American Rescue Plan includes provisions for business

Chamber Corner

Small businesses are in line for additional assistance under the new American Rescue Plan Act approved this past week and signed by President Biden. The measure contains an additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans to small businesses that have suffered economically during the pandemic. The measure also allows more nonprofits to apply.

Restaurants, which have been especially hard hit during the pandemic, will receive some direct relief to the tune of $29 billion under the new law. Restaurants and other “food and drinking establishments” can apply for grants of up to $5 million per physical location, with a maximum of 20 locations. Eligibility will be determined by subtracting 2020 sales from 2019 revenue. The grants will be channeled through the Small Business Administration.

In addition, the SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program will be funded with another $1.25 billion. Those grants are intended to help theaters, museums, concert venues, and other venues that had to shut down due to COVID restrictions. Now those operators will also be allowed to apply for forgivable PPP loans in addition to the grants.

Fifteen billion dollars is earmarked for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan grant program to be targeted for small businesses in underserved areas, especially those that are minority owned.

In order to help administer the new programs, the SBA has been allocated an additional $1.325 billion in its budget to oversee the grant and loan programs.

In addition to small business assistance, the legislation provides an additional $7.5 billion to track, administer, and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. Efforts to get all adults vaccinated remain crucial for our public health and our economy as we work to restore businesses, jobs, and local entertainment venues.

Details surrounding all of these programs will be released shortly. We encourage all local, eligible restaurants, performance venues, and other businesses to be prepared to apply for assistance through these programs. Locally, the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College is on the front lines to provide assistance with all SBA programs. Their staff will be prepared to work with local businesses once all of the details have been released. You can contact them at (716) 338-1024.




If you have considered Facebook advertising for your business, but the prospect of doing it seems daunting, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is offering an overview of how to cut through the confusion and make Facebook work for you. The Chamber’s Director of Member Marketing, Jonathan Weston, is presenting a six-week series of sessions to focus specifically on Facebook marketing. The series will begin with some general practices and then delve into more advanced steps as you progress to help meet your strategic goals. Classes will meet Thursdays from 3:30-4:30pm. Class time will include opportunities for questions, and follow-up opportunities for consultation.

Topics covered will be:

¯ March 18: Boosted Posts, Basic Facebook Campaigns, and General Strategy

¯ March 25: Getting Set Up: Ads Manager, Business Manager, and the Facebook Pixel

¯ April 1: Tracking Events, Creating Custom Audiences, and Planning a Strategy Part 2

¯ April 8: Creating Advanced Facebook Ad Campaigns

¯ April 15: Reviewing and Optimizing Your Facebook Campaigns

¯ April 22: Apple iOS14 and Facebook: The Apple Wars

Jonathan Weston is also the general manager of Panama Rocks Scenic Park. He has used Facebook marketing to increase sales for his own business and has taught Facebook marketing at Jamestown Community College as part of the Small Business Development Corporation Social Media Marketing series.

These classes are offered as a service of your membership in the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. You can register through our online calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org. To learn more about the value of membership or about joining the Chamber, contact Guy Ditonto at gditonto@chautauquachamber.org.





The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce presents an opportunity to meet with our representative in the US House of Representatives. This year, our session with Congressman Tom Reed will be held online via Zoom Webinar at noon, Friday, March 26. Come prepared with questions for Rep. Reed. This event is sponsored by Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Chautauqua Institution, Forecon Inc, Jamestown Mattress Company, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and UPMC Chautauqua. Register online now through our Chamber calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.




Easter is coming and more spring holidays are on the way including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and graduations. Now is the time to get your products online! It’s easy for local businesses to sell online through ShopLocalCHQ!

This easy to navigate online marketplace currently includes over 350 products from 73 Chautauqua County businesses. Since the site opened at the end of November, more than 42,000 consumers have been reached through social media with 437,000 ad impressions. There have been almost 60,000 page views on the site, providing exceptional marketing and sales opportunities for local businesses.

The marketplace aggregates purchases into a single shopping cart to make it convenient for the customer, and then easily manages the back-end distributions to sellers and also accounts for taxes and shipping. Participation is a service of membership in the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. Any business that’s interested can learn more by calling our office at (716) 366-6200 or (716) 484-1101, or by visiting www.ShopLocalCHQ.com and clicking “start selling” to begin the process.


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