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Show your thanks to our small local businesses this holiday season

Even during a challenging year we find much to be grateful for here in Chautauqua County. Topping that list is our people: all of those who make this area a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

Our small, locally owned businesses have worked extra hard throughout this year – finding new and creative ways to serve their customers and keep their employees safe and healthy. This is our moment to give back to them as the holiday shopping season approaches and we observe Small Business Saturday.

Even though we say it annually, it is more important than ever this year to support our small local businesses. Recent studies by American Express note that for each dollar spent at a small, local business, 67-cents stays right here in our community. That means when you shop small, you make a big impact on your local community. Conversely, when you shop only online from far flung merchants, none of that purchase makes a difference for your friends and neighbors. Shopping small is shopping smart, and you’ll be surprised at the bargains and unique gifts you’ll find.

The people of Chautauqua County are creative and resilient. That includes our small business owners, operators, and employees, who have worked harder than ever this year to find new ways to deliver service, products, and value to their customers.

When you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this year, we encourage you to give thanks for all that we have in Chautauqua County, including our small business people who have met the challenges before them with courage and fortitude. It has never been an easy role and was made more difficult in 2020. Yet, our people continue to rise to the occasion. We are proud to work on their behalf.

On Monday, we will unveil a new program that will provide another safe, easy, and convenient way to support our small locally owned businesses. We hope you’ll find it helpful and exciting. We also hope that this coming Small Business Saturday – and the entire year ahead – will bring you new opportunities to make our locally owned small businesses your first stop for all of your shopping needs.

Shop Safe. Shop Small. Shop Local. Please support our locally owned small businesses during the holiday gifting season and all year round.

SHOPTAUQUA SUPPORTS OUR LOCAL ECONOMY

As the holiday season approaches local businesses, as well as individuals, are considering holiday giving. Let the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce make it easy for you: give the Shoptauqua Gift Card. Shoptauqua Gift Cards can be used at more than 150 businesses throughout Chautauqua County for everything from groceries to gifts. Chamber member businesses from Ashville to Arkwright accept the Shoptauqua Gift Card, and they represent all economic sectors from retail to restaurants to wineries.

Available in any denomination up to $500, the Shoptauqua Gift Card is easy to purchase and thoughtful to give. The Chamber can customize an order for your business, whether you are giving to two employees or 200.

One of the best reasons to give the Shoptauqua Gift Card is that it makes a difference right here for local businesses. The economic impact of this program since its inception is over $3-million. That represents direct sales at Chamber member businesses right here in Chautauqua County. For more information about the Shoptauqua Gift Card and how you can order one card or many, please contact the Chamber at (716) 366-6200 or (716) 484-1101 or visit us online at www.shoptauqua.com.

STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

This is a time when we should all redouble our efforts to remain safe and healthy. As the coronavirus caseload increases nationwide, and right here in Western New York, we encourage everyone to maintain safe practices. It is imperative that we all do our part to keep our local business community open and thriving. A strong economy requires a healthy workforce and healthy customers.

Please wear a face covering in public, stay socially distant from others who are not in your immediate household, and use hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently. The science is clear, and recent directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ask that people avoid holiday travel and holiday celebrations with those outside of your immediate household.

As we watch as parts of adjacent Erie County, NY have moved into the orange and yellow zones, and COVID-19 cases are on the increase at the PA border, we are increasingly concerned about the potential of being designated a cluster zone area. The way to avoid that is to follow the science, follow the rules, and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.

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