Charleroi business owners frequently use the word “team” as part of their daily interactions with each other and their customers, though their definition may differ somewhat from the standard.
“TEAM, to us, stands for ‘Together Everyone Accomplishes More,’” says Daneen Troup, owner of Prima Diva Boutique and member of Team Charleroi, a group of business owners and volunteers from local nonprofit organizations who work together to promote Charleroi. “I think that says a lot. If we all work together, we can do big things!”
Team Charleroi was founded in 2008 as a committee that operated through Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Team Charleroi was formed as a committee of the Mon Valley Regional Chamber after the Charleroi Main Street Program disbanded,” says Deb Keefer, director of Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The Mon Valley Regional Chamber, which was a major funding source to Main Street, wanted community and business initiatives to continue in Greater Charleroi and came up with a smaller model of the Main Street Program. It operates under the auspices of the Greater Charleroi Community Development Corporation, which is part of the Mon Valley Initiative.”
The group, which has about 10 to 15 active members, meets at least monthly, though more often, as necessary, depending on events that are scheduled throughout the year, such as Miracle on McKean, the name given to the community’s light-up night, which will take place this year from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 25, which also is Small Business Saturday.
“The purpose of our group is to promote and shine a positive light on the Borough of Charleroi and the businesses, organizations and people who are operating and living here,” Troup notes. “We welcome any business, organization or resident, for that matter, that would like to be involved in promoting our mission with us.”
Pastor Gregg Anders of CityReach Church had heard of Team Charleroi around the time of the group’s inception. He had been working with the church’s youth group to collaborate with Team Charleroi on a project that involved cleaning up the flower bed at the end of town by the Water Authority. He has been connected to Team Charleroi ever since, but has increased his involvement with them during the past two years.
“The benefits to being a part of Team Charleroi have been wide-ranging,” Anders says. “Personally, I am a people person. I love meeting new people and making a difference in lives. Team Charleroi has given me a greater opportunity to do that, and it seems as all the members of the team are caring, compassionate individuals who want to see Charleroi prosper.”
Anders also acknowledges the amount of work Team Charleroi has been doing for children and families. “The Easter Egg Hunt, Business Trick or Treat and Miracle on McKean all have benefited our church since they have given us so many connections,” he says. “We are always willing to partner with groups to bring positive change and activities to our community. Team Charleroi’s willingness to work with us has allowed us the opportunity to serve.”
According to Troup, the group tries to host regular events throughout the year, despite being small business owners and also juggling the needs of their customers. In addition to the Halloween Spooktacular and Miracle on McKean, the Team also hosts “Shoeleroi,” a Sole Sister, Ladies Night event; the community Easter Egg Hunt; and Magic City Open, a golf-themed business crawl.
This year’s Miracle on McKean will feature a holiday parade with Santa Claus, local entertainment, carriage rides, visits with holiday characters and, new this year, a live Nativity. And it is no coincidence that the event falls on Small Business Saturday.
“Small Business Saturday is a promotion of American Express,” Keefer explains. “They provide the national advertising materials for our business owners to use. Team Charleroi takes advantage of this shop-local opportunity to encourage consumers to get back to small towns, enjoy the charm and add to the local economy.”
This year’s Miracle on McKean also will feature a business passport to encourage shoppers to visit a variety of stores. “Shoppers must visit the businesses on the passport throughout the day and have their passport stamped,” Troup says. “The passports will be used as entries for the prize drawings at the wrap-up event.”
This year, the Team is hoping to get more businesses and groups involved to grow and increase awareness of the event.
“Charleroi will see good things happening,” Anders says. “We want everybody to be a part of it. For years, I have heard negative comments about Charleroi and its residents. But I see hope. I see what God sees. If we move away from our past failures and we bring unity, we will see a ship heading in the right direction.”
For more information about Team Charleroi or about getting involved with the group, contact Troup at 724-565-5586 or visit the Team Charleroi Facebook page.