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Middletown Business Association reaches 25 members, works on networking

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 7/31/19

About a year and a half after the Middletown Business Association held its inaugural meeting at Alfred’s Victorian restaurant, the association has reached about 25 members. …

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Middletown Business Association reaches 25 members, works on networking

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About a year and a half after the Middletown Business Association held its inaugural meeting at Alfred’s Victorian restaurant, the association has reached about 25 members.

“We’ve grown quite a bit recently. I would say just this year, the group has really started to gain some good traction. We’ve been getting good turnouts for our meetings,” said association board member Scott Colman.

When the first meeting was held, the first five members that signed up were the association’s interim board of directors.

“The entity is formed. The structure is in place. There was a lot of years of work in getting things, and now we’re really ready to build the framework and groundwork and get new members going,” Colman said.

Colman is a board member along with Scott Sites, relationship manager at Members 1st Federal Credit Union, and Alfred’s Victorian’s Robin Pelligrini.

In 2014, the Middletown Industrial and Commercial Development Authority incorporated the association and approved $20,000 to cover start-up costs such as paying lawyers to file incorporation documents and developing a website to promote local businesses and attractions.

The association’s first meeting was to be held in February 2015, but it was canceled. Borough council in 2016 voiced their support for having the association be a separate entity from Middletown’s government, but also collaborate with the borough.

Colman, who owns Hetrick Center along with his wife, Mary, said joining the association is near and dear to him.

“I always found it odd that there wasn’t a chamber of commerce or business association or something or the like in the Middletown community,” Colman said.

As part of the association, Colman said he has access to a network of local business owners and salespeople to work with.

Being part of a longtime business, Colman “felt like it was a community business responsibility that I get involved with this so that we can really get it off the ground and get it running so we can get as many businesses as possible involved.”

He estimated there are about 25 members. A recent addition is With Kidz in Mind on South Union Street.

Owner Amy Ebersole said she wanted to join because she has a local business and wanted to support other area businesses.

“I just like the visibility of the different businesses that are involved in it,” Ebersole said.

The Middletown Business Association is working on growing the number of members and adding value to the association’s membership.

“Everyone joins business organizations because they’re looking to get more business, but also share with other business owners and salespeople and like-minded individuals because chances are within that group, there’s someone that is struggling with something that you’re struggling with as a business person or will struggle with that same thing in the future,” Colman said.

Everyone is welcome. The association isn’t limited to business owners, but also nonprofit organizations and individuals such as salespeople involved in the business community. Colman said the association wants to give members a way to network with other businesses and grow their own sales.

So far, the association has planned events at least once a month, including co-sponsoring the Middletown Communities That Care’s Community Clean-Up Day in May and business mixers featuring speakers such as Harrisburg Regional Chamber President David Black. Members are encouraged to give feedback on what topics they want to learn more about.

A representative from Sen. Mike Folmer’s office spoke at a business mixer at Alfred’s Victorian on July 25. Like past mixers, members had a chance to ask questions.

Colman said he’s enjoyed getting to know members at the events and meetings.

“It’s starting to make Middletown feel a little bit smaller, if you will, where we’re not all at arms length. We’re all coming to the table together,” Colman said.

The association has social media pages on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/middletown-business-association and Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiddletownBusinessAssociation/, where membership applications can be found. Applications are also available at association meetings.

Membership dues cost $75 for a company and $50 for individuals and nonprofit organizations.