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Serving our business community, moving forward

Chamber Corner

There is no question that these last six weeks have been incredibly challenging for our local business community and their employees. The team and the boards of directors at the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier have been hard at work continuing to provide services to our members and to the entire local business community. We have had four clear objectives in helping serve our members during this trying time: provide consistent and clear communication, connecting businesses with financial resource, encouraging the community to support our local business, and reopening the economy.

Before New York State began closing non-essential businesses, we began helping local businesses to prepare. We created a web page for coronavirus and Businesses, which initially included a lot of planning documents to help businesses create financial management and crisis management plans. That page has since evolved to provide resources for any business seeking information about disaster loans, unemployment insurance, employee leave programs, and much more. Through consistent communications we have worked to keep all businesses informed using email, social media, phone calls, web meetings, and more.

We have worked with several partner organizations to promote local businesses that remain open by developing at webpage at CHQBUYLOCAL.COM. This new web page provides lists of restaurants that remain available for takeout and delivery, essential service providers, and delivery only retail available to serve local consumers. In addition, we have rolled out the new Shoptauqua Cash Dash and Shoptauqua Marketing Program to help businesses increase their sales and develop and maintain strong customer relationships.

Importantly, the Chamber and MAST are also regularly meeting with a variety of partner organizations and leaders across the county to strategize steps towards reopening the economy. We stand ready to assist and to work with New York State as we pivot toward restarting our regional economy.

We recognize that this is not an easy time for many of our Chamber/MAST member businesses to maintain their investment in our organization. Like many of our members, we too are concerned about the financial impact of the pandemic on our organization, and we too have a “business” to protect. As annual dues renewal is approaching for many of our members, we have looked for ways to ease the burden while trying to ensure a predictable cash flow to keep our organizations afloat. For Chamber of Commerce member businesses, we have established an ACH (Automated Clearinghouse) payment processing option so you can automatically make payments on a monthly basis instead of a lump sum payment. We also have a convenient credit card processing system if you choose to use it.

For our member businesses, we hope you will consider maintaining your membership investment with us. Please call or email our finance manager, Holly McBride, at (716) 484-1101 extension 200, or hmcbride@chautauquachamber.org to discuss payment options. If you can afford to pay your full annual membership investment at this time, we sincerely appreciate it. These difficult times will pass. Please know that we are here to help you survive the challenge and help you thrive as our region works together to restart our economy.

Shoptauqua Cash Dash and Shoptauqua Marketing Program

The Chamber of Commerce remains committed to seeking new ways to promote local businesses. Driving customers to local businesses is at the heart of what we do; it’s a focus we call Shoptauqua. We have unveiled two new programs under our Shoptauqua brand: the Shoptauqua Cash Dash and the Shoptauqua Marketing Program.

Shoptauqua Cash Dash is currently aimed towards takeout restaurants. Local businesses can choose a time to be “dashed” and we will establish a weekly calendar for each of our communities served by a Community Chamber of Commerce. Then we will promote the calendar online with a focus on driving customers to your door. We strongly recommend advance phone or online orders and curbside pickup whenever possible.

The Shoptauqua Marketing Program is designed to help turn customers into loyal fans. It’s an interactive online system that integrates Messenger and Facebook ads and is designed to grow your customer base, communicate better with customers to build relationship, and track your return on investment. You can learn more about these programs through the chamber’s website at www.chautauquachamber.org.

A Business Discussion on Restarting the Economy

Join Our Weekly Conference Call Online

All local businesses are invited to join us each Monday at 3:30pm for a weekly conference call via web or phone, as we discuss topics of interest to local businesspeople and ways to help you cope during these challenging times.

Our topic this coming week will be a Business Discussion on Restarting the Economy.

Any business or organization is welcome to join these meetings. For a link and access information, see our web page at https://www.chautauquachamber.org/covid-19-and-the-workplace.html.

Chamber County Executive Breakfast Online June 5

As we recognize that it may be some time yet before we can gather in large groups, the Chamber of Commerce is planning to take yet another annual event online. The County Executive Breakfast this year it will be held Friday, June 5, in an online forum. Our special guest will be Paul “PJ” Wendel. You can register now through the Chamber’s online events calendar and we will email a link to the meeting to each participant. We encourage you to get up and get out and find your favorite local breakfast or coffee takeout restaurant, and then head home to join us online at 8:30am on June 5. This event is sponsored by Chautauqua Institution, DFT Communications, Jamestown Mattress Company, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, Phillips Lytle LLP, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress, Southern Tier Environments for Living, the Division of Advancement at the State University of New York at Fredonia, and UPMC Chautauqua. Please support our sponsors and register online for this event at www.chautauquachamber.org.

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