At the local visitor’s center, you’ll learn a few things about Latrobe, Pennsylvania: The city of 8,000, just east of Pittsburgh, is the original home of golf legend Arnold Palmer, television’s Fred Rogers, and Rolling Rock beer. The banana split dessert originated here.
If you read between the lines, you’ll also understand how much the region’s entrepreneurs are struggling. The visitor’s center is supposed to be staffed most days by Briana Tomack, the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce’s president and CEO, or her one full-time employee. On April 15, both were furloughed. Tomack returned earlier this month–and she’s already worried about money again.
Most of her chamber’s nearly 500 member companies can no longer afford to pay dues. Stay-at-home orders and event restrictions have made additional fundraising almost impossible. Without a new source of funding, Tomack says, her chamber–and others like it–won’t survive the year. That