Celebrate Small Business!

Small business is not just the backbone of our economy, it is the lifeblood of our communities. The US Small Business Administration defines a small business as any business that employs 500 or fewer people. Here in Chautauqua County, that encompasses almost all our business, with very few exceeding that threshold.

National Small Business Week is April 28-May 4 this year, and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is working with the Small Business Development Center at JCC to recognize small businesses throughout the region. We will kick off the week on Monday, April 29 with a special recognition event at Brigiotta’s Farmland Produce in Jamestown, featuring many of our local elected officials and highlighting a store that has been a Jamestown staple for 100 years and has grown into a major regional wholesaler with 100 employees. We honor the Galbato family for its multi-generational commitment to serving customers and working with local growers.

Last year, the Chamber facilitated and participated in 75 ribbon cuttings for new small businesses throughout Chautauqua County. So far this year we have 23 scheduled with more expected. They are retailers, restaurants, and service industries, all locally owned and operated, spanning the entirety of the county. Each one of them not only offers products or services to their customers, but they help to create the fabric of our communities. These and all the other small businesses make our county a special place to live, work, and visit. Whether it’s the unique coffee shop, a special boutique or gift shop, or the landscaper beautifying our commercial and residential areas, these businesspeople put their effort, and their heart, into their work. Because their small businesses are unique to our area, customers will remember them. The big box stores serve a purpose, but they don’t create a sense of place like our small businesses do.

Economically, small businesses are the engine that keeps us on track. They provide jobs, work with other local businesses often as vendors or customers, provide the payroll that supports local families, and increases sales tax revenue for our county and municipalities. All this buying and selling creates a vibrant economic climate that has laid the groundwork for an excellent quality of life.

Our mission is to build vital connections, provide professional resources, and champion local businesses in Chautauqua County. All our work is meaningful and important for local businesses, but that final piece – to champion local businesses – is honestly one of our favorite jobs. As a true community cheerleader for small businesses, we love to remind people to shop locally. ShopLocalCHQ is literally the name of our Chamber gift card program. We do try to make a big deal out of Small Business Saturday each November, but honestly this is work we do all year round through ribbon cuttings, advertising, and communicating broadly that locally owned businesses are crucial in Chautauqua County.

We hope you will support small locally owned businesses on a regular basis and join us to help promote them whenever you can. When we all sing the praises of small businesses it’s a win for our entire county. Our sincere thanks to all the small business owners in Chautauqua County who are making a difference here every day. Happy National Small Business Week!


The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to once again host State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell for this interactive event, to be held Friday, May 10 at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville. The program will begin at 8:30am. We urge attendees to come a little early for the buffet breakfast, and also to come prepared with questions for our local state representatives.

The Chamber’s State Legislative Breakfast is sponsored by Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua Suites, DFT Communications, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Mattress, LaBella Associates, Media One Radio Group, Observer, The Post-Journal, and UPMC Chautauqua.

The price is $25 for Chamber members and $29 for non-members. Advanced registration is required. Please RSVP by May 6. You may register online through our web calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.


Join us at Music for Your Mouth for a great networking opportunity as our next Business After Hours will be held Wednesday, May 15 from 5-6:30pm. Music For Your Mouth is located at 21 South Erie Street, Mayville.

The Chamber’s Business After Hours series allows you to stop in after work for appetizers and a cash bar, check our list to find our Who’s Who in the Rom, have a fun social time while making some great business contacts, and then move on with the rest of your evening. Be sure to bring business cards for networking and our door prize drawing.

Advanced registration is not required but is appreciated and will get you on the Who’s Who in the Room list. Business After Hours is free for two people from each Chamber member business. Anyone above the two-person limit, or non-members may attend for just $10 each.

Business After Hours at Music for Your Mouth is sponsored by Music for Your Mouth, Chautauqua Marina, Jamestown Community College, Media One Radio Group, Observer, The Post-Journal, and Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union.

Registration is open now through our online calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org. We look forward to seeing you there!


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