Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Women's Business Council launches Facebook page

In addition to having a Facebook profile for The Chamber, some of our Mission and Regional council's have expressed an interest in getting more involved with using social networking to promote their various goals and activities. To that end, yesterday was the launch of the new Women's Business Council facebook page. The page, which will be completely operated by WBC members, will have event information, pictures, video and more. This will hopefully be the first of many pages from The Chamber!

Also, hate to do it again, but your resident blogger will be out from Wednesday - Friday at a conference - but we'll come back with plenty of new material, we promise! Have a great week everyone!

Daily Briefing, 7/28/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Unemployment in the Lehigh Valley has hit 9%, the highest rate in twenty-five years, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. In Pennsylvania, the unemployment rate remains at 8.3%. Nationwide, the number is 9.5%. In the 24th Senate District, the likely nominees to run for Senator Rob Wonderling's seat appear to be set. For the Democrats, the nominee will likely be former Northampton County Executive Glenn Reibman. For the Republicans, it appears that State Representative Rob Mensch is the will run.

In budget news, Governor Rendell has said he is now possibly interested in enacting a stopgap budget that would allow for state workers to be paid.

In national news, the Senate Judiciary Committee is likely to vote on Judge Sonia Sotomoyer's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court today. Confirmation is easily expected, with every Democrat and at least one Republican having declared their support for Sotomoyer. And, Vice President Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder are in Philadelphia today, set to announce funding for the COPS program that will supply money for police officers.

Business Matters aired yesterday, and the topic was the Tea Party protests. The show will be available online later today - you can watch it at the Business Matters website and join in the debate at the Business Matters blog.

We have one Chamber event today: the Women's Business Council is having a Just Your Style event.

And that's it for now! Have a great day!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daily Briefing, 7/28/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Some sad news out of Allentown, as former legislator, teacher and coach Jack Pressmann died over the weekend while hiking out west. He was 56. In other news, the Express Times runs a story on a bill currently in the legislator that would increase the sales tax by 1% in order to reduce property taxes and provide money for regional initiatives. In Allentown, Mayor Pawlowski has announced his plan to close the city's $9.5 million deficit. The plan calls for a variety of measures, including selling city property, sewer capacity, delaying raises and offering early retirement incentives.

In a huge political story, Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan has officially announced that he will run for Congress and challenge Congressman Charlie Dent.

In national news, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin resigned yesterday, officially turning over the state to Lt. Governor Sean Parnell.

That's all for this morning - have a great day and we'll see you later.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Daily Briefing, 7/24/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is what we have for you today.

In what could be a very interesting political story, former Northampton County Executive Glenn Reibman is considering a run for State Senator Rob Wonderling's seat, which will be vacant as of July 31. Wonderling is resigning to serve as President of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, Northampton County Council voted to appoint nine members to its casino authority. It's members will decide how gambling dollars are distributed. In Bethlehem, ArtsQuest announced yesterday that it plans to tear down part of the former Bethlehem Steel factory to make way for their SteelStax project. In Allentown, WFMZ runs a story on the incredible success of the 7th Street Main Street Program and its Manager, Peter Lewnes. And in New Jersey, more than 40 individuals, including Mayors, Assemblymen and Rabbis were arrested in New Jersey yesterday, charged in a massive public corruption case.

In national news, an interesting poll has come out that notes America's concerns with what they perceive to be excessive government spending. The poll notes that 59% of American's believe the federal government is spending too much money and 52% believe the government is expanding too much. And, while we're on the subject of government and money, a minimum wage hike takes effect today, with wages rising to $7.25 an hour.

That's all for today. Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Daily Briefing, 7/23/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The Morning Call is reporting that, according to sources, downtown Allentown is the favored site to gain a hockey arena for the minor league Phantoms. In other economic development news, Easton's waterfront plan has been approved by City Council. However, Air Products announced yesterday that although their profits are up, they will have to cut another 1,150 jobs. It is currently unknown what affect that will have on the Lehigh Valley.

In national news, Senate leaders have acknowledged for the first time that they will likely fall short of voting on a health care reform bill by the August deadline set by President Obama. And speaking of health care, President Obama held a prime time press conference yesterday, where discussion over the health care bill was the primary topic.

We have two Chamber events today - a Speed Networking mixer at The Corner Bakery and a mixer at the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriot.

And that's it! Have a great day and we'll see you later.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Daily Briefing, 7/22/2009

Good morning everyone! Your resident blogger is back from vacation and ready to blog once again. Anyway, here is today's Daily Briefing.

In what is potentially huge local news, the Morning Call prints today that Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan will run against Congressman Charlie Dent for the 15th Congressional District. Speaking of Bethlehem, the city announced today that it now has available a $90,000 loan pool directed towards Facade renovations as part of its Elm Street program. Also in Bethlehem, City Council rejected a resolution that would have urged the school district to not demolish Broughal Middle School. At the moment, the demolition is slated to continue. In Allentown, state workers marched against the budget stalemate, which thus far has left them unpaid for 22 days of work. Speaking of work, Saucon Valley will hold a public forum to discuss their offer for a teachers' contract. A contract dispute earlier in the year resulted in a teacher strike. And here's some good news - local developers say that vacancy ratings are decreasing, a possible sign that the economy is starting to pick up.

In state wide news, a Pennsylvania gubernatorial poll for 2010 noted that the race is still wide open - on the Republican side, its Attorney General Tom Corbett at 38%, Congressman Jim Gerlach at 15% and U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan at 9%. On the Democratic side, Allegheny County Executive at and Auditor General Jack Wagner at 16%, with billionare Tom Knox at 13%. Meanwhile, Governor Rendell's approval rating is at its lowest ever, 39%.

In national news, President Obama tonight holds a prime time press conference to discuss a variety of initiatives, including his health care push. In other news, CNNMoney.com notes that failing commercial loans are having many negative effects on big banks.

We have one Chamber event today - the Greater Northern Chamber of Commerce's summer picnic.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Daily Briefing, 7/14/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Congrats to Emmaus, which was once again named as one of America's best places to live by Money Magazine, ranking 88 out of 100. There is also some good news for Easton, as the city was able to end 2008 with a small surplus. In Bethlehem, preparations have begun for the demolition of Broughal Middle School.

In state-wide news, the Pennsylvania budget saga continues. The House Appropriations Committee voted to approve Governor Rendell's version of the budget yesterday by a party-line vote, 19-14. The budget removed $1.2 billion from higher education and would create a special fund that item in an apparent attempt to balance to budget, although the Democrats didn't fund the $1.2 billion, leading to calls by some that this is an attempt to increase taxes. Meanwhile, in the apparently upcoming Senate primary between Congressman Joe Sestak and Senator Arlen Specter, Sestak reported an impressive fundraising haul, finishing the quarter with $4.2 million on hand. Senator Specter began the fundraising quarter with $6.7 million.

In national news, confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination began yesterday, with statements coming from Judge Sotomayor and the Senators on the judiciary committee. Questioning is expected to begin today.

We have one Chamber event today - a "Tell us about you" networking luncheon, held by the Two Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce.

Business Matters aired yesterday. The the topic was whether or not religion and government are too closely tied. The show will be available online later today - for more information, check out the Business Matters blog.

That's all for today and for the next week, I'm afraid, as your resident blogger will be heading off on vacation! We will be back one week from today. Have a great week!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Daily Briefing, 7/13/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The U.S. Women's Open at Saucon Valley concluded yesterday, with golfer Eun Hee Ji winning the tournament. In other news, opening of the Bethlehem Sands wasn't good news for everyone, as the Mount Airy Casino in Monroe County reported a 15% drop in revenue from the same time last year. In other Bethlehem news, three new restaurants have opened or will open on the city's South Side - a Mexican restaurant, a Caribbean place and Thai takeout. And in Easton, the annual Heritage Day was held once again.

In national news, the confirmation hearings for the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor are set to begin today. Meanwhile, President Obama will sit down with the heads of a dozen unions to discuss the Employee Free Choice Act and controlling health care costs. And here's some good news - gas prices have fallen 10.4% over the past two weeks.

Business Matters airs today - the topic is whether or not government and religion and too closely intertwined. You can watch the show tonight at 8:00pm or catch it online tomorrow morning at the Business Matters website. Meanwhile, make sure to check out the Business Matters blog and join in the debate.

That's it for today! Have a good one and we will see you later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What are other Chambers doing to help urban revitalization?

So I got curious the other day about what other Chamber's were doing to help the cities of their areas. Our intern, Ashley, was kind enough to do some research on the subject. The results were not surprising - many other Chamber's are actively involved in urban revitalization - though they seem to usually concentrate on it from a more business aspect. Here's a list that shows some of the results:

Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce: Waco, TX

-Waco is home to the first all green energy efficient Chamber building in the country.
Benchmarks for 2010:
-Increase the amount of housing, retail, restaurant and office development by 50% in downtown Waco.
-Break ground on at least two large-scale developments downtown.
-Increase home ownership in the city by 25%

Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce:
Most recent goals:
-Work to alleviate public policy barriers to neighborhood development
-Promote tax incentive programs that focus on urban development for members

Fairfield, Iowa Chamber of Commerce:
-Has joined with three local banks to offer a fund to exclusively benefit small and emerging businesses in downtown Fairfield. They will offer low-interest business loans of 5%

Roseville, California Chamber of Commerce:

Currently working on three projects including:
-Streetscape project in the historic district - Includes the development of new landscaping, new on-street parking, historic light fixtures, improved curbs, sidewalks and gutters
-Pedestrian friendly underpass- Improving an existing walkway which will connect two parts of town and improve the general appearance of the structure.

North End Chamber of Commerce - Boston, MA
Streetscape focus areas:
-Provide stores with more visibility for pedestrians by using store front transparency - increasing the size and number of display windows visible throught the day and night
-Expand street sidewalks by providing continuous flush curbs and increasing building heights
Public space improvements:
-Install city banners and hanging baskets on street poles
Public/Private sector:
-Increase police presence

Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce - McLean, IL
Current revitalization projects include:
Streetscape - brick pavers, new lighting and updated landscaping
Underground Utilities- moving utility lines underground
Public Sector- pedestrian safety includes the purchasing of new benches bus shelters

Daily Briefing, 7/10/2009

Good morning everyone, and a happy Friday to you! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Northampton, former County Executive Jerry Seyfried was appointed yesterday to fill the vacancy left by Diane Neiper's resignation. In Lehigh County, County Executive Don Cunningham revealed the County's capital plan yesterday. The plan calls for bridge repairs and open space preservation, but no new buildings. And, in Allentown, an independent audit showed that the City finished last year with a deficit of $6 million, deeper than previously realized.

There was some big news about the state budget yesterday, as Democrats now appear to be ready to pass the Republican no-tax increase budget but cut another $1.7 billion to balance it further - something that would devastate programs throughout the state.

In national news, embattled Senator Roland Burris (D-IL), who was appointed under a cloud of controversy to the Barack Obama's former Senate seat, announced yesterday that he will not seek election to the seat. Meanwhile, the current health care bill is not acceptable to 40 members of the conservative blue dog coalition, who argue that the bill is lacking certain elements. But there was good news for auto giant GM, who appears to be close to emerging from bankruptcy.

That's all we have for now. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Member Benefits - Member to Member discounts

This was just sent out as an E-mail, but I thought it was absolutely worth repeating here. Hundreds of Chamber members offer discounts to other Chamber members - this is absolutely a valuable service that can be of great help to you and your business. Joining the Chamber can pay for itself many times over!


1WEBPLUS dba Glenn Wasserman Consulting
$100 off setup fee for annual “Email Marketing” subscription; FREE setup for new “Customer Satisfaction Survey” clients; 1 month FREE for new Restaurant clients, online ordering system

AAMCO Transmissions, Inc.
Free diagnostic evaluation ($89 value); Oil, lube filter @ $17.95; Safeguard transmission fluid & filter change @ $59.95 for Chamber Members.

Advanced Hard Surface Cleaning, LLC
15% discount to Chamber members on first-time cleaning services.

10% discount to Chamber members.

Althouse Business Communications
10% off to Chamber Members.

Always Pretty Salon and Spa
Free permanent makeup consultation and a free manicure to Chamber members.

America On Wheels
Discounted admission price of $5 into the museum and 15% discount on all meeting/and facility rentals to all Chamber members.

Americaven, LLC
5-10% Discount for Chamber Members on select products and services.

And Sew Forth
10% off window treatment/bedding/accessories order.

And the Sign Says
10% off to Chamber Members.

Anytime Sun Tanning Salon
10% off regular price to Chamber members.

AT&T Retail Store - Lehigh Street
Chamber members save up to an additional $50 on a handset or smart phone OR receive a 25% discount on an accessory. Offer valid at participating AT&T company-owned retail stores. Some restrictions apply. See coupon in Buy Lehigh Valley Member Savings

AT&T Retail Store - Lehigh Valley Mall
Chamber members save up to an additional $50 on a handset or smart phone OR receive a 25% discount on an accessory. Offer valid at participating AT&T company-owned retail stores. Some restrictions apply. See coupon in Buy Lehigh Valley Member Savings

AT&T Retail Store - MacArthur Road
Chamber members save up to an additional $50 on a handset or smart phone OR receive a 25% discount on an accessory. Offer valid at participating AT&T company-owned retail stores. Some restrictions apply. See coupon in Buy Lehigh Valley Member Savings

AT&T Retail Store - Palmer Park Mall
Chamber members save up to an additional $50 on a handset or smart phone OR receive a 25% discount on an accessory. Offer valid at participating AT&T company-owned retail stores. Some restrictions apply. See coupon in Buy Lehigh Valley Member Savings

AT&T Retail Store - Tilghman Street
Chamber members save up to an additional $50 on a handset or smart phone OR receive a 25% discount on an accessory. Offer valid at participating AT&T company-owned retail stores. Some restrictions apply. See coupon in Buy Lehigh Valley Member Savings

ATA Detailing
Ask about discounts for Chamber members!

10% off to Chamber members.

Be Well Chiropractics Health & Wellness
Free Massage w/first chiropractic visit for Chamber members.

Becky Rinaldi & Company Hair Design LLC
15% off to Chamber members.

Bee Natural Health Store & Studio
Ask about discounts for Chamber members!

Bethlehem Area Sudden Values
10% off full service program.

Bethlehem Business Forms, LLC
Ask about Chamber Member discounts.

All Chamber Members will receive an additional discount of 10% off whatever the current published promotion/discount is at that time.

Bindics Custom Screen Printing
Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber Members, Present the on-line flyer and get 10% off your next screen printing order of $200 or more! See the flyer on Member Savings Central!

Bittone Tire & Service Center
10% off to Chamber members.

bluestem studio
10% off to Chamber members - just enter LVCC under discount number at checkout.

Bolo Engineering, LLC
10% Discount to all members of The Chamber (GLVCC)

Boyles Plumbing and Water Conditioning LLC
$75 off well pump replacement for Chamber members

Bracy Designs, Inc.
10% off to Chamber members

Brockerhoff Environmental Services LLC
10% off to Chamber Members.

BSI Exhibits
10% off to Chamber Members.

Bullet Exterminating Company
10% off cost of service OR free verbal termite inspection.

Capital BlueCross
Your Chamber membership allows you to capitalize on the buying power of almost 5,000 members. GLVCC is the only in the state with several direct plans through Capital Blue Cross. Premier PPO with choice of three Rx plans, PPO 500 with choice of three Rx plans, PPO 2000/100 with choice of three Rx plans, PPO 1200-Q HAS with Integrated Prescription Drug Coverage. Many participants realize health insurance savings that more than pay for their annual Chamber membership.

Carbaugh & Company
FREE written review and analysis of existing 401(k) Plan and Plan Provider including compliance with DOL and ERISA regulations.

Christine's Secret Garden
10% off any purchase in store and online.

COBRA Care Advisors, Inc.
10% off to Chamber members.

Cold Nose Lodge
Free dog evaluation for Chamber members.

Comfort & Joy
10% discount to Chamber Members.

Communication Systems, Inc. (CSI)
15% discount off to Chamber members of parts and labor for any purchases. Please refer to code GLVCC09 to redeem discount.

Confetti Cafe
10% off to Chamber members.

Connective Intervention Services
Ask about our referral program!

Creative Memories - Christy VanNatta
50% off hourly rate for Chamber members.

Creative Tile Imports
10% off of in-stock tile to Chamber Members.

Criterium - Di Sessa Engineers
10% off to Chamber members and their referrals.

Cycle Funattic
10% off Accessories w/purchase of a Bicycle

Ask them about a Chamber offer

Debra Hockenberry - Organizational Whisperer
Free financial needs analysis for employers to offer their employees as a benefit, or for any individual who would like to have a complimentary analysis of their current financial picture.

Dewey Fire Company, No. 1
$25 off banquet facility rental

DJ Tim
$50.00 off minimum 4 hour event

10% Discount to Chamber members!

Dun-Rite Bathtub Refinishing
10% off to Chamber members.

East Penn Foot and Ankle Associates
10% Discount on Foot and Ankle Products.

East Penn House Calls PC
$10 discount first visit

Eastern Utility Contracting, Inc.
10% off to Chamber Members.

Elegant Arrivals Limousine Service
$50 off any 8-10 hour interstate service

Emerich Chiropractic Associates LLC
10% off supplements, vitamins, ice packs, cold laser therapy to Chamber members

Fania Roofing
Ask about special courtesy services offered to Chamber members.

Fast-Teks Onsite Computer Services
$25 off all visits.

Ferguson Brothers Paint & Hardware
10% off to fellow Chamber Members

Footlights & Company, Inc.
10% off any item of clothing to Chamber members.

Forge3, Ltd.
Complimentary business evaluation to determine if you are getting the most out of your Web site and other technologies.

Foto Flair
Ask about Chamber discounts.

Frankie Carll Productions, Inc.
5% off to Chamber Members

FSR Collections
FSR Collections is offering a Free Letter writing service for past due account! Please visit our web site www.fsrcollections.com or call us to see if you qualify! 610.395.0100

Gilroy Family Chiropractic Center
Complimentary Initial Consultation to Chamber Members.

Girlfriends Boutique
VIP membership entitles Chamber members to exclusive shopping privileges!

Glass by Erica
Ask about discounts for Chamber members!

Hallman's Service Station
10% off accessories (car & truck) for Chamber Members.

Hamilton Postal Center
Two month's free with one year rental of mailbox (any size) for Chamber Members.

Healing Hands
Ask about discounts for Chamber members.

Hilton Garden Inn - Allentown Airport
$50 off banquet room rental for social or corporate functions. Call Andrea Weismiller at 610-443-1400.

Chamber members can enroll in a referral program that earns points. Points can be used to earn free products and services.

Hugo Studios
10% session retainer for corporate headshots in our studios.

Imagevolution Marketing Solutions
10% Discount on all services to Chamber members. 50% discount on design of ad to be placed in "Connections" publication. Any resize, edit, new copy and revisions are subject to 10% discount only.

Inspired by You Lifestyle Studio
10% off services to Chamber Members.

Inspired Living...
10% off to Chamber Members and new client referral fee.

Intents Manufacturing LLC
Ask about Chamber Member discounts.

Internet Search Engine Advertising LLC
Ask about Chamber Member discounts!

Iobst Travel American Express
Chamber members receive $50 off of an American Express Vacation package or $50 shipboard credit on a cruise booking.

IRIS Ltd, Inc.
10% off to Chamber Members.

10% off to Chamber members for a one-year service contract.

JD Vough & Company
10% off to Chamber Members.

JFMagic, LLC
10% discount on all Promotional products.

Joe's Steak Shop
10% off to Chamber Members.

JS Marketing International
FREE 30-minute phone consultation to all Chamber members.

Kamran Afshar Associates, Inc.
Receive Greater Lehigh Valley Economic Report to better prepare your business for future impacts. Two annual reports at 50% off regular subscription. Save $150!

Kelly Temporary Services - Allentown
10% off your next direct hire placement fee OR 4 hours free with your next temporary staffing order. Contact us for exclusions and redemption process.

Kelly Temporary Services - Bethlehem
10% off your next direct hire placement fee OR 4 hours free with your next temporary staffing order. Contact us for exclusions and redemption process.

LA Fitness
Call Brad for details on how to receive your Chamber discount. 610-657-9374

La Petite Provence
10% off to Chamber members.

LaRose Boutique
10% off any purchase for Chamber members.

Law Office of Brian Akelaitis PE Esquire
Free initial consultations...at our office or yours!

Lawn Envy Landscaping

Lee Myles Transmissions and Auto Care
10% off labor, $34.95 PA Safety and Emission Combo

Legacy Christian Church
Service & Love for FREE!

Lehigh Valley 24-7 Fitness Clubs - Allentown
One week free, no obligation, plus an extra 10% off (Allentown, Bethlehem, Westend, Trexlertown) the corporate enrollment fee.

Lehigh Valley 24-7 Fitness Clubs-Bethlehem
One week free, no obligation, plus an extra 10% off (Allentown, Bethlehem, Westend, Trexlertown) the corporate enrollment fee.

Lehigh Valley 24-7 Fitness Clubs-Trexlertown
One week free, no obligation, plus an extra 10% off (Allentown, Bethlehem, Westend, Trexlertown) the corporate enrollment fee.

Lehigh Valley 24-7 Fitness Clubs-Westend
One week free, no obligation, plus an extra 10% off (Allentown, Bethlehem, Westend, Trexlertown) the corporate enrollment fee.

Lehigh Valley BrandWorks, LLC
All 2009 promotional products new orders and reorders will receive 10% extra goods for free.

Lehigh Valley Easy Pages
$250 of FREE advertising in the 2010 Lehigh Valley Easy Pages telephone directory / community guide (offer is valid for new clients of Easy Pages only).

Lehigh Valley Yoga
Free classes to chamber members on Tuesday evenings and Saturdays

LIFT Networks
Customized business evaluation to tailor your marketing needs. Free listing on our new www.shopanddinnerawards.com web site.

Lux - The Eco-Friendly Salon
15% off services for members

LV PC 911
Free Internet Safety for Parents courses. 25% off any support service for chamber members(not including parts).

Maid to Order Residential & Commerical Cleaning LLC
20% off your initial residential or commercial cleaning service.

MarVal Optical
15% off

Mary Kay Cosmetics - Gynetta Thompson
10% discount for Chamber members.

Mary Kay Cosmetics - Kathi Janton
10% Discount for Chamber members

Meisner Services
10% off discount for Chamber Members on any electrical, heating and air conditioning service or repair. (Excludes maintenance or trip charge.)

Meixner's Awards & More
10% Discount to Chamber Members.

Mixed Bag on Main
10% off to Chamber Members.

Chamber Member Specials...20% off of custom framing, 15% off limited edition prints, 10% off original art work. See the flyer on Member Savings Central!

Morgan Stanley
Complementary financial review with a comprehensive financial plan. 2 free IRAs for accounts totaling over $250k.

MR Productions
20% off all media production projects (video, photography); 10% off all customized training services.

National Lambast, Inc.
15% off first 10 hours of work & 2% discount on payments received within 10 days

Same day response, on-site services, member discounts

Northeast Drug Test Consultants, LLC
Special Chamber Member Discounts

Norwegian Medical Spa
10% off minimum $60 purchase of services for Chamber members.

Office of Kara Niski DMD, LLC
$25 off first visits, payment plans, discounts for non-insured.

Ovation Lawn & Landscape
15% off to all Chamber members.

P Kornfeind Pool & Spa Service LLC
$20 off first time service call to Chamber members.

Parkway Appliance
Special Service Rates to Members

PartyMasterz Productions
Chamber members receive a 20% discount on entertainment services

Paychex - Ray Attisano
Ask about Chamber member preferred pricing.

PB Enterprises
10% off to Chamber Members.

Penn National Insurance
Discounted Chamber program that may pay dividends on group's loss ratio. See exclusive benefits on Chamber's web site.

Peter L. Orlando Automotive Consultants dba Automotive Systems Technologies
10% discount to Chamber members.

Pharma-Med, Inc.
10% discount for Chamber members.

Phillipsburg Frame & Hardware
10% off to Chamber members.

Phillipsburg Marble Company, Inc.
10% off to Chamber Members.

Pocono Valley Resort
Ask about Chamber Member discounts for groups of 500 or more.

Prism Engineering, Inc.
$200 in FREE training coupon offered to Chamber members for 2009 (quantity 1/company, expires 12/30/09)

Professional Cleaning & Maintenance
10% off Commercial Cleaning for GLVCC Members

Rascal's Food and Fun
10% off for Chamber members' restaurant food purchases.

Riverview Banquet & Catering
10% off for Chamber Members on events over $500.00

Robwin Press Inc.
10% off to Chamber Members.

SABRE Health & Safety LLC
FREE workplace safety review of your facility (up to two hours). For new customers who are Chamber members in Lehigh and Northampton Counties.

Salon Evolution
Salon Evolution offers Chamber members a 10% discount on regular priced services.

Sayre Design
Sayre Design, specialists in corporate identity and branding, offers small businesses a complimentary audit of the consistency of their image or brand.

Select Sales
First time clients receive a free $50.00 set up charge

Shipley Energy
Discount on Shipley's already competitive natural gas prices exclusively for Chamber member businesses. Members save on natural gas costs, as well as secure a locked-in rate for ease of budgeting and planning.

Simplex Grinnell LP
Ask about discounts for Chamber members on service contracts and installations.

Sinex Accounting & Business Services, LLC
Free Business Consultation and mini-business plan

Sitka Enterprises, Inc.
FREE initial assessment of office lighting systems w/costs applied against purchase of lighting system upgrade or retrofit. First purchase discount for Chamber members of 10% off unique line of lighting products.

Small Biz Assist
$75.00 OFF! We review your QuickBooks installation setup. See the flyer on Member Savings Central!

SoLowB Productions
10% off for Chamber members

Square 2 Marketing Inc.
Free marketing workshop

State Theatre Center for the Arts
GLVCC Members, buy 10 gift cards and get one free! See the flyer on Member Savings Central!

Members of Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce receive a 7-Day Free Guest Pass! See the flyer on Member Savings Central!

Stowaway Self Storage
10% Discount on monthly rental for Chamber Members

Summit Door LLC
5% off all doors and openers; 10% off all repairs to Chamber members.

Supplies Hotline Corporation
Members have the ability to purchase recycled laser toner supplies at special member pricing. The recycled laser toner purchasing benefit is also available to company members' employees. Participating members receive free collection boxes to return the empty remanufactured toner cartridges, complete with pre-paid UPS return labels.

Sutton & Associates, LLC
Sutton & Associates is happy to offer Chamber members a 10% discount off our premium newsletter service "The Centsible Investor". The newsletter analyzes market and economic conditions and also maintains a model portfolio of income-producing securities. More information may be found by visiting www.suttonfinance.net/newsletter.php

Members save up to 75 percent of what conventional collection agencies charge.

The Gem Shop
10% off regular priced merchandise to Chamber members.

The Grothouse Lumber Company
Mention you are a Chamber member and receive a 10% discount.

The Growth Coach - Beck
10% off to Chamber Members.

Morning Call offer for GLVCC members only. Wow! 5-day subscription offer (Monday-Friday) to new subscribers only to business address of GLVCC member. The subscription offer is a 50% discount on the full rate. PLUS - If members subscribe they will receive up to 50% on advertising on www.themorningcall.com (based on the package to which you commit.)

THE PRESS - The Times News
4 Weeks Free! See the flyer on Buy Lehigh Valley Member Savings!

The Resort At Split Rock - H2Oooohh! Indoor Waterpark
A $5.00 full day adult pass discount and a $2.00 per child under 42" discount from H2Oooohh! Indoor Waterpark.

The Safegard Group, Inc.
Free policy (coverage) audits to any Chamber member.

The Tennis Zone
10% off to Chamber members.

Thomas J. Catanzaro, CPA
10% off monthly or quarterly fee for accounting and payroll services to Chamber members. $25 off fee for Federal Tax Return Preparation to Chamber members.

TN Printing aka Times News Printing
10% Off to Chamber Members

Tom's Tobacco Shop
10% off on anything except lottery and cigarettes

Tracy's Cottage
GLVCC Members receive 15% off all website orders (Promotional Code LVC) See the flyer on Member Savings Central!

Transition Group, Inc.
30 minutes sales consulting for no charge and a 16% discount to Chamber Members.

Transworld Systems, Inc.
With Green Flag Profit Recovery, GLVCC Members receive 5 free assignments with every 25! See the flyer on Member Savings Central!

20% discount for Chamber Members on Platinum One Travel Memberships. Members get paid to travel using NetTrav Online Booking Portal. www.TravelSavor.net or call for details.

Trefoil TTA
10% off to Chamber Members.

Trifecta Technologies
Members receive a 10% discount on all our services such as hosting, design and web development.

Uncle Sam Tax & Accounting Corp.
25% discount for Chamber members on payroll and tax preparation services. Uncle Sam Tax & Accounting Corp will provide complete payroll, tax preparation and bookkeeping/QuickBooks support services to the chamber members for a fixed monthly fee which is discounted 25%.

UNITS Mobile Storage of Eastern PA
Chamber members receive $10 off our monthly rental rate for our UNIT storage container. These UNITS are great for Renovations, Remodeling, Inventory Management, General Storage or Moving.

Valley Social Magazine
Ask about Chamber Discounts.

Wellspring Restorations
10% off plus to Chamber members and additional referral discounts.

Woodbridge Golf Club
Print the letter in Buy Lehigh Valley Member Savings for complimentary green fee and cart rental for you and a guest, to come discover Woodbridge for yourself.

Work to Live LLC dba The ROC Social Club
Ask about Chamber member discounts for sponsored teams.

Daily Briefing, 7/9/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Allentown, it appears the city is heading for layoffs of 38 employees unless the city and SEIU can come to an agreement that would involve delaying already agreed upon pay raises. In Bethlehem, City Council agreed to serve as the conduit for a $1.25 million grant to redevelop Martin Towers. In Lehigh County, one Commissioner wants the County to look at limiting pay raises for employees. And good news for Downtown Allentown - it looks like the city will have a very busy summer! The city is also getting funding to demolish the old Calo Building near the Lehigh River in order to make room for the continued redevelopment of the area. In, speaking of development near rivers, Easton yesterday discussed a plan to upgrade its riverfront as well.

In national news, CNNMoney.com runs a story on the most profitable companies in the world. #1: Exxon-Mobile, who earned a profit of $45,220,000,000 last year.

We have one Chamber event today: a seminar on Information Technology at King Spry in Bethlehem.

And, don't forget our offer from yesterday - we are happy to put a link to your website (provided you are a Chamber member) from this blog - just leave a comment here or E-mail me at MikeS@lehighvalleychamber.org.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Want your website to be linked from the blog?

Hi everyone,

This is something that was suggested to us by one of our members at yesterday's Social Networking Strategies and Tactics Seminar. One of the attendees asked if we linked from this blog to member's websites. We hadn't thought of that yet, but it seems like a great idea!

To that end, we wanted to offer a service to you. You may notice that, on the right-hand sidebar, that there is now a section called "Chamber Member Websites." It's currently blank. We want to list your website in that section. All you have to do is leave a comment with the name of your website (and its address) or E-mail that information to me at MikeS@lehighvalleychamber.org. All that we ask in return is that you link to this blog and/or the Chamber website, if possible.

This is good for a few reasons. First is the most obvious - this will hopefully get your website (and thus your business) enhanced exposure and increase your customer base. But, here's another key reason: As we noted in an earlier post, one of the best ways to increase your search engine optimization (ability of search engines like Google to find you) is to have your website linked from other sites.

Nonprofits are struggling

A report on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia shows what most of us have long known - nonprofits are struggling in the recession. According to a survey by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, nonprofits are facing an increase in service demand while simultaneously facing a decrease in government aid and individual donations. This report obviously comes as no surprise, but what is interesting is the sheer volume of non-profits affected - for example, in Pennsylvania, almost all non-profits expect to see an increase need for their services in 2009, with half expecting a reduction in government aid and 57% expecting a decrease in grants.

To quote from the first line of the report, "Many nonprofits, facing growing demand for services amid shrinking revenues, have serious financial problems, according to a national survey of 986 nonprofits conducted in February 2009 by the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF)."

Daily Briefing, 7/8/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Lower Macungie, the township is apparently reconsidering their policing options. The township, which relies on state police for police protection, would be charged $4.7 million under a proposal currently under examination at the state level. In a sign of the economic times, another Lehigh Valley company is freezes wages for the year in an attempt to save money - this time, it's St. Luke's Hospital. Employees will instead be given a $1,000 bonus, with part-time employees receiving a pro-rated bonus. There was good news for the Sands over the holiday weekend, as the holiday gave the Sands its second best week ever, 2nd only to its opening weekend. And, in other Valley-wide news, the Lehigh Valley rail study is underway. The study will determine if it is feasible to link the Valley to the New Jersey rail network.

In state budget news, the Governor yesterday announced another $72 million in budget cuts, but there is still no word on an agreement coming anytime soon.

In national news, Al Franken was sworn in as the 60th Democratic Senator yesterday. Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, finally took his seat after a protracted legal battle against incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. And here's an interesting story - thanks to the weakened economy, there is less traffic and Americans are using less gas. The reason? There are less people going to work.

And that's it! Have a great day and we'll catch you later.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Doing your own Market Analysis

In an earlier entry, we discussed the Market Analysis that were conducted for Alburtis, Coopersburg, Hellertown and Macungie. We've had a couple of questions about how people can conduct their own Market Analysis so I figured that this might be the best venue to try an answer those questions.

The process is actually incredibly simple. First, for a period of 2-3 weeks, ask your customers for their zip-codes. You'll notice that many big box stores ask for this information when you shop. Grocery store bonus cards are another advanced way that these stores collect this data. When you are tracking the zip codes, make sure to ask them of every customer and make sure that the survey is done during a normal business time (not during a particularly slow period or the holiday season).

From there, you can tally the information and use it to determine where your customers are coming from. This very basic information can tell you where your customers live, which obviously can give you some useful information about places where it may be a good idea to promote your establishment.

If you want to take this data one step further and dig a little deeper into your customers, check out the demographic information available at the Census website or Epodunk. Both of these websites can give you a great deal of information about your customers within the selected zip codes. From there, you can use that information to determine possible areas of expansion for your business and see what sort of new business you can generate within the effected zip codes.

For a relatively little amount of effort, you can yield some very important results.

Daily Briefing, 7/7/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

After a story by the Morning Call, the state will investigate the Bethlehem Area School District's use of "swap" bonding. The bonds ultimately cost the district millions. In Easton, the annual Heritage Day will be held on once again, albeit on a small scale than last year due to fundraising difficulties. Speaking of money troubles, WFMZ runs a story on how the recession is forcing people to put more in the bank, with savings rates the highest they have been since 1993. WFMZ also runs a story on the trouble facing Main Street programs throughout the state - these programs, like many others, are on the chopping block with Pennsylvania's budget crisis.

In national news, the President Obama met yesterday with Russian Prime Minister (and former President) Vladimir Putin. President Obama had spent the previous day with Russian President Medvedev and the two came to an agreement to cut their nuclear stockpiles by one-third. And, there's a minimum wage increase on the horizon - the minimum wage will go from $6.55 to $7.25 on July 24. And, though we certainly have our budget issues here, everyone in Pennsylvania should be thankful we aren't in California, where their budget crisis is so bad that the state is now barely hovering above junk bond status.

Business Matters aired last night, and the topic was the ongoing revitalization of downtown Allentown. You can catch the show online later today - you can also check out the Business Matters blog to join in the discussion and debate over the show's topic.

We have one Chamber event today - a training on Social Networking.

That's it! Have a great day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Small Business Facts

Just some interesting facts about small businesses that I wanted to share -

- There are about 20 million small businesses in America.
- Small businesses account for 39 percent of the country's gross national product, create two out of every three new jobs and produce two and one half times as many innovations per employee as do large firms.
- The trend in recent years has been for more small businesses to close than open.
- Of the 23 million firms in 2002, 6.9 percent were owned by Hispanic Americans, 5.2 percent by African Americans, 4.8 percent by Asian Americans, 0.9 percent by American Indians and Alaskan Natives, and 0.14 percent by Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders. In 2002, minorities owned 4.1 million firms that generated $694.1 billion in revenues and employed 4.8 million workers.
- Women owned 6.5 million businesses that generated $950.6 billion in revenues, employed 7.2 million workers, and had $179.6 billion in payroll in 2002.

In addition, another 2.7 million firms are owned equally by both women and men; these firms add another $731.1 billion in revenues and employ another 5.7 million workers.
Sources: 1 2 3 4

Daily Briefing, 7/6/2009

Good morning everyone - hope you had a great 4th of July weekend. Now that we are all back to work, here is your Daily Briefing.

In state-wide news, the Morning Call runs a story on the brief history of the state's new Open Records Office, discussing the various issues that it has faced. The Express Times runs an interview with Congressman Joseph Sestak (D-&) , who appears to be ready to launch a primary challenge against Senator Arlen Specter (D) in 2010. And, in the ongoing budget fight between Governor Rendell and Pennsylvania Republicans, Governor Rendell has called upon Republicans to balance the budget.

In national news, responding to rumors that she resigned because of alleged wrong-doings, the FBI announced yesterday that outgoing Governor Sarah Palin is not under investigation. General Motor's bankruptcy plan has been approved by a federal judge. The plan calls for a reorganization of the company, with U.S. taxpayers owning 60% of the company.

Business Matters airs at 8pm tonight on WFMZ, and the topic is the ongoing revitalization of Allentown.

And that's all we have for today! Have a great day and we'll see you later.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What is a walkable community?

Hi everyone,

I thought this would be of interest to those of you who are involved with urban revitalization efforts. One of the things most desired in an urban community is walkability, or the ability of the occupants of a community to be able to safely and comfortably walk from one end of the community to another. To that end, I found some commonly accepted definitions of a walkable community. These come from Walk Boston, A Pedestrian Perspective on the Central Artery Project in Downtown Boston: A Report by the Pedestrian Issues Task Force (Boston, MA, 1994).

Hope this is useful!

Coherence. A clear, understandable and organized sidewalk, street and land-use system consistent with the scale and function of the surrounding urban context.
The sidewalk and street system should link points of interest and activity, provide
clean lines of sight and travel, and include simple instructive signage.

Continuity. A pattern of design and usage that unifies the pedestrian system.

Equilibrium. A balance among transportation modes that will accommodate and encourage pedestrian participation.

Safety. Pedestrian protection from automobiles and bicycles. Adequate time
to cross intersections without interference. Physical separation from
fast-moving cars. Signalization protection when crossing intersections.

Comfort. Secure and negotiable paving materials for sidewalks and crosswalks.
Unobstructed passage on the sidewalk and at corners. Signals timed to enable
safe and quick crossings.

Sociability. A sense of hospitality and suitability for individual and community interactions. Sidewalks should provide for a variety of uses and activities characteristics of the diverse urban scene.

Accessibility. The opportunity for all individuals to utilize the pedestrian environment as fully as possible.

Efficiency. Simplicity and cost effectiveness in design and function. Minimum delay along a walking route.

Attractiveness. Clean, efficient and well maintained surroundings, with adjacent storefronts and activities that provide sidewalk interest.

Daily Briefing, 7/2/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is what we have for you today.

In Allentown, the SEIU narrowly rejected a proposal by the mayor to defer a previous pay increase of 8.9%. According to the Mayor, this will likely lead to layoffs. In other news, WFMZ runs a story on Lehigh County's foreclosure diversion program, a last second attempt to save homes from foreclosure.

In state-wide news, Pennsylvania ranked as the 22nd most obese state in , moving up two rankings. Government officials are working with local non-profits and other government agencies to try and acquire funding to find the obesity epidemic. In political news, Congressman Patrick Murphy, and Iraqi war veteran and a Bronze Star recipient, is now the lead sponsor of legislation that would repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in regards to allowing homosexuals to serve in the military. And, contradicting what we noted he said earlier, Governor Rendell said yesterday that budget talks could go on into August.

In national news, a new unemployment report is due out today. Economists predict that the June jobless rate will rise to 9.6%.

And that's it! We are off tomorrow and will see you again on Monday. Everyone have a great 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What businesses are needed in Alburtis, Coopersburg, Hellertown & Macungie

As part of the Borough Business Revitalization Program, we did a Zip Code Survey in Alburtis, Coopersburg, Hellertown and Macungie. Basically, we tallied the zip codes for customers in participating stores and fed that information into a national database to determine what the trade area of these four communities are. In other words, who are their customers? From there, we were able to get a great deal of information, including information on likely customers for these communities and what businesses could potentially succeed there.

The information on what businesses could financially succeed was perhaps the most interesting. This information was derived by determining what the demand for each community is in a specific business segment, what the sales were of each community in that segment and how big of an opportunity there was. I thought the results were worth sharing:

1) Luggage and Leather Goods Stores
2) News Dealers and Newsstands
3) Electronic Shopping, Mail-Order Houses
4) Camera & Photogenic Equipment Stores
5) Vending Machine Operators
6) Specialty Food Stores
7) Drinking Places – Alcoholic Beverages
8) Men’s Clothing Stores
9) Sew/Needlework/Piece Goods Stores
10) Cosmetics, Beauty Supplies, Perfume Stores

1) Camera & Photographic Stores
2) Musical Instrument and Supply Store
3) Cosmetics, Beauty Supply & Perfume Stores
4) Electronic Shopping, Mail-Order Houses
5) Prerecorded Tapes, CDs, Record Stores
6) Luggage and Leather Goods Stores
7) Childrens, Infants Clothing Stores
8) Radio, Television, Electronics Stores
9) Automotive Parts/Accessories, Tire Stores
10) Home Furnishing Stores

1) Camera & Photogenic Equipment Stores
2) Luggage and Leather Goods Stores
3) Clothing Accessory Stores
4) Childrens, Infants Clothing Stores
5) Home Furnishing Stores
6) Musical Instrument and Supplies Stores
7) Drinking Places – Alcoholic Beverages
8) Prerecorded Tapes, CDs, Record stores
9) Men’s Clothing stores
10) Radio, Television, Electronics Stores

1) Men’s Clothing Stores
2) Luggage and Leather Goods Stores
3) News Dealers and Newstands
4) Electronic Shopping, Mail-Order Houses
5) Vending Machine Operators
6) Cosmetics, Beauty Supplies, Perfume Stores
7) CD/tape/record stores
8) Other Clothing Stores
8) Family Clothing Stores
10 Home Centers

If you have any questions on the data or would like more information, please leave a comment here or E-mail me at MikeS@lehighvalleychamber.org.

Daily Briefing, 7/1/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is what we have for you today.

The Morning Call runs a story on the new owners of the Americus hotel, the downtown property that has plagued the city for years. New census numbers show that, for the first time in years, growth is slowing in the Lehigh Valley while rising in other American cities. Local planners cited a slowing economy and rising fuel costs and at least two of the reasons. In Northampton County, three have applied for the vacancy on Northampton County Council caused by Diane Nieper's resignation - former County Councilman Ron Heckman, former County Executive Gerry Seyfried and former Bethlehem Township Commissioner Councilman Robert Birk. In local tax news, the Bangor Area School District raised taxes yesterday by .7 mills, or 1.5%.

In state-wide news, its no surprise, but the budget deadline has come and gone and no budget has been passed. WFMZ runs a story on how the impasse could effect state employees. The only potential good news here is that Governor Rendell predicts a budget agreement may be two weeks away.

In national news, after a prolonged court battle and a unanamous ruling against him, Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman (R) conceded yesterday to Senator-Elect Al Franken, who beat Coleman by 312 votes out of 2.9 million cast. Wal-Mart yesterday came out in favor of mandatory health insurance.

And, speaking of Wal-Mart, we have one event today - the grand re-opening of a Wal-Mart in Bethlehem.

That's it for the blog today - have a great day and we'll see you later.