LABA puts Lititz first

By on September 14, 2016

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Still basking in the glow of being named America’s Coolest Small Town, Lititz retailers have been enjoying a busy summer attracting tourists and locals to the vibrant small town shops.

Lititz’ shops sell everything from stylish fashions to the latest kitchen ware, drawing customers from far and wide. But what if you don’t sell cupcakes or olive oil or scented soaps? What if your business sells services, like landscaping, insurance or roofing?

Enter Lititz Area Business Alliance — better known as LABA.

The organization got started three years ago, and began having regular meetings a year and a half ago. The idea for Lititz Area Business Alliance came from two local business people, Shauna Ensinger and Bill Dussinger, who worked with Kelly Withum of Venture Lititz to guide LABA in its mission to create more awareness of non-retail Lititz businesses.

“The Lititz business community needed a device to network and learn about other non-retail stores,” explains Ensinger, owner of Ensinger Graphics, a promotional products and imprinted apparel business.

As Ensinger notes, many people think of the downtown shops when they think of Lititz businesses. She and Dussinger wanted to make sure that people knew about the hundreds of local businesses that do not have a shop, but instead offer various services to the community. That also includes in-home business professionals.

“We needed to get businesses together to work together to make ourselves better known,” she said. “There are many great small businesses in Lititz. Many do not advertise much, so they are under the local radar. This group helps spread the word of what local businesses have to offer.”

Dussinger likes to call it “Shop Local” with a business focus. He is self-employed with Penny Lane Graphics, doing graphic design, logos, web site design, and designs for advertising and promotion.

“When you buy local produce and shop at local stores, you are supporting local retailers. This is the same thing, except the businesses sell services,” says Dussinger.

Well-known for his logos and designs for special events like the Lititz Fourth of July, Dussinger designed the logo for LABA. It’s a circular design in fresh green and cool blue with arrows meant to show how local businesses can support each other by shopping Lititz first when they need services.

That might translate into a local roofer using a Lititz insurance company that relies on a local bank for its banking needs. When local businesses and residents use local services, it strengthens the community.

“That benefits everyone in the community,” says Brian Donmoyer, of Berkshire Hathaway Home Sales Realty and Residential Real Estate.

Donmoyer is a member of LABA’s executive committee, and he thinks that the value of business networking is beneficial to everyone who lives and works in Lititz. Before someone shops for services outside the community, they should take a look at what’s right here in Lititz.

That includes graphic artists, realtors, architects, engineers, construction planners, retirement homes, newspapers, doctors, lawyers, printers, physical therapists, financial planners, banks, kitchen designers, healthcare, and even a cultural hula dance instructor.

“Right now, the Lititz Area Business Alliance has more than 30 active members and about a hundred businesses in our listing,” says Ensinger, who is one of the officers, along with Dussinger, Donmoyer and Withum of Venture Lititz.

Ensinger notes that the goal of LABA is to develop a plan to help connect service businesses within the Warwick School District. Businesses can all benefit from each other’s expertise, knowledge and services. That helps to grow the customer base and make Lititz a better community.

The mission of LABA is to promote and improve the business environment, stimulate a vibrant local economy, produce a cooperative effort to enhance the overall quality of life and create the best community in which to live, work and do business.

By working together as a community of businesses — both for-profit and non-profit — they hope to be stewards of positive future growth that will advance the community of the region through advocacy, education and services.

“As Lititz businesses working with other Lititz businesses, we keep the money local. Why shop online from someone in Texas when Lititz business can offer the same things with much better service locally?” says Ensinger. “You get to know these businesses face to face.”

As Donmoyer points out, the LABA is looking to expand its membership. All local businesses located in Lititz, Warwick Township and Elizabeth Township are encouraged to join LABA.

The organization meets once a month on the first Friday for the breakfast meeting from 7 to 8:15 a.m. at Lititz Family Cupboard restaurant, which graciously provides the meeting area. There are also evening mixers planned for every other month at various locations. There are no dues. members can get involved in group discussions, or learn about everything from Rock Lititz’s plans for its new campus to seminars on how to avoid identity theft. They also plan to do community service projects.

Coming up on Oct. 11, the LABA plans its first LABA Business Expo at JoBoy’s Brew Pub, with a variety of businesses networking and providing information. There will also be special programs.

To find out more and get a listing of all LABA members, check the website, designed by Dussinger, at lititzareabusinessalliance.com.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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