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New chamber office opens in Mt. Pleasant

| Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 6:34 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes | For The Independent-Observer
Getting ready to cut the ribbon to officially open the new chamber offices in Mt. Pleasant are (from left) Chad Amond, Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce president; Jack Brown, director of community services for Westmoreland Community Action; Frank Puskar, Mt. Pleasant Township supervisor; Richard Rosky, manager and vice president of First National Bank; Tyler Courtney, Westmoreland Chamber Board of Directors president; Deborah Salopek, Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce Laurel Highlands Chapter manager; and Kevin Bock, president and CEO of Integrity Estate Advisors.

Boasting a new manager and a new location, the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce Laurel Highlands Chapter officially opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication.

The chamber's new home is adjacent to the Shop Demo Depot in Mt. Pleasant. Manager Deborah Salopek said that even before the official opening, the site proved to be a winner. She was welcoming visitors while they were getting settled.

“This is proving to be a great site for us already,” Salopek said. “People who were shopping here just walked in to see the offices and to see what we were about.”

In 2012, the original Laurel Highlands Chamber of Commerce, which covered businesses in Mt. Pleasant and the surrounding areas, merged with the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce, coming under the larger group's umbrella of networking and opportunities.

Since that merger, the groups have been working to improve the outreach of all businesses and members of the chamber.

“We are really excited about this. We really couldn't be more excited,” said Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce President Chad Amond of the move and new offices. “This is going to be a great location for us, and it will only enhance the ties that we have here in the community and in Mt. Pleasant.”

The ribbon-cutting was performed last week by Westmoreland County Commissioner Tyler Courtney, who heads the Westmoreland Chamber board. He addressed a crowd that included local businessmen, borough officials and area representatives.

“This is a very exciting day for the chamber, and this will only improve the relations here in Mt. Pleasant and in the community,” Courtney said. “It is our responsibility to help them grow. Chambers have challenges, but we felt that we could come here with something to bring to the table to help Mt. Pleasant.”

The former offices of the Laurel Highlands Chamber were on Church Street, but the site proved less than ideal, with virtually no parking available and low visibility.

Mt. Pleasant borough officials said the new offices will help increase the opportunities for the town and the township, and the location near the busy Shop Demo Depot will be an asset to both.

“It's great to see both the chamber and Shop Demo Depot working together, and through that working relationship, they will help each other,” Mt. Pleasant Borough Manager Jeff Landy said.

Salopek said she looks forward to serving the people of the area and that her vast experience will be put to good use.

“My duties as the manager for Laurel Highlands Chapter of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce vary from day to day,” Salopek said. “It's something fun and different every day. I am responsible for membership development, community relations and coordinating events.”

She explained that membership development is twofold.

“It entails me being the heels on the ground here in the Mt. Pleasant area, meeting current chamber members and working with them to help grow their businesses. The second part of this is encouraging non-members to take advantage of all the great benefits the chamber offers, in addition to assisting them to grow their business by working smarter, not harder.

“As for community relations, it is my goal to build and develop strong, trusting relationships with business owners in Mt. Pleasant and the surrounding area even if they are not currently chamber members,” she said.

The offices are open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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