Member Spotlight: The Proper Brewing Company

Where silent films reigned in the 1920s a bustling family owned and operated microbrewery invigorates Quakertown’s downtown.

Enjoy a Surf & Turf burger with aged sirloin, onions, crumbled bacon and shredded lobster, alongside a premise made glass of Gabi Wit beer or G’s Revenge.

The Proper Brewing Company, owned and operated by Brian and Kris Wilson, is the newest business venture to occupy the former Palace Theater, and it’s the latest addition to Quakertown’s restaurant line-up.

Onsite brewed beers with names like Blondie Bree and Panther Pale Ale are available as tasting flights, pints, growlers and bottles.

The building has long been a Quakertown staple and before The Proper incarnation was occupied by family-owned and operated Dimmig Electric, a home appliance store which closed its doors in 2012.

Kris Wilson said living in Quakertown and raising children here were ideal reasons to open a business.

“We love the community so we thought it was the best place to start our family business,” Wilson said of settling The Proper in Quakertown.

Giving back to a welcoming community of supportive local officials, community members and patrons means a lot to the Wilsons so they host community fundraisers and events.

“We will continue to give back as much as we can,” Wilson said of the couple’s commitment to Quakertown.

Continued economic vitality benefits everyone in downtown Quakertown, and Wilson said hosting events like a bike night, or bringing First Friday events to the downtown are on her to-do list.

But food and beer are the main attractions at The Proper Brewing Company.

Creating and maintaining a menu aimed at seasonal, sustainable fare is an evolving process, according to Wilson.

The new launch of spirits (hard liquor) at The Proper is targeted for August, although no other details were available.

Wines by the tasting flight and glass are also available at The Proper, as is a varied menu including snacks, pub fare and salads, inventive takes on classic sandwiches, burgers and more.

The Proper Brewing Company offers a dozen beers brewed on the premises, as well as banquet hall rentals and private party accomodations.

The Proper Brewing Company is located at 117 W. Broad Street, Quakertown. For menus, beer descriptions and hours of operation visit www.theproperbrewing.com.

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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.

It’s time to get focused, Upper Bucks County!

What’s in your tool kit? Credibility, check. Networking opportunities, check. Access to professional development for yourself and your staff, check. A way to get your message out to potential buyers and convert them into leads for your business?

If you are a member and support the annual 2017 focused Upper Bucks Chamber community profile and member directory, then double check!

What would it mean to have 10,000 business cards distributed across your selling region and beyond?

Buying an ad can do that, and more.

Did you know that roughly 60 percent of buyers trust a business, which belongs to its local Chamber of Commerce?

Those statistics are consistent across the country, because Chambers add value in lots of ways, both tangible and intangible.

Consumers are more likely to buy from Chamber Members because of their positive perception of those business owners and operators.

From professional development, leadership courses, webinars, special presentations from Small Business Administration affiliates, career coaching, SCORE mentoring and more, tapping into the Chamber is a way to amplify your business voice.

Advertising with the Chamber is a compelling way to be heard.

Created and produced by UBCC members, getting your business message into the hands of the buying public is as important to us, as it is to you.

That’s why the decision was made two years ago, to stop using a third-party package company in the Midwest, and to form a small committee and source the writing, photographs, page make up and production on a grassroots level, with members who are as invested in your success as their own.

An ad in the annual focused Upper Bucks County community profile and membership directory can reach new customers for you, all while you take care of business.

Production is underway for the 2017 focused Upper Bucks County community profile and membership directory. Be part of it today.

Contact Melinda Rizzo at 215.529.9845 or mrizzo@ubcc.org to learn how you can be part of the next issue.

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.

 

 

Missing a piece of the puzzle to growing your business?

Got a small business in Upper Bucks County?  Looking for that edge? Micro-loans can help.

For a small business or sole proprietor just starting out, Micro-loans provide a financial leg up.

Micro-loans, available through The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, provide a way for start-up businesses, small business expansion or other types of small business enterprises to obtain needed capital to grow and prosper.

The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund is a non-profit federally certified Community Development Financial Institute, which provides business funding for a variety of uses.

The Rising Tide has historically arranged $4.3 million of capital to 136 different businesses in Lehigh and Northampton counties and recently added Monroe, Carbon and Upper Bucks counties to its service area, according to Chris Hudock, director of The Rising Tide. Since December 2015, about $1.5 million has already been loaned to 52 different businesses, Hudock said.

From resource acquisition, to improvements in leased spaces, equipment purchases, marketing, working capital, stocking inventory and real estate acquisition, a Micro-loan could be the right fit when a traditional loan isn’t an option.

Up to $35,000 of vital funding per business is available through the Micro-loan program, Robert Mineo said. Mineo is financing assistance program director for the Small business Development Center based at Lehigh University in Bethlehem. Mineo specializes in helping business owners and operators understand their financial options, along with assisting them in creating presentation pitches they can make to investors and lenders.

At a recent presentation and panel discussion hosted by UBCC in Quakertown, participants learned about the benefits of Micro-loan programs, and made important staff contacts with those who can help facilitate the process.

“Having a microloan program in the community is just another way to assist our small businesses, that don’t qualify for traditional financing, access to the capital needed to grow,” said Tara King, Executive Director of Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

“Whether that reason is due to having a less than perfect credit rating, not having the right collateral, lack of credit history – all the things that a bank looks at when qualifying an applicant – to still be able to access capital at a rate less than using a credit card,” King explained.

“It can mean the difference between watching a business crash and burn because they couldn’t access the capital needed and watching a business root in a community and thrive,” King said.

Mineo said The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, which was recently extended to cover Upper Bucks met a need. “There was not a program like this that covered Upper Bucks before,” Mineo said.

“Upper Bucks is an opportunity for growth,” Hudock said.

What’s Your Plan?

From the just-right business entity to setting up a home office, local zoning ordinance references and lease agreements with commercial landlords, about two dozen entrepreneurs learned how to optimize their ideas at a recent Small Business Development Center workshop

How to create a business plan was hosted by Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce and lead by Robert Mineo, financing assistance program director for the Small Business Development Center based on the campus of Lehigh University on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Mineo walked participants through the nuts and bolts of creating a business plan, along with the need for a purpose driven document.

“It shouldn’t be more than 8 to 10 pages long, tops,” Mineo said.

Mineo offered tips for home-based businesses, such as seeking out information on local ordinance compliances and permits, and offered guidance on creating a business plan with punch.

“Start with the strongest section first,” Mineo said.

For those just starting a new business, the business plan might lead with education, background and industry or related accomplishments.

Looking for financing? Think ABC’s “Shark Tank” by building a strong case for why you, and your idea, are an exceptional risk for a bank or investor to take on.

Mineo said a good business plan includes an executive summary, which briefly summarizes the point of the document.

Use strong, clear language, and directly state what the purpose of the document is.

A strong business plan – again 8 to 10 pages long – should include:

*A description of the business proposed.
*Products or services offered.
*The market you’ll serve.
*Location where the business will be based.
*A competitive analysis.
*Management and personnel identified.
*Sources of income and current applications for financing.
*Final summary.

For more information about how to create a business plan, or for small business support, visit the Small Business Development Center website at www.lehigh.edu or the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce website at www.ubcc.org.