Myerstown Vitality Partnership (MVP) has named Jack Gombach as its new president and CEO. The West Reading resident took up the reins of leadership May 18. He previously served as director of development and marketing of Habitat for Humanity Berks County.

“I wanted to become more involved in economic development and community revitalization efforts. Community revitalization is something I’m passionate about,” Gombach said.

He serves on the West Reading Borough Council and on multiple boards including the Reading Area Community College board of trustees and the Friends of Reading Hospital board of directors.

Gombach believes that the COVID-19 pandemic will help drive a shift in focus on hyperlocal communities and resurgence in support for local stores and restaurants.

“As we face unprecedented economic uncertainty, Main Street communities and small businesses are going to play a vital role in the American comeback story,” he said. “It’s about finding the right balance between shopping local and using ‘big box’ stores.”

A public-private partnership, MVP was founded in late 2019. Its goal is to enhance the economic, social and community assets of the Myerstown-ELCO area. Groundwork for MVP was laid by Myerstown borough council in March 2019 when they approved creating an organization to focus on economic revitalization and new business development in the borough.

Read more: Myerstown looks to stimulate downtown growth with public-private partnership

The MVP team includes Michael McKenna, Bryan Rittle, Jon Zinn, Charles Blankenship, John Bower, Steven Goodhue, Michael Hibshman, Ashly Landis and Julia Vicente. Members of the board represent both Myerstown Borough and its business community.

“We have several exciting initiatives in the works for the MVP. The addition of the experience and leadership skills of Jack Gombach to our team is very welcome news. We look forward to resuming the work that has been temporarily slowed down during COVID-19,” Goodhue said in a news release.

Read more: The Myerstown Vitality Partnership is officially a nonprofit

Gombach’s focus will be to work with community stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy for a community-based revitalization initiative aimed at supporting small businesses and ultimately improving the Lebanon County borough’s quality of life. He has an expansive background in strategic development, public relations and community engagement.

MVP has access to the resources of Main Street America and the Pennsylvania Downtown Center. “We’re taking a holistic approach to the Main Street program model; we want out businesses to succeed for the long-term,” Gombach explained, “We’re building a community that makes sense for our residents. We want to support our entrepreneurs as well as attract new businesses to the community.”

Since larger meetings can’t be held during the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s initially introducing himself to business owners over the phone.

“I want to get their thoughts about a vision for the community,” he said.

When larger gatherings can be held, Gombach would like to host a strategic planning session.

“We’ll talk about how to break down the vision into steps or action items. The idea is to get the community involved,” he said, “There’s been a lot of excitement for the MVP program, now we need to channel that energy.”

For more information about the Myerstown Vitality Partnership, visit the borough’s website here.

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Rochelle A. Shenk is a writer with over two decades experience. Her work appears in regional business publications and lifestyle magazines as well as area newspapers. She writes about business and municipal sectors as well as arts and entertainment, human interest features, and travel and tourism. Rochelle...


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