Broad marketing techniques and a safe environment as county goes green
As Bucks County enters the Green Phase of the state’s reopening plan, the Perkasie Towne Improvement Association is rolling out a new campaign to help its restaurants and retail shops recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Positively Perkasie” is a multi-dimensional effort that uses broad marketing techniques, special events, and collaborative projects to let consumers know that local businesses are prepared to meet their needs in a safe environment.
“Our businesses have been through a difficult time but have survived thanks to amazing community support,” said PTIA President Karen Chellew. “Now that they have the ability to resume their activities in some semblance of normal, we are hoping even more people will feel comfortable coming out and enjoying our wonderful town.”
PTIA is a 501(c)(3) founded in the wake of a devastating fire in 1988 that destroyed much of the town center. Now, the group’s mission is focused on recovering from a pandemic, where the damage has been less visible but just as real.
Since the shutdown occurred in March, PTIA has proactively worked with individual businesses on innovative marketing plans, helped some with the transition to online services, assisted with applying for grants and loans, and provided guidance for operating within health and safety guidelines, said Chellew.
A video feature, “Perkasie Business Chat,” has allowed business owners to connect with the community on Facebook, and a Virtual First Friday event developed with PBR Productions, a local digital production company, provides a spotlight on borough activities.
One of the keys to PTIA’s success has been a strong partnership with borough council and staff, said Chellew. Council recently approved a resolution relaxing regulations on outdoor dining and offered restaurants free use of tables, chairs, and umbrellas from the Menlo Aquatic Center. Earlier, the council approved a one-month, 50 percent reduction in electricity rates for all customers, proving much-needed financial relief.
Meanwhile, Linda Reid, the borough’s community development manager, has revamped the popular weekly farmers market that is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon and 7th and Market and is working on special events that can attract the downtown visitors. Reid is hopeful about developing a plan to hold a modified version of the “Under the Stars” car show in August.
Chellew also praised borough landlords for working with tenants during the crisis.
“Without their help, some of our businesses might not have survived,” she said.
Even as some businesses struggle, Perkasie remains an attractive destination for developers. Five new businesses – a restaurant, two microbreweries, a barbershop, and a dental practice – are either close to opening or will begin construction soon. Interest in the borough remains strong, said economic development consultant Stephen Barth.
“The borough was on a strong trajectory before the pandemic hit,” said Barth. “Even during the pandemic there has been a consistently strong investment and new business interest in Perkasie Borough as a result of our revitalization over the last several years. The shutdown has slowed things down somewhat but the future for Perkasie is positive.”