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Working together breeds success

By Todd J. Tranum

President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

As the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce begins a new decade of service to the business community, we continue to work on improving our business model in a way that boosts our economy in a variety of ways. One of those ways is through the continued support of our six Community Chambers in Dunkirk, Fredonia, Hanover, Jamestown, Mayville-Chautauqua and Westfield-Barcelona.

As 2020 began the Chamber played a key role in helping a local committee in Fredonia tackle the Small Business Revolution – and win! Season Five of the national program supported by Deluxe Corporation came together because of collaboration among a variety of entities: individuals, government, business, and nonprofits. We look back on the months spent immersed in vote-building through social media, and event planning with local stakeholders, and realize that it was successful because of the efforts of so many.

As 2020 wore on and the pandemic halted some key economic players in our community, the Chamber stepped up to assist. Working together with the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, and Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, our teams quickly created and implemented a plan to assist all local businesses by promoting local merchants and restaurants that suddenly were forced to provide takeout service only. It worked because of our partnership.

We waded further into a most unusual year in 2020 and the County Chamber and Jamestown Community Chamber entered into an agreement with the Gebbie Foundation in Jamestown to help re-create programming that drives traffic into downtown Jamestown businesses. Efforts provided for through the Gebbie grant allow the Chamber to work with a variety of local partners to reimagine downtown events, assemble meaningful consumer data, and work on plans for pop-up retail in downtown Jamestown. These plans are coming to fruition with the implementation of the Downtown Jamestown Events Coalition – a regular series of planning sessions with a broad variety of entities including business, attractions, and nonprofit representatives. Together, we are already finding that communication is the key as we work to organize and eventually cross-promote downtown events that will drive more traffic to our businesses.

Our Community Chamber in Westfield-Barcelona is consistently working with the Westfield Development Corporation to partner on events and improvement programs meaningful for the business district in that community.

There are extraordinary examples all over Chautauqua County of how partnerships make a difference. The Chamber of Commerce looks forward to working with vital partners in each of our community service areas to help develop programming and gather resources in ways that serve the business community. Like many others in business in our region, our work has evolved in the past year to serve in new and varied ways. Creativity, planning, and collaboration remain the keys to success.

CHAMBER CONGRESSIONAL MEETING ONLINE IS MARCH 26

Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce provides an opportunity to meet with our representative in the US House of Representatives. This year, our meeting with Congressman Tom Reed will be held online via Zoom Webinar at noon, Friday, March 26.

This event is open to Chamber members and non-members alike and is sponsored by Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Chautauqua Institution, Forecon Inc, Jamestown Mattress Company, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and UPMC Chautauqua.

We encourage all attendees to come prepared with questions that can be submitted for our Congressman. In addition, we ask that you support our small businesses and order lunch from your favorite local restaurant to enjoy during the event. You can register online now through our Chamber calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.

SELL ONLINE NOW WITH SHOPLOCALCHQ

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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