New Business Council Focuses on LGBTQ Community

STROUDSBURG, Pa. -- A new business council in the Poconos is gaining a lot of popularity, and committee members are looking for more people to join. The Pocono Chamber of Commerce is partnering with several business owners to form an LGBTQ business council.

The new business council started with only five business owners, but less than a month later, that number has more than doubled.

Those who formed the committee say the goal is to provide a friendly atmosphere not only for locals but tourists, too.

Michael Moreno works for the Pocono Chamber of Commerce. His job is to get business owners within the community to network with each other, but Moreno saw a void and decided to do something about it.

"We decided that an LGBTQ council would benefit the Poconos, as we don't currently have one. The idea kind of came of we don't have a diversity council here within the chamber, so why not start with LGBTQ?" Moreno said.

Moreno says the goal of the new business council is to bring LGBTQ businesses together providing a friendly place for owners and customers.

"Come together and see if the chamber can advocate for your business. Can we do any support services? Can we do any special signage to let our tourists know when they come from New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, that they are welcome here in our businesses and they can feel comfortable?"

When the council was formed just a couple weeks ago, only five business owners were on board. But now, that number has more than doubled and members are hoping for more.

"It's very exciting in the sense that it allows people to understand that, yes, the Poconos is just as progressive and wonderful as every place else is, so in that way, it's really great," said Brian Crawford.

Crawford owns Rootin' Tootin' Hotdogs on West Main Street in Stroudsburg. He was one of the first business owners to join the council.

"A lot of tourists and new plants that don't really know the community and don't know whether or not it is a friendly place, to either do business or to be out and open, so this lets people know that it is a very open and normal place to be."

All businesses are welcome to become part of new LGBTQ business council, however, members say you must be willing to support the initiative.

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