By Shanon Sabanos, Community Initiatives Team Coordinator
Our mission at the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) is to provide businesses with the resources they need to build, grow, and thrive. Making connections, advocating for free enterprise and developing our community is our business.
One way we honor our mission is through our business retention efforts. The continued success of our local Berks County companies is of the utmost importance at GRCA. Members of our GRCA team proactively meet with executives and owners of our local businesses to identify both opportunities and challenges that a company is facing. Primarily, we want to be able to provide resources that might be available, whether from GRCA or from outside organizations. We also believe that the meetings create a meaningful dialog, which helps build a lasting relationship with the company and GRCA. After each visit a personalized, action plan is created (if needed) to address a company’s needs, no matter how large or small.
We have engaged with more than 70 companies in the past year. As a result of the visits, we have processed financing requests, provided workforce solutions, professional development and training as well as assisted with real estate selection and development needs. The goal of the assistance is always to support the growth and retention of Berks County businesses.
These retention outreach efforts have produced number of success stories. Most recently, GRCA met with the family-owned company F.M. Brown’s Sons, Inc., and assisted them in obtaining financing through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA). PIDA will extend a $700,000 loan to assist F. M. Brown’s Sons, Inc. with the purchase of equipment to facilitate a new production line. The production line will be in the Pet Foods Division, which is the largest division of the Sinking Spring-based company. This division is responsible for the manufacturing of small animal food, caged bird food, wild bird food and pigeon food. In addition, the loan will help to purchase pallet racking for a warehouse that will be used as a distribution center. This expansion will enable the company to hire additional employees and provide better customer service to local companies.
As the leading economic development organization in Berks County, GRCA is committed to retaining our local companies. Our staff has the extensive knowledge and experience to help identify resources to help your company. If you are interested in connecting with our team of professionals, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610.898.7761.