5 Secrets of Successful Penns Valley Business Women


Dear Anna Fisher,

Businesswomen like you inspire me.

The Valley is full of hardworking, smart women who are offering their best to the world. I’m watching. I’ve been trying to figure out how to invest my strength and love right here into my home, while offering my abilities to benefit the neighborhood and build a good quality business, too.

So far, I’ve learned three things: it’s hard work and it’s slow work, but it’s meaningful work.

You planned such a wonderful evening: you said, let’s gather at Old Gregg Community Building, bake two kinds of cookies, learn new cooking techniques and tools, play games, and socialize with friends, old and new alike. (Your helpful friend, Debbie, was an angel to put her muscle behind your dream, too.) 

Your passion to gather people together reminds me of Joan Karp of Blueberry Hill Academy Fitness, with her Z*mba classes, coaching, and over-the-moon inspiration to countless Penns Valley families. 


Your hair pulled back, your classy apron, and your pink decorations looked so pretty in that big old gymnasium.

Your ability to add a touch of beauty reminds me of Brenda of Steiger’s Early Americana, who – season after season – keeps creating a beautiful space right there on Pennsylvania Avenue in Centre Hall. (Does she know her store is like a haven?)


You loaded a big, white van with – what was it, 15 enormous boxes full of inventory? – and unloaded it at Old Gregg, organized all of the bamboo over here, all of the aluminum steel over there, the spices just so, and table cloths smoothed out.

Your industry reminds me of Kim Bierly of Main Street Yarn in Rebersburg, faithfully building a store full of gorgeous yarns and useful supplies, promoting handmade industry through her knitting circles and beneficial facebook posts. 


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Your fun ideas to play Pampered Chef Memory, the Family Game, and that dice game (you know the one where doubles wins a person the pen to begin writing “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…” so fast – all the way to 100 – until someone else rolls doubles and steals that pen away) were right on: what a blast!

Your fun side reminds me of Martha Hoffman of The IngleBean in Millheim, inviting people to sit by the fire, sip hot beverages, and play games on a winter’s evening. 

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You created this great event, advertised all over town, updated your Pampered Chef webpage, and even recently added Young Living Essential Oils to your business, hoping your guests would enjoy sampling some of these ancient wonders. (I think that this is a smart move: lots of women are interested in essential oils and would benefit from learning how you’ve discovered so much success and health from using them yourself.)

Your strategic, brainstorming, give-it-a-try spirit reminds me of Julie Smith from E & L Supplies who says she lays awake in the middle of the night just thinking up great business ideas.


When the clock struck 6 and no one came, you kept bustling around, heating the oven up and preparing… just in case. But no one came. And no one came. 6:30, 7:00… We started to wonder why. You said that planning this event was difficult because you don’t have an email address. When you want to work online, you use your friend’s computer and check into your Pampered Chef account there. That’s tough. Besides, you may also be a wee bit busy – what with your big family, the four horses, the Jersey Cows, the chickens, the orchard, the jams-and-jellies, and who-knows-what-else you help with at home?


Yet, you handed me your card with a smile on your face, hopeful for the next time.

That’s when you reminded me of me, Laura Booz of PennsValleyFamily.com, just starting out, working in the midst of limitations, feeling the immense challenge of getting a business off the ground.

I handed you my card, too. (I have boxes and boxes of them at home: must improve at handing them out!) 

What you and I can learn from the Penns Valley businesswomen who wake up every morning offering their best to home and community, is that it’s possible to earn the community’s respect and support, as well as a paycheck. I bet they’d all say, “Don’t you dare give up!” In fact, they do say it through their day-in, day-out dedication.

DSC_0211As far as I can tell, you’ve got all of the makings of a great businesswoman: a heart for people, an eye for beauty, incredible industry, a sense of fun, and a mind for strategy.

Anna Fisher, I bet this is just the beginning.

Thank you for the inspiration, the example, and the plate of cookies.

 Enjoy your home,

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Win Feed for Your Pet: E & L Supplies Pet Photo Contest


This just in! I’m thinking we might head out to the barn for a photo shoot with the chickens. Some bags of feed would come in handy this winter…

 Enjoy your home,

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Not to Miss: Our FREE Community Thanksgiving!


The Penns Valley Youth Center and Penns Valley Community Church are inviting you and me to a FREE Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday, November 26th. How great is that?

Call (814) 422-5360 for tickets today!

You going?

 Enjoy your home,

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Bake Some Cookies with Pampered Chef: Friday


This is a very special post because Anna is the first Amish person who has reached out to use PennsValleyFamily.com. One of our hopes in creating this website is to give our Amish neighbors a way to connect with the Valley online.

Anna is also a local businessperson who invites you to an evening out:

Cookie Baking Game Night: Pampered Chef

November 21 @ 6:00 p.m.9:00 p.m. at the Old Gregg School Community Building in Spring Mills. For more information,  call 570/412-3412 or go to www.pamperedchef.com/bizilovepc2.

Will you help me support Anna? Come on down to Old Gregg on Friday night!

(What else is happening this weekend? Find out on our Community Calendar!)


Enjoy your home,

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Some Healthy Competition…


(My first glimpse of the Patriotic Piano through the window of The IngleBean in Millheim. Apparently, this beauty was created by the building owner. It’s so cool. So worth a visit just to check out the mosaic. I think it’s very “Roadside Penns Valley”…)

Guess who won the first and best game of Othello at The IngleBean’s cozy game night on Friday?


Hint: NOT this guy.

Answer: I did!


Check it out.

(Must’ve been due to the amazing grilled cheese on sourdough that I ordered for dinner…)

We won’t mention how his chicken salad *might* have helped him to win Game #2 because everyone knows that Game #2 NEVER counts.

Stay tuned right here for The IngleBean’s next game night!

Enjoy your home,

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When NOT to leave town…


In case you haven’t picked up on it, there’s a big – I mean SUPER BIG – weekend coming up in the Valley.

Merry Millheim has inspired all kinds of businesses to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season: Santa will be all over town (sometimes in more than one place at a time, that tricky trickster), discounts will abound, and festivities will begin! Good food, good music, good friends, and good shopping… all right here.

You won’t want to miss it.

So, get a Sharpie marker and write “STAY IN TOWN” on December 5 and 6th. Then, message your non-Valley friends and let them know that this is a great opportunity to spend the weekend right here, in our cozy little neighborhood.

We’re busy compiling all of the sales and details to make sure you are ready for a very merry weekend in the Valley!

Stay tuned…

 Enjoy your home,

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For your December radar… E & L Supplies Plans a “Purrific” Saturday!


 Enjoy your home,

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Sunday’s Harry Smith Festival to Benefit HOPE Fund!

HSF2014poster_edit289Enjoy your home,

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What’s Up This Weekend: 11/14 – 11/16


(Here we are enjoying a picnic on Tuesday…

the last gorgeously warm day of the year??)

The season of festivities begins this weekend and will grow, and grow, and grow through the end of December! Be sure to keep in touch with our Community Calendar by signing up to receive updates sent directly to your inbox. (See the sign-up in the righthand margin?) Also, keep US in the know by entering your community events here.

This weekend, the Penns Valley MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) invites you to their Harvest Dinner on Friday from 5-7:30 p.m. Enjoy fun family activities including face painting, puppets, crafts and games.  Please RSVP by November 12th by calling 814-308-4733.

Also, The IngleBean in Millheim invites everyone down to their cozy coffee house for a rollicking game night on Friday, November 14th from 6 – 9 p.m. Here’s what they say, “Now that cold weather is upon us, we can get back to the good stuff…Bananagrams, Sorry, and Card games! Dinner and drinks will be available, and there’ll be a fire in the fire place.” Check out the facebook page for all the info.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, we hope it’s a good one filled with warmth and friendship.

 Enjoy your home,

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Thanksgiving Treasures for the Kids: A Book, a Video & a Radio Show

The minute our calendar turned to November, I unpacked our Thanksgiving goodies – including several well-loved cardboard turkey cut-outs. I just LOVE Thanksgiving… from the books and crafts to the family recipes and rich historical tradition.  I dug up this post from last year and realized that some things never change: these three things are still at the top of our list!

In our home, the month of November wouldn’t be the same without these 3 classic Thanksgiving treasures:

510Q6LXOVWL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_1. Cranberry Thanksgiving is our favorite Thanksgiving book. Though there are lots of great books about the Pilgrims and Indians, this one is a picture book about a secret recipe, an unlikely hero, and a gathering of friends around the table. It even comes with the delicious (secret) recipe!

2. YouTube Preview Image

The Mayflower Charlie Brown is another annual enjoyment! You can watch it for free through YouTube, but we’ve never regretted owning a copy by purchasing  “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (The Mayflower is a special feature on the deluxe DVD).

3. Last but certainly not least, we listen to the old radio program, Father Knows Best: Thanksgiving Special at least five times between November 1st and Thanksgiving Day. My kids crack up and I never tire of their adorable giggles. I bet you’ll love it, too. Click here to see for yourself! :)

What would you add to the list?

 Enjoy your home,

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