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Small business Saturday is here: shop safe, shop small, shop local

Chamber Corner

In a year filled with uncertainty for small businesses, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has unveiled a new program aimed directly at helping small locally owned businesses survive no matter what comes their way next. Sales are the lifeblood of any business. When customers may have difficulty getting to a store, they can still buy from small independent businesses online. The Chamber has launched ShopLocalCHQ – a new online marketplace that features a great collection of nearly 250 products and services offered by more than 50 small local businesses right here in Chautauqua County.

This platform makes it easy for local consumers to shop local for products and services. This is our communities’ local response to other on-line platforms that are taking sales opportunities away from our local economy. We have to empower our local businesses and our consumers to fight back against the large on-line corporations and that is just what we are doing with ShopLocalCHQ. This new marketplace makes it easy and affordable for small businesses to sell online and allows consumers to aggregate their purchases across the marketplace for a convenient shopping experience.

Americans are expected to spend more on eCommerce this holiday season than ever before. Adobe Analytics estimates that online sales this November and December will surge 33% year over year. That makes it more important than ever for small businesses to be able to sell online and to reach existing customers, while also expanding their customer reach.

A core focus of the Chamber has always been to drive traffic to local businesses, and now we have another tool to drive sales to our Chamber members online. It is especially important this holiday season as we encourage consumers to Shop Safe. Shop Small. Shop Local. Consumers can shop and support small local businesses either in person or online. It’s the best of both worlds for both our small businesses and the consumer.

As part of this launch, the Chamber of Commerce is giving away $500 in Chamber gift cards that can be used on the marketplace. Visit the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page to enter the contest. No purchase is required.

On this Small Business Saturday, and every day of the year, we remind all shoppers to help keep our local economy top of mind. When you buy from a small locally owned business 67% of your purchase stays right here in our community. When you shop small, you make a big impact on our local community.

Shop Safe. Shop Small. Shop Local. Please support our locally owned small businesses during the holiday gifting season and all year round.

DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY CRUISE IN JAMESTOWN IS DECEMBER 4

The City of Jamestown, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce are partnering on a unique event this year to celebrate the holiday season and light the tree on Tracy Plaza. The Downtown Holiday Cruise will be held from 6-7:30 on Friday, December 4. The annual tree lighting will be held via livestream and shown online and will be the prelude to a “parade in reverse.”

Businesses can register to set up a stationery “float” or display in a parking space along Third Street. Spectators will then be allowed to drive through and view the displays from 6-7:30pm, culminating with the viewing of the lit tree on Tracy Plaza where Santa will wave to children. Businesses and organizations that want to participate must register online and a parking space will be assigned to them. There is no cost to participate. Set-up and parking for displays will be allowed after 3 p.m. the day of the event. Each business must provide its own power source. Displays must fit into a single parking space (approximately 8′ x 20′) and will be spaced appropriately to allow for distancing. No sales or giveaways will be allowed from parklet spots during the event. Businesses may sign up to participate at www.chamberrsvp.org and will receive details following their registration. Please sign up by the end of the day Monday.

Businesses that already have a presence on Third Street are encouraged to light and decorate their store windows appropriately for the season. There is no theme for the event, other than your own imagination to provide some holiday cheer.

The driving route will run from Washington Street east to Prendergast. Spectators are urged to bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to The Resource Center’s Toys for Tots program, which will have a collection site available at the end of the route. This is a contact-free donation opportunity.

This is designed to be a safe and physically distanced event for families. Downtown businesses may still be open under regular state protocols.

STAY SAFE AND

HEALTHY THIS

HOLIDAY SEASON

This is a time when we should all redouble our efforts to remain safe and healthy. As the coronavirus caseload increases nationwide, and right here in Western New York, we encourage everyone to maintain safe practices. It is imperative that we all do our part to keep our local business community open and thriving. A strong economy requires a healthy workforce and healthy customers.

We have reminded all businesses, and will continue to remind the general public, that the increase in COVID spread is very troubling and could mean additional restrictions. No one wants that. We are seeing increased restrictions all around us now, both in Pennsylvania and in Erie County, NY where the Yellow and Orange Zone designations remain in place. Hospital space is now in short supply in many areas. New York State is monitoring data daily, identifying the areas of concern, and are now implementing a cluster zone approach in an effort to control the virus.

Each of us carries a personal responsibility to do our part. Please wear a face covering in public to cover your nose and mouth, stay socially distant from others who are not in your immediate household, and use hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently. The science is clear, and recent directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ask that people avoid holiday travel and holiday celebrations with those outside of your immediate household. Only by working together can we get through this unsettling time and keep our families, schools, and businesses intact. Thank you for doing your part.

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