The Chamber is in business for small business

Chamber Corner

Our local economy relies on a variety of businesses to flourish, and small independent retailers, restaurants, and service industries are a key part of that success. The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has always been committed to promoting the Shop Local movement and stepped up those efforts in the past year significantly when small businesses needed help the most.

With a consistent focus on helping to drive foot and internet traffic to local businesses, the Chamber for many years has offered tools that help to drive customers and sales for small local businesses. That includes the very popular ShopLocal Gift Card from the Chamber, which transitioned to a card from a check three years ago. Throughout its tenure the program has had a more than $3 million economic impact right here in Chautauqua County. Last year alone more than $70,000 worth of ShopLocal gift cards were sold to area individuals, businesses, and organizations. Those cards can be used at more than 140 local merchants throughout Chautauqua County for purchasing a variety of goods and services.

In 2020 as small businesses struggled with pandemic restrictions, the Chamber launched ShopLocalCHQ.com. Working with a trusted partner called Shop Where I Live, the Chamber has created a simple system that allows small local businesses to easily sell online even if they don’t have their own sales portal or website.

ShopLocalCHQ is more than just a sales tool. It is also a marketing platform where online shoppers can easily find a variety of products from local sellers. For small businesses, that means more customers, and more customers always leads to more sales.

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.

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 20th year of service in 2020. By functioning as a countywide organization with six specific community chambers serving Dunkirk, Fredonia, Hanover, Jamestown, Mayville-Chautauqua, and Westfield-Barcelona, the Chamber also provides events in each community that serve to drive traffic to local businesses. By staffing coordinators in each community to help with activities, we focus on sustainability and economic growth through the implementation of the Main Street four-point approach which highlights organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring.

While it’s been a roller coaster ride for most businesses over the past year, we are thrilled to see new businesses opening in our county and look forward to a renewal for local events and attractions. The Chamber of Commerce is happy to play a productive role in helping our local small businesses succeed.




In our ongoing series of Tuesday Talks events the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will focus in April on the upcoming summer tourism season and what that means for local businesses. Our guests will be Andrew Nixon, Executive Director of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau; Emily Morris, Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Officer at Chautauqua Institution; and Henry Sirois, General Manager at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.

This event is set for 8:30am, Tuesday, April 13 and will be held via Zoom webinar. We encourage all attendees to support our small businesses by getting some takeout breakfast or coffee to enjoy during the event and come prepared with questions for our guests. This Tuesday Talks event is sponsored by OBSERVER and The Post-Journal.

You can register online now through our Chamber calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.



When the Chamber of Commerce scheduled its State Legislative Breakfast as our first ever virtual event last April, little did we know we would still be meeting online a year later. This year we continue to hold online events in place of large group gatherings, as health concerns still influence these decisions.

This year’s Virtual State Legislative Breakfast is set for 8am, Friday, April 23. Our guests will be State Senator George Borrello and State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell. We encourage all attendees to come prepared to submit questions for our representatives in Albany. You may also email questions prior to the meeting to swebster@chautauquachamber.org.

This is another great opportunity to support small local businesses, as you can easily pick up breakfast or coffee from a local restaurant to enjoy during the online event. Our sponsors are Chautauqua Institution, Jamestown Mattress Company, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress Company, and UPMC Chautauqua. Please register in advance through our online Chamber calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.


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