State Comptroller to Keynote Chamber Annual Meeting

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli will be the keynote speaker for our Annual Meeting, to be held at noon, Friday, December 8 at Moon Brook Country Club, North Main Street Extension, Jamestown.

The Comptroller is just one of a small handful of offices elected statewide in New York State. Responsibilities of the office include managing the state pension fund, administering the state retirement system, protecting taxpayer funds, providing independent fiscal oversight on the states and City of New York finances, and providing technical assistance to local governments and school districts.

Comptroller DiNapoli had been a State Assemblyman representing Nassau County for 20 years when he was elected State Comptroller in 2007 by a bipartisan majority of the State Legislature. He was elected by the voters of New York in 2010 and for three consecutive terms following. Under his leadership the state pension fund has remained one of the best managed public pension funds in the nation. His work on waste, fraud, and abuse has resulted in hundreds of arrests and tens of millions in restitution for the people of New York. His audits have uncovered tens of billions of dollars in waste and cost savings for state agencies and local governments and school districts.

The fiscal oversight provided by the State Comptroller is vital for the health of our municipalities, which is crucial to the operation of our local economies. Businesses rely on government operations that run smoothly.

We hope local businesses and organizations will seize the opportunity to hear from State Comptroller DiNapoli. The Chamber’s Annual Meeting is open to all. The luncheon session is $30 for those affiliated with a Chamber member organization, or $32 for non-members. You can register now or find more information on our website calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.


We were fortunate to put some very well-informed and forward-thinking people in a room together this past week for a Business Builder Workshop on How Your Business Can Take Advantage of the 2024 Solar Eclipse. With attendees from all over Chautauqua County on hand, our three presenters talked candidly about what to expect next April 8 when Chautauqua County will be in the path of totality for this rare phenomenon.

Chautauqua County’s Director of Emergency Services, Noel Guttman, frankly told the group the population of the county could swell for this event by anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 people. He has already met with local fire and police agencies about the potential for highways to become parking lots as drivers may simply pull to the side of the road to watch the eclipse. The total eclipse here is expected to begin at 3:18pm and will last for just over four minutes. During that time the sky will become dark, streetlights will come on, and birds and animals will react like it’s nighttime.

Eye protection for those watching the eclipse will be crucial. Viewing the sun directly can be extremely damaging to eyes, and special ISO certified protection should be used, or you can view the eclipse through a pinhole. Special filters are made for camera lenses for eclipse viewing as well.

Tom Traub, Chair of the Martz-Kohl Observatory Solar Eclipse Committee, has traveled elsewhere to view a total eclipse. He noted that only 16 total eclipses have been visible here in 4500 years and it won’t happen again here until 2144, so this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. He told stories of restaurants that ran out of food due to the swelling crowds in an area.

Andrew Nixon of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau pointed out that some hotels are already sold out, and guests are expected for overnight stays as early as Friday and Saturday for a Monday event. Some local venues are planning viewing parties. CCVB has set up a special Eclipse Landing Page on its website at www.tourchautauqua.com/2024-total-solar-eclipse.

What does all this mean for local businesses? In short, you should prepare as though it will be one of your busiest summer weekends, and for residents in high traffic areas you should prepare like a winter storm is coming. The key notes are: stock up, stay open, and get ready for a crowd.

The Chamber and CCVB will be working to assist businesses over the next several months as more people come to a full understanding of the potential in this single day event. Our objective is to make sure businesses are ready and that they can appropriately market themselves for an onslaught of tourists and eclipse viewers, all with an eye (literally) towards safety and preparedness. The total solar eclipse April 8 stands to be a major event for Chautauqua County.

The Chamber has posted the videotaped presentations from our Business Builder Workshop on our YouTube channel, along with easy to download slide decks from each presenter. You can find it all on our website at www.chautauquachamber.org/workshops.


Join us for a perennial favorite Business After Hours, November 14 at Southern Tier Brewing Company, 2072 Stoneman Circle, in Lakewood. Business After Hours is conveniently timed to meet your needs between workday and evening activities. It runs from 5-6:30pm, featuring appetizers, a cash bar, and a brief program that lets you know who’s who in the room. Remember to bring business cards for networking. Chamber member businesses can send two people at no charge. For non-members or anyone above the two-person limit, the price is $10. Advance registration is not required but is appreciated for our planning purposes. Sign up online now through our web calendar at www.chqchamber.org. This Business After Hours is sponsored by Southern Tier Brewing Company, DFT Communications, Jamestown Community College, LaBella Associates, Media One Radio Group, M&T Bank, OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal, and Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union.


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