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Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce represents many

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 6:12 p.m.

Since I started at the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce in September 2013, I have often been asked what is it that the chamber does. It is hard to explain since the chamber involves many aspects of community relations. The chamber is made up of businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals. All of these groups represent the interests of local businesses and the community.

The chamber of commerce works as an advocate for the community and its businesses with the goal of economic development in the area. We work to develop a network for businesses that increases the visibility of not just the chamber and its members, but also it promotes the City of Connellsville and its surrounding communities. The chamber attempts to connect businesses with other businesses, but we also serve as a resource for people outside of the community to gain information about businesses and organizations in the area.

There have also been numerous visitors to the office and phone calls from individuals inquiring about tourism in and around Connellsville. This is a trend that seems to be increasing. In addition, there have been many inquiries concerning business development in the City of Connellsville.

Our organization has members from as far away as Florida. The chamber of commerce is a good source for keeping up-to-date with events in the community, businesses coming to the community, and updates on businesses that have been in the area for a very long time.

There are many events that take place every year that are sponsored by the chamber of commerce and its members. Over the past five months, the chamber has sponsored numerous events such as the Great Gatsby Gala, Christmas in the Park, the Christmas party at the Cochran House, and recently, Winter Wonderland, an event that recognized Pechin Enterprises for its 66 years in business.

On Feb. 25, the chamber of commerce will hold the annual awards banquet at Bell's Banquet Hall in Mt. Pleasant. During the banquet, the chamber will be recognizing citizens in many categories including community service by an individual, community service by a group, distinguished citizen, Beautification Award, and the Athena Award. It is important to remember that supporting events sponsored by the chamber of commerce also supports the community.

Recently, the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce received its nonprofit 501(c)(3) status which means there will be more opportunities to acquire funding for projects that it is working on, but it also allows donations to our organization to be tax deductible. These projects will improve the chamber, the network of businesses, and the community. Especially now with Connellsville making so many improvements in the city, it is equally important for the chamber of commerce be on board to support those improvements.

Connellsville is growing and over the past five months the chamber's membership has grown as well.

We welcomed several individuals, three businesses, one of the local boroughs and a church during that period. We are currently having a membership drive; the larger our organization is, the more networking can be offered which will lead to a stronger economy and community. The goal is to keep business within the community.

If any business, organization, or individual is interested in becoming a chamber member, call the chamber office at 724-628-5500 or email or stop in and see me at 100 S. Arch St., Connellsville. I look forward to seeing you in the Chamberhood.

Shirley J. Rosenberger is manager of the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce.

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