Forty-six business leaders in Caln Township attended an educational luncheon on business and government issues last Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Thorndale Fire Company Community Room.

Township Manager Greg Prowant welcomed the business representatives ranging from retail, automotive, legal, and banking firms and said he wanted the business community to know "Caln Township welcomes businesses."

Board of Commissioners President David Mushrush's concentration during township meetings seems to focus on the residential side of the community, but the board of commissioners wanted the business community to know, "You people do matter."

Prowant also invited the newer business community members to come to a monthly coffee and donut breakfast meeting to be held on the third Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the township building. Mushrush said those meetings would give the business community input into local laws and would give commissioners input on how potential laws might affect the business community.

The group ate, networked among other township businesses, and mingled with township employees as names were put with faces on both sides of the conversation. Township officials explained facets of their jobs and how the business community could aid them.

Police Officer Christine Cusick gave area businesses tips on robbery prevention. Cusick said several tips were obvious such as always have more than one person working especially during opening and closing shifts. Cusick also warned owners to keep very little money in the registers and to post signs stating there would not be a lot of money on the premises. "Those signs tell the robbers it is not worth the risk for them to rob here," she said.

Cusick emphasized greeting individual customers deters crime. She also advised owners to keep areas near windows free from clutter; it not only looks better, but allows witnesses outside to see if there is a problem at your location. "If the store is neat and clean, it tells would-be criminals your employees are on the ball," Cusick said. The township had written packets available for local businesses to aid them in deterring crime.

Andy Reczek, the township's Code Enforcement officer, said, "I want to put a friendly face on code enforcement." The crowd chuckled. Rezcek then emphasized that the code enforcement policy is to maintain the public health, safety, and welfare for the community. He told the business owners the township had recently passed a commercial fire safety ordinance, which would allow township officials to check for fire safety hazards within township businesses on a yearly basis. "It is really for your protection," Reczeck said.

One business owner asked, "Are they announced visits?" Reczeck answered, "yes", and added for any businesses that did not meet the inspection standards, the township would give them time to remedy the problem.

The new fire inspection policy would require business owners to fix conditions "liable to cause a fire, contribute to the spread of fire, or interfere with firefighting operations or endanger lives."

The fire code report requires business owners to have their addresses clearly marked on the outside of the building to allow emergency vehicles to find the building. It also requires dumpsters to be located five feet from the building and that fire lanes are not blocked.

Inside the building, the rules state that doors should be free from obstruction and exit signs are well lit. The report states as fire detection and prevention services and fire extinguishers are operational and are properly serviced. The new code will also look at electrical hazards and general building review for hazardous material and if there is any fuel storage on the premises. There will be a $50 charge to the business for this inspection.

Chip Clavier from Hatt's Industrial Supplies, one of the oldest Caln Township businesses still in existence, spoke of the changes along Lincoln Highway in the last 50 years. He encouraged his fellow business owners to attend the township's business breakfast as a way to keep in touch the continuing community changes. The next business breakfast will be held March 15 at 7:30 a.m.

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