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Shop locally this holiday season!

Put the joy back in your holiday shopping! It’s easy to do when you explore and shop small, locally owned businesses.

This is Small Business Saturday, and dozens of small, locally owned businesses are dotting every corner of Chautauqua County and packed with gift items that will fit your list and your budget. Whether you’re looking for games, books, toys, home decor, clothing, artisan made soaps, local wines, or more, you’ll find those products at small local businesses right here in our own communities.

Gather your friends or family and make a day of it. Savor the experience of shopping small and enjoy a lunch or dinner break at a small local restaurant. A leisurely shopping experience will make you feel good about your choices. Gifts crafted by local hands allow you to see the quality and care that went into each piece.

Small Business Saturday is more than just another shopping day – it’s a way to help keep our communities vibrant and active. As a consumer, each time you buy a gift from a local merchant you’re making a positive impact on people right here in Chautauqua County. The purchases you make from small, locally owned businesses, get reinvested in our communities. A store owner may use that revenue to pay salaries for employees who, in turn, use it to pay for their children’s dance lessons or buy gifts from another local business. Studies have shown over and over again that local retailers return 52 percent of their revenue back into the local economy, compared with just 14 percent for national chain retailers.

Don’t forget, too, that as Cyber Monday approaches you can still support small locally owned businesses when you shop online. The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has made it easy, by providing www.ShopLocalCHQ.com. This local marketplace is a shopping and marketing platform for small local businesses. For the consumer it’s easy to explore local products and add them to a single shopping cart for purchase. So your checkout experience is fast and easy!

Right now, there are more than 70 local merchants listing over 300 products for sale on ShopLocalCHQ.com. You’ll find creative handmade items, local products, books, art, local wines, and much more.

In addition, the Chamber still offers a local gift card that supports small business. The look of the card is being updated, but it still works the same. Over 140 local merchants accept the card, and it can be purchased in any denomination up to $500. Visit www.ShopLocalCHQcard.com to learn more about how to get gift cards for those hard to buy for friends and relatives.

Shop locally this holiday season. You’ll find something special and enjoy the experience!

Chamber Annual Meeting is December 3

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will hold its 2021 Annual Meeting on Friday, December 3. The lunch meeting will begin at noon at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron. Registration for lunch will close at noon Monday, November 29, so sign up now at www.chamberrsvp.org. The Annual Meeting will also be streamed via Zoom for those who prefer to attend virtually.

The slate of Chamber board members and officers for the coming year is as follows: Board Chair, Fred Johnson of Johnson Estate Winery; Vice Chair, Heather Brown of The Resource Center; Treasurer, Kris Maytum of DFT Communications; Secretary, Emily Reynolds of Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Immediate Past Chair, Brian Bugaj of Nestle Purina PetCare. New Board Members on the ticket are Kim Carlson of Pea Pod & Juniper and Ben Webb of Webb’s Captain’s Table. Returning Board Members are Robert Manning of Manning’s Fireside Manor and Kristofer Sellstrom of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, and the chairs of each of the six Community Chamber of Commerce committees. A proxy vote is available for any Chamber member unable to attend at www.chamberrsvp.org.

The keynote address will be presented by the presidents of both SUNY institutions in Chautauqua County. Dr. Daniel DeMarte, President of Jamestown Community College, and Dr. Stephen Kolison, President of the State University of New York at Fredonia, will talk about new collaborations between the two colleges.

The Chamber will present the Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award for 2021 to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, and the United Ways of Northern and Southern Chautauqua County. The four organizations are being recognized for their foundational roles in development of the Chautauqua County Response Fund.

The Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting is sponsored by the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, DFT Communications, Jamestown Community College, Media One Radio Group. OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal. The cost for lunch is $28 per person. Masks will be required until seated for lunch.

Businesses Urged to Take Additional COVID Precautions

The Chautauqua County Board of Health is strongly recommending vaccination boosters for all eligible persons, and recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public settings, wash hands frequently, and stay home and away from others if ill. These recommendations follow a standard weekly report which shows 50 people are currently hospitalized in Chautauqua County with COVID-19. The most current report shows 663 new cases of the virus over a single week, with a high community transmission rate of 9.1 percent.

As this phase of the pandemic continues, it is important to evaluate your operations and policies as we all do our part again to slow the spread and avoid the potential need for any new restrictions or mandates. Stability and predictability are good for business, but increased COVID-19 transmission and strain on the healthcare system create uncertainty and fear, both for business owners and consumers. Also, as employers it is important that you have the information regarding current government quarantine and isolation policies, so you are fully aware of the requirements and procedures if and when your workforce may be affected. Any business can require face masks inside their facilities for both employees and customers.

We urge all county residents to do everything possible to protect the health of our families, communities, and economy.

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