Chamber representatives working to promote area

Photo by Amy Cherry — St. Marys and Ridgway-Elk County Chamber of Commerce board members and staff recently participated in a joint meeting discussing various ideas on promoting the area and its businesses.
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Board members and staff of the St. Marys and Ridgway-Elk County chambers of commerce met Tuesday evening as part of a joint effort in working together to promote the area and local businesses.
The group has been hosting meetings at various locations throughout the county for the past several months.
One of the meeting’s topics entailed embarking on a geofencing project. Geofencing allows administrators to create a virtual geographic boundary which enables software to send an alert to mobile devices when entering or exiting the specific boundary.
The alerts could include notifying visitors of various events, such as festivals, concerts, and more, as well as promoting businesses and any specials or discounts they are offering.
The location-based service is capable of sending targeted notifications to potential customers. Businesses can change the content of their notifications at any time.
“It will make it look like there is always something going on in the county,” said Michelle Bogacki, secretary of the Ridgway-Elk County Chamber of Commerce.
The group also discussed how to increase and maintain chamber members. Currently, the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce has a membership of 350 businesses, while the Ridgway-Elk County Chamber has 176 members.
Ann Pistner Gabler, St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce managing director, stated there is a realization that a small percentage of businesses likely may not join the chamber as they were previously locally owned, but are now owned by an international entity.
She added by joining a chamber of commerce businesses members add a level of credibility to their business.
Both chambers hope to improve their notifications to members and the community whenever educational programs are offered in the area. Examples include seminars on starting a business/supporting an existing business, accounting, marketing, and more.
Gabler said a representative from the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center visits the St. Marys Chamber of Commerce office weekly with new clients interested in starting a new business.

A full agenda of the meeting can be found in the print publication or E-Edition of the Ridgway Record, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2018.