Towamencin Township is open for business.
Business owners, professionals and public officials gathered in the Platinum Room of Holiday Inn Monday night to network, share ideas and work toward a common cause.
That cause: Boost business in Towamencin Township.
"Essentially, it's to let folks know Towamencin is open for business," said township economic development committee Chairman Steve Pratt. "It was formed in May 2011 to retain existing businesses and generate business opportunities for the township."
Supervisor Chairman Dan Littley said, during his opening remarks, that the committee was formed by resolution for a number of reasons.
"We saw a lot of facilities going empty," Littley said. "Development was very low. There are a lot of facilities that, if we market them as something, maybe we can pull things together and work with our needs."
Towamencin is like a business, in that it competes against a lot of other townships for a strong business community and larger tax base.
"We can grow the tax base and fill vacancies," Pratt said.
It is important for Towamencin to have a place for new opportunities and to attract reliable businesses.
In many cases, some businesses cannot be saved or retained; it many cases it falls on the relationshop between landlord and tenant. Pratt said the committee does hold a concern for those situations.
He said the attendance at the first First Monday brought a good climate with it.
"We are trying to get the word out: we are a business-friendly climate," Pratt said, who works in the corporate banking sector of Univest in Towamencin.
The sponsor of the township's economic development committee First Monday is the Nicoletti family. Father and son Robert V. and Mark Nicoletti are president and vice president of Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation.
Mark Nicoletti is a member of the township economic development committee.
PSDC is also the largest commercial real estate owner in the township, with its biggest assets being Towamencin Business Center (SKF property at Tomlinson Road and Forty Foot Road) and Towamencin Town Square (currently under construction along Towamencin Avenue).
"Name a successful organization that doesn't have strong leadership," said Nicoletti in his remarks to the audience. "Our community benefits from the top down. We have a collection of smart, hard working supervisors who aren't afraid to lead."
Nicoletti said township Manager Rob Ford and code enforcement director Joe Leis are balanced and fair, and not afraid to lead.
With leadership, businesses will want to invest, he said.
"We have made a decision to invest, and others are prepared to do the same," he said to the audience of 70 attendees. "It had to start somewhere, and it started with the vision supervisors had to invest in the infrastructure."
Nicoletti said Monday was the first of many happy hour mixers to come. The idea is to meet people.
"This is not a political event; it is a business network event," Nicoletti said.
There was no better atmosphere for businesspeople to socialize and learn about what each other does for the community - and the open bar doesn't hurt either.
"If you show up," he said, "odds are you leave with a better understanding of the community."
Brendan Walsh, of Walsh Commercial Real Estate in Horsham, was one business owner attending the event Monday. Walsh remembered a time when, in 1988, a traffic study showed that the roads the traffic was supporting exceeded projections for 2005.
"Towamencin is a quiet generator," Walsh said. "You can do business here successfully for years."