We should celebrate small businesses every day!

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce was proud to join with the Small Business Development Center and several other organizations this past week as we held a special event to pay tribute to small businesses during National Small Business Week. But our observance shouldn’t stop with a single week or day.

Chautauqua County is home to hundreds of small, locally owned businesses. These businesses offer a broad variety of products and services – everything from auto repair to books to hardware to gift items and much more. We are so fortunate to live in a place where so many individuals are passionate about what they do including restaurateurs, shop owners, and so many service providers across a variety of fields.

Countless studies over the years have demonstrated that shopping locally does make a difference. A 2021 study by Fundera for nerdwallet, shows that when you shop at a locally owned business, 68 cents out of every dollar spent gets returned to our local economy, compared to just 14 cents when your dollar is spent at a national chain retailer. The same study demonstrated that local business generates 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail, and that small businesses donate 250% more than large businesses to community causes.

The numbers are impressive, but there’s one other fact about local business that can’t be quantified in a financial study. Small, locally owned businesses actually create the flavor and the atmosphere of a community. It’s the small shopping, arts, and dining establishments that provide a unique environment people seek – either as a place to live or a place to visit.

County Executive PJ Wendel proclaimed the first week in May as Small Business Week in Chautauqua County, while others who spoke to the importance of small business included Andrew Nixon of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, Mark Geise of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, and County Legislature Chairman Pierre Chagnon. We are grateful to Ashville General Store for hosting the event. The SBDC was proud to present Entrepreneur of the Year awards to Ashville General and to HotSpot CafÈ plus a special surprise award to Geise for his pandemic efforts to work with local companies to provide personal protective equipment and vital information to the business community. We also continued the momentum with two ribbon cuttings for new small businesses in Fredonia!

We urge everyone to support our local small businesses on a regular basis. ShopSmallCHQ is much more than just a hashtag or a tagline. It should be a way of life to keep our communities vibrant and economically healthy.

Tuesday Talks: Marketing Your Business

The Chamber is pleased to provide another in our on-going series of Tuesday Talks panel discussions pertinent to business. This next event is focused on Marketing Your Business, with specialists from Spectrum Reach to talk about video marketing and the marketing funnel, and Chris Anderson, owner of SnowCrest Digital to discuss online marketing and the importance of website development.

This Tuesday Talks event will be held at 8:30am, Tuesday, May 17 via Zoom. These events are designed to give local businesses an opportunity to learn about important topics from the convenience of their own desks or mobile devices. Registration is free, but you must register through the Chamber’s web calendar of events in order to get the Zoom link.

Tuesday Talks is sponsored by OBSERVER and The Post-Journal.

Register Now for Business After Hours at Group Ther-Happy

Enjoy a great little spot in Lakewood as the Chamber brings Business After Hours to Group Ther-Happy, 103 Chautauqua Avenue in the heart of the village. Join your fellow Chamber of Commerce members for this networking event as you enjoy appetizers and a cash bar while you get to know other local businesspeople.

Chamber member businesses can send two people to each Business After Hours event at no cost. The price is just $10 for non-members or for additional member attendees above the first two. Be sure to bring business cards and come prepared to give a quick overview about your business so others can get to know you.

Business After Hours at Group Ther-Happy is sponsored by Group Ther-Happy, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal. Register online now!

Take Our Quick Survey on Chamber Benefits

The Chamber is looking for feedback from members. Take our quick online survey about which benefits of membership are more important to your business or organization. The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is run by a local board of directors with local staff – all people who try to keep focused on the needs of local businesses. But that doesn’t mean we can’t miss something. In order to help provide the best possible service for our members, the Chamber has launched a quick survey to dive into the data.

The survey is a quick Google Form, accessible to anyone – whether your business is a Chamber member or not. You can find the survey link at the top of our home page at www.chautauquachamber.org. It will take just a couple of minutes to give us a quick review of how important Chamber services are to your organization.

Chamber members and non-members alike are urged to take the survey. This is a great way for us to get a feel for what may be important to your business – either something that we are already doing, or something we need to improve.


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