Shop locally this season
By TODD TRANUM
President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
The holiday shopping season is about to begin full force, with a wide variety of merchants available right here in Chautauqua County to meet your needs. Retailers come in all sizes here: from large department stores to small, specialty shops and boutiques. That allows consumers to find all types of merchandise, from large electronic goods to artisan and handcrafted items, without ever leaving our beautiful county. In fact, by staying right here, you can be a part of both the Black Friday frenzy at some of our larger retailers, and still support Small Business Saturday by purchasing goods from the multitude of small shops that are found in our cities and villages.
When we support local businesses, we are truly supporting our local economy. Your shopping dollars go back into the pockets of entrepreneurial store owners and their employees, who then, in turn, support other local restaurants and service providers.
This holiday season, we are urging everyone to shop locally to boost our own Chautauqua County economy. While there is a national movement to buy American made products, our Shoptauqua initiative takes it one step further.
Helping to drive foot traffic into local businesses is one of the five focal points of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. In order to support this effort, the Chamber offers Shop Chautauqua County Gift Checks, which can be used just like cash at more than 80 restaurants, retailers, and service providers right here in our county. Gift Checks are available only through the Chamber, in denominations of $10, $15 and $25. These Gift Checks make the perfect gift for family, friends, neighbors, employees, or others on your list.
The Chamber also helps to drive foot traffic into local businesses by providing an online business directory to help consumers find what they are looking for, providing member-to-member discounts to support Chamber members, and offering marketing opportunities to members to encourage support of local companies.
Consumers have many choices to make in today's economy. One of the easiest decisions is to keep your holiday spending local. For more information about Chamber Gift Checks, call our offices at 366-6200 or 484-1101. Shoptauqua this holiday season to support local businesses!
Chamber annual meeting Dec. 7
The 2012 Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting will be held on Friday, Dec. 7 at Shorewood Country Club in Dunkirk, with local attorney Mary Hajdu as our guest speaker. Hajdu will discuss Opportunities in the Marcellus/Utica Shale.
In addition, the Chamber will present its first ever Pam Lydic Coalition Builders Award in memory of our first Executive Director, and will also announce the top three winners in our summer-long Facebook Photo Contest.
The Chamber Annual Meeting is being sponsored by the OBSERVER, The Post-Journal and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX. The lunch meeting will begin at 12:15 p.m. and the cost is $18 for Chamber members and $21 for non-members, with registration open online and via phone. Invitations were mailed and include a proxy vote form for Chamber members who are not able to attend.
Social media classes offered
The Chamber of Commerce and JCC's Office of Continuing Education has additional social media classes coming up. This series is designed to assist any local small business throughout Chautauqua County in creating, building and maintaining their social an Internet presence.
Two classes coming up in December will be offered jointly at both the Jamestown and Dunkirk campuses in order to allow the greatest number of participants.
On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the class will be Using Google Tools to Support Your Business, which will run from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Google Tools is free software and available wherever you are to help you create and share surveys, forms, and documents.
On Thursday, Dec. 6, the class will be Social Network Office Policies from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a focus on helping to establish policies for businesses and employees use of online tools.
This social media series is being offered for free to Chamber members and non-members alike, thanks to funding from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation and the Knight Foundation. Lunch will be provided for these classes. To register, contact Continuing Ed at JCC at 338-1005.