Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Growing Your Small Business in 2012- Grow Your Business - STOCK OR SELL

We have another blog entry from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks in her Growing Your Business series.  Enjoy!

loyees were feverishly stocking the shelves with beautiful merchandise.  Because it was a new store, I needed some advice to find what I was looking for.  So I walked up to counter and noticed three sales representatives reading what looked like directions on building a display.  I waited a few seconds and one of the gals looked up and shouted “Jake, come here I want you to meet Mr. Smith”.  I was standing right there.  For a moment I thought maybe I’m invisible.  I said, “excuse me” and  she said, “yes?”  “Can you tell me where you might have the coffee ?”  She replied, in an unfriendly way, “Over there.”  Have you ever felt invisible in a store, a restaurant or a business?  If so, do you want to shop there again?  The critical question is; shall we STOCK or shall we SELL?  Is there a stocking deadline which supersedes a sale or building your reputation with a new or returning customer? 

And then there was the day when I was in a store and there was a  woman feverishly folding sweaters.   I was clearly invisible and when I made the mistake of saying excuse me, she sharply stated that I had to wait till all the sweaters were folded.  REALLY!

TO STOCK....some may say my boss wants it done today, or maybe there is a big sale tomorrow and the store needs to be ready by a certain time. 

TO SELL...what becomes the most important piece of your business?  Is it the bottom line, is it building your reputation, or is it dreaming of the day the community needs you more than you need them.

Here’s a tip for stocking, do it when no one is in the store, the minute customers arrive, stocking stops and customer service begins.  Finish the stocking and folding later.

Here’s a tip for service, every single person you meet and every single person you have never met is a potential customer/buyer, treat them like you can’t live without them, cuz you can’t!

If in your business, stocking and folding becomes more important than selling you may want to consider another career.  The merchandise can wait, your new customer can’t.

So, You decide for your business;  should we STOCK, SELL, or FOLD, that’s the magic question?

Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in remarkable leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s innovative strategies provide leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS.

Daily Briefing, 2/29/2012

Good morning everyone, and happy Leap Day!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Frontier Airlines is coming to the Lehigh Valley International Airport, offering flights to Orlando starting in May.  Cenveo is closing in Wilson Borough, resulting in about 200 layoffs.  The Allentown NIZ zone will generate $7 million in tax revenue for half of this year - more than enough to pay the annual $11 million in debt service.

In state-wide news, a law goes into effect next week that bans texting while driving in Pennsylvania.

In national news, Mitt Romney scored two wins yesterday, cruising to victory in Arizona and eking out a victory in Michigan.  In Maine, moderate Republican Olivia Snowe announced her retirement.  The stock market closed above 13,000 yesterday.  A CNN article takes a look at why the price of oil is rising.

We have three Chamber events today, all mixers - one at American Hairlines in Bethlehem, one at Melt in Center Valley and one in Allentown.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chamber News: The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Lehigh Valley

Every now and then, we're going to try and bring you Chamber news from our various Chamber partners.  Today's news comes from our newest partner: the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Lehigh Valley.  The article comes to us courtesy of Alvaro Diaz, the Director of the HCCLV.  Enjoy!

2012 promises to be another great year for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Lehigh Valley (HCCLV). Capitalizing on our successes of 2011, we are kicking off the New Year with a partnership with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce that will allow us to tap on the resources of The Chamber while maintaining our own identity as an independent and autonomous chamber of commerce. The partnership agreement was approved unanimously by the boards of both Chambers in December 2011 and validates the informal relationship that two chambers have enjoyed in the recent past. Through this association, HCCLV will have access to support and logistical expertise from The Chamber, in particular for the organization of events through Marta Anglade, The Chamber’s VP of Multi-cultural Initiatives.

In 2011 we held a record number of events and networking mixers. Our signature seminars “Marketing to Hispanics” and “Multi-cultural Women in the Professions and Business”, along with our and “Cinco de Mayo” Family Fiesta were all well attended and remain high in the list of “must attend” events by our members, sponsors and Latino business community. Our 2011 Annual Gala in October as part of the Hispanic Heritage Month festivities honored Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez, Director of the Medicine at Lehigh Valley Hospital Network as 2011 Hispanic Professional of the Year. The gala featured Philadelphia’s Flamenco Olé!, one of the best flamenco performing groups in the nation. HCCLV’s Annual Gala is regarded as the premier Latino social event in the region.

In 2011 we also launched the Fé Foundation, a 501(C)3 non-profit organization created to administer our “Futuros Empresarios” (FE) Program. The FE Program, now entering its fourth year, provides life-skills and entrepreneurial training and internships to mostly Latino high school students in the valley. This pat year 34 students organizations and De Sales University and Penn State-LV.

We embrace the challenges of 2012 with a lot of optimism, and with new tools, such as new website, a new office location in Bethlehem and an ambitious calendar of events. We look forward to continuing to provide our members, sponsors and partners with an effective vehicle to advance their industrial, commercial and professional interests. Feliz Ańo Nuevo!

Pinterest: from time-suck to marketing tool for smart business owners

As promised, Intern Mauri is back with more information about Pinterest!  Here's a more in-depth overview about how you can make money on it.  Enjoy!

Yesterday, we posted about the growing popularity of Pinterest. To recap,it's an online scrapbook of sorts, and it lets users share common interests through photos of recipes, clothing, books, hobbies and much more. In fact, Pinterest's mission is to "connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting" -- a lofty goal indeed, but one that seems to really be taking off.

Did you know that you can use Pinterest as a marketing tool to promote your products or services, though? The site, which launched in 2011, has had an unexpected effect on businesses. Last month, the social media news site Mashable called Pinterest the "top traffic driver for retailers." A subsequent Mashable article named Rachael Ray, HGTV and among the top 10 Most-Followed Brands on Pinterest, proving the site to be a cost-free marketing boon for big brand names.

But it's not just the big names that are seeing results. Small business entrepreneurs are using it to call attention to their businesses or the brands they sell. Artisans of every stripe have begun using the site's Pinboards as portfolios of sorts, presenting their own artwork to be shared and "repinned" by other users. Clothing stores and boutiques also use Pinterest to pin the items they sell. Even the medical community is getting in on the act. In short, if you can take a photo of your product or service and post it on your website, it can be pinned on Pinterest.

There's even a widget for the site similar to the popular "like us on Facebook" widget, for businesses to encourage Pinterest users to follow their boards.

So the $64,000 question is: do people end up buying what they see on Pinterest? According to what my friends tell me, they absolutely do. "I use it as a wishlist for products I want to buy someday," said John, who always seems to have his fingers on the pulse of the latest Web trends. "I also pin on crazy products that I find but could never afford." Michele, the mother of two young girls, uses it not only to shop for her kids but also herself. "I was out shopping last week for new jeans and I was frustrated," she said. "My friend texted me a pic from one of my style boards and I went looking for something similar."

I'll readily admit that I cringed when my friends first invited me to Pinterest. I'm typically an early adopter on these types of things, but with so many social networking sites to keep up on, not to mention trying to maintain a life offline, I felt like I had no time to use what I saw as yet another time waster. Like many newer social sites, however, Pinterest wasn't really marketed toward early tech adopters. They did the smart thing and went for people who make the at-home purchasing decisions, particularly women between the ages of 25 to 44.

And as someone who falls right in that age group, once I got on a roll and started realizing all I could do with it, I noticed myself how beneficial it could be toward making purchasing decisions and, most importantly, helping out local businesses.

What do you think? Are you using Pinterest, or do you plan to? If so, how has it helped your business so far, and if not do you think you'll use it in the future?

Daily Briefing, 2/28/2012

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

In Bethlehem, City Council has again deadlocked on its vote to replace its Controller, likely sending the matter to Northampton County Court of Common Pleas.  The Express-Times has named Jim Deegan as its new editor, replacing Joe Owens.  In Lehigh County, property reassessment letters are now arriving.

In state-wide news, Senator Jake Corman, Republican Chair of the Appropriations Committee, has said that he opposes Governor Corbett's proposed cuts to higher education.

In national news, Arizona and Michigan cast their votes today for the Republican nominee for President; Mitt Romney is expected to win Arizona easily, but the Michigan primary will likely be very close.  In world-wide news, S&P has again downgraded Greece's credit.

We have one Chamber event today: A luncheon by the Women's Business Council on supercharging your Social Media.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll be back later.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What the heck is Pintrest

Ahh, Social Media.  Just when you think you finally have a handle on what it is, it throws you for another loop by introducing yet another service.  In this case, we're talking about the newest entry to the Social Media world, Pinterest.  If you're on Facebook or pay attention to this stuff at all, you've probably seen posts from Pinterest starting to invade your newsfeed.  They are usually pictures (I keep seeing pictures of food, which is making it very difficult to not want to eat, but that's an entirely different story) since that's the main thrust of Pinterest.

So, just what is Pinterest?  In a nutshell, Pinterest describes itself as a virtual pinboard.  Users collect photos and link to products and other pictures that they like via their own virtual pinboard.  Clearly, this is one of the biggest differences between Pinterest and other Social Media platforms: it is almost entirely visual, putting it in the realm of networks like YouTube and Flickr.

Like other networks, Pinterest users can comment on photos and interact with each other.  Pinterest also seems to be more brand heavy than other networks, with people frequently interacting with big companies.  Indeed, Pinterest has been a huge boon to brands and networks that are on it - Pinterest is actually generating more traffic to websites that YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined.  That's really impressive.

It's growth has been extremely fast as well.  Pinterest has over ten million registered users and over ten million unique monthly visitors - a faster growth rate than any other independent website ever.  

Is Pinterest here to stay?  That remains to be seen.  Can you make money off of it as a small business owner?  You bet.  How?  Intern Mauri will discuss that one tomorrow.

Daily Briefing, 2/27/2012

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

The Morning Call takes a look at Governor Corbett's proposed budget, noting how it cuts funding for libraries and local municipalities that don't have their own police department.  Lehigh County is celebrating its 200th anniversary and the Call has its own section on the event.  In national news, Rick Santorum will receive Secret Service protection.  In global news, a plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin has been foiled.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll be back later.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Daily Briefing, 2/24/2012

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

In Lehigh County, reassessment notices are officially in the mail.  In the 132nd Legislative District, Mike Schlossberg is the only candidate for State Representative after his opponent, Aryeh Spero, withdrew (full disclosure - as previously noted - that's me).  Lehigh Valley International Airport received a $1.5 million state grant to upgrade its infrastructure.  The Bethlehem Area School District is hoping to raise taxes above the state cap.

In statewide news, Governor Corbett signed into law legislation designed to enhance gas pipeline safety.

In national news, the Maryland Senate approved of legislation that legalized gay marriage yesterday; the bill now goes to Governor O'Malley for his likely signature.  The USPS is looking to consolidate mail centers, a move that could eliminate 35,000 jobs.

That's it for now!  We may not have a 2nd entry today - if that's the case, have a great weekend, and we'll see you Monday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meet Senator Jake Corman (R-34), Republican Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee

A great event is coming up with Senator Jake Corman (R-34).  As the Republican Chair of the State Appropriations Committeel, Senator Corman is one of the most powerful Republican legislators on a state level.  He'll be at a Chamber event on April 5 to discuss the Pennsylvania budget and more - check out the flier below and click here to register.


Daily Briefing, 2/23/2012

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

In Allentown, the city appears to be closing out 2011 with its fourth deficit in a row.  In Easton, Mayor Panto delivered his "State of the City" address.  As noted in the Express Times, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has formed a partnership with The Chamber.  In state-wide news, the Pennsylvania Legislative Redistricting Commission has yet to release or vote on new legislative lines.  In national news, Republican Presidential candidates debated yesterday.

We have two Chamber events today: the State of the City address in Easton and a Chamber Young Professional Mixer.

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What on earth is a Cash Mob?

Okay.  I'll be honest - I'd never heard of a Cash Mob before having a long conversation with Intern Mauri, who is clearly much more hip than I am.  Anyway, Cash Mobs are a new crazy that are sweeping the country.  Rather than explain myself, I'll let Intern Mauri get into the details of what a Cash Mob is - and how you might be able to use it to make more $$.

Cash mobs become latest social trend

We've all heard of flash mobs: those assemblages of people who gather together in a public place and suddenly burst into dance and/or song. Flash mobs are organized via social media sites like Facebook, and while they originally had no specific purpose, some really smart organizations have used them recently as a low cost marketing tool.

Now a new related trend is coming on the rise in the form of "cash mobs." Cash mobs urge customers to shop at local business establishments. Like flash mobs, cash mobs are organized via social media. These cash mobs are typically organized with permission from small business owners in order to allow these local businesses to prepare for an unusual onslaught of customers.

This Wordpress article offers advice on how to start a cash mob. Thus far, cash mobs have been reported in cities such as Cleveland,  Toledo, Kansas City, and Richmond. Our neighbors to the north in Scranton also took advantage of Presidents Day by launching a Cash Mob on a local pizza parlor.

Hopefully this trend will come to the Lehigh Valley soon. We have a lot of great local businesses to support!

Daily Briefing, 2/22/12

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

Lehigh County has announced its 24 inductees to its Hall of Fame.  In Bethlehem, City Council split once again in its vote to appoint a new controller, likely sending the decision to a Northampton County Judge.  The Parkland School District approved a new teachers contract that freezes wages and cuts tuition reimbursement for teachers.

In national news, Republican Presidential candidates will debate in Arizona today.  President Obama is set to introduce a corporate tax reform plan that will reduce the overall corporate tax reform rate.

We have one Chamber event today: a luncheon on turning your business green from the East Penn & Western Lehigh Chambers.

And that's it for now!  Have a good one, and we'll be back later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Five apps you need now for your business

I'll admit it: I'm an iPhone addict.  I'm an App addict as well.  For me, at least, Apps come down to more than Angry Birds - they are useful features that aren't just add-ons to your phone, but add-ons to your life (if used properly).  As a business person, you are constantly on the go - and that's why Apps can be so effective.

Here are five Apps that businesses need to get and use, right now:

1.  TurboScan:  This App, working for your iPhone or iPad, will scan a document and then allow you to store or E-mail them.  It's incredibly sharp and can save lots of time - and paper.  If you are trying to be as paper-free as possible, this is the right App to get.

2.  Dragon Dictation:  This App is as simple as it is effective.  You start the App and speak into it.  It will write down whatever you say, and then allow you to E-mail your dictation to anyone.  Perfect if you are on the go and need to remember something.  Even better - its free!

3.  WorldCard Mobile:  This App is a business card scanner.  It will scan a business card, then input the card into your contacts automatically.  Very convenient!  The only problem is its cost - at $6.99, this one is more expensive than your standard App.

4.  Receipt Catcher:  Receipts are annoying to track - you keep them in your wallet, they get lost, etc.  With receipt catcher, you can input receipts and sort them by amount, date, vendor, etc.  You can also take a picture of them so you never have to worry about tracking an actual receipt.

5.  Currency Converter:  One of the biggest hassles about going to an area that doesn't use the dollar is the currency conversion...and trying to keep track of constantly shifting currency is not necessarily an easy task!  Currency converter does all the work for you and allows you to adjust rates to what you are being charged.  Best of all - this one is free for iPhone, Android or Blackberry.

Those are our thoughts - but what are yours?  What Apps do you use for your business that you cannot imagine living without?  Let us know in the comments!

Daily Briefing, 2/21/2012

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

A Morning Call articles reviews the winners and losers in Lehigh County's reassessment.  For the 7th month in a row, Lehigh Valley home sales improved, though prices continued to decrease.  Premier Healthcare Resources, the firm managing Gracedale, has said that it is hoping to save $2.9 million at the facility this year.

In worldwide news, Greece has secured a 2nd bailout necessary to keep the country from defaulting on its debt.

We have one Chamber event today, and its a fun one: our Mardi Gras Fiesta, presented with The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

And that's it for now.  Have a good one, and we'll see you later.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Daily Briefing, 2/20/2012

Good morning everyone, and happy Monday!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

A Morning Call story takes a look at what happened to the shop owners who were relocated by the Arena construction.  Another story looks at the increase in teacher concessions during difficult economic times.  WFMZ reminds us that the Corporate Plaza collapse occurred almost exactly18 years ago.  PPL will be rebuilding power lines in Northampton & Lehigh counties.

And, that's it for today - another slow Monday.  See you later!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2012 Candidate List

Filing has closed for the 2012 Primary, and this one should be good.  There are numerous Federal and State elections that will be decided in the primary (currently scheduled for April 24).  Here's a list of every candidate that you might be able to vote for in the 2012 primary.


US Senate

6th Congressional District

15th Congressional District

17th Congressional District

  • Tim Holden (D-Inc)
  • Matthew Cartwright (D)
  • Laureen Cummings (R)

Auditor General

State Treasurer

Attorney General

131st Legislative District

132nd Legislative District (currently held by Representative Jennifer Mann, who is not seeking reelection)

133rd Legislative District

134th Legislative District (currently vacant after Doug Reichley's election to Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas)

135th Legislative District

136th Legislative District

  • Robert Freeman (D-Inc)

137th Legislative District

138th Legislative District

  • Marcia Hahn (R-Inc)
  • Leslie Altieri (D)

183rd Legislative District

  • Julie Harhart (R-Inc)

187th Legislative District

  • Gary Day (R-Inc)
  • Joseph Haas (D)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ten LinkedIn tips you need to know

So, later today, I'm doing a presentation to a Chamber Member on how their sales team can best utilize LinkedIn.  The research reminded me of what a fantastic service LinkedIn can be - if used properly.  I can't tell you how many times I've had someone say, "Yeah, I have a LinkedIn Profile...I just never use it."  Sound familiar?

Here are ten tips to make sure you get the most out of LinkedIn:

1)  Don't self promote:  Okay, okay, if you've ever read anything I've written here, you've seen this before.  That being said, the rule applies, perhaps even more so on LinkedIn, when so many do nothing but self promote.  Don't fall into that trap!

2)  Make it personal:  When you send someone a note about wanting to add them as a Connection, don't use LinkedIn's default "I'd like to add you to my personal network."  Add your own note about when you met them.  Make it personal - it makes you stand out.

3)  Do you know who's viewed your profile?  You can:  On the LinkedIn homepage, you can see who has viewed your profile.  Check it out.  This will give you a good idea of what people you are attracting to your profile.  Not who you want it to be?  Then you need to change your profile to target your audience better.

4)  Check out "People You May Know":  This section, available on the homepage, will tell you people that LinkedIn thinks you know based on your other Connections and groups in which you are a member.  This can be a great resource for building your network.

5)  Give (unsolicited) recommendations:  One of LinkedIn's nicer features is the ability to give recommendations to people.  If you've been on LinkedIn long enough, you've probably been asked for a recommendation.  That being said - start giving them, even if you aren't asked.  Target people with whom you are trying to build a relationship and go for it.  They will notice - and likely appreciate it.

6)  Follow targeted companies:  A relatively newer feature of LinkedIn is the ability to follow companies - that is, get updates from companies when they have a new employee, job opening, change their profile, etc.  If you are targeting a specific company, this is a great way of getting useful information on them.

7)  Audit your profile:  You have to, on a periodic basis, review your entire profile and make sure that its still up to date.  Make sure the info you list is accurate, your skills are the most up to date, etc.  Nothing looks worse than a profile that is out of date!

8)  Tweak your headline:  By default, your headline (the line under your name) will be the job you list as the most current.  That job title may not be descriptive enough for the average user - so change it.  Make it client-focused and as compelling as possible - not just another line on your resume.

9)  Use status updates wisely:  Your status updates can be a great tool.  Don't use them to brag, but use them to discuss information that positions you as an expert or shows your contacts how you can help them.  Remember, again: don't self promote - add value.

10)  Connect - often:  If you want to gain connections and contacts, you have to go get them.  Just like any networking event, you have to use the service to get something out of it.  Respond to people's status updates.  Asks questions in groups.  Answer polls.  Get your name out there, and you will be found.

Those are my tips - what are yours?  Let us know in the comments!

Daily Briefing, 2/17/2012

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

At a Chamber event yesterday, County Executive Don Cunningham delivered his State of the County address. Developer Abe Atiyeh is suing over the arena construction.  The Allentown NIZ zone will collect $550,000 in local taxes.  Bethlehem City Council was unable to select a new controller yesterday, as Council deadlocked on the vote.

In state-wide news, the primary ballot is now set.  Chances of a sale of the state's liquor stores took a blow yesterday, when two top State Senators said they would seek to make the existing system more competitive.  Same-sex marriage legislation was approved yesterday in New Jersey; Governor Christy is expected to veto it.

In national news, bad news: oil prices have rose 12% in six weeks.  There was, however, good news to counter it: jobs and manufacturing data both made improvements.

We have one Chamber event today: our Small Business Council is holding a networking event.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daily Briefing, 2/16/2012

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

The Lehigh Valley has quite a bit of road work coming up this year.  In Allentown, City Council voted to reject a contract for a Waste-to-Energy project.  The Southern Lehigh School District has named Leah Christman as its new superintendent.

In national news, Congress came to a final agreement on a payroll tax cut.  The Chief of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has stepped down.

We have two Chamber events today, both free: a mixer at the Allentown Art Museum and the Lehigh County State of the Country address.

And that's it for now!  Have a good one.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Daily Briefing, 2/15/2012

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

In North Whitehall Township, Supervisors decided to scale down a proposed sewer Lehigh County Authority sewer facility.  In state-wide news, all federal and state-wide candidates had until yesterday to file; legislative candidates have until close of business Thursday; here's a list of the candidates who have filed so far.  In national news, Congress appears set to finally move on long delayed transportation legislation. Congress also came to an agreement on legislation to extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and avoid rate cuts for medicare reimbursements.  The Democratic National Committee has selected Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to chair the upcoming Democratic Convention.

And that's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll be back later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Member Benefit: The Coupon of the Day!

Did you know that, as a Chamber Member, you have access to over $1,000 in coupons from other members? Yup.  A full list of the coupons that we offer is available on our Coupon website.

To access most of these coupons, you need your username and password - to get that, if you don't have it, just E-mail me at  To create and submit a coupon, just access the Members Only section of the website and click on "Submit a Coupon."  This is a great marketing benefit to being a Chamber member.

We are also launching a new feature to help promote the Coupons: our Coupon of the Day.  As you can see in the right sidebar, we now will be promoting members coupons that are already submitted.  That will live on the blog sidebar and be posted at noon on Facebook & Twitter.  No action is required by you - if your coupon is submitted, we'll run it eventually (though you can certainly E-mail me to speed it up - I'd be happy to promote your coupon ASAP if you'd like!).

Check out the This Week With Tony for more of an explanation - enjoy!

Marcellus Shale legislation - an overview

Intern Mauri wrote up a great summary of the recent Marcellus Shale Impact Fee legislation that recently passed the Pennsylvania legislature and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor.  See below for a great summary of the bill.
Yesterday, Governor Corbett signed a Marcellus Shale Impact Fee into law. The bill, which was approved by the Senate 31-19 last Tuesday and won 101-90 in the House on Wednesday, will let officials within counties impacted by the Marcellus Shale play to levy fees that offset costs of drilling operations.

Those fees would be collected by the PUC.

The impact fee will be structured on a sliding scale dependent on natural gas pricing and inflation. For the first year of operation, natural gas drillers will incur a fee set between $40,000 and $60,000; the fee will be set to decline through a period of 15 years. Revenues from impact fees will be split 60/40 between local governments who have adopted an impact fee ordinance and statewide uses such as watershed protection, mine reclamation and oil and gas well plugging projects.

Another highlight of the bill includes provisions that will help low-to-moderate income families and individuals obtain housing--a serious concern in some markets where renters were priced out because of an influx of natural gas workers from other states.

County officials located within the Marcellus Shale region will have a 60-day window in which they must decide whether or not their county will impose impact fees.

Daily Briefing, 2/14/2012

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

Jesse Jackson spoke at Lehigh University yesterday.  The East Penn School District will start before labor Day this year.  The Whitehall-Coplay School District approved a new teacher's contract yesterday.

In neighboring New Jersey, the state legislature is set to approve gay marriage, likely drawing a veto from Governor Chris Christie.

In national news, President Obama is meeting today with China's Vice President, Xi Jinping, who is set to become China's leader later this year.  Gay marriage became legal in Washington State yesterday.  House Republicans unexpectedly agreed to a payroll tax cut extension, without any offsetting budget cuts.  In global news, Moody's downgraded the credit of six European countries yesterday.

We have one Chamber event today: the Easton Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a tour of the State Theatre.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll see you later.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Job Opening - Coordinator, Sustainable Development at LVEDC

We have a job opening from our friends at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.  See below for more, and as always, if you are a Chamber Member with a job opening, please E-mail it to me at and we are happy to publish!

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, a local nonprofit, has an opening for:

Coordinator, Sustainable Development

The coordinator of sustainable development will support the director and the administration of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant.  Work will include organization of public meetings, grant reporting and financial accounting.  The incumbent coordinates monthly meetings of the LV Sustainability Consortium meetings and other committees as they are developed.  The coordinator will support the director in data collection to ensure compliance with the contractual agreement with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Experience in grant administration and/or book keeping preferred.

Provide general administrative support to director of sustainable development.
Track requests for payments and monitor compliance with budget
Support implementation of partners responsibilities and contractual obligations
In conjunction with director, review and update work plan

  • This position is requires experience in Microsoft Quick Books and general accounting principles. 
  • Experience in Microsoft Office is required.
  • Knowledge of contract management and grant administration is preferred.
  • Book keeping experience preferred.
  • Minimum education required is an associate’s degree and three years of work experience is required.  

Coverletter and resume should be sent to:

Jean Mateff
2158 Ave. C, Suite 200
Bethlehem, PA 18017

Daily Briefing, 2/9/2012

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

Lehigh County Commissioners overrode County Executive Don Cunningham's veto of the reassessment process.  In Allentown, City Council appears set to approve a $25 million waste to energy project.  In Easton, costs for the proposed intermodal project have rose $5.8 million

In state-wide news, a federal judge has said that Pennsylvania must use the 2001 lines in the upcoming primary election.  The state appears set to approve new rules that would give the Public Utilities Commission stricter oversight over gas lines.

In national news, a modified ban on insider trading among those in the legislative & executive branch is set to pass the House.  A settlement appears likely for almost all states who are in the process of suing banks over mortgage fraud.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll see you later.

Guest Blog Entry: Growing Your Small Business in 2012- SHOW UP

Another day, another Guest Blog Post from Carol of Carol Talks.

What does Paris Hilton do?  Is she an actor, is she a singer, is she a writer?  The answer is none of the above.  However, she is wildly popular and the queen of networking.  She shows up everywhere, she has built and empire by showing up and creating a brand (her name) who everybody knows.  Chances are if you mention her name everyone can tell you something about her, some good, some not so good, but the networking is working.  

When growing your business, you cannot be a bystander, you cannot wait and hope that customers will “SHOW UP”.   Showing up is critical to your success.  Here’s a hint about networking; it’s not about you.  I have a colleague who just doesn’t get it.  She wrote a book and when she networks she shoves the book in our faces saying “Wanna buy my book, wanna buy my book, wanna buy my book?  I watch the faces of the recipient on the other end of the question and it’s definitely not warm and fuzzy. It’s more like get away from me.

3 Must Do’s of Networking using my Colleague as a example:

1. If you have something to sell, you MUST give away first. Give 10 books away at the next networking event. Get your name, your product and your business to be on the tip of the community’s tongue.
2. Take a full year to “SHOW UP” at as many event as you can in your community.  When networking, always always listen first.
3. So many of us forget to follow-up. Those business cards end up in your pocket, your wallet and even your trunk.  Within two days send a’nice to meet’ you note or email.  Get them on your mailing list, friend them on Facebook and Linked-In.  Pay special attention to what they told you about themselves and pay attention to what they like, even note that in your database.

I know so many business leaders who network like crazy, but never network like Paris.  It’s time to take your biz to another level, and maybe after we read my friends book we just might tell hundreds of people how good it is and suggest they buy it.  You don’t need the bad press like Paris gets but you do need the visibility, just“SHOW UP”

Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in remarkable leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s innovative strategies provide leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Blog Entry: Sustainability

Today's Guest Blog Entry comes to us courtesy of Tom Persing of Discovery Dynamics, talking about a topic that we have heard quite a bit about lately: sustainability.  Check out below for the very interesting info.  Also, if you are a Chamber member and want to write a Guest Blog Post, just E-mail me at

Sustainability has become an imperative and current concept for businesses and for organizations of the 21st Century. According to a Washington State University Website, "sustainability embodies stewardship and design with nature. The most popular definition of sustainability can be traced to a 1987 United Nations' Conference. It defines sustainable developments as those that meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. What this means for businesses is the requirement with today's EPA standards to conserve such resources as light, water, and paper without compromising goals such as growing and maintaining a loyal customer base and developing the capacity of its employees.

The following definitions are more specific in terms of clarifying specific human and environmental  parameters for modeling and for measuring sustainable developments:

A. "Sustainable means using methods, systems and materials that won't deplete resources or harm natural cycles." (Rosenbaum, 1993).
B. Sustainability "identifies a concept and attitude in development that looks at a site's natural land, water, and energy resources as integral aspects of the development." (Vieira,1993)
C. "Sustainability integrates natural systems with human patterns and celebrates continuity, uniqueness and place-making." (Early, 1993)

In review of the plurality of these definitions, the site or the environmental context is an important variable to most working definitions of sustainability. This emphasis is expressed in the following definition:
Sustainable developments are those which fulfill present and future needs (WECD, 1987) while [only] using and not harming renewable resources and unique human-environmental systems of a site: [air], water, land, energy, and human ecology and/or those of other off-site sustainable systems (Rosenbaum 1993 and Vieria 1993).

These fundamental human-environmental exchanges of a business’s "site" are found to be very useful in developing critical "input - output" modeling techniques or indicators which directs the community's regenerative process. This selected network of a community’s human and environmental interrelationships were measured and placed in balance by the selected set of integrated design and planning strategies, which Discovery Dynamics provides for various organizations and businesses.

Daily Briefing, 2/7/2012

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

In Bethlehem Township, two men have been charged with defrauding the municipality of $820,000 for work on streetlights that they never did.  In state-wide news, former Speaker and Democratic leader Bill DeWeese was convicted on five charges related to public corruption.

In national news, Republican caucuses will be held today in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri.  According to a new study, nearly 1/2 of all Americans received some sort of government assistance.

We have two Chamber events today: a Grand Opening at Molto Pazzo and a PennDOT update from the Greater Northern Chamber of Commerce.

That's it for now!  Have a great day and we'll be back later.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guest Blog Entry: Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Talks Jobs with Senator Bob Casey

Today's Guest Blog Entry comes from our friends at ASTD Eastern PA.  The topic is actually a Chamber event that was held recently: a Business Matters taping and reception with U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).  Check out the entry below for the recap!

The Hotel Bethlehem was still bedecked for Christmas and the mood was merry. The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted “Tony Iannelli goes one-on-one with United States Senator Bob Casey.” And Senator Casey’s mind was on the same things the rest of us are thinking about: Jobs.

That’s not Steve, but employment! Of course, Steve was a master of that, too…but we digress. ..

The Chamber’s President and CEO Tony Iannelli interviewed Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey for half an hour before a packed studio audience of lunchtime attendees on January 5. Senator Casey emphasized what we all know can’t be emphasized enough – we’ve got to work on jobs and we’ve got to work together.

The Eastern PA Chapter of ASTD is working hard with our chapter members to train the workforce we’ve got in place and grow the talent that’s coming through the door. It’s a mighty task, as companies are still keeping a thin payroll in these times of uncertainty, and those employees who remain are working harder than ever.  This year, through our programs and events, the Eastern PA chapter will be exploring these questions:
What can we do to maximize the talent and knowledge we have under our roofs?
How can we capture internal knowledge and skills and make sure everyone inside who needs to know can access that information?
Do we know that the investment we make in improving human performance is paying us back – in market share? In revenue? In good will?

Like Senator Casey said, we’ve got to work on jobs and we’ve got to work together. Join us at the Eastern PA Chapter of ASTD where we’re constantly working on maximizing the talent you’ve got under your roof so you can build your business, take that revenue, and create more jobs.
Success breeds success. Let the Lehigh Valley be a breeding ground.

The Chamber of Commerce interview “Tony Iannelli goes one-on-one with United States Senator Bob Casey” airs on Channel 69 on January 23 at 8 p.m. Check your television listings for re-broadcasting.

Daily Briefing, 2/6/2012

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

In state-wide news, Republicans appear to be getting closer to implementing a Marcellus Shale impact fee and updating safety regulations.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court released its opinion on its recent redistricting Friday, arguing that an excess of municipal splits is what made the plan unconstitutional but offering relatively little guidance for prospective plans.  Democrats, meanwhile, are contending that Pennsylvania will have to use the 2001 lines in the upcoming primary.

In national news, Mitt Romney easily won the Nevada Caucuses in a low-turnout affair.  Three caucuses will be held tomorrow in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

Business Matters airs today, featuring a look back at the Allentown gas explosion.

We have one Chamber event today: First Monday in downtown Allentown.

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

Friday, February 3, 2012

Public Policy Position: Supporting Our Downtowns

We have another Public Policy position to report; this one pertains to urban revitalization and economic redevelopment.

As you may know, this Chamber is very involved in urban revitalization, with staffers on almost every Main Street in the Valley.  As such, the Chamber is part of a group called Chambers for Sustainable Communities. In that capacity, our President & CEO, Tony Iannelli, signed the below letter in support of Senate Bill 1150.  This legislation would created $10 million in tax credits for economic development projects that occur in historic districts.  In other words, it provides another vital incentive needed to allow for economic redevelopment to occur in historic districts that are found in virtually all of our urban cores.

Economic redevelopment in urban areas often faces significant financial hurdles, and this legislation would help to create for an additional financial incentives to allow for that redevelopment.

See the letter below for more info:

Document 2

Daily Briefing, 2/3/2012

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

In Upper Macungie, Ocean Spray's proposed plant was approved by Township Supervisors last night.  In national news, Senator Toomey's earmark ban was rejected by the U.S. Senate.  Contrary to initial reports, Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney yesterday.  The U.S. Senate passed a ban on Congressmen, their staff and members of the executive branch from using insider information on the stock market.

That's it for now!  Have a good one, and we'll be back later today.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Daily Briefing, 2/2/12

Morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Allentown, City Council formally established the Neighborhood Improvement Zone Authority and selected its board members.  Warren Hospital in New Jersey has joined the St. Luke's Health Network.

In state-wide news, the Corbett administration has announced that it is relaxing the guidelines for its proposed asset test of food-stamp recipients.

In national news, Mitt Romney will now receive Secret Service protection.  Newt Gingrich will pick up a major endorsement from Donald Trump later today.  Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has announced that he expects the United States' combat role in Afghanistan to end in 2013.  Facebook has finally announced its Initial Public Offering at $5 billion.

We have two Chamber events today: a Grand Opening at the Gourmet Buffet and Grill and a Grand Opening at Aura Salon in Easton.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Upcoming FREE Chamber Mixers & Events

We typically have 20-30 events a month, and a good portion of those events are free.  As such, we wanted to take a second to review what FREE Chamber events we have coming up in February.

Daily Briefing, 2/1/2012

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

Allentown City Council appointed Cynthia Mota to the vacancy caused by Michael D'Amore's election to District Judge.  In Bethlehem, six have applied to be the City's Controller.  The Lehigh Valley Airport Authority heard presentations yesterday on what land they could sell.

In state-wide news, as a result of a lack of state action, 17,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians have lost their unemployment benefits.

In national news. Mitt Romney won a commanding victory in the Florida primary yesterday.

Okay, that's it for this morning.  Have a great day, and we'll be back later.