Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce slates Town Talk

BELPRE – To help the local business community, the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a Town Talk event later this month.

“We are excited about this event,” said chamber president Susie Casto. “It came about out of a chamber Economic Development Committee discussion because we realized we wanted to hear from the businesses and industries about how they think things are going.”

The program is expected to run from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Belpre Senior Center, 1614 Washington Blvd., and will not only include representatives from local small businesses and industries, but also elected officials.

“We got a great response from our legislative leaders,” Casto said. “So we will have national, state and local representatives there to speak about the economic environment.”

Presentations are expected to be given by business owners and managers, area manufacturers, retailers, nonprofits, and other interested persons, said chamber Executive Director Karen Waller.

“This is a first; we are trying to engage people to come and share information and what they see in their business and in businesses around the area,” Waller said.

Expected to speak about the local business climate, future projections and economic issues are U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio; Ohio Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Albany; Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville; Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz; Kraton Plant Manager Scott Oran; DeeAnn Gehlauf, vice president of business organization and development at Memorial Health System; Bradley Ebersole, president of Washington State Community College; and Pam Lankford, director of the Marietta Small Business Development Center.

“There is no one issue or problem out there that we plan to focus on,” Waller said. “The hope is that we can have a good discussion and businesses can help one another.”

Informational booths are available for $50 to businesses and organization who wish to educate more people about what they offer, Waller said.

“This is a meeting for information sharing, as opposed to sales, so we will not be taking vendors with items at this time,” Waller said.

Casto said she is amazed by the number of industries who have voiced interest in the program.

“We have allowed two hours and encourage anyone with a business or interest to start a business to join us,” Waller said. “We hope those speaking will talk about the positives and challenges and other issues facing businesses in the Belpre area now and in the near future.”

Time for discussion and questions will be made available.

Although it is free and open to the public, registration to attend the event is recommended.

To rent a vendor booth or to register contact the chamber at (740) 423-8934.