Central PA Delegation to hold small business walking tour in West Reading

Tour will include Community and Economic Development secretary, highlight Main Street Matters program

READING, March 21 – The PA House Central Pennsylvania Delegation today announced that the group will team up with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to tour small business in West Reading on Thursday, March 21.

Central PA Delegation Chairman Manuel Guzman explained that the tour, which will begin at 11. a.m. today, Thursday at Say Cheese! Restaurant, 600 Penn Ave. in West Reading, will help connect business owners with support services and provide information about the Main Street Matters program.

Main Street Matters, introduced by Gov. Josh Shapiro in his 2024-25 state budget proposal, would support small businesses, downtowns and main streets across the state and build on the current Keystone Communities Program.

“The Central PA Delegation is focused on reenergizing our communities and encouraging new business in the region,” Guzman said. “We are championing vibrant neighborhoods and competitive commercial corridors.”

Guzman emphasized the importance of engaging with small business owners to successfully implement revitalization efforts in downtown areas in the commonwealth.

“It is essential to hear directly from business owners about their concerns. Their feedback is fundamental to our work in the legislature,” he said. “This tour will help them voice and amplify their needs.” 

Rep. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, who serves as treasurer of the delegation and who represents the area where the tour will take place, said she is fully committed to uplift small business owners. She said that as small business owner herself, she can relate to the struggles and hopes of entrepreneurs.

“It was important for me to collaborate with my colleagues on this small business tour,” Cepeda-Freytiz said. “We need to talk about the Main Street Matters program because this initiative will help address many of the key issues impacting businesses. It will build upon and renew the Keystone Communities program.” 

Nick Price, Main Street executive director of the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation, encourages residents to take advantage of the season change and gather the family together and visit Main Street. 

“We are glad to welcome this tour in the community. We are also excited for a fun and energetic spring and summer ahead on our business district,” Price said. “We are getting ready for our Craft Pretzel and Beer Fest on April 27th and the 30th anniversary of our Art on the Avenue Festival on June 15th, among many other events and attractions.” 

“Whether you just want to take a walk and enjoy over 40 murals, grab a bite or a cup of coffee, or check out all our different merchants, West Reading has it all,” he said.

The tour will include Fadia Halma, a regional director at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Halma will highlight the prospects of opportunity that the proposed $25 million Main Street Matters initiative would inject into main streets across Pennsylvania.