Biz group fizzles, pivots

By CHARLES PETERSHEIM
Posted 1/12/22

MILFORD, PA — Milford Business Action Group (MBAC) disbanded at its first organizational meeting on January 6, heeding feedback that considered its political edge unwarranted for a neighborhood …

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Biz group fizzles, pivots

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MILFORD, PA — Milford Business Action Group (MBAC) disbanded at its first organizational meeting on January 6, heeding feedback that considered its political edge unwarranted for a neighborhood business group. Structured as a 501(c)4, typically reserved for political action committees, the group drew immediate fire from some Main Street businesses whose primary interests were business and main street development, not politics.

Three partners at McAteer and Will Estates at Keller Williams—Lisa McAteer, Carl Will and Alex McAteer—formed and took charge of MBAC and have positioned themselves at the helm of whatever form a new organization takes as well, appointing stakeholders, calling meetings, disbanding organizations, and accepting and rejecting members.  

“Not everyone wants to be associated with their politics, even if they are in agreement,” said one business owner. “It’s a business group and it’s a community group.” 

The idea of MBAC reportedly stemmed from a feeling among a contingent of borough businesses who did not feel represented by Milford Presents, the community’s current business group. Some felt Milford Presents was not achieving its mission of being the “official marketing vehicle of Milford, PA, ensuring the viability of its business community through its efforts,” as well as not being responsive to feedback. 

MBAC premiered at an energetic launch party held at the Tom Quick on December 15.  The January 6 meeting was intended to appoint a board and structure bylaws. During this lightly attended second meeting, questions about the nature of the organization, fees, dues, missions were proffered. By the end of the three-hour meeting, MBAC no longer existed.

Asked about the meeting and the “new group,” Lisa McAteer offered little insight as to the form of this new business community organization but promised “all false facts and journalism will be called out” on social media.

While the McAteer’s set out “to harness all the positive energy” in the small business community, the top-down, political nature of the first iteration did not achieve that. According to news releases and meeting flyers, no one outside McAteer and Will was invited to play a substantive, independent part in any element of MBAC.

In response to both press reports of discontent with Milford Presents, as well as alternative groups being set up, Milford Presents board member Adriane Wendell wrote in a January 11 press release that her organization intends to step up its community engagement, and “share our successes and get [community]  input.” Their next meeting is scheduled for January 27 via Zoom.

This story was updated on January 16 to indicate the source of Adriane Wendell's comments about Milford Presents, which was a January 11 press release.

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