The commercial corridor along Ogontz Avenue forms the heart of West Oak Lane’s business community. In an effort to connect with that community, The West Oak Lane Business Association hosted an open house June 11 on Ogontz Ave.
In addition to meeting prospective new members, WOLBA President Kimberly Lyons says the event was intended to educate business members along the avenue about the association.
“I felt that it was good that we have an open house membership drive to recognize the history of the organization,” she said, “as well as welcome new members who may not have realized that they are in our footprint and they are welcome to come and join our organization.
“Next Tuesday will give all those on Ogontz Ave. from Cheltenham to Middleton, an opportunity to stop in and introduce themselves and we’d like to introduce ourselves to them.”
Lyons intended Tuesday’s open house to be the next step in enhancing the WOLBA’s role in the community. “From there, we’re going to do recruitment and start an agenda in the fall,” she said, “of different activities that we would like to do with the businesses on Ogontz Ave that would be geared toward the community.”
Lyons became President of the WOLBA in January. She is also the President and CEO of the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation. She says the two organizations are not linked.
“They are separate and distinct from one another,” she said. There are no business operations that run through one or the other but they both had a mission statement that was very relatable to each other. They look to be interwoven but they are not.”
But Lyons, who had a long career in the banking industry before assuming her post with the OARC, says the two organizations are pursuing similar goals.
"Both have the same mission in mind,” she said. “When you have a thriving bustling commercial corridor and a residential community that’s free of issues and has a stronghold on public safety, then you have a community in my opinion that’s extraordinary.”
Lyons says a chief reason that West Oak Lane has thrived as a community is the connection between the business community along the Ogontz Ave. corridor and community residents.
“(The residential community) is very much a combination of residential families, retirees, and people who work at the some of the national chains in the community such a U-Haul and Rite Aid,” she said. “All of these folks act as stakeholders of the community.”