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Member Spotlight: Perkasie Borough

Perkasie’s “overnight” success story has been years in the making.

While downtown revitalization efforts may be more prominent now, years of planning and discernment have gone into the Borough’s current economic vitality and investment strategy yielding residents, business owners and borough officials results they can see, touch and feel.

From modernization efforts that never got off the ground in the 1970s to a catastrophic fire in 1988, that wiped out an entire block in the downtown, to national recognition last year for holding the oldest Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the country, Perkasie Borough is a small town, American innovator.

With the goal of creating prosperity, several elements came together. Local leaders built a comprehensive plan with the help of the Bucks County Planning Commission.

“We held public meetings to gather people together, and what people wanted, in Perkasie,” explained Stephen Barth, Perkasie director of economic development. Borough officials and planners took on a master plan process in 2013 to gather up a “wish list” from residents and community members.

A winning combination of strategic partnerships, local leadership and input from residents and business owners continues to gain traction and fuel Perkasie’s reclaimed vision.

Maintaining a walk-able downtown business district with community support and patronage, ongoing sustainable economic development and an attractive small town community vibe, build upon Perkasie’s assets.

“Our number one goal was to rebuild the downtown. In order to create dynamic revitalization, you have to bring various groups together,” Barth said.

Stimulating interest from entrepreneurs, new business start-ups and attracting national and international firms, meant considering what makes a town appealing to investors.

For starters, borough officials slashed building and improvement permit fees by 50 percent. The result has been more than 30 new business openings, according to Barth.

The byproduct of lower permit fees has been a ripple effect, which spurred residents to “spruce up” their homes and properties, too. What looks good, feels good.

The American House at Perkasie, located at 7th and Market Streets and the Perkasie Commerce Center, are examples of new buildings resulting from partnerships with investors, Perkasie Town Improvement Association and the Borough. Apartments and retail are mixed-use hallmarks of the new buildings.

Attracting housing development is another gauge of interest in a community, according to Barth. When people are buying homes and locating somewhere, it’s because they see value in the community and want to be part of it.

Major companies such as Free Will Brewing Company attract visitors from out of town, and serves residents in the community.

“Free Will is a major player, and their headquarters is right here,” Barth said.

A new microbrew pub planned next door to Perkasie Borough Hall, located on West Chestnut Street in an historic building, is viewed as another dining option for visitors to the downtown. “The popularity of microbrews” is a larger national trend, playing out on the local level in downtown Perkasie.

Options to serve Perkasie natives, as well as new residents are part of the overall plan.

“We have about $100 million in new housing developments (underway), and a plan for a hi-tech center at the Pennridge Airport,” Barth said.

With new residents comes disposable income and with new business development comes investment and validation in the community and its infrastructure.

The Pennridge Airport development on Ridge Road is estimated to have 700,000 square feet of space under roof and is aimed at attracting high tech companies and jobs to the area. “Industrial space, high speed internet and a hotel and conference center” are part of the proposed plan, Barth said.

Barth said leaders are using a holistic approach to creating prosperity, and it’s working.

“We were told we couldn’t accomplish this much in 20 years, and we have done it in two,” Barth said.

For more information on Perkasie Borough log onto www.perkasieborough.org.

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Chamber 101 Outlines Abundant Benefits of UBCC Membership

Professional development. Political clout. Credibility.  A bigger voice. Meeting new prospects. Networking with a variety of professionals across different industries. Passionate advocates for business that are on your side.

These are a few of the benefits of becoming a member of the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce, as about a dozen members discovered during a Chamber 101 session held at the downtown Quakertown office of UBCC.

Chamber 101 participants discovered what may be missing from their side of the equation.

Involvement and engagement are what bring an organization like the chamber, and the business members vital to its mission together.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a Chamber to galvanize the local business community.

Some other Chamber member benefits:

*Online training through Coggno – a web-based professional development provider, which gives 10 free courses of your choice, a branded training platform for your company and a custom URL for staff to use to log in for their training use.

*An instant connection to the chambers’ roughly 600 plus members throughout Upper Bucks County.

*Participation in Chamber sponsored events, and a chance to be part of the movement through committee and volunteer involvement.

*Manufacturing support through networking and professional organizations.

*Free Certificates of Origin

*Online and print advertising, which not only gets the word out about business goods and services, but supports the chamber’s daily operations.

A bigger voice means your message is heard louder and more often.

Chamber functions like business card exchanges and mixers as well as annual events such as the upcoming Small Business Conference & EXPO on March 15 at Bucks County Community College, Perkasie Campus, offer opportunities for volunteers, sponsorship and to meet other business community members.

“It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you,” said Tara King, UBCC, Executive Director.

 

 

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Get focused; scout and explore what Upper Bucks County has to offer

After months of preparation and hard work, the 2016 focused Upper Bucks County directory hit the streets in early January. As the fresh title suggests – a nod to the past and vision toward the future – focused is a showcase of chamber membership, the region’s rich resources and traditions, along with goods and services available in Upper Bucks County.

The 2016 edition of focused is packed with helpful information. We’ve unearthed intriguing nuggets about local history and lore, and provided a one-stop treasury of the vibrant businesses and entrepreneurs located and operating here.

In addition to being available in print, focused Upper Bucks County is also available online, along with convenient links to our business advertisers’ websites.

About 5,000 print copies of the new directory are available now throughout the municipalities that make up Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown Community school districts.

We’ve built focused Upper Bucks County from scratch using chamber members experience, expertise and services they offer. That means money spent to create the publication was reinvested in our own business community. From creating original copy, layout and design to photography, print and online production, this issue is entirely home grown.

Previous editions of the annual publication were produced by packaging publishers, and printed in other parts of the country.

Printed in nearby New Jersey, Chamber Executive Director Tara King witnessed the presses rolling. King had the opportunity roll up her sleeves, view color “tear sheets” as they came off the press, parlay printer lingo, and gained a greater understanding of the complex composition and printing industry process.

A flyer appearing in the February 4th edition of Bucks County Herald announces focused, and its print availability.

In addition to chamber business listings and helpful resources, anyone reading focused can learn about the area. We’ve included feature story-style reporting throughout, as we shine the spotlight on shopping and dining, agriculture and education, business, location, government, demographics, and more.

Think ahead! A photography contest for next year’s edition is an open invitation for anyone with a digital camera or Smartphone, to submit pictures to be considered for publication. Photography contest details will be announced.

Be focused, scout and explore what Upper Bucks County has to offer.

Look for focused throughout the community, available at municipal buildings, and various locations, or stop by the Upper Bucks Visitor Center to pick up a copy today.

Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center is located at 21 North Main Street, Quakertown. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday – Friday.

 

 

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UBCC Year in Review

Abundance. Mild weather. A growing economy and positive outlook.

As we wrap up 2015 there’s a lot to remember, and a lot for which to be thankful.

Making connections, providing resources and offering business leaders an opportunity to find one another, were 2015 hallmarks of the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce mission.

From the annual Small Business Conference & Expo at Bucks County Community College, Perkasie Campus in March to developing relationships and better business outcomes, UBCC is an active community member.

Regular business card networking opportunities provide a relaxed way for members to come together. Look for additional, new happy hours in 2016.

The annual June golf classic was another chance to meet and enjoy some relaxed time on the greens. This year’s Upper Bucks Foodie event in October, drew record numbers to the Sands Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership for an outstanding sold-out evening of great food and drink samplings, raffle baskets, and community bon ami.

Take advantage of online webinars and educational opportunities, free online training and staff development – it’s all available through the chamber.

We’re strengthening business relationships.

Throughout the year we’ve blogged and profiled area business leaders and entrepreneurs from food and home services industries, tech companies, manufacturers, a public school district and the area’s technical career school, among others.

Consistently, we hear and see demonstrated the small town charm associated with Quakertown, Perkasie, Sellersville and beyond. And recently, acceptance in the Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia program validated what generations living in Quakertown have known all along: The heart of Upper Bucks is a great place to call home.

Upper Bucks leaders, business owners and operators are savvy forward thinkers braced to face the challenges of living in a 21st Century world and economy.

For the first time the newest chamber business directory, Focused, was built from the ground up by chamber members.

Focused will premiere in January. In addition to the print copy of the directory, an online edition promises to be more engaging and interactive than ever before. Online, Focused will be easy to use and provides a launching pad for finding member businesses, and much more. It’s jam packed with information about the wealth of resources that make up our region, and offers our tips and picks for how to spend a day, a vacation, or to settle and live a lifetime.

As we look to better serve existing members and welcome new members, a photo contest for the next chamber directory could showcase your work. We’ll share more on how to submit photos in the New Year.

Among our New Year’s resolutions are continued growth of our membership and networking communities. In 2016, our goal is to grow membership to 1,000 from our current 600 – that’s an ambitious membership increase of roughly 40 percent.

You can help us reach the new member goal. Invite a business colleague, new business start-up or entrepreneurial friend to the next networking event.  Tell your non-chamber business contacts about the resources available to them, once they join the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

Don’t be shy. Take advantage of the benefits chamber membership, and a valued place in this diverse community, affords you.

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Municipal Minute – Featuring Jeff Vey

The Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce is a place both the private and public sectors can merge and work together.

Community awareness is a key factor of chamber membership and a top value in becoming a chamber member according to Milford Township Manager Jeffrey Vey.

Regardless of whether a chamber member is a private sector business owner or representative, or a public official, working side-by-side in committees is a way to both broaden and strengthen the community to create better awareness, according to Vey. “Committee (service) is a great means to community,” Vey said. Vey serves on the legislative/government affairs committee of the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber offers members opportunities to serve in a variety of ways through its committees. From economic development to legislative/government affairs, membership/marketing, programs and special events, these committees add value to chamber membership by contributing to the vitality of the area’s business community.

The Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce special events committee is noted for hosting a variety of annual opportunities for members including a Business EXPO, a golf tournament, the Upper Bucks Foodie – the area’s premier food event recently held inside the Sands Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Quakertown, along with an annual membership meeting.

Whether oriented toward business and commerce or through the public sector by supporting the community’s infrastructure through road and parks park maintenance and offering recreational opportunities, Vey said chambers are a bridge between business and local government.

“You see the same faces on the local level – in business and in (government),” Vey explained.