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The value of your investment: Driving traffic to your business

Driving value to local businesses is the centerpiece of all that we do through the Chamber of Commerce. We estimate that our members at a minimum receive a return on investment seven times greater than their annual investment in the Chamber. Our mission is to create a business environment in the region where our members can thrive, and to do that we focus on meeting the most pressing needs of our members by providing a diverse set of services that provide value in return for your business investment.

Customers are the life blood of any business, and the Chamber works to foster connections between businesses and customers in a variety of ways. One of the most tangible benefits of Chamber membership for customer-centric businesses is the Shoptauqua Gift Card program. More than 150 businesses around Chautauqua County currently accept the Shoptauqua Gift Card. For consumers it’s easy to purchase through the Chamber offices, and for businesses it is easy to accept through a simple card swipe setup in your point of sale system.

In 2019 more than $76,000 was directly invested in the local economy as consumers used Shoptauqua Gift Cards. Because of the long-held principle of the economic multiplier effect, each dollar that is spent locally actually has an impact of $1.50 in the economy – because it means wages, job creation, and additional local purchases. In Chautauqua County, that means the Shoptauqua Gift Card made a $114,000 difference in our local economy just last year alone. Over the many years that the Chamber of Commerce has been running the Gift Card program, and its forerunner, the gift check program, that total invested back into our local economy in Chautauqua County has been close to $3-million.

The Chamber’s work to drive traffic to local businesses doesn’t end there, though. We also foster member referrals through the dynamic Business Directory embedded in our website. Each Chamber member business has a landing page on our site. Through that page and direct links to our member businesses on the web, phone, or through interactive Google maps, its easy for anyone to find a local business to provide services they are seeking. Each day, an average of 7,400 referrals are made to Chamber businesses through our online Business Directory, in addition to referrals provided when people call or stop in at our offices.

Special promotional events also provide value to our member businesses. The six Community Chambers that work in partnership with the County Chamber of Commerce host over 100 events each year through hard and dedicated work of over 100 volunteers. These events are designed to drive foot traffic into local businesses. In addition, the Chamber’s annual advertising and online campaign around Small Business Saturday and publicity around grand openings and ribbon cutting events for local businesses.

Your investment in the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce makes you part of one of the largest business associations in Western New York. Our focus is on driving service and value. Over the next several weeks the Chamber will be focused on articles that demonstrate the value of membership. We thank you for your investment and your participation in the Chamber of Commerce and look forward to serving your business throughout the year.

Get involved in STEM Wars March 12

On March 12 manufacturers and schools from throughout the region will come together for STEM Wars. STEM Wars provides students an opportunity to showcase their science, technology, engineering and math talents and projects. STEM wars features a variety of competitions and an opportunity for students to meet with area manufacturers to learn about their companies and products. The event takes place at the Jamestown Community College Campus in Jamestown, bringing together over 800 students from around the region to participate in a fun and educational event, featuring STEM activities, competitions, local manufacturing technology companies, and on-site team building/leadership skills projects. Middle school and high school students are invited to participate each year, and work for weeks in advance to prepare their projects for competition.

STEM Wars is co-presented by Dream It Do It Western New York (DIDIWNY) & the New York State Technology and Engineering Educators’ Association (NYSTEEA) Chautauqua County Chapter. STEM Wars is produced with support from the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce (CCCC), Jamestown Community College (JCC), The Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier (MAST), Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH), and the Chautauqua County Education Coalition. There is still space for manufacturers who want to participate in the career fair, where students can engage with local businesses about skills, studies, products, and more. Sponsorship opportunities are still available as well. For more information, contact Tim Piazza at tpiazza@mast-wny.com or (716) 483-1833.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Downtown Jamestown March 14

Your business can get more GREEN on St. Patrick’s Day! Dollars, that is. The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce will once again Turn the River Green for St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Jamestown. Everyone is invited to join us at the Riverwalk in Brooklyn Square for the event at 11am, Saturday, March 14. This event is sponsored this year by the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau and M&T Bank. The Chamber strongly encourages local businesses to participate for the day as well. We will provide you with a standard “Leprechaun Crossing” poster for your business that indicates you are offering some special deal on Saturday, March 14. Just let us know that you’ll be participating and we will add you to our list to be handed out during the event at the Riverwalk. It could be a discounted price, a special food item, or anything of your choosing. Our goal is to move foot traffic from Brooklyn Square into to local businesses for shopping, brunch, or lunch. Any Jamestown business can participate. For more information or to get listed, contact Jamestown Community Chamber Coordinator Joanna Dahlbeck at jdahlbeck@chautauquachamber.org or call the Chamber at 484-1101.

Updated HR Platform is being released

The Human Resources compliance platform provided by the Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier is in transition. If your business conducted employee training through the HR360 platform offered by the Chamber in 2019 to meet the State Department of Labor requirements around the New York State Workplace Harassment law, you must download your final reports and certificates of completion before February 28. The HR360 platform is being replaced by the new Zywave Learning Management System.

Chamber staff is here to assist through this transition. We are in the process of emailing new login invitations to all current businesses in the program. The new Zywave LMS system has compiled an extensive catalog of courses that we can now offer to local member businesses. If you have not been provided with a link to the new Zywave Learning site, please watch your email in the next week and the setup instructions will be provided for you. You can easily upload your current employee list into Zywave Learning with an Excel spreadsheet to get started.

We appreciate your understanding through this transition and look forward to serving your human resources compliance needs in the future. For direct assistance or information please call Sheila Webster, Director of Marketing and Communications at 366-6200 or 484-1101 or email her at swebster@chautauquachamber.org.

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