A city group has changed its name as a means of opening up its membership to more businesses.
Bernie Katz, president of Williamsport Business Association, explained that there are many new businesses in the city looking to connect with the community.
The group was formerly known as the Williamsport Downtown Merchants and Business Association.
But Katz noted that there is a real need to expand the group's reach beyond the downtown and to include all types of commercial enterprises and employers.
"It means we have opened up the association to all businesses within the city limits," he said. "Before, the name limited it to the thinking that they had to be downtown."
Katz said membership has increased significantly.
In fact, the group had to form an affiliate membership for interested businesses not located in the city but that do business in Williamsport.
Along with the name change will be a restructuring of the organization's website.
"It will include everything about the city, not just the businesses. There will be a section on neighborhoods," he said. "Visitors to Williamsport can get on and look around. There will be a community section detailing services. There's lots of links to real estate and events in the city. It just going to be a very comprehensive website."
It's the sort of website, he said, that will make people want to visit Williamsport.
Katz noted that group will begin holding first Saturdays Aug. 4 in the city.
Sidewalks along Pine Street will be given over to vendors selling merchandise or other wares for what is hoped will be a monthly event in the city.
He said the event will be open to any vendors.
"For First Fridays you have to be an artist," he said. "For First Saturday we don't care what you sell as long as its legal."
Katz said there's never been a better time for Williamsport as new businesses continue to look to the city as a place to take root.
"They are looking for something to connect with," he said.
The Williamsport Business Association website is www.williamsport.org.
Williamsport Business Association is also at facebook/Williamsportbusinessassociation.