liability, inland marine and worker’s compensation.
  • Energy Program includes both residential and commercial.
  • Voluntary Benefits and Personal Insurance.

Now if you are a business, and you are interested in saving money in any of these areas, we would encourage you to call Chamber Choice at 1-800-377-3539, and if you are happy with the results, we can arrange for you to become a member of the Chamber.  Have a great day, and we will see you on Main Street.