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ShopLocalCHQ serves, assists local businesses

Now that the season has officially changed to autumn, can Christmas be far behind? While that may seem to many like we’re rushing the seasons, in the world of retail sales there is much planning and upfront work to be done before any Christmas merchandise is even on the display floor.

We are already seeing numerous articles about making online purchases early this year due to supply chain issues and the expectation of extended shipping times. But don’t worry, because there is a sound way that you – as either a consumer or a businessperson – can avoid those problems. Shop locally!

The Chamber of Commerce is here to help! We offer an online sales and marketing platform for our local, member businesses. It’s a place where you can list items for sale and be part of this outstanding and consumer-friendly system. Since the pandemic shutdowns in the spring of 2020 online sales have skyrocketed. In the US alone, ecommerce sales jumped by 33-percent – to just under $792 billion! If your business isn’t selling online now you are missing out on sales.

ShopLocalCHQ.com provides a place where our local Chamber member merchants can sell products, services, or gift cards. The system operates by aggregating all of a consumer’s items into a single shopping cart, so it’s easy for the buyer, and at the same time the back end divvies up the sales by vendor, so your sale proceeds come to your business. It’s simple to use and easy to participate. Even if you’re already selling online, you can easily link to your own website and still harness the concentrated marketing power around shopping locally. If your business is not one of the 74 merchants already on the platform, just visit ShopLocalCHQ.com and click “start selling” to begin the process. If you are already a Chamber member, we will quickly approve your participation and you can get set up to start selling. If you are not a Chamber member business yet, we will be notified that you’re interested, and our staff will connect with you about becoming a member.

In addition, the Chamber still features a local gift card! Throughout its many years in existence – first as a gift check and more recently as a card – the local economic impact from this program is approximately $3 million. That’s money that has been spent at local retailers and restaurants, and goes back into local payroll, business space, and local programs funded by local businesses. This program serves over 140 local Chamber member businesses, so the card can be used for everything from local wines to restaurants to entertainment, retail, and much more. Very soon our ShopLocalCHQ gift card will have a brand-new look, so watch for our unveiling!

If your business is already participating in these programs, we ask you to please double check the merchandise you have listed for sale on ShopLocalCHQ.com and make sure it’s up to date and ready for Christmas sales. If you have recently changed your companies point of sale system and participate in the ShopLocal gift card, please let us know so we can keep you up to date in the system.

Shopping locally benefits our entire community, and with the busy holiday shopping season ahead we remind one and all to support the local businesses that have worked hard to remain open and a vital part of our communities over the past eighteen months.

Register Now for the Chamber Annual Awards Banquet

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be able to hold its Annual Awards Banquet in person this year, but space has been limited to just 200 persons. We ask that all who wish to attend the dinner event on October 7 register online by September 30. This year’s dinner will be held again at the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia. There is also an option for viewers to watch the awards presentations online if they choose.

Each year the Chamber is pleased to honor a number of individuals and organizations from across Chautauqua County. This year special protocols are in place to be sure that the event is safe and enjoyable to all attending. Tables will be spaced appropriately throughout the room and will be reserved for up to eight guests only. All in-person attendees must certify at online registration that they are vaccinated and will agree to wear a mask indoors (per SUNY requirements) until they are seated for dinner. Because of the health requirements there will be no cocktail hour prior to dinner, but complimentary wine and beer will be provided at each table and a cash bar will be made available in the dining room.

Check-in for the event will begin at 6:30pm, with dinner and the program to begin promptly at 7pm, when online viewers will be invited to participate via Zoom webinar.

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will present the Economic Development Award to Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care for both the healthcare services it provides countywide and for its extraordinary efforts during a pandemic to raise funds and expand its programming and jobs through the construction of a first ever local Hospice House.

Two Persons of the Year Awards will be presented. John D’Agostino, editor of The Post-Journal and OBSERVER will receive the award for his active involvement in numerous community organizations over the years. Rochelle Mole, Vice President of Finance and Operations with the National Comedy Center will receive the award for her personal sacrifice and foundational role over the past year to maintain a nationally recognized and locally important institution during a very challenging time.

Each of our six Community Chambers of Commerce will present a Community Service Award. The Dunkirk Community Chamber has selected Kirk Frey who has been actively engaged in the community through his business, Kirk’s Jeweler’s, and through many charitable contributions, for over 40 years. The Fredonia Community Chamber chose Festivals Fredonia – a completely volunteer-run organization responsible for putting on several festivals in the community annually. The Hanover Community Chamber selected Aimee Rogers in recognition of her efforts with Imagine Forestville to both encourage the preservation of history as well as new business development in the hamlet. The Jamestown Community Chamber selected Lou Deppas for his extensive commitments through service to community organizations over many years including the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Jamestown YMCA, and National Comedy Center. The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber chose the Chautauqua Lake Central School District during the direction of Superintendent Dr. Joshua Liddell for providing full-time in-person instruction for 95% of the district’s students during the 2020-2021 school year. The Westfield-Barcelona Community Chamber is recognizing the Patterson Library Hands, a group of volunteers that works diligently through hands-on maintenance and improvement projects that keep the historic building at its best.

Registration for this event is open online now at www.chamberrsvp.org. If you have questions, please call the Chamber at (716) 366-6200 or (716) 484-1101.

The Chamber Awards Banquet is sponsored by the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, Community Bank, DFT Communications, Jamestown Community College, Media One Radio Group, National Grid, OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal.

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