Chamber unveils discount program
‘Shop TriCounty’ will encourage shoppers to visit local businesses
Responding to area business owners’ needs to encourage customers to shop locally, the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce outlined a new program Wednesday at its annual Economic Development Luncheon.
Called “Shop TriCounty,” the new program will offer discount cards to chamber company employees and members of the community that will be valid at participating chamber businesses.
“Shop TriCounty will connect local businesses to the community by encouraging people who live and work in the tri-county region to patronize local business, take advantage of a great deal and encourage
repeat business by using the card,” Jennifer O’Donnell, TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce member relations director, said during the luncheon.
“There is definitely a need for a program like this,” O’Donnell added. “After speaking with many of our local businesses, we understand that they need more support to encourage consumers to buy locally.”
Shop TriCounty is a collaborative effort between the chamber and Pottstown CARES, which is a partnership between the Borough of Pottstown, Pottstown School District and The Hill School. Student leaders of Pottstown Cares — Mya Longacre of The Hill School and Lenea Crawford of Pottstown High School — joined O’Donnell for the announcement, along with Katie Scanlan, High Meadows Chair of Sustainability at The Hill School.
“One statistic I have found interesting is that for every $100 spent, $68 circulates back into the local economy compared to $43 at franchises and $18 online,” Longacre told the group. “Supporting these local businesses means supporting your neighbors and the economy.”
Under the program, chamber member employees and members of the community can obtain a key tag discount card that can be used at participating companies. The card will be free of charge.
The key tag will feature a QR code that, when scanned, will take shoppers to the website and a list of participating businesses. O’Donnell said that right now, there are about 20 companies signed up.
“We would like that number to double by the time the program debuts,” she said. “We’re calling on local businesses to participate in the program.”
According to O’Donnell, the chamber will officially launch the program in early November.
“On or about Nov. 1, cards will be made available to members of the chamber to distribute to their employees,” she said, adding that an estimated 15,000 employees work for chamber member companies.
To participate in the program, businesses must be chamber members. There is also an additional fee of $50 to chamber member companies to participate.
Once the program is up and running, the community can visit www.tricountyareachamber.com/ shoptricounty for a listing of participating businesses. The Longacre Co. is sponsoring the production of 10,000 key tags for the program.
The announcement of the Shop TriCounty program was just part of a busy luncheon agenda Wednesday.
The keynote speaker for the event was Ryan Unger, president and CEO of Team PA, a public/private partnership that Unger said is founded on the belief that, “when we work together we can come up with great solutions and great efforts to advance our Commonwealth.”
He spoke about the organization and some of its involvement in economic development efforts in Pennsylvania. Team PA connects businesses, focuses initiatives on business growth, education, workforce development and government efficiency.
One of his points was that attracting new businesses is only a “small piece of the economic development puzzle.”
“Expansion and retention projects are critical to the success of economic development projects in the Commonwealth,” Unger said.
Unger added that incentives also help, but the number one issue is workers. He said Team PA is focusing on bringing people together to address workforce development — something he said needs to begin in Kindergarten and continue through grade 12.
“We’re working with the legislature to put together a body that brings people together to bridge that gap between business and education and makes sure our K-12 system is in tune with workforce issues,” he said. Unger added that the skills workers will need in the future is also critical.
One of the things Unger said he likes about the work of his organization is that he gets to go out and tell the Pennsylvania stories.
“It’s a pleasure to talk about why we think Pennsylvania is a great place for companies to expand, attract and bring companies here. And we need to support that work throughout the Commonwealth,” he said, explaining that there are 200 to 300 major opportunities across the county each year, “and there are 15,000 localities competing for those deals.”
The chamber also presented several awards at the luncheon:
• Worksite Wellness Initiative Award was presented to the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce
• Economic Development Award was presented to Dana Holding Corp.
• Economic Impact Award was presented to Pottstown Borough Council and Pottstown School Board
• Environmental Impact Award was presented to Greater Valley Forge TMA
• Regional Planning Award was presented to Justin Keller; Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation; Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Commission; and DCNR
• Legislator of the Year Award was presented to U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R6th Dist.).
Ryan Unger of Team PA was the keynote speaker at the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Luncheon at Sunnybrook Ballroom Wednesday.
The logo for the new discount card program — Shop TriCounty — unveiled Wednesday by the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce. The program will debut in early November.