A year ago this week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) launched an online business directory – Marcellus on Main Street – to further connect small businesses across the region with the growing and robust natural gas supply chain. Spurred by feedback from local chambers of commerce, whose members were interested in servicing and supporting the Marcellus Shale industry, the MSC worked with local web development firm Quest Fore to build a comprehensive and interactive web-based portal aimed at further leveraging the job-creating opportunities associated with safe shale development.
Ranging from barber shops, restaurants, realtors and hotels, to ATV rentals, chiropractors and video production firms, Marcellus on Main Street is the first online business directory to connect small- and mid-sized businesses with employees and natural gas-related companies across Appalachia.
To date, more than 1,400 business and more than 1,700 locations have registered with the directory, providing MSC member companies and their employees a one-stop online resource for goods and services. And in effort to raise awareness of the online directory, the MSC hosted “vendor education symposiums” in partnership with the following organizations:
- African American Chamber of Western PA, Minority Supplier Development Councils
- Beaver County Chamber, Washington County Chamber, Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber, Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber
- Catalyst Connection
- Clearfield County Economic Development Corp, Ridgway Main Street, Titusville Economic Development Corporation
- NE Energy Task Force
- Tri-County Oil and Gas/Washington County Energy Partners
- Women’s Business Enterprise Council
“Marcellus on Main Street has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for businesses looking to identify Marcellus-related opportunities,” said MSC CEO Kathryn Klaber. “Partnering with local chambers and other economic development-focused organizations across the Commonwealth has provided small- and mid-sized businesses with an outlet to market themselves in a cost-effective and highly-targeted way. We thank those organizations who helped us get this project off the ground and appreciate those companies who have registered their businesses with the directory over the past year.”
One company, Washington County-based Creative Visions Media Group, was identified through the Marcellus on Main Street directory and recently completed a project for an MSC member company Valerus.
“Marcellus on Main Street is a great resource not only for networking within the natural gas industry, but also for connecting local vendors with new business opportunities,” said Amy Taylor, Owner of Creative Visions Media Group. “In my own experience, Marcellus on Main Street has generated new business for my company through referral to a member who was in need of video production. It is these types of referrals that generate a ripple-effect of many future opportunities. Just one opportunity to offer an immediate marketing and advertising solution has enabled me to grow within the industry by opening doors to new ventures along the way.”
Likewise, Michelle Bogacki – a 26-year member of the Ridgway-Elk County Chamber of Commerce – recognized the importance of connecting local businesses with the natural gas industry. “I was providing connections to our restaurants, shops and hotels, so it was a logical connection to join Marcellus On Main Street,” said Bogacki.
It’s important partnerships like these, with local economic development agencies and chambers of commerce, that have enabled Marcellus on Main Street’s shared successes. Here’s to many more years of success and connections!