The Exeter Township and the Economic Development Advisory Council presented their third Business Community Breakfast, sponsored by Diamond Credit Union, at the Reading Country Club on June 5.
Jeff Bukowski, township supervisor and EDAC member, said that EDAC is 'doing a great job being our eyes and ears in the business community.' He said its members are looking at issues Exeter businesses face and addressing how the township can address those issues. Bukowski said the board of supervisors is trying to expand the township's tax base by responding to business needs – both existing and new businesses – to hopefully someday reduce taxes for Exeter residents.
John Faust, president/CEO of Diamond Credit Union (one of Exeter Township's newest businesses) said, 'We received a warm welcome. We're incredibly proud to be located here in Exeter Township.' According to Faust, Diamond, headquartered in Pottstown, is the eighteenth largest credit union, with over 42,000 members, in Pennsylvania.
Next, Pam Shupp, vice president of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, introduced the attendees to the Partnership (formerly the Berks Economic Partnership). She shared its mission statement, 'To attract, retain, and grow business by vigorously promoting, fostering, and coordinating economic development in the Greater Reading area.' She said, 'Businesses want to relocate to communities that are growing, and Berks County is one of those communities that is growing.' Shupp also congratulated the township for being pro-active in forming EDAC.
Dr. Robert Culp, assistant executive director of the Carbon Lehigh IU#21, discussed the challenges of balancing a $28 million deficit at the Allentown School District and emphasized the importance of reaching out to the community and transforming school districts by establishing partnerships with businesses in the area.
Finally, Russ Hoke from the Reading Chapter of SCORE shared the impact of small businesses, which he calls the 'true engine for economic growth,' on the economy and how SCORE can assist small businesses. He said small businesses represent 99 percent of all employers, employ 50 percent of all private sector employees, and generate 75 percent of all new jobs. SCORE provides counseling, mentoring, and education to small businesses.
Shawn Filby, EDAC chair, said the next breakfast will be in September.