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Elizabeth Township business forum draws a crowd

Michael DiVittorio
| Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 3:46 a.m.
Trail Town Program manager William Price delivers a presentation during the third quarter Elizabeth Township Business Summit Tuesday evening.
Michael DiVittorio | Trib Total Media
Trail Town Program manager William Price delivers a presentation during the third quarter Elizabeth Township Business Summit Tuesday evening.
Representatives from more than 20 entities packed the Elizabeth Township Community Center for a business summit Tuesday evening.
Michael DiVittorio | Trib Total Media
Representatives from more than 20 entities packed the Elizabeth Township Community Center for a business summit Tuesday evening.

Building relationships among Elizabeth Township officials and local business leaders is a work in progress.

That message resonated in the Elizabeth Township Community Center Tuesday evening during the municipality's third-quarter business summit.

Representatives from more than 20 different groups attended the event.

“We want to see our businesses flourish,” Commissioner Claire Bryce said. “I am honored to live here and I am honored to do business with all of you.”

Assistant township manager Bobbi Bickerton coordinated the networking opportunity.

“The more businesses we get involved the better this community's going to be,” Bickerton said.

Attendees were able to briefly discuss their business or other endeavors after they heard from guest speakers.

Trail Town Program manager William Prince and Trail Town Program project coordinator Courtney Mahronich were the first presenters.

Prince talked about how his organization, which is based in Greensburg, analyzes trail towns and offers various opportunities for small business and community growth along the Great Allegheny Passage, the 150-mile recreational trail connecting Pittsburgh with Cumberland, Md.

Prince offered suggestions on how to improve the Boston neighborhood's trailhead.

“It's a popular starting point,” Prince said. “There's a lot of traffic coming through the area. There are a lot of the basic services like lodging and some retail, but it could really be enhanced by additional services. More dining. Maybe more lodging. Use marketing materials and branding to really create a destination. There's room for more bike racks, which we're trying to work on. The signage has already been discussed and we'll take it project by project.”

Northwest Savings Bank officer manager Carol Scagline and employee benefits consultant Jeff Evans noted that the township branch is a full-service financial institution and one of three of the smallest facilities in the company.

Northwest has been in business for 140 years and expanded into the insurance industry about five years ago.

Township commissioners started the summit initiative near the beginning of the year to show community members they are business friendly.

The first summit was Jan. 28 at the municipal building. Approximately 47 people representing 37 township businesses attended.

The second was on April 21 at Wagner's Country Cafe along McKeesport Road. About 50 people representing 37 township businesses attended.

The fourth-quarter business summit is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Victory Hills Golf Course.

Prince said the summits have been a success.

“This is a good thing,” he said. “Communication between everybody, the municipality and businesses and local organizations, that's how we get things done. Having that open conversation and networking, getting to know what businesses there are and what we have in our town and how we can work together. Maybe there's an opportunity to cross-promote each other or even build a (promotional) package.”

Farmers Insurance agency owner Eric Ash announced he and township officials are updating a business directory.

The last directory was done in 2006.

Deadline to sign up is Aug. 1. So far 29 businesses have committed to the project and $3,700 has been raised through advertising.

It will eventually be sent through direct mail to 5,000 homes. It costs $10 to have the business mentioned in the directory.

Anyone who wants to sign up can contact the township office at 412-751-2880.

Bickerton said the township is working on a business newsletter that will be available through email to help save on printing costs. No deadline for the project was announced.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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