GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 6

a message from our President & CEO

Partnerships &
Collaborations
are the Keys to Success
By Randy Peers, President & CEO - Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

R

ecently the GRCA hosted
a mini-summit with the
three smaller Chambers of
Commerce that serve parts of Berks
County:
Tri-County
Chamber,
Northern Berks Chamber and the
Perkiomen Valley Chamber.
We
also invited our neighbor to the west,
the Lebanon Valley Chamber, to
join us. Over lunch at the YR Club
in Wyomissing, I discussed with the
leaders of each of these Chambers the challenges and opportunities
we face, and we brainstormed on ways we can collaborate to
promote a regional approach to support our business community
and grow our economy. The conversation was lively and creative,
and we left with a series of follow-up items that we agreed we would
work on over the next year. We also recognized that we shared
many similar challenges, and that by partnering and not necessarily
competing, we could bring value to each of our organizations.
To be honest, I had wanted to host this group over a year ago,
but the busy day-to-day always seemed to get in the way. I will say,
however, that over the past two-and-a-half years since the GRCA
merger, we have made partnership development and collaboration
a key strategic theme in our organizational development plan.
For the GRCA, and for me personally, developing these working
relationships is the key to our future success, and an integral part
of what we believe is the right approach for the Greater Reading
region.
I view partnerships along a spectrum, from collaboration on
programming and other projects, to outright strategic alignment
and merger. In fact, the formation of the GRCA itself was born out
of a desire to strategically align organizations with complementary
missions. For the last few years since the GRCA merger, we have
worked hard to develop new partnerships to further our strategic
themes. It has been through these partnerships that we have
achieved early successes, and in the process, have forged new
friendships.

6 COMMERCE QUARTERLY SPRING 2019

For example, the Reading-Berks Association of Realtors
(RBAR) represents most residential real estate professionals in
our community. While many of the area's major real estate firms
are members of the GRCA, independent sales agents may not
necessarily benefit from such a membership. Therefore, we created
an affiliate program specifically designed with these representatives
in mind, allowing them access to key member benefits at a reduced
membership cost. In turn, RBAR gets to market this program as
a benefit of being a member of their organization. We call this an
affiliate membership agreement. Another example of this type of
arrangement is one we have with the Tri-County Chamber which
represents parts of Berks County in the Boyertown area. TriCounty wanted to provide their members with access to some of
our corporate training options since their Chamber doesn't provide
such offerings. So, we developed a revenue sharing model where
they can refer members to our training classes, and we share some
of the revenue back with Tri-County. From our perspective, these
were customers we wouldn't have been able to cultivate without the
Tri-County connection. In turn, Tri-County gets to market a new
set of benefits to their members.
A significant leap forward in developing working relationships
with other organizations took place in April of 2018 when the
GRCA moved into its new headquarters at 606 Court Street in
Reading. From the onset, we designed and renovated the space with
partnerships in mind. We negotiated a small lease with the Small
Business Development Center (SBDC) out of Kutztown University
for them to locate their Reading office in our building. Kutztown
University had recently been selected to run the entire SBDC
network statewide and having their small business development
expertise under the same roof greatly strengthened the GRCA
work in the area, enabling both organizations to make referrals. In
addition, the Berks-Schuylkill Chapter of SCORE had already been
a co-located partner with the GRCA. SCORE enlists the expertise
of retired executives to provide business planning and coaching to
new entrepreneurs and small businesses. On the fourth floor of 606
Court Street we renovated an entire suite for desk space partners.
To date, the Berk County Latino Chamber of Commerce, the Small
Business Administration, ASSETS (micro-lending organization)
and the Reading FilmFest all have made use of the space. These
are types of co-location partners that complement our mission of
business and economic development.



GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019

GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 1
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 2
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 3
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 4
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 5
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 6
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 7
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 8
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 9
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 10
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 11
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 12
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 13
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 14
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GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 16
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 17
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 18
GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 19
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GRCA Commerce Quarterly Spring 2019 - 56
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Spring2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Fall2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Spring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Fall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Spring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GRCA_CommerceQuarterly_Winter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly_Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly_Summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly/GreaterReadingChamber_CommerceQuarterly_Spring2017
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