Commerce Quarterly Summer 2024

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Quarterly COMMERCE

Leah Fassnacht, Editor

606 Court Street, Reading, PA 19601 • 610.376.6766

The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

As the business voice of Greater Reading, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance leads the business community, as the economic driver, to a vibrant community. Your Greater Reading Chamber Alliance…

» Partners with all other economic development organizations in creating an environment for growth.

» Enables all businesses to take deliberate and decided action on issues affecting their welfare.

» Helps small business thrive and entrepreneurs strive.

» Develops employees through training and educational programs/alliances.

» Prepares tomorrow’s workforce with our involvement in education partnerships.

» Operates as a model business and pursues best practices.

» Maintains a five-star rating as one of the best chambers in Pennsylvania.

» Reflects our multicultural community at large.

©2024 All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the expressed written permission of the publisher.


Letter from the Editor

Raise your hand if you love public speaking. All of you overachievers can put your hand down. As for the rest of you, I am with you. I am one of those who absolutely dreads it, works myself up over it and then does just fine when the time comes to present.

Most recently, I traveled with Fargo, North Dakota, for RoleCall’s Talent Attraction & Retention Summit, where I was asked to present about how to create email marketing content people actually want to read. I prepared a presentation and practiced it multiple times, then I listened to Jay Schwedelson’s “Do This, Not That” marketing podcast on how to make your next public speaking engagement a success. After that, I had to totally rearrange my presentation, and I am so glad I did. Here are a few tips I learned that might help you as you prepare for your next public speech.

1. Share your most incredible tip first. Now, I know that doesn’t sound right, but hear me out. If you save your best stuff for the grand finale, you may have already lost half the room. Their eyes have glazed over, and they completely miss it. Share it first, and you have a hooked audience. I did this, and I could tell the audience was immediately invested.

2. Then come with the funny. If you haven’t shared anything usable, you haven’t earned the right to try to be funny. Once you give that great tip, then you can make a joke to loosen up the audience. If you do it right out of the gate, you might lose them before you really get going.

3. Get personal. Find a way to tell them something about yourself beyond your name and title. Giving them a few tidbits about yourself beyond just your name and title is important so you can form a better connection with your audience.

4. Address a major pain point and share how to fix it. Sounds easy enough, right? It can be, but you must know what your audience is struggling with. Once you have a good idea what those pain points are, give them real, tangible tips to address them.

Still nervous about your presentation? Connect with one or two people in the audience before you start. Asking them a simple question such as, “How was your weekend?” can immediately settle your nerves.

Next up, Audrey Krupiak, GRCA’s Assistant Director of Communications & Marketing, will be heading to Dallas to speak at the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Conference. And you can be sure we will be nervous, but we will be utilizing all of these awesome tips I outlined above. CQ

Leah Fassnacht

Visit our website

For the most up-to-date schedule of events, training and webinars, visit and click on the events calendar at the top of the page. CQ

Board of Directors


Jeffrey R. Rush – Fulton Bank (Chairman)

Christina L. Weeber – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc. (Vice Chairman)

Daniel R. Langdon – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc./Retired (Immediate Past Chairman)

Michele L. Richards – Fulton Bank (Treasurer)

Michael A. Duff, Esq. – Penske Truck Leasing (Secretary)


Ernest J. Choquette – The Stevens & Lee Companies

Jonathan Encarnacion – Community First Fund Credit Union

Jack Gombach – McNees Strategic Solutions Group

Laura Haffner – Wells Fargo

Ginger Kunkel – Tompkins VIST Bank

Sara Kuzma-Stump – Suburban Testing Labs

Dr. Susan Looney – Reading Area Community College

Jamey Maack – Industrial Metal Plating

John Perate – M&T Bank

Michele L. Richards – Fulton Bank

Alan Shuman – Shuman Development Group

David W. Stonesifer – Herbein + Company, Inc.

Michael Vind – FSL Public Finance

John Weidenhammer – Weidenhammer


Sara Kuzma Stump – Suburban Testing Labs (Chairwoman)

Laura Haffner – Wells Fargo (Vice Chairwoman)

Alan Shuman – Shuman Development Group (Secretary)

Jack Gombach – McNees Strategic Solutions Group (Treasurer)

Timothy Dietrich – Barley Snyder (Solicitor)

Michele L. Richards – Fulton Bank (Immediate Past Chair)


Stephen Bonner – Doc and Bubba’s

Brian Dietrich – Ernst & Young (EY LLP)

Jonathan Encarnacion – Community First Fund Credit Union

Alba Fernandez – Community First Fund

Jenn Frees – Comcast

Andrea Funk – Enersys

Kristi Gage-Linderman – Gage Personnel

Joey Jurgielewicz – Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd.

Kristin Kohler – Brentwood Industries, Inc.

Daniel B. Laws, Jr. – DaBrian Marketing Group

Ben Leisawitz – Barley Snyder LLP

John Perate – M&T Bank

Radha Pyati – Penn State Berks

Ryan Redner – Redner’s Markets

Daniel Richards – Berks County Intermediate Unit

Rodney Ridley – Alvernia University

Mike Riley – EthoSource, LLC

Ben Ross – Burkey Construction

Jim Sarro – MG Architects, Ltd.

Brad Stephenson – New Castle Lawn & Landscape

David W. Stonesifer – Herbein + Company, Inc.

John Weidenhammer – Weidenhammer


Debra L. Millman, Esq. – Greater Berks Development Fund (President)

Daniel R. Langdon – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc./Retired (Chairman)

Ernest J. Choquette – Stevens & Lee/Griffin (Vice Chairman)

Michael A. Duff, Esq. – Penske Truck Leasing (Secretary)

Michael Vind – FSL Public Finance (Treasurer)


Charles Barbera, MD – Tower Health

Joseph Butto – Mid Penn Bank

Scott Hauseman – Fulton Bank

Ginger Kunkel – Tompkins Community Bank

Dr. Susan Looney – Reading Area Community College

Jamey Maack – Industrial Metal Plating

David C. Roland – Truist

Timothy D. Romig – Customers Bank

Jeffrey R. Rush – Fulton Bank

Joseph J. Sigle - Wells Fargo

Sally Stewart – Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

Michael Vind – FSL Public Finance

Christina L. Weeber – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc.

Flying High

111th Annual Dinner celebrates growing businesses, features Brian Westbrook

The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) celebrated the vitality of the Berks County business community at its 111th Annual Dinner on May 22 held at the Santander Arena. More than 750 people gathered for the brightly colored event.

The evening kicked off with the Wilson High School percussion line welcoming Brian Westbrook, the keynote speaker and former Philadelphia Eagles running back, onto the stage. He presented his first slide that said, “DALLAS SUCKS!”

“This is the way I like to start all my talks,” he said as the crowd cheered.

Westbrook spoke about one of his favorite teammates of all time, Terrell Owens (T.O.). He said that when T.O. joined the organization in 2004, he brought a swagger and confidence. T.O. famously played in the Super Bowl that year on a broken leg, a move Westbrook said was a lesson in perseverance — the same type of perseverance is needed to successfully run a business, he said.

“Brian reminded us that like all great sports teams, great companies set measurable goals, work together through adversity and can adapt swiftly to change,” said Lucine Sihelnik, President & CEO of GRCA.

Photos by Wayne Becker
Ninni, Zerbe Photography
The Wilson High School percussion line led by David Bonilla Garcia and Zachary Kuhn surprised attendees and kicked off festivities.

The evening continued with recognizing the 45 companies that made up the Business Excellence Awards in Category 1. Dolan Construction, Inc., Pennsylvania Anesthesia Coalition, LLC, and Diamond Credit Union took the top 3 spots. The honored businesses in Category 1 are for-profit companies, with revenues of at least $1 million in each of the past three fiscal years.

Smaller businesses were recognized in Category 2 with Catering by John Lowe, VA Productions, Inc., and D&S Portable Toilets, LLC, making the top 3. The recognized companies in Category 2 are for-profit businesses, with revenues of at least $250,000 in each of the past three fiscal years.

“I am thrilled to recognize the hard work and dedication of businesses in the Greater Reading region at GRCA’s Annual Dinner. Their success demonstrates the vitality and perseverance of our community, and we are devoted to encouraging their progress and success,” said Sara Kuzma Stump, Director of Marketing at Suburban Testing Labs and GRCA’s board chairwoman.

The Title Sponsor of the event was Wells Fargo, and the Platinum Sponsor was Shuman Development Group.

Continued on next page >

Laura Haffner from Wells Fargo came decked out in Philadelphia Eagles gear and led an E-A-G-L-E-S cheer.
Keynote speaker Brian Westbrook told the crowd of more than 750 that perseverance can help one succeed in sports and business.
Maureen Dolan of Dolan Construction, center, receives the first-place award in Category 1.

Meet the Winners!

Scan to watch the videos of all the winners.

Category 1

($1M+ revenue in previous 3 years)

1. Dolan Construction Inc.

2. Pennsylvania Anesthesia Coalition, LLC

3. Diamond Credit Union

4. Shuman Development Group


6. Herbein + Company, Inc.

7. New Castle Lawn & Landscape

8. Reading Royals

9. American Crane & Equipment Corporation

10. Suburban Testing Labs

11. Chester Perfetto Agency, Inc.

12. Spotts Insurance Group

13. Reading Bakery Systems

14. Wyatt Seating

15. East Penn Manufacturing Company

16. Fraser Advanced Information Systems

17. Customers Bancorp, Inc.

18. Fromm

19. Berkshire Systems Group, Inc.

20. Singer Equipment Company

21. Mail Shark

22. Solve IT Solutions, LLC

23. McCarthy Engineering Associates, Inc.

24. Kozloff Stoudt Attorneys

25. Sonlight Services LLC

26. Levan Machine & Truck Equipment

27. Smith Bukowski, LLC

28. D&S Elite Construction, Inc.

29. Stoney Creek Rentals

30. Unique Pretzel Bakery, Inc.

31. Weidenhammer

32. Halter Landscaping Inc.

33. Discovery Federal Credit Union

34. Entech Engineering, Inc.

35. Muhlenberg Greene Architects, Ltd.

36. Ethosource LLC

37. ROG Orthodontics

38. Cornerstone Law Firm, LLC

39. American Barber and Beauty Academy

40. Ronnie C. Folk Paving, Inc.

41. Rothenberger Insurance Services, LLC

42. UGI Energy Services, LLC

43. Van Scoy Jewelers

44. Century 21 Gold

45. Grant Manufacturing & Alloying Inc.

Category 2

($250K+ revenue in previous 3 years)

1. Catering by John Lowe

2. VA Productions, Inc.

3. D&S Portable Toilets, LLC

4. Empowerment Behavioral Health LLC

5. DMH Business Solutions LLC

6. Berks Digital Inc.

7. Moyer-Drabick & Associates, Ltd.

8. ATA Martial Arts – Wyomissing

9. Parcon Cleaning Services

10. Financial Planning Advisors, Inc.

11. Studio West Hair Salon LLC

Continued on next page >

Glen-Gery Corporation was one of three GRCA members to be honored for 105 years of membership.




Don’t miss this opportunity to network, eat, drink and watch the Berks Biz Homerun Derby and Berks Biz Cornament!


Perfect Pairings How to Design a Winning Catering Menu

Designing a menu for a wedding reception or event can seem daunting, especially when there are different dietary needs to accommodate, which is becoming increasingly common. Also, the most common goals we hear for catering is a desire to provide a memorable meal that isn’t your typical steak and potatoes lineup.

Our secret is to have a repertoire of versatile foundational dishes that can be paired with other foods easily. This method allows the addition of a wide range of dishes to create a complete meal. As we add components to the meal, we pay attention to color, texture and flavor, making sure they all add up to a cohesive sensory experience that guests will not forget!

A Good Foundation

Many European-influenced meals begin with meat as the main component and add side dishes to round it out. There is nothing inherently wrong with starting with the meat, however, most other areas of the world do not build a menu that way, and designing a catering menu in a multicultural fashion opens up a world of adventurous and memorable flavors while also accommodating growing numbers of vegetarian and vegan guests at events.

Here is an example: One of our favorite “foundational dishes” is Puerto Rican arroz con gandules (yellow rice with pigeon peas). Simmered in a flavorful sofrito broth, it is delicious on its own, but pairs remarkably well with numerous other cuisines. It’s also vegan

and gluten-free, providing a foundation for the meal that almost anyone can enjoy

Traditional Pairings

With the foundation in place, we start pairing it with other foods to build out different menus, from traditional to regional and global!

For a traditional Puerto Rican dinner we add pernil or pollo asado (garlic-marinated slow-roasted pork or chicken) and a vegan protein like habichuelas guisadas, a hearty and savory pinto bean stew with olives and potatoes. To round it out, add maduros (roasted sweet plantains) for a pop of caramelized deliciousness, and a crisp Puerto Rican green salad for color and texture, and you have a beautiful meal.

Continued on next page >

Global Pairings

Arroz con gandules also pair amazingly well with a wide range of foods from other parts of the world.

Staying within the Caribbean, it can be served with Cuban mojo chicken, black beans and mango salsa.

Greek souvlaki (marinated char-grilled chicken or pork skewers) and Nepali cucumber aachar (salad) makes a stunning international meal! For a vegan and gluten-free dinner, try Congolese madesu (smoky stewed red beans) and tangy collard greens with a touch of brown sugar.

The key takeaway is that many flavors from different parts of the world pair well together and can create a menu that delights guests while meeting various dietary needs. When designing a menu, don’t be afraid to venture outside the typical fare, look for foundational dishes like hearty rices and stews, and add components that bring in colors and textures as well as deep flavors to leave your guest satisfied and impressed. CQ

Happy Campers

South Mountain YMCA Camp hits 75-year milestone

The South Mountain YMCA Camp has been a staple of Berks County summers since it opened in 1948. With 600 acres of property open for use, it has hosted weddings, birthday parties, business meetings, retreats and, of course, the numerous summer camp programs.

In 2023, the South Mountain YMCA Camp celebrated its 75th anniversary. To commemorate this achievement, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) is looking at the passion that has kept the camp alive.

South Mountain’s Unique Experience

In one of his earliest experiences as a counselor, Michael Burger, Director of Development & Alumni Relations, recalled how he took a group of boys on a weeklong hike through Central Pennsylvania. The group then traveled to upstate New York, canoeing down the Delaware water gap outside of Philadelphia and getting to connect in the meantime.

“Years later, I was out with friends at a bar and a beer showed up in front of me,” Burger recounts, laughing. “Turns out, it was one of my campers who remembered me! Here, I felt I had just been a kid who didn’t know anything at the time, but it turns out that I made

By Caitlin Bonner, Communications & Marketing Intern, GRCA
Photos Courtesy of South Mountain YMCA
Camp alumni Colin Bordley, Peter Tran and Myles Hamilton search for their names on its Officer of the Day Arrows, which are displayed in the Dining Hall.

enough of an impact on that young man that he wanted to reach out to me and say thank you for being my counselor.”

Now in his current position, Burger gets to watch new generations of campers share the same experiences and passion, all while learning what the camp is about.

At the heart of South Mountain is a need for understanding. At camp, kids can disconnect and detox, working face-to-face to understand the people they will come across in life and the different ways of thinking. From there, it’s all about learning how to discuss, respect and understand your fellow campers.

While campers may approach this new world with initial apprehension, the staff will testify that by midday, they’ve already found their people. By the end of the week, they may as well have been there all along.

“Everything we do here is built around honesty, integrity and respect,” Burger says. “Here, we try to work with kids in a covert way, so they come out understanding those core values without having to preach about it. It happens organically through their time through teambuilding and activities.”

When it comes to activities, the camp uses an approach that tailors its programs to fit its campers’ demands. There have been journalism and writing courses, acrobatics, photography, filmmaking, guitar lessons—anything and everything that campers and counselors show interest in learning.

They truly are the top experts in buying/selling in this area, and the best team to entrust with such an important life event. Their team is incredibly committed to making the entire selling and purchasing process go as smoothly as possible.”

When it comes to life’s biggest investment, your experience matters as much as your agent’s. Through 40+ combined years in Berks real estate, the Eric Miller Team has delivered uncompromising honesty, integrity, and attention to their clients’ needs.

The Erics have mastered a blend of savvy negotiation, strategic problem-solving, and impactful marketing driven by a passion for their community. As Berks County natives, students, coaches, and playground leaders, the Erics know the area and market better than anyone. They join less than 0.5% of RE/MAX agents worldwide in the Circle of Legends, along with Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement status, and over $680 million sold.

You know the importance of having an advisor you can trust. And so do we.

“If it’s your passion,” Burger says, “it’s so easy to share that with somebody else.”

Those passions, of course, tend to extend a lifetime. An impressive set of South Mountain’s alumni went on to turn their passions into careers, from accomplished young adult authors to the head of Boscov’s Department Stores to music biographers on a firstname basis with The Rolling Stones. Before he was the head of the Philadelphia Eagles dance team, James LeGette was an instructor running hip hop lessons at the camp. Before Taylor Swift was Taylor Swift, she was a camper exploring her passions.

One of the ways South Mountain maintains its lifelong relationships with its alumni is through constant outreach and opportunities to connect. Whether they are in their late teens and fresh out of camp themselves or seniors with the camp from the beginning, alumni from all generations get together and share their experiences.

“It’s a pretty remarkable thing,” Burger reflects. “When you start to think of the friendships you’ve made that last forever, the stories that you have from working, you think of here. It really is that one thing that ties us together.”

However, the camp has not stood this long without its fair share of hard times. The COVID-19 pandemic left the organization unable to host its regular summer camps. As many of the loyal staff members were left without jobs, they left the organization in search

of new passions. Filling this gap within the local community has been harder than expected, something the camp is still feeling the impact of.

To fill the gap, South Mountain has started hiring internationally, hosting counselors from 13 countries around the world, from Iceland to South Africa.

“It’s great because it exposes campers to cultures they never would have explored otherwise, and it gives our international staff the opportunity to travel,” Burger says.

As it recovers from COVID, the camp hopes to achieve a 50/50 balance in local and international leadership. So long as they have a base in the camp’s core values and a desire to help kids be the best they can be, anyone can apply.

Regardless of its setbacks, South Mountain is always pointed towards the future. To celebrate its anniversary, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to award distinguished alumni and introduce the newest construction project. Future campers will get an expanded dining hall, ADA-compliant bathrooms and more meeting spaces.

In terms of activities, the camp is constructing a new disc golf course and expanding its travel programs. Future campers can also look forward to showing off their cooking creativity in Iron Chef competitions around the campfire.

Pennsylvania Sen. Chris Gebhard presenting a Senate citation to Michael Burger, South Mountain YMCA’s Director of Development & Alumni Relations.

“I love that people are still interested, that the camp is still going,” Burger says, passion written on his face. “It really is amazing what goes on up here.”

South Mountain YMCA Programs

South Mountain offers several programs through the camp to give everybody an opportunity to experience the environment. Here are some of the most popular.

• Camp Conrad Weiser: The overnight camp most people are familiar with. Second grade and above are eligible.

• Bynden Wood Day Camp: Includes all the typical camp activities without the overnight stay. Kindergarten and above are eligible.

• Family Camp: Bring along the whole family and stay to experience the same programs as everyone else.

Campers’ Favorite Activities

South Mountain offers countless opportunities for everyone to take part in. Learn what the campers love the most!

1. Horseback Riding

This unique sport is possibly the most in-demand experience for campers. In addition to horses, South Mountain also hosts cows, pigs and a herd of goats!

2. Blue Marsh

At the marsh, campers can try sailing, kayaking, canoeing and other water activities.

3. Climbing Tower

The camp has a zipline at the top that campers can ride all the way down the mountain!

4. Nature Walks

This can include a subset of activities from birdwatching to stargazing depending on what campers want to see.

5. Archery

Once campers learn the basics, they can advance to Archery Tag, the perfect opportunity to hit your favorite counselors with soft-tipped arrows. “I am also an archery instructor,” Burger says. “So, I may be a little biased in saying it’s our best activity.” CQ

Some Like it Sweet (& Salty)

Berks County’s Sweet

& Salty Trail is sure to delight all your taste buds

Whether you crave the salty crunch of our region’s many pretzels, or the smooth sweetness of delicious ice cream, Pennsylvania Americana Region’s (PAR) new Sweet & Salty Trail has something for you.

“This is perfect for families, a fun grandparent activity and date nights. What a great way to cool off this summer while enjoying the sweet and salty side of Berks County,” said Heather Zimmerman, PAR’s newly minted President and CEO.

Not only does this trail delight tastebuds, but also serves as an important placemaking tool in our communities.

“Through our partnership with GRCA, we look forward to many more opportunities to continue to promote Berks County’s many businesses, attractions, lodging, restaurants and events. This partnership strengthens the focus on living, working and playing in Berks County,” Zimmerman said.

Aaron Gantz, GRCA’s Vice President of Economic Development & Strategy, believes the trail helps the Greater Reading community in numerous ways.

“The Sweet & Salty Trail not only boosts tourism but also drives local economic development by attracting visitors to Greater Reading’s businesses and creating job opportunities in the hospitality sector,” she said.

Let’s meet a few members of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) that help make this trail the tastiest journey.

Sweet Treats

The Cherry on Top | 25 Shelbourne Road, Reading

The Cherry on Top is more than just an ice cream truck. This woman-owned and family-operated business serves hand-dipped sundaes using Leiby’s premium ice cream. Don’t miss out on trying its new air-popped popcorn. With flavors like butterscotch and toffee to fluffernutter, you’re sure to find one for you.

The Great American Creamery | 645 Penn St., Reading

The Great American Creamery proudly serves hard ice cream from PSU Berkey Creamery and Turkey Hill Dairy, alongside its homemade soft serve. If you like soft serve or hand dipped cones, it has them in yummy flavors. Don’t forget the sprinkles! You can also enjoy pints, milkshakes, floats, sundaes and specialty frozen desserts and treats. Stop by, it’s worth the trip!

Sweet Ride Ice Cream | 542 Penn Ave., West Reading

Sweet Ride Ice Cream features a vintage soda fountain and serves locally produced, super premium ice cream. Hosting a party? It provides catering services from its unique ice cream bike, ice cream truck and mobile ice cream parlor.

Salty Snacks

Tom Sturgis Pretzels | 2267 Lancaster Pike, Reading

Tom Sturgis Pretzels continues to use old-fashioned recipes and techniques combined with modern equipment to give the full flavor to its pretzels that customers have come to expect. Guests can enjoy samples of all its pretzels while they browse the full product line of pretzels as well as a variety of gift items.

Unique Snacks | 215 E. Bellevue Ave., Reading

The Spannuth Family has been baking pretzels for six generations, and it shows! Unique Snack’s mission is clear. Provide great snacks that are simple and delicious. Better yet, all of its crunchy and flavorful pretzels are made right at its Reading location. Stop in to shop the wide variety of gift baskets, tins, chocolate pretzels and dips.

Scan to learn more & participate:

Emerald Anniversary WCR Center for the Arts hits big milestone

WCR Center for the Arts’ (WCR) primary goal is to preserve its historic facility, ensuring it remains a vibrant hub for artistic expression and community gatherings. Steeped in a vibrant history, the WCR was erected in the 19th century in the Callowhill District of Reading, on the site of the city’s first post office. After serving as the Wyomissing Club for many years, the building became home to the Women’s Club of Reading in 1919.

In the summer of 2004, several community leaders formed a new entity, the WCR Center for the Arts. The organization was formed to preserve this historic building as a unique performance and exhibition venue for the community.

At the center of this stately building is a 265-seat auditorium with an acoustic quality unmatched anywhere in southeastern Pennsylvania. A superb vintage Steinway grand piano, purchased by the Women’s Club, is still showcased in concerts today. The venue also boasts a gallery and reception hall, perfect for exhibits, meetings and various entertainment events.

Did You Know?

• 140 N. 5th St. was the site of the first Reading Post Office in 1793.

• WCR is short for Women’s Club of Reading established in 1919.

• The front of the building has been altered from its original design in the 1860s, most notably the addition of the front windows.

• The WCR logo and the WC do not necessarily mean the same thing as this building briefly was the Wyomissing Club.

• On Sept. 20, 2024, WCR is hosting its 20th Anniversary Concert & Gala. The public is welcome.

• Rentals are available for weddings, private parties and events of all kinds.

By Summer Rose Biros, Social Media & Marketing Coordinator, WCR Center for the Arts

Journey and Achievements

Since its inception, the WCR has made significant strides in accessibility and community involvement. One of its proudest achievements was making its facility fully handicapped accessible in 2023, ensuring everyone can enjoy the rich cultural experiences offered. WCR provides a space for artists and performers to showcase their talents and for audiences to experience the magic of live performances.

The Pillars of Longevity

• Dedicated Leadership: WCR’s Board of Directors and Founding Members have been instrumental in shaping the organization into what it is today.

“At the WCR Center for the Arts, we are proud of our rich history and the impact we have made in the community. As we look forward to the future, we are committed to continuing our mission of promoting the arts and serving the Reading community. We invite you to join us in celebrating our journey and to be a part of our exciting future,” said Jayme Rhoads, President, WCR Board of Directors.

• Community Support: The unwavering support from our patrons, volunteers and local businesses has been vital to our sustainability.

• Inclusive Environment: By making our facility accessible with the installation of a lift, we have created an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome to participate and enjoy the arts. We have also created educational children’s arts programming focused on low to moderate income families in Reading.

• Collaborative Partnerships: Our collaborations with organizations including Friends of Chamber Music (FOCM), John Paul II, DoubleTree by Hilton, Reading Musical Foundation, Reading Symphony Orchestra, Berks County Community Foundation, Berks Youth Chorus, Berks Arts, Olivet Boys & Girls Club, Barrio Alegria, Reading Theater Project, Yocum Institute for Arts Education, Alvernia University, Reading FilmFest, Albright College, GoggleWorks, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, Kutztown University, United Way Leadership Berks, and local theater companies have enriched WCR’s programming and extended its reach within the community.

Looking Ahead

As it approaches its 20th anniversary season, WCR is excited and humbled to celebrate this milestone in the community with a series of special events and initiatives:

• 20th Anniversary Gala and Concert: Friday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m., WCR will host a grand celebration to mark our two decades of service to the arts and the community. There will be performances by Julien Labro with The Attacca Quartet and Hot Club of Reading.

• Bonnie Raitt Birthday Celebration: Saturday, Oct. 26, 2024, join WCR for an afternoon of live music by Maria Damore, Ken Bagenstose and Suzie Ernesto, along with video presentations, cake and drinks.

• Classical Mandolin and Guitar Duo: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2024, enjoy a performance by Carlo Anza and Renee Izquierdo.

• Guitar-A-Rama: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2024, experience performances by the Quarantine Quartet and the Gourmet Gypsy Jazz Band, along with a workshop and jam session.

• 20th Anniversary Celebration of Music From the Inside Out: Sunday, March 2, 2025, WCR will host a weeklong run of the documentary at GoggleWorks, featuring a Youth Chamber Orchestra and a quintet performance by members of the Philadelphia Orchestra featuring David Kim, Kimberly Fisher, Udi Bar-David and Mark Lipshitz, followed by a meet-and-greet reception.

• Jazz Fest Event: Wednesday, April 11, 2025, enjoy an evening with David Cullen and Ugandan folk musician Samite, supported by the Reading Music Foundation. CQ


For nearly 40 years, Martins Flooring has been installing confidence and flooring

Martins Flooring, a family-owned business established 39 years ago, specializes in both residential and commercial flooring solutions. Our guiding principle, “We Install Confidence,” reflects our dedication to customer satisfaction and top-notch craftsmanship. Over the years, we’ve built a reputation for reliability and quality, serving as a trusted partner for countless homeowners and businesses.

Martins Flooring is much more than just a flooring company. In addition to our wide range of flooring options, we offer window treatments, tile backsplashes, custom tile showers, and specialized maintenance and cleaning services. These offerings emphasize our commitment to providing comprehensive home improvement solutions, ensuring that every aspect of your interior space is covered.

Looking to the future, we are continuously seeking ways to enhance our customer experience and expand our services. Recently, we’ve updated our showrooms to create a more immersive and inspiring environment for our clients. This renovation is part of our broader growth strategy, as we aim to deepen our market presence and continue evolving to meet the diverse needs of our customers. CQ

Building Community West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation brings businesses, people together

The West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation (CRF), a nonprofit community-based organization, is a partnership of residents, government officials and business leaders committed to advancing the vitality in its commercial areas and the livability of residential areas of West Reading. It provides community members with the tools necessary to create a healthy downtown and surrounding neighborhoods through action-oriented programs.

CRF is most proud of its economic vitality and community feel it brings to West Reading. Whether it’s the large events like Art on the Avenue or Fall Fest, or the smaller things it does like employing residents of the Hope Rescue Mission to help clean Penn Ave., it is always looking for ways to improve the community and continuing economic growth.

CRF is always looking for ways to partner with residents and businesses of Berks County through sponsorship, volunteering and assisting with various capital improvements throughout the community. CQ

By Nick Price, Main Street Executive Director, West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation


R E A D I N G Chamber Alliance


Here’s a taste of what the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) has been working on in the past couple of months and what’s to come!


GRCA welcomed Alex Roché as the new Director of Advocacy, where he will lead GRCA’s legislative agenda, advocacy initiatives, and strategy, and keep our members and community stakeholders informed on regulatory changes and community matters.

Economic Development

Our team thrives at bringing partners and stakeholders together through initiatives like Elevate Berks where numerous resource partners collaborate to support entrepreneurs and small businesses. We engage with stakeholders from both the public and private sectors on transit-oriented development planning in anticipation of the return of passenger rail. We continually work with local companies to access funding to support their investment and growth through the PA Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) and the PA Loan Catalyst Fund. We are here to connect the dots to facilitate growth.

Events & Special Programs

It was an electrifying evening at the Santander Arena this May for our Annual Dinner, where over 750 attendees from businesses across Berks County came together to network and celebrate the recipients of the Berks Business Awards.

The 5th De Mujer a Mujer Awards were presented at Centro Hispano during our second all-Spanish Mujer event. This year’s honorees were:

• Jennifer De La Cruz, Young Changemaker

• Zylkia Rivera, Small Business Owner

• Brenda Rosado, Community Impact

In addition, former recipients of the ATHENA Award gathered to celebrate the newest honoree—Karen Norheim—who spoke in April at the Women2Women Annual Conference & Expo.

We eagerly anticipate welcoming you to our next big event on Aug. 20—the Annual Picnic! Bring your entire team for a day of food, drinks, and fun while the Reading Fightin’ Phils are away from FirstEnergy Stadium. This year’s picnic features the return of our popular Home Run Derby and the second annual Cornament— two competitions that promise to be as thrilling as ever! Enjoy live music from First Things First, challenge yourself with giant Jenga, and explore the BRAND NEW Redner’s Event Center. This is one event you don’t want to miss!


GRCA Membership is committed to fostering collaboration among our members. Our primary focus is on connecting businesses to drive growth and success. Through a variety of initiatives, events, and networking opportunities, we aim to create a supportive and dynamic community where members can leverage each other’s strengths and expertise. By facilitating meaningful connections, we help our members achieve their business objectives and contribute to a thriving local economy.

Training & Workforce Development

Workforce Development held a DEI workshop in partnership with Danielle Stewart from Paragon Consulting, focused on building effective DEI initiatives. Additionally, the second quarter Environmental Health & Safety Roundtable was held in May. The MFG IP organized a manufacturing tour at Sweet Street in April and partnered with W2W to highlight local women in manufacturing careers at a May breakfast event. The Healthcare IP conducted its 2nd quarter meeting on June 20 at Alvernia University.

Check out two upcoming trainings:

Practical Project Management Workshop

Strong project management skills drive organizational success by improving productivity, fostering innovation, and ensuring strategic goals are achieved. Are your project management skills up to date? Don’t miss this opportunity to sharpen this essential skill. Join us on Aug. 14, 2024.

Sales Methods & Mastery Training Program

Signing up for the GRCA Sales Methods and Mastery Training Program is a strategic investment in your professional development as a sales professional and an investment in the immediate and longterm benefit of your organization. Join us on Aug. 28, 2024. CQ

The GRCA Board of Directors hosted an Open House and ribbon cutting for the newly remodeled GRCA headquarters in the heart of downtown Reading.

UAI in Action Breakfast4Success speaker teaches attendees AI uses beyond the usual

sing AI tools is not about being artificial. It’s about taking what you are already good at, and it gives you some help. Brad Zdenek, Director of Economic Development and Student Programs at Penn State University, told an audience this and much more during the interactive Breakfast4Success event at The Rookery at Berks Nature.

“Most think of chat bots as those annoying things that pop up in the corner of the screen, take that and throw it out because this is a new world. This is more of a real conversation,” he said.

Zdenek noted that there are numerous AI tools in the market but said that the three big players in the market are ChatGPT, Claude and Microsoft Copilot.

He used the latter to take attendees through various prompts, and explained numerous ways it could be used in a business.

How can it help?

• Understanding your audience

o Who are my customers? Who should I be targeting?

• Business Plan Development

o Give it details of your business, and it will create a business plan.

• Fast Prototyping

o Help me innovate a new product or produce a 3-D rendering of a product.

• Marketing research

o How is the market changing?

• And more

o Images and video content

Using AI is like sitting across the table from a world expert in anything you want to know, he said. He urged attendees to tell the AI who to be; be specific about what you want out of it.

“You are really creating a dialogue like you would with any human. Engage in that dialogue,” he said.

While he said that AI can be overwhelming, it is important to embrace it so as to not be outperformed by others who do use it.

Photos by

“AI is not going to replace all of us. But those who use AI will replace those who don’t,” Zdenek said.

He also acknowledged there are ethical issues with AI but said it’s not going away.

“The best way to rein in its abilities is to use it,” he said, noting that we are responsible for drawing the line because there are little to no laws surrounding AI. He puts a disclaimer on content that he creates using AI and says which tool he used to create it.

“Will the answers be perfect? No, that’s where your expertise comes in. You know what’s good and what’s bad.”

Lynn Kreider, owner of LJ’s Fitness in Womelsdorf, said prior to the event she didn’t know much about AI or how she would utilize it, and she was initially intimidated. As the presentation went on, she saw that she could use it for lots of customer-based research.

Zdenek capped the talk off by reminding the audience that the capabilities of AI are almost endless.

“In the end, the limitations of these tools are your imagination,” he said. CQ

Tips & Cautions

• Iterate: Never stop prompting until you get the result you want.

• Use the power of examples: Upload examples of writing, and it can write new content in your voice.

• Beware of hallucinations: Sometimes AI just makes stuff up so you have to check things, especially when your prompts lack detail.

• Ask it to show its work: Tell the AI to cite its sources.

• Refine existing content: Use it to rewrite what you have already written.

• Let it know who you are: It will use that context when giving its answers.

• AI is a starting point, not a replacement: It’s not the end all, but it can help.

• Ethics of AI: You must decide where your personal line is or where your company’s line is.

(April 2024-May 2024)

Commonwealth Commercial Appraisal Detail Shoppe
Redner’s Event Center
Shuman Development Group

Happy GRCA-aversary!

GRCA is proud to recognize the following members for their loyal membership.

E. R. Stuebner, Inc. Berks Transfer, Inc.
Schlouch Inc.
Singer Equipment

Meet the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Ambassadors

The mission of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) Ambassador Program is to foster member commitment and retention by raising awareness of GRCA activities and benefits, engaging new GRCA Members to ensure robust, ongoing participation and acting as a bridge between GRCA staff and the membership. Our ambassadors play a crucial role in this mission, bringing their unique experiences and perspectives to strengthen our community. Let’s meet some of these dedicated individuals:

Tara Foose, Customer Service/ Sales Support Lead, Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania

I grew up in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, and moved to Pennsylvania to attend Ursinus College. After earning dual degrees in East Asian Studies and International relations, I lived in Greater Philadelphia until I met my husband, who is from Elverson, at an engineering firm. Since relocating to Mohnton, I have held various roles, including gymnastics coach, social worker, publisher and rugged electronics professional. Currently, I am the Customer Service/Sales Support Lead for Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, a medical marijuana grower and processor in Sinking Spring.

I became a GRCA ambassador because I enjoy meeting new people and fostering community connections. GRCA events are always engaging and provide unique networking opportunities not

typically available in my field. GRCA also highlights many new or lesser-known Berks County organizations, making it exciting to discover and support local businesses and residents.

Jack Gombach, Government Affairs Consultant, Community Networking Resources, LLC

I am a government affairs consultant serving in the southeast Pennsylvania region for Community Networking Resources, LLC (CNR). CNR is a regional, full-service government affairs and grassroots advocacy consulting group. With a diverse team of government relations specialists and grassroots professionals, we have the experience and relationships necessary to deliver results for public sector, private sector and non-profit clients alike.

With extensive experience in political and public affairs, I provide invaluable guidance to clients, helping them navigate Pennsylvania’s complex political landscape with confidence and achieve their advocacy goals effectively. Before joining CNR, I served in leadership roles of various non-profits. I also successfully ran my own political consulting firm with an emphasis in serving minority candidates. I held the position of Borough Council President for the Borough of West Reading—showcasing my commitment to community service and leadership.

Becoming a GRCA ambassador is a natural extension of my commitment to our community. Throughout my career, I’ve had the incredible opportunity advocating for policies that support growth and opportunity for all. As a government affairs professional, I understand the importance of fostering a vibrant business environment. Joining GRCA as an ambassador allows me to leverage my experience and relationships to benefit Reading. I am passionate about helping local business owners navigate the complex political landscape, secure necessary, resources and achieve their full potential.

As an ambassador, I’m excited to connect with local entrepreneurs, share insights, and support initiatives that drive economic development. I’m proud to contribute towards a thriving, competitive business community, and Greater Reading. I believe that, through our collective efforts and dedicated advocacy, we can create an environment where business not only survives, but flourishes.

Lauren Little, Owner, Lauren Adele Little Photography

I am a photographer specializing in editorial, marketing and event photography. During my 20-year career, I have worked with people from all walks of life, including large hospitals and health systems, public schools, advertising and communications firms, non-profits, families and more.

A longtime photojournalist, I am a problem-solver dedicated to putting my clients at ease and finding the perfect photo in every situation. I create content that fronts campaigns, celebrates milestones and tells a story.

I am a member of the GRCA and an ambassador because the chamber gives me a community. GRCA offers a valuable platform to meet potential clients, outstanding workshops and seminars, and ongoing support to Berks businesses and entrepreneurs. I am proud to be a member!

Chrissy Murray, Outreach Coordinator, SeniorLIFE Reading

Growing up in Berks County, I have built a vast network of acquaintances. Friends and family know that when they go out with me, there is an 80% chance I will run into someone I know! This has enabled me to connect with a diverse array of people in the area. I am more than a networker; I am a connector. If you need a resource, I will have the person for you!

My professional journey has spanned food service, retail, and various sales roles. Being part of long-standing Berks County businesses with rich legacies is something I am immensely proud of. My diverse experiences and professional development have led to my current role at SeniorLIFE Reading. The privilege of changing people’s lives every day and empowering them to age in place and remain independent in the community is not only a pleasure but a beautiful gift.

I have always been involved in volunteering—for schools, the community, nonprofit groups and more. Volunteering as an ambassador for GRCA felt like a natural fit. Helping new GRCA members settle in and maximize their membership has been an honor. Sharing GRCA with the Berks County community has been fantastic. Connecting business with each other, or people with the business or service they need, was a natural progression of the connections I make.

Yamile Zabala Peña, Business Development Office, Diamond Credit Union

I am an energetic business development officer with nine years of experience in the financial industry, always pushing for growth and innovative ideas. Throughout my career, I have led numerous projects that have transformed our industry. I graduated from Reading Area Community College and Albright College with a degree in Business Administration. I am also certified as a Scrum Master, which helps me lead projects more efficiently.

I am deeply committed to helping my community. I volunteer with the Friends of the Reading Police K-9 Unit, work as an ambassador for GRCA and serve on the board of the Berks Community Health Center. These roles allow me to give back to the community that has supported me.

Outside of work, I am passionate about science and love spending time with my family. Whether I am gardening, jogging, or just relaxing at the beach, I find inspiration in nature and my loved ones. Everything I do is driven by my love for the community and my desire to make it better.

I became an ambassador for GRCA because I want to help our community grow and support local businesses. By connecting people and encouraging teamwork, I believe we can make Greater Reading even better. In this role, I will use my experience and enthusiasm to lead projects that make our business community more innovative and sustainable. My goal is to help others succeed, making our local economy stronger and our community more vibrant. CQ


More than just a market, Boyertown Farmers Market brings food, people together

The Boyertown Farmers Market is a lively and welcoming destination that captures the essence of small-town charm and community spirit. Nestled in the heart of Boyertown, this market is a bustling hub of activity twice a month, where local farmers, artisans and residents converge to celebrate the abundance of locally sourced produce and handcrafted goods.

In addition to fresh produce, the market features a selection of meats, dairy products and homemade goods—all produced by local vendors. The artisan crafters offer unique handmade items, from pottery and jewelry to soaps and candles, perfect for finding one-ofa-kind gifts or personal treasures.

The market is not just a place to buy food, it’s a social gathering spot where neighbors meet, conversations flow and the sense of community is strong. With a food truck at every market along with a place to sit, eat and enjoy free live music, it has become an evening out with small-town hospitality. The music adds a festive backdrop to the shopping experience as well. July 18 will be our third annual “Dog Days of Summer” theme with free giveaways from Zimmers Pets, gift basket raffle and a dog costume contest. Continue to check out our website and social media for updates and special events.

The market is held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays in the parking lot of the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles located at 129 S. Reading Ave., Boyertown.

Visit for a complete list of participating vendors, entertainment and food trucks. Follow Boyertown Farmers Market on Facebook and Instagram. CQ

Join us on the following dates:

• July 3 (Wednesday due to July 4th holiday)

• July 18 “Dog Days of Summer” event

• Aug. 1

• Aug. 15

• Sept. 5

• Sept. 19


Exciting things are happening in Hamburg!

As the summer continues, Hamburg is saying “Hello!” to many new businesses in the downtown. Liv Holistic, a brand dedicated to making a holistic, nontoxic lifestyle both simple and affordable, opened for business on June 14 at 342 State St. The storefront features organic and eco-friendly products with clean and safe ingredients including shampoo, body wash, hair care products, skincare, home cleaning and laundry supplies, as well as pet-safe and kid-safe items.

Recently, the successful Haven Diner in Schuylkill Haven opened a second location in Hamburg at the former Hamburg Diner location, 210 State St., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. This spot has been vacant for many years and needed a lot of work and renovations to bring life to the location. The community is happy the Hamburg Diner is open once again!

Mayfield and Company moved its retail store and coffee shop, Hazel’s Café, from Kutztown to 45 S. 4th St. in Hamburg. Seeing an opportunity to move Hazels to the town in which they live, work and play, the Mayfield and Company family made the decision to combine both Hazel’s and Mayfield and Company into one shop. Scheduled for an Aug. 1 opening, Hazel’s will be a full-service coffee shop featuring coffee, teas, flavored energy drinks, Boba tea, house-made chai, matcha and other assorted beverages. In addition to coffee and beverages, Hazel’s will offer daily house-baked goods, locally sourced bagels, breakfast sandwiches and light lunch options available for take-out or dine-in. Josephine’s Oil and Spice, which was previously in that location, has moved to 63 N. 4th St. and joined with The Bismarck Bed and Breakfast.

In addition, Darren’s Spot, a non-profit organization on a mission to help those in need of mental health and suicide prevention services, opened in town and brings second-hand deals to 33 S. 4th St. Also, Steve’s Quackin’ Deals, LLC, opened a store front at 202 State St. to

bring you great prices on new retail products for your home, children and everyone in the family. Earlier this year, Hamburg also added Klutch Motors, a used car lot on 146 S. 4th St.

Although we said goodbye to a favorite local coffee shop, Four Twelve, we will be welcoming Redeemed Coffee House at this location with a tentative opening for late August! Redeemed Coffee House has been working with Bridge Church, former owners of Four Twelve, and plans to have a similar menu with specialty expresso and coffee drinks, light food including toast, bagels, sweet treats and Amishmade pastries.

We are also excited for a proposed new children’s boutique opening at 5 S. 4th St.

With all these new additions, we ask the Greater Reading community to come out and support the new and existing businesses in Hamburg. Bring your friends and family to help these small businesses thrive! For additional information on business opportunities in Hamburg, call the Our Town Foundation office at 610-562-3106. CQ

KUTZTOWN Making connections and moving forward

The heart of Kutztown is its sense of community. The Kutztown Community Partnership (KCP) is dedicated to fostering these connections throughout the town by revitalizing past projects and introducing new ones.

The Hailstone Project

In 2020, the KCP and the Kutztown Borough Council partnered with Hailstone Economics to develop a comprehensive revitalization plan. The goal of this plan is to enhance the appeal of the borough to visitors, small businesses and prospective residents. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this plan was put on hold. However, a committee has been established to reinvigorate this initiative.

Kutztown Business Breakfasts

As part of the plan, KCP is organizing monthly business breakfasts for local business leaders to network and build relationships. Each month, a breakfast will be held at a local restaurant, where businesses can show support for the establishment by purchasing breakfast and participating in discussions on how to support one another. It also provides an opportunity to connect with the Small Business Development Center at Kutztown University.

The Small Business Development Center’s mission is to empower aspiring and existing small business owners with the knowledge, resources, consulting and mentoring they need to start, grow and prosper. It does this by offering existing businesses and early-stage entrepreneurs access to no-cost, confidential consulting services and learning opportunities. It services Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster and Lebanon counties via outreach offices in Kutztown, Reading and Coatesville.

New Businesses in Town

When you visit Kutztown don’t forget to welcome our newest business neighbors.

• Level Up Video Games - 13 E. Main St., Kutztown

• Simran Indian Cuisine - 163 W. Main St., Kutztown

• Stella’s Treats & Grooming Salon - 183 W. Main St., Kutztown CQ


Sarai Variety Flower Shop received the Eastern Pennsylvania Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award for 2024. Located at 12 N. 9th St., it is the first Latina-owned florist shop in the City of Reading. The shop is owned by Lourdes Peralta.

The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance welcomes new Director of Advocacy, promotes two staff

Reading Bakery Systems (RBS), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of baked snack production systems, has announced the promotion of Kevin Bowes to Director of Engineering. In this new role, Bowes is responsible for the engineering and design of all RBS equipment, as well as ensuring compliance with industry manufacturing standards and customer specifications are met.

The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) is thrilled to announce several key promotions and a new hire, underscoring our commitment to growth and excellence in delivering programming and services to our members and the Greater Reading business community. We are pleased to welcome Alex Roché as our new Director of Advocacy, where he will lead GRCA’s legislative agenda, advocacy initiatives, and strategy, and keep our members and community stakeholders informed on regulatory changes and community matters.

Additionally, Jackie Stiles has been promoted to Vice President of Business Development & Special Programs where she will oversee training, GRCA membership and events, and leading Women2Women and the Family Business Alliance.

Aaron Gantz has been named Vice President of Economic Development & Strategy where she will be responsible for spearheading GRCA’s economic development initiatives and strategic planning efforts.

Entech Engineering, Inc. (Entech) is pleased to announce the promotion of David Dise to Project Engineer after completing the Professional Engineer’s exam. Dise is a leader in the development of design solutions for Entech’s energy production and infrastructure clients throughout the United States.

Fromm, a 100-year-old distributor of electrical supplies and automation products, announced the launch of FrommConnect, a division that offers engineering, fabrication and labor-saving services to manufacturers and electrical contractors. FrommConnect was born partly out of the need to help fill the void left by retiring employees whose skills and knowledge are difficult to replace, while companies strive to meet the demands of today’s competitive business environment.

Fromm, a leading independent electrical distributor in the Mid-Atlantic Region, announced the appointment of Leo Francis as Vice President of Construction Sales. In this role, Francis will drive the expansion of Fromm’s commercial and residential business and lead the company’s sales efforts in lighting and switchgear. It also announced the appointment of Patrick Standish as Regional Vice President. In this role, Standish will oversee a portion of Fromm’s sales footprint and branches. He will be responsible for driving continued growth in these markets while working with the senior leadership team to execute the company’s strategic priorities.

CPA and advisory firm

RKL LLP ranks first in Pennsylvania among America’s Most Recommended Tax Firms from USA TODAY. For the first time, the newspaper, in cooperation with Statista, rated the top 100 tax firms in the United States based on recommendations from peers and clients.

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts is proud to announce the hiring of Devyn Briggs as the new Artistic Director and Rachael Romig as the new Development Director. These strategic appointments come at a time of expansive growth and innovation at GoggleWorks, signaling a dynamic future for the arts center.

John Paul II Center for Special Learning (JPII) is pleased to announce that Kaylee Simcik has been named its new principal. Previously, Simcik served as the multi-disabilities classroom teacher. She replaces John Funk and Shelly Kreska who shared the principal role this school year as they continued their teaching duties.

Continued on next page >

Lolita Paff, associate professor of business and economics at Penn State Berks, is the recipient of Penn State’s 2024 Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching. The award is presented to only two faculty members annually. It is the most prestigious award that a faculty member can receive, recognizing excellence in teaching and student support.

Caron Treatment Centers, a nonprofit behavioral healthcare leader, announced the appointment of Adam Scioli, D.O., DFAPA, FASAM, FAOAAM, to Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Dr. Scioli will serve on Caron’s Executive Leadership Team, reporting directly to Caron Chief Executive Officer John Driscoll. As CMO, Dr. Scioli will oversee all medical services at Caron, including psychiatry, psychology and neuropsychology as well as Caron’s expanded neurocognitive services.

The Reading Royals, proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, announced that Jason Binkley has been named the team’s Head Coach and General Manager. Binkley is the ninth coach in the 23-year team history of the Royals.

Members 1st Federal Credit Union has been awarded a 2024 Telly Award for a video campaign that featured two of its members. The video was created by Members 1st associates: Kyle Cooper, multimedia specialist; Nicholas Garisto, multimedia specialist; Whitney Foote, marketing manager; and Allison Bush, marketing specialist, the company said. The Telly Awards honor excellence in video and television across all screens and are judged by leaders from video platforms, television, streaming networks and production companies.

The Berks History Center has announced that Bradley K. Smith, Assistant Director and Archivist, was honored with the Outstanding Pennsylvania German Activities Award by the Deutsch-Pennsylvanischer Arbeitskreis. DeutschPennsylvanischer Arbeitskreis, known as the GermanPennsylvania Association in English, was established to foster dialogue between various initiatives in Germany, enhance collaboration between the Old and New World, and serve as a primary point of contact for institutions in the United States and Canada.

Berks Community Health Center (BCHC) is expanding services at its Rockland location with the hiring of two new providers. Dr. Amanda Hafer will assist the clinical providers in medication management for many of BCHC’s patients who suffer from chronic conditions. Nina Glover, CRNP, will focus on nutrition education, psych nursing, quality assurance in healthcare insurance, case management and urgent care.

Tompkins Community Bank (Tompkins) has promoted Stacie Mastin to senior vice president, director of human resources. Mastin will align human resources practices with the organization’s overall goals while also providing guidance and support to employees.

The Board of Directors of the LGBT Center of Greater Reading announced the appointment of Laura Biancone to the role of Interim Executive Director. Biancone will be responsible for leading and guiding all aspects of the organization’s critical functions including board relations, philanthropy, staff development, client services and community advocacy, as well as partnering with key community leaders and partners to further integrate the LGBT Center as a force for change, equity and inclusion at the local, state and national levels.

Reading Hospital has been named to Newsweek’s World’s Best Hospitals 2024. Newsweek and Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider, present this prestigious award annually.

The Board of Directors of Olivet Boys and Girls Club of Reading & Berks County announced the hiring of Rick Perez as the Club’s new Chief Executive Officer. In his new role as Club CEO, Perez will continue to pay it forward and share that same encouragement with children throughout our community.

Columbia Cottage Wyomissing proudly announces its latest accolade: the esteemed recognition as a 2024 Best Assisted-Living Community by U.S. News & World Report. This prestigious designation underscores the unwavering commitment to excellence in care and community that defines Columbia Cottage Wyomissing.

Member News: New Members & Anniversaries

MARCH 16, 2024-JUNE 14, 2024

New Members

Anthropocene Creative

Bank of America

Cavas Expressions Aesthetic Beauty Spa

Ciccio’s Olives

Clean Floors & More

Dairy Farmers of America

Detail Shoppe

Drafting Solutions II LLC

Endless Escapes, Ltd.


First American Abstract of PA

Fostering Hope Berks

Frank Singleton State Farm

Great American Creamery

Halter Landscaping Inc.

LedgeRock Golf Club


LJ’s Fitness

McGinty Motorcars

OTC Fleet Services

Outback Steakhouse – Reading

Piscani Consulting Services

Pugh Self-Protection & Combatives

Primo Hoagies-Wyomissing

Reading Symphony Orchestra

Scientific Based Solutions LLC

Simply BOLD

Skylight Cuisine & Bar

St. Luke’s University Health Network

The Morgan School, LLC

The Rudden Family Fountains, Inc.

The W Group Financial Services

Titus Station

Treuse Home Styling LLC


Turnberry Construction Group

Queens’ Cafe

Weichert Realtors - The JK Team


1 Year:

 Palo Magazine

 Best Buy

 Studio West Hair Salon LLC

 Just Breathe. Weddings & Events

 Grey Girl Photography

 Yocum Institute for Arts Education

 LMG Marketing Solutions

 HJ Warner Consulting, LLC

 Plum Creek Farm Market & Creamery

 CommunityAid

 Bring The Change, Inc

 C&S Service & Supply Company

 Palaeli Studio LLC

 PartyMasterz Productions, LLC

 Center For Urologic Care of Berks County

 IMM Enterprises LLC, Aquafeel Solutions

 Thomas W. Rhoads

 Jeff Martin, Century 21 Gold

 Aesir Logistics, LLC

 Renewed Vitality

 Compass Dental

 American Capital Express LLC

 Wieland Heyco

 Heck Construction Company, Inc.

 Enterprise Systems Partners, Inc.

 D&B Elite Custom

 Reading Public Museum

 Chime CPA

 Purcell Construction Company

 Kim R. Lewis Design/Urban Charm

 Frutchey Endodontics

 Stratus Cleaning Building Solutions

 Prestige Insurance Solutions

5 Years:

 Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton/Kutztown

 Diamond Credit Union - Muhlenberg Branch

10 Years:

 Martins Flooring, Inc.

 Empire Services

 Harding-Yost Insurance

 Spotts, Stevens, and McCoy

 Naugle Associates, LLC

 Auman’s Funeral Home

15 Years:

 Dean Marketing Communications and Design

 Commute PA

 Brewer’s Bar & Grill

 Solve IT Solutions, LLC

20 Years:

 Wealth Accumulation Planning

 Kutztown University Small Business Development Center

 Runwell Solutions, Inc.

25 Years:

 Synergy Environmental, Inc.

 Vision Insurance

 Cianci & Roberts

30 Years:

 RLC Electronic Systems, Inc.

 Suburban Testing Labs, Inc.

 Weaver Industries, Inc.

 Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania

 Western Berks Water Authority

 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berks County, PA

35 Years:

 Antanavage Farbiarz, PLLC

 Body-Borneman Associates, Inc.

 Burkey Construction

 Cambridge-Lee Industries, LLC

 Council on Chemical Abuse


 Muhlenberg Township

 Ronnie C. Folk Paving, Inc.

 The Rose Corporation

 US Anodize

 Alpha Packaging Corporation

 IBEW Local Union 743

 Western Berks Ambulance Association

40 Years:

 East Penn Manufacturing Company

 Manning Management Corporation

 Santander Bank, N.A.

 Schlouch Incorporated

 Snap-On Tools Incorporated

 South Mountain YMCA Camps

 The Children’s Home of Reading

 The Loomis Company

 Singer Equipment Co.

 Berkshire Systems Group, Inc.

45 Years:

 Berks County Farm Bureau  Klein Transportation  Reading Area Community College

50 Years:

55 Years:

Overhead Door Company of Reading

Pennsylvania’s Americana RegionGreater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau

Penske Truck Leasing 65 Years:

70 Years:

ProAsys, Inc.

85 Years:

O’Brien’s Moving & Storage Company

90 Years:

Lehigh Cement Company

105 Years:

Glen-Gery Corporation

Mogel, Speidel, Bobb & Kershner, P.C.

Reading Foundry & Supply Company

Chairman’s Circle


Thank you!

With Merrill, the bull always has your back.

We’re bullish on your future. When we work together, you get personalized guidance, insights and financial planning — all designed to connect your life with your finances and to help make the path toward your goals even clearer. Let’s have a conversation.

Maggs & Associates

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management 985 Berkshire Blvd., Suite 200

Wyomissing, PA, 19610


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