The Greater Rostraver Chamber of Commerce is proud to sponsor and co-sponsor several events throughout the year. Taste of the Town, Magical Mystery Tour, Educational Conference, GRC Christmas Party, Recognition Dinner, Fall Classic Golf Outing and Rostraver Township Christmas Celebration provide networking, advertising, publicity and sponsorship opportunities for our members. In addition, these events give business and community members the opportunity to share common interest in fun, social settings.
Please contact us to sponsor or to be a part of these events
5th Annual Taste of the Town
Sunday, March 24th – Rostraver Central Fire Hall – 2pm
Tickets on sale now – call 724-929-3329 or use the Eventbrite Link
Joining Us this Year:
Alpine Club, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Big Barn Country Store, Bill’s Golfland, By George, Country Hammer Moonshine, Dale’s Place, Duke’s Lounge, K-Vay’s, Keystone Bakery, Perked Up Cafe, Plum Run Winery, Rock Run Inn, Shop-n-Save Bakery, Stoney’s Brewing, Sweeney’s Steakhouse, The Tap Factory, The Treehouse, The Washington Winery, Vinoski Winery, Woody’s Italian Restaurant, Winslow Winery
Taste of the Town 2018
Our 4th Annual Taste of the Town was held on Sunday, March 11th at Rostraver Central Fire Hall. Although doors did not open for this “pre-order, ticket only event” until 2pm, folks were lined up in the parking lot at 1pm, with anticipation and excitement.
The GRC’s dedicated volunteers hosted 19 local food and beverage establishments, four table sponsors – Community Bank, Mon Valley Alliance, Mon Valley Independent and Performance Kayak, and over 260 guests for this sell-out extravaganza!
This year, we had a nice mix of returners, who have been with us from the start, and quite a few “newcomer” establishments. Each of the establishments truly upped their game by offering their best and most unique menu items, offering larger than the suggested bite size sample, with most providing nearly full-sized portions, and many offering two or three different menu items.
Attendees enjoyed appetizers, beverages, desserts, entrees, and snacks, in a fun and lively setting. Conversations from the group, seated “banquet-style” rang loudly over the sound of background music, and event MC, Lynn Grimes (Event Chair), had to grab the attention of the group on a few occasions, for sponsor recognitions and prize announcements.
The owners, chefs and staff were present at each of the tables, and personally talked with the attendees about menu offerings, ingredients and anything else that wanted to convey about their businesses. Coupons, menus, and marketing materials were also given as incentive to visit the establishments, long after the Taste of the Town concluded.
The attendees voted for their “one-favorite” establishment, our People’s Choice Award, and I know many folks had a hard time making their decision. Although I did not cast a vote, I certainly had a list of my favorite offeing:
Prime Rib from the Alpine Club & Restaurant (on the menu Wednesday evenings), the cinnamon pretzel from Auntie Anne’s, bruschetta cheese (may be my new favorite over the onion cheese) from Big Barn Country Store, chicken and dumplings from Bill’s Golfland, the Boomtown classic burger (house-made pickles and special sauce) from Boomtown Grill, beans and greens (traditional and delicious) from Caporella’s Trattoria, the lemon chicken tenders from the Carriage Inn, root beer moonshine from Country Hammer Moonshine, the traditional Kettle Corn popcorn from Ekernally Yours Gourmet Popcorn, chocolate cake, chocolate frosting (say no more) from Keystone Bakery, in-house baked blueberry/lemon scones from Perked Up Café, a sweet white from Plum Run Winery, Buffalo wings (made on-the spot) from Butlers Rock Run Inn, any of the frosting samples from Rostraver Shop-n-Save Bakery, a Stoney’s Light (or two) from Stoney’s Brewing Company, the “Sweeney Special” from Sweeney’s Steakhouse, chicken and waffles (legit) from The Tap Factory, a little Fredonia from Winslow Winery and of course, gnocchi and meatballs from Woody’s Italian Restaurant.
Why Taste of the Town?
As with any event held by the GRC, there is always the “why” – why do we do it, or why was it created? Taste of the Town was designed as a way to showcase our LOCAL, independently owned and operated food and beverage establishments. I am an advocate for locally owned, (as you know), food and libations, as well! I hear far too often that the area needs this or that chain restaurant, and I am quick to point out our amazing and abundant locally owned restaurants.Taste of the Town included establishments from our entire service area, of all four counties. Any of the establishments are no more than 13 miles away from my office location. Sometimes you just need to look beyond your own front door, and experience what our communities have to offer. Until next year, happy eating (and drinking)!
GRC Recognition Dinner
The GRC Recognition Dinner is held each spring to honor and recognize outstanding individuals and businesses in our communities. In past years, the GRC has recognized small to mid-sized business, large corporations, non-profit organizations and individuals. All are important components of a strong and healthy Chamber of Commerce.
In 2018, we recognized Business of the Year Visionary – John LaCarte and Jon King – Stoney’s Brewing Company; Young Professional of the Year – Lindsay & Greg Winslow – Winslow Winery; Community Service – Captains Susan & Joel Thwaite – Monessen Salvation Army.
Chef Showdown is a fun, competitive event that is our version of the cooking show, Chopped and is held in May.
Our amateur chefs compete against each other in three rounds, appetizer, main course and dessert. In our show, no one is eliminated, a winner of each round is announced, with an overall winner at the end by our “celebrity” panel of judges.
The chefs are not privy to the items in their baskets before the event, unveiling the contents before our live audience. Of course each basket contains a mystery ingredient, or what we call our “Off the Wall” ingredient. The event is held at Off the Wall Arts and is a great collaboration of businesses working together. This year’s competitors were Jake Cuthbert GRC President (Waddell & Reed), Lisa Doria GRC Board Member (Lisa Doria State Farm) and Ron Pudlowski Member (Hot Shotz Photography). With Ron as our overall winner.
Tickets for the event go on sale a month before the event; watch the 2018 events calendar for details.
2018 GRC Fall Classic Golf Outing
This year’s Fall Classic was anything but fall-like with temperatures in the high 80s, and no one minded! The golfers enjoyed early morning coffee and donuts, followed by the shotgun start, lunch at the turn, plenty of cold on-course beverages, and a delicious buffet dinner.
A putting contest sponsored by Baker’s Waterproofing, hole-in-one prizes by All Seasons Travel, MarBill Diamonds & Jewelry, and Performance Kayak, LLC., a “Feeling Lucky” on-course dice game, plus skill games added to the competition and fun. Golfer gifts provided by Stoney’s Brewing, on-course massages by NovaCare and end of outing chair massages by Chaney’s Natural, LLC., tons of door prizes, and plenty of raffle baskets put the event over the top!
My sincere appreciation to this year’s sponsors:
Key: C. Harper, Mackin Engineering, Monongahela Valley Hospital,
Premium: Highway Appliance & Television and CSC Insurance Options
Hole-in-One: All Seasons Travel, MarBill Diamonds & Jewelry, Performance Kayak,
Refreshment: Lighthouse Family Development Center
Golfer Gift: Stoney’s Brewing
Breakfast Sponsors: Keystone Bakery and Perked Up Café
Standard: Anden Chiropractic, Beer Arena, cfsbank, Commercial Bank & Trust of PA, Douglas Education Center, Fayette Legacy Partners of Janney Montgomery Scott, First National, Image Builders II, James J. Connolly, DDS., Keith J. Peer CPA & Financial Services, Keystone Bakery, Lee Supply Company, MGR Consultants, Mon Valley Alliance, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Orthodontique, Perryopolis Flea Market at Perry Auto Auction, Rostraver Sportsmen Assoc., SafeLite Autoglass, Valley 1st Community FCU
The event would not be possible without our generous sponsors, donors and golfers, along with our dedicated volunteers and planning committee. The support of everyone, makes my job easy, and most importantly allows us (GRC) to continue to fund Scholarships to students at Belle Vernon Area HS., California University of PA, Douglas Education Center and Westmoreland County Community College.
Magical Mystery Tour – II 2018
The Greater Rostraver Chamber just concluded one of our biggest events of the year, Magical Mystery Tour – II. And although I can safely say it was a huge hit for our organization, I can more importantly say it was a big success for our participating merchants and our local economy.
On Saturday, November 3rd, 80+ attendees boarded two buses that would take them on a magical mystery tour through the Mon Valley. These folks put their faith and confidence in our abilities, as an organization to host a top-notch event, as they had purchased tickets without knowing where the journey would take them. Attendees were a mixed group of returners who enjoyed it last year, and first-timers excited to embrace the magic and mystery. We treated this tour as a new experience for both the passengers and the merchants with careful attention given to logistics and the details.
I boarded each bus to welcome and thank our guests for joining us on what promised to be a full day of shopping, sipping and tasting. More importantly, I shared our vision of wanting to introduce them to businesses that they were not that familiar with or knew at all. I told the passengers that they would meet business owners at each stop who would be there to personally greet them, shake their hands and thank them for coming; I even joked that this type of service could never be experienced online or in a big box store. I encouraged the attendees to spend money with these merchants, not just during tour, and not just during the upcoming shopping season, but throughout the year. I reminded them to think local and to support our business partners every day.
I shared with them the details of the event that I knew; 17 mystery stops, with several collaborating businesses, 15 commercial sponsors that filled their gift bags to the brim, and 10 business donors that generously provided raffle baskets.
Both buses departed at 10:45am from Lisa Doria’s State Farm office in Rostraver and headed southbound on Rt. 51 to visit Big Barn Country Store, Gene & Boots Candies, Winslow Winery, Perry Drug Store, Perry Floral & Gift Shop and All That Glitters in the Perryopolis/Star Junction areas. The second leg of the trip had one bus stopping at the new Keystone Bakery & Perked Up Café on Rostraver Road, and one bus heading to Broad Avenue for stops at Jazzy Boutique, Broad Avenue Treasures, Valdiserri’s Bakery, Country Store Café and Vintage & Vines. Early in the afternoon the buses crisscrossed destinations. The final leg of the journey included a stop at Itty Bitty Treasures at the Riverside Shoppes, in Lower Speers, where Santa greeted the guests, as the other bus ventured to Charleroi for a shopping extravaganza at Prima Diva Boutique. Only slightly behind schedule, both buses ended the tour at Brunswick Zone Belle Vernon somewhere around 6:30pm for an after party of food and beverages, raffle prize and 50/50 drawings, and a grand prize giveaway of $250 in Chamber Cash, plus a $50 bonus drawing. (The Chamber Cash is our way to make sure those dollars are spent with our participating businesses).
Our business partners not only stepped up to the plate, but they hit it out of the park with their hospitality and “red carpet” welcome for our passengers. And in return, our attendees showed their thanks and appreciation by contributing to our local economy, as spending was done in large amounts, throughout the day.
The Greater Rostraver Chamber strives to promote our business partners in every way possible and this event is just one of those ways. The “why” of this event can be summed up with this statistic: 1 day, 15 miles, 17 merchants, 80 attendees, $175/person on average spent, $14,000+ spent in the Mon Valley; let that sink in for a moment. Our success is only as good as the success of our member partners. And yes, MMT-III is already on the books for 2019.
Magical Mystery Tour 2017 Was a Huge Success!
On Saturday, November 4th, over 90 attendees put their faith and confidence in our abilities, as an organization to host a top notch event, as these attendees purchased tickets for our first Magical Mystery Tour, without knowing where the journey would take them.
When I climbed on board each bus to welcome our guests, I was overwhelmed by their excitement and enthusiasm to want to spend the day with us. I told them the aspects of the event that I knew, 13 mystery stops, with 7 collaborating businesses, 18 generous commercial sponsors filled their swag bags to the brim, and 10 businesses generously donated raffle baskets. I even joked to the group that the event was still a mystery to me and asked that they give us some slack if there were any kinks we needed to work out. I told them our goal was to have them back by 7pm, but asked that they be understanding and flexible if we should run longer.
Both buses departed at 11:59am from our departure point at Lisa Doria’s State Farm office where guests were greeted by Big Barn Country Store and received welcome gifts from All Seasons Travel, Image Builders II and Fayette Legacy Partners of Janney Montgomery Scott.
Arriving at separate destinations for the first leg of the trip, the buses crisscrossed their way from MarBill’s Diamonds & Jewelry, to Broad Avenue South for visits at Vintage & Vines, with Country Hammer Moonshine, Darla Suz, and Salon Eye Candy featuring Winslow Winery. On the North end of Broad Avenue attendees made their way to Jazzy Boutique, and Broad Avenue Treasures who teamed up with Stoney’s Brewing and Victoria’s Fudge-a-lious for plenty of sampling. Somewhere around 3:30pm, the buses departed for Charleroi, where the attendees made stops at Prima Diva Boutique, 5th Street Escape Room, Off the Wall Arts, Perked Up Café and the River House Cafe, all while shopping, eating, sipping and relaxing. At 5:45pm, our buses departed Charleroi to arrive at our final destination, Vinoski Winery where we sampled and sipped a bit more, and concluded the event with raffle prizes, 50/50, and the grand prize drawing of $200 in Chamber Cash, (the Chamber Cash was our way of making sure those dollars remain in our communities, and are spent with our participating businesses). Our buses departed from our final stop at 7:01pm to return our guests to their vehicles and awaiting rides. Perfect timing to end a perfect day!
A vision becomes reality…
Four or five months ago I had a vision to bring a bus load (or two) of people to the local businesses, to showcase what our communities have to offer. I surrounded myself with the best planning committee – folks who saw the vision, got on board, followed through, attended to every detail, worked without much assistance, and saw it through to the end.
We enlisted our business partners to be the mystery stops and they not only stepped up to the plate, but hit it out of the park. They rolled out the “red carpet” welcome to give our guests (North Huntingdon, North Versailles, White Oak, Connellsville, Uniontown and throughout the Mon Valley) an experience they are sure to remember. Our guest felt as if they were visiting a friend’s home, not a place of business. And in return they showed their thanks and appreciation by contributing to our local economy, as spending was done in large amounts, throughout the day. Our goal, to educate the attendees about the importance of shopping small by taking them to some of our amazing businesses, will resonate through the holiday shopping season, and long after.
“Live and Love Local” is a trend that is here to stay, and with the likes of this first Magical Mystery Tour, and future events that are swirling around in my brain, we, collectively, will put the Mon Valley back in business. (Save the first Saturday in November, 2018 for MMT II, and watch for details about an expanded tour route).
A leader is only as good as the people she surrounds herself with, and I cannot thank the dedicated committee enough; without them this event would still be on the drawing board. A tremendous heartfelt thank you to Lynn Grimes, Joan Rakosky, Lisa Doria, Laura Williams, Cathy Glad, Deb Puglia, Jamie Davis, Marsha Fragello – it was my pleasure working with each of you on this event.
Save-the-Date – Saturday, November 3, 2018 for Magical Mystery Tour II – email email@example.com to be added to the save-the-date mailing list.
Ladies Night Out
Ladies Night Out, held in November is a fun and lively event that showcases locally owned businesses offering jewelry, home décor, health, beauty and wellness products. The event which includes appetizers, cash bar, DJ, fashion show, games, prizes, shopping, pampering and a few other surprises, is open to the public.
New for 2017, Ladies Night Out will be rebranded and revamped, in to a new, exciting and progressive event! Tickets will go on sale soon! To be added to the Save-the-Date mailing, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Christmas Party, open to GRC members and their guests, involves a theme of choice selected by the committee. Last year’s theme Christmas PJ Party featured nearly 60 attendees in a variety of Christmas pajama attire, for an evening of fun, games, and prizes for all. The Christmas Party is the last of the calendar events and is a great way to celebrate a successful year with friends and colleagues.