Keeping Dollars Local

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A thriving business community is the key to thriving community members. And many townships in the Pittsburgh North area have created ways to support mid-size businesses as well as keep dollars local.

New growth at The Block Northway

The past year has proven a period of dramatic growth for The Block Northway in Ross Township. The former site of Northway Mall, The Block Northway has been revitalized to include major names such as Nordstrom Rack (the first in Pennsylvania), Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and DSW Shoes. In 2018, The Block Northway welcomed Le Creuset, David’s Bridal and Blaze Pizza.

2019 is sure to continue the growth of this mall, with the addition of a 40,000-square-foot Dave & Buster’s location. With a blend of shopping and eating, supported by regular events, The Block Northway is an important site for commerce.

A New Kind of bulletin board

The Town of McCandless offers a new take on an old tradition: the bulletin board. The town passed a resolution in October 2018 to support small businesses in the community, including officially declaring a “Small Business Saturday” in November. Through the virtual “Small Business Bulletin Board,” business owners can submit information about their business and what makes the business unique for shoppers.

Through the board and continued measures to support local business owners, the Town of McCandless is committed to recognizing all the contributions area businesses make to their economy.

Building traffic

At Cranberry Township, a lot of new business construction was popping up, yet residents and visitors weren’t sure what was to come. That’s why the township started a portion of their website called “What Are They Building?” The page supports new and upcoming businesses by listing projects that are just opened, under construction and under review.

“It’s our second most-popular webpage after parks and recreation,” said Chelsea Puff, business and economic development manager at Cranberry Township. “We’re glad that people out there are curious about what’s happening in Cranberry Township.”

In addition, the township offers a quarterly newsletter called “Cranberry Today,” which features a special business section. The newsletter, which is distributed to the more than 1,100 township businesses, highlights three to four local businesses.

“I think the great thing about Cranberry Township is that we have a thriving local economy and businesses of every size contributes to that,” Puff said. “We are always looking to connect businesses with the resources they need, and we encourage them to let us know what their needs are.”

Business Stars Rock

Building brands and reputations, businesses and nonprofits open the door to a world of opportunities at the annual Pittsburgh Business Show. One of the largest events in the city, it sparkles with the energy of thought leaders, networking, meeting potential business partners, and the kinds of learning that propel success.

“We started planning the first show in 2015, it was held in 2017 and it just keeps growing,” said Linda Jo Thornberg, president of the Pittsburgh Business Show and vice president of corporate communications and PR for Higher Images. “People love it. We’re expecting about 3,000 attendees at our third annual show this year, and more than 160 vendors.”

The show brings fresh perspectives on business, and there’s always something new. This year, it’s a one-of-a-kind event for women as part of the two-day expo.

“We’re excited to launch Women Who Love Life, as part of the Business Show,” Thornberg said. “It’s exclusively for women-owned businesses, a leadership and networking conference that teaches women how to make a difference in their lives and the organizations they serve. It helps them link their passion for what they love to do, to a greater purpose in their businesses and lives. We’ll be hearing from inspirational women – leaders and experts – on many topics, from starting a business to achieving maximum success by building on who they are already: rock stars!”

Thornberg knows what it takes to build this kind of conference. She is a distinguished business owner and mentor in her own right, having recently earned the Empowering Women in Business Award, presented by Inspiring Lives Magazine.

Throughout the two-day show held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, and open to all businesses and attendees, panel discussions provide thought-provoking programming and forums addressing best practices and business strategies.

“Our presenters and speakers are at the top of their fields, discussing hot topics that span successful financial strategies and applying for loans and crowdfunding, to cutting-edge ideas for creative marketing,” Thornberg said.

One of the most popular events at the show is the speed networking event that is hosted by the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber. Structured like a speed dating event, business professionals get the opportunity to network in a unique and fun way.

Teaching businesses to thrive is what the Business Show does best.

“Having time to develop skills needed for the future is one of the biggest challenges faced by most businesses,” Thornberg said. “Our two days are laser focused on maximizing that time, and being able to take away skills and knowledge that can quickly be put to use and shared with other employees, so that a business can plan for the company’s future.” n