Jenna Clark and Jack Allen

Bethel Park Mayor Jack Allen interviews Jenna Clark, a member of the Yale University women’s baksetball team, during a “Jack of All Trades” episode on BPTV featuring Shoot Pittsburgh 360 at the Cool Springs Sports Complex.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bethel Park municipal officials recognized small businesses in the community were going to need all the help they could get.

That resulted in the creation of a “Dine, Shop, Support” section on the municipal website, which urges: “When thinking about gifts, special dinners, workout plans, landscaping, home and/or car repairs, or other everyday needs, please consider purchasing local.”

Information about businesses including specials, contacts and links to their websites is featured.

“We’re continuing this effort even beyond, because we really want to keep the business community strong,” Kimberly Weightman, public relations coordinator, said.

Also on the Bethel Park site is the Bethel Business Blog, with more in-depth profiles about local businesses. They also are receiving more exposure on BPTV, the municipal cable station, including appearances on “Jack of All Trades,” the show hosted by Mayor Jack Allen.

There certainly are plenty of possibilities for featured content.

“If you live in Bethel Park, you really never need to leave, unless you have a job outside of the community,” Weightman said. “As far as things you need, you can get everything within minutes from your house.”

Municipal manager Laurence Christian credited Weightman with much of the impetus and subsequent work toward promoting local businesses, including activities with community involvement.

A Spring Makeover Challenge involved residents taking photographs of their improvement projects and acknowledging the places where they purchased products and received guidance.

Christian is highly supportive of the efforts, and he has a specific area of focus in mind.

“I definitely want to highlight both women- and minority-owned business,” he said. “From what I’ve seen, that is one of the most underserved market segments.”

The municipality is working closely with Bethel Park Chamber of Commerce, which also serves Castle Shannon and South Park Township, for further promotional opportunities. On the chamber’s website is a “Shop Local 365” page with general information about businesses.

Also, the chamber conducts training for business owners and schedules “ConneXions” events, such as a Summer Luau at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at Giant Oaks Winery in Finleyville.

“We’re going to continue to grow all of this and try to be as supportive as we can,” Weightman said. “And if we get any ideas from the small-business community, we’re always willing to look at those, too.”

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Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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