Category: Business

How to be a successful leader!

Hi Everyone,

Over the past 17 years, thirteen with Walmart and now almost four with the Chamber of Commerce, I have seen many books or articles on “How to be Successful”  but I have never written my own thoughts, and today I thought, what the heck, let’s give it a try.

I spent 13 years with Walmart, and retired in 2010, played golf for a couple of months, and then I interviewed for the Chamber of Commerce.  Now, I could give you a long explanation of how I was successful at Walmart, but the short answer is this, I knew I had to work harder than other managers, I had to take on more responsibility than anyone else, and I took every opportunity to attend leadership classes at Walmart along with reading every leadership book that was available.  I found that the message was always the same, take care of your people, and they will take care of your customers.  Be a servant leader, and don’t be afraid of change.  So I carried those thoughts throughout my thirteen years with Walmart, and I retired as a store manager of my hometown Walmart.

In July 2010, I became the Executive Director  at the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, and I could have probably sat back and ran the office, take care of our members, cut ribbons for grand openings, have business after hours, and probably our board of directors would have been happy.  That didn’t happen, after being in the job for about 3 months, I suddenly realized that this was my chance to once again make a difference.  So with the help of a fantastic board and staff, we started to change things at the chamber to be more successful.  How did we do that?  by challenging the status quo, never be afraid to change things, and wow did we change things.  Over the past 3 years and 6 months we have increased our membership, changed every one of our events, added events, and added programs that benefited not only our membership but the entire business community.

So my new leadership message was taking care of our membership, and they will take care of our town.    Today for the first time in years our unemployment is under 7%, and we do want that number to go lower, and I know it will.  Remember that servant leadership message? I still try to do that every day.

Now the last thing that I am going to tell you to be successful isn’t for everyone, you have to be thinking of your job 7/24.  I know that probably isn’t for everyone, but over the past three years, I have been complemented for the job I did as a Walmart store manager, and my success was based on that 7/24 rule.  You can still devote time to your family, but I did consider Walmart associates my family and our staff at the chamber as my family, so that is how I do things.

I guess I will close with these words, you have to decide what you want out of life, and I wanted more, and I wanted challenges, and thanks to Walmart and the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce I have had plenty of challenges that really gave me a lot of satisfaction.  So, to be successful, take care of your people, be a servant leader, don’t be afraid of change and I will leave this optional, be a 7/24 leader.

Have a great day!!

Ron Orris

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!!


The “WOW” Factor!!

Hi Everyone,

One of my favorite subjects is hospitality and customer service.  No matter where I go to eat,shop, or spend a night, I’m always looking for that “Wow”experience! You know the one where the person taking care of you goes out of their way to make you say, “WOW!”  If you think about it, it really doesn’t take a lot of effort, sometimes just asking someone how their day is going is sufficient. I love the latest commercial where someone does something nice for someone, and that person does something nice for the next person.

Now let’s talk about that“WOW” factor. I heard a great story about a business person who went into a little restaurant in New York City.  Her waiter asked what she would like to drink, and she said an RC Cola. Of course, the restaurant didn’t have RC Cola, and she understood, and proceeded to order her meal with a glass of ice water. The waiter took her order back to the kitchen, and told his boss he had to run down the street for his customer. He left the restaurant and came back with a bottle of RC Cola, and was proud to bring it to the customer with her meal.  As you can imagine,she was blown away.   She asked where he had gotten the cola, and he told her that he knew the little grocery store down the street carried it.  Every time this person came back to the city, she asked for this young man to wait on her, until one day they said he wasn’t there anymore,but had been promoted to run another one of their restaurants.  That is the “WOW” factor. Look at the results of a simple gesture, (and I’m sure he received a very nice tip).

I spent my entire career in retail,and I always felt rewarded when I made a customer happy. I always tried to encourage my associates to do the same.when I was with Wal-mart,  I encouraged them to “WOW” their customers, and we would talk every day in our meetings about how we did that.I could tell you tons of stories about some great customer service, but I’m sure you get the point.  Finally, I must add, that hospitality works both ways.I was always taught that if you treat someone nicely, they will usually treat you the same way.

So stop on down to 121 Main Street, we will treat you to a cup of great coffee, and tell us about your great customer service experiences.

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!!!

We have a Killer Website!!!

I thought that title would get everyone’s attention, and recently I had a reply that said, you need to come up with better titles for your blog.  So we will see what everyone thinks of  Killer Website.

Thursday, April 4th, our Chamber held its Annual Meeting, and we premiered our new website to 220 people.  Protocol 80 of Bradford, Pa created our website, and we also have to give credit to Stephanie Bussman for helping with the graphics.  When we started thinking of how we wanted our website to look, we first decided that we needed to have a site that our staff could easily make corrections or add new material too.

So the first step was to create a data base system that would allow us to do that. Protocol built our system from scratch, and the first suggestion, and probably the best suggestion, was that it would be web based.  We had that completed late last year, and than we started putting together our thoughts and ideas for the website.  I spent a couple of days reviewing every chamber website I could find, and I narrowed those sites down to 10 sites that I thought were the best. We took their best ideas, and the things that we wanted and put together our wish list.  I had many staff meetings with Becki Ivancic and Kara Kennedy and between the three of us, we came up with a final list, and turned that over to Protocol 80.  this weekend comments started to show up from folks in our business.     Here are some of those comments:

1.  Easy to navigate
2. Visually appealing
3.  smart phone version is excellent
4. Not cluttered
5. They like our advertising boxes
6. Style without gaudy
7. They liked our sponsorship
8. Very easy to read
9. Clean prominent Join us.
10.  Great colors
12. Picture galaxy a big hit
13.  They liked our video box

So now it’s your turn to tell us what you think, please go to, and send us your opinion!


















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.



Message from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce

Hi Everyone,

I thought I would share some information that I receive every month from the Pennsylvania Chamber.  When you see all the cuts in the budget, one of reasons is that collectively, the State Employees’ Retirement System and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System–face an unfunded liability of between forty billion and fifty billion dollars.  One of the solutions to this problem is to switch future state employees from a defined contribution plan similar to private sector 401k style programs, among other similar proposals under consideration.

Also on the Mid-Year Legislative Accomplishments in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s corporate tax apportionment formula will now be based only on sales, not property and payroll.  The old formula was a disincentive for hiring and growth.  This change will save job creators about $12 million this year, and around $40 million annually beginning next fiscal year.

Finally, the authorization of transportation public-private partnerships is a small but welcome step toward resolving the state’s nearly $3.5 billion infrastructure funding shortfall.  This concept will inject private-sector capital and innovation into the infrastructure equation.

See you on Main Street.

Ron Orris

Give Gifts, Be Generous

This past week I received a really nice message from Frank Kenny who is from Longview, Washington and has a book out called “The Seven Secret Laws of Society”  He was complementing our Chamber on our Facebook and how many friends we have.  Frank travels all over the State of Washington doing seminars he is an  author, speaker, and consultant. Integrating new media, social media marketing, and modern technology. 

Frank talks in his book about giving back to your community.    Here is an part of what Frank is saying:

As a business owner or executive:

1. You will attract more customers.

2. You will have more fun. Give Gifts. Be Generous.™

     It is a nice way to spend your time.

3. You will have more friends.

4. Your standing in the community will rise and you

     will have more influence.

5. Opportunities will come to you out of the blue.

6. Your stress level will go down because your business

      is doing better and your life feels more complete.

By doing all these things Frank is saying that good things will come back to you for your business.  I truly believe this!  I remember when I worked for Walmart, the founder Sam Walton, encouraged his management team to get involved in the community.  Now Sam just didn’t want us to join the Chamber or Rotary, he wanted us to get involved on committees and see if we could make a difference. 

Now I know your all saying that you are too busy to do this, but I’m telling you this is the way everyone should run their lives, help your community, and it doesn’t have to be the Chamber of Commerce.  Many of you already do it, rather it is your Church, Little League, Food Kitchens or whatever you are doing ,  Frank is saying to do more, and good things will come back to you.  Please give me feedback on this, and if these results have happen to you. 

So stop on down to our Main Street location at 121 Main Street and have a cup of coffee, and give us your ideas.  Please pass the Blog on to your friends.

New Website for the Chamber

Hi Everyone:

Since I came on board in July 2010, our goal has been to continue to update ourWebsite.  Thanks to our friends at Protocol 80, we launched a new look yesterday that I hope you all find pleasing.  We have more bells and whistles planned for the website this year, and  we are always looking for better ways to improve our website, which in turn helps our membership. So if you have any suggestions please send me your suggestions. Check out our website at


Our Search engine optimization has increased our traffic, and we hope with all these improvements that that traffic will continue to grow.  We also continue to see growth on our Facebook with 2217 friends. 

We also have moved our advertising banner to the top of the page, and have lowered our price to attract more business. 

Congratulations to our Board Member, Colette Roessler for being named the Main Street Manager.  Colette will do an outstanding job for Main Street!

Also, Congratulations to Zippo and W.R. Case CEO Greg Booth on his appointment to the Committee on Manufacturing by Pennsylvania.  We know that Greg will do an outstanding job!

Finally, don’t forget our first Business After Hours is Wednesday, January 25th at 5 pm at the New Main Street Mercantile.

See you on Main Street.  Ron