The FCBA was founded in 2011 through an initiative by the Forest County Industrial Development Corporation. The IDC surveyed the local business community to determine their interest in development of a business organization and their needs and concerns that could be addressed by such an organization. Over 93.8% responded in favor of the formation of a chamber type of organization. Because of the unsuccessful history of chambers of commerce in both Tionesta and Marienville, the group chose to avoid the negative local connotation with “chamber” and instead start fresh as the Forest County Business Alliance.
Incorporation was achieved in December 2012 and application was then made to the IRS for 501(c)6 status as a non-profit membership organization. This non-profit status was approved in 2014, and the Alliance Board is hoping to offer its members certain benefits, such as insurance and utility discounts offered by Chamber Choice. In the meantime, the Alliance is working to benefit its members in other ways.
The first program developed by the Alliance was the “Support Your Community – Buy Local” effort, designed to boost patronage of local businesses. We started with educating our residents and seasonal residents on the huge potential benefit to the local economy with only $50 per household per month spent in Forest County instead of at shopping centers or online. This program continues today with monthly “Buy Local Weekends” and a “Member Spotlight” article to be printed in The Forest Press with the Buy Local banner ad. The monthly “Member Spotlight”can be found on our website. You can see more details on this program and the other programs of the Alliance on our “Programs” page under the “About Us” tab. Some of those other programs include an annual Business Expo event, annual Meet & Greet membership events, a “Focus Forest County” legislative dinner, website listing of a Member Directory and support of the School Counts! Program in the Forest Area schools.