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Business Groups Ready to Work Closer Together

By Pam Cunningham
Published On: Nov 27 2012 10:21:02 AM CST
Updated On: Mar 29 2010 05:23:08 AM CDT
READING, Pa. -

Business people, from entrepreneurs to established CEOs, now have one place to go in Berks County for all of their economic development needs.

One floor in Reading's Gateway building at 2nd and Penn streets has become home to three organizations. From the 5th floor of the Gateway building, the view is of all the traffic coming into Reading on Penn Street.

Ellen Horan, CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry says, "To have class "A" office space in downtown Reading was really great."

The Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Berks Development Fund and Berks Economic Partnership hope their location will become a one-stop shop.

Pamela Shupp, Vice President of Berks Economic Partnership says, "So we can take care of businesses who begin with a seed of an idea all the way through to the beginning of their business process, all the way through to the point where they are in operation and then have additional business needs. This is just a great way to do it."

Move-in day for the BEP and GBDF was last Thursday, and they still have plenty of boxes.

Ed Swoyer, CEO of the Greater Berks Development Fund says, "Unpacking, putting some finishing touches on, it will still be a while before everything is done."

So far, the groups have seen benefits to being on one floor.

Horan says, "We are sharing some back office services, we have a common work room, and mail room. We're also on a common IT system and telecom system."

Shupp says, "So, now when you see someone in the lunchroom or in the hallway, it's very easy to access them and we've already started an intercom system instead of picking up the phone we can walk right down the hallway and engage someone.

Besides IT and a break room, all three organizations will be sharing a large conference room that holds up to thirty people.

They moved from two different downtown Reading buildings and say they wanted to keep that commitment to downtown Reading even with a move.

Horan says, "And really it's tough work in trying to move a community forward, trying to increase the vibrancy of our downtown, and our region as a whole, and each of us has limited staff. So working together can only make it better."