Small Business Continues To Drive Our Economy

Small business is big in Chautauqua County! 87% of all businesses in Chautauqua County employ fewer than 20 employees, with a total annual payroll of over $1.18 billion. These small businesses span all economic sectors from manufacturing to food service to healthcare, as well as retail and food service. These figures are from the US Census Bureau’s 2015 Business Pattern report.

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is working year-round to promote local businesses and to reinforce the importance of supporting local business. Studies have consistently shown that shopping locally is good for our economy. It is estimated that for every $100 in consumer spending with a locally owned business, $73 remains in the local economy and is dispersed through local wages, charitable donations, taxes that fund local services, and purchases of goods and services through other local businesses. And it’s not just shopping that makes a difference. When you work with local providers for professional services, real estate, healthcare, and finance, you are also contributing to gains in our local economy.

The Chamber delivers several services to its members to help drive both foot traffic and internet traffic into local businesses. I will touch upon two of them.

For several years the Chamber operated a gift check program and this past year transitioned to the Shoptauqua Gift Card. This program has had a $2.6-million dollar impact on our local economy, and that’s growing every day. Over 100 businesses in Chautauqua County participate in this program.

An important part of our work to support local businesses is the efforts of our six Community Chambers of Commerce and the more than 100 volunteers who work to coordinate locally-based events that help to drive foot and internet traffic into our small business members and build business-to-business connections.

When small businesses thrive, our entire community benefits. We always invite feedback from our Chamber member businesses. If you have ideas about how we can better serve your business, or if you want to purchase Shoptauqua Gift Cards or participate in the program, please contact us at 366-6200 or 484-1101.



Join the Chamber today and make an investment in your business. The Chamber offers a wide variety of services designed to meet the priority needs of local businesses. Are you looking to boost your sales directly to consumers? Are you having challenges finding qualified workers? Are you trying to connect with other businesses to increase your sales? Are you interested in influencing and changing public policy? The Chamber has the answer to many of these challenges.

The Chamber will kick off its annual Spring Membership Drive during National Small Business Week, April 29-May 5. The Chamber will offer special discounts for new memberships for small businesses with ten or fewer employees during that week, and we will do Mornings on Main walking tours in communities throughout the county to meet with small business people. Our Spring Membership Drive will close this year with a fantastic event being planned jointly with the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau. Watch for more details coming soon!



County Executive George Borrello will be the featured speaker during the Hanover Community Chamber of Commerce Annual Appreciation Luncheon, which will be held at 11:30am, Thursday, April 12 at The Colony Seafood and Steakhouse, 876 Main Road, Irving. A long-time resident of the Hanover area, Mr. Borrello is in the process of visiting 100 businesses in Chautauqua County during his first 100 days in office. This luncheon is sponsored by Ecolab and is open to all Chamber members or prospective members. The cost is $25 per person. Seating is limited and advanced reservations are required. To register, call the Chamber at (716) 366-6200 or sign up online at www.chautauquachamber.org/events.



Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce provides opportunities for its members to have a direct conversation with elected officials from each level of government. This year, the State Legislative Breakfast will be held April 27 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell will provide their insights about legislation in Albany and be available for questioning from the audience. This event is sponsored by Affinity One Federal Credit Union, Chautauqua Institution, Cummins Inc., Fredonia College Foundation, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Mattress Company, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress Company, UPMC Chautauqua WCA, and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX. The cost to attend is $18 per person for Chamber members and $21 for non-members. Advanced registration is requested. You can register online at www.chautauquachamber.org/events or call our offices at 366-6200 or 484-1101.


The Dunkirk and Fredonia Community Chambers of Commerce will jointly host the annual Grape Expectations Wine Festival, Friday, May 11. This event will be held at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 30 Lake Shore Drive East, Dunkirk. It begins at 6pm. Several local wineries will participate, along with vendors featuring theme-appropriate products. There will be live music by Marshall Seddon, wine tasting, good food, and a complimentary wine glass for each attendee, as well as a chance to win prizes donated by local merchants. The cost is just $15 per person or two for $25. Tickets are available at the Dunkirk Chamber office, 10785 Bennett Road, from Chamber Board members, or you can call the Chamber at (716) 366-6200 or sign up online at www.chautauquachamber.org/events.


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