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Review your health insurance plans during open enrollment

An annual review of your health insurance plan is always a good idea – for individuals and for businesses. Have your circumstances changed? Has your family changed? Has your business grown or downsized? Do you need or want the same insurance coverage you had in the past year? The annual open enrollment period is designed for this type of review and the month of October is the perfect time to consider your options.

The Chamber of Commerce has long been in the business of helping local businesses and employees navigate this process. The Chamber has always worked to implement innovative ways to lower costs and provide the most cost-effective insurance possible for our members. Now we are working with our sister corporation, Chautauqua Benefits Specialists (CBS), to provide this service. Holly McBride is a licensed insurance specialist working with Chamber members through CBS. She can assist with coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield, Independent Health, and Univera, with a variety of plans to help meet the needs of different clients and groups. Dental and vision coverage packages are also available.

In addition, CBS can help sole proprietors and employees not eligible for group coverage work through the New York State exchange. That open enrollment period begins November 1.

If you are an existing health insurance client with CBS you should have received a review of your current status and an opportunity to reach out for assistance in making changes. Please reach out if you would like to make an appointment to discuss changes or if you have other coverage and want to see what CBS can do for you. You may contact Director of Finance and Insurance Services, Holly McBride, at 499-6607 or hmcbride@chautauquachamber.org.

OCTOBER IS MANUFACTURING MONTH

During the past year and a half, manufacturers in our region have demonstrated resilience, flexibility, adaptability and proved yet again that they are centers of innovation. Manufacturing has long been and remains the economic backbone of our region.

The three-county region of Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua served by the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier accounts for 330 manufacturers, employs over 18,000 people and generates $7.5 billion in manufacturing shipments. Manufacturing in the region accounts for 15 percent of the total workforce, compared with the national average of 8 percent. Manufacturing is a critical component to our short term and long-term economic prosperity in the region.

Over the years the Dream It Do It program has scheduled tours through area manufacturing facilities and academic institutions for area students, educators, guidance counselors, and families. This year those tours will take place virtually, allowing students to ‘visit’ manufacturers without ever leaving their home or classroom. While it’s not the same as having an actual tour, this video series will allow an easily shared with family members and others. If your company would like to include a video that highlights your operations and careers, contact DIDI coordinators Francine Rondenell in Chautauqua County at frondenell@didiwny.com or Evelyn Sabina in Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties at esabina1@gmail.com.

In addition, the Dream It Do It 500 will be conducted virtually during the month of October across all three counties. This event was recognized nationally by the Manufacturing Institute as a best practice. It brings together hundreds of students to compete in designing, building, testing, and racing a rubber band powered vehicle. It’s a great way to introduce future manufacturers to the process of building. Contact the Dream It Do It coordinators for more information.

GET YOUR BUSINESS READY NOW FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON AHEAD

Here at the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce we already have November 27 marked on our calendar. That’s Small Business Saturday – and it’s just eight weeks away!

Not only does the Chamber celebrate Small Business Saturday – we help to promote it. After an incredibly challenging couple of years for small businesses, we are ready to work hard this year disseminating the message that shopping at small, locally owned businesses really does make a difference in our local economy.

If you own a small business and want to be included in our promotional efforts for Small Business Saturday, please email Sheila Webster at swebster@chautauquachamber.org. Chamber member businesses can also market their merchandise online through ShopLocalCHQ.com, and can participate in the ShopLocalCHQ Gift Card program. These are important tools that will help drive customers and sales for your business.

Shopping locally benefits our entire community, and with the holiday shopping season right around the corner we remind one and all to support the local businesses that make our community unique. Shop small. Shop Local. ShopLocalCHQ!

WATCH THE CHAMBER ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET ONLINE

Dinner reservations are now closed for the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet. While we are pleased to be able to host people in the room this year, we also understand that it is not possible for everyone to join us in person. But you can still register online to watch the award presentations via Zoom. Please register at www.chamberrsvp.org to get the viewing link, and join us at 7pm Thursday, live from the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia, for this event.

In addition, if you have not already done so during online registration, you can enter to win one of three great prizes being donated for this special evening: a Stay & Play Golf package from Peek’n Peak Resort valued at $427; a one night stay at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel and a voucher for the Lakehouse Tap & Grill valued at $225; or a pair of 10K White Gold Diamond Earrings valued at $200 donated by Kirk’s Jewelers. You can purchase chances for the drawing whether you’re attending the banquet or not.

We look forward to a great event with all of our award recipients, and we thank our sponsors: 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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