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Shop local. Shop-tauqua!

November 25, 2014
By Todd J. Tranum , Westfield Republican

President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is committed to our Five Point Focus: driving foot traffic into local businesses; increasing sales and reducing costs for members through services, events, and seminars; containing health insurance costs through pro-active solutions; advocating for positive change with a focus on reducing taxes; and supporting economic, workforce, and tourism development. These are the keys to success for our local business community, and the means by which we make a difference for our members.

Driving foot traffic into local businesses, and helping them to achieve increased sales, are at the top of the list for a reason. They are truly the life-blood of our small business members. Small businesses, with ten or fewer employees, make up 77 percent of our membership, and we are in the business of serving them.

Studies have repeatedly shown that for every $100 shopping dollars spent at a locally owned business, $68 goes back into the local economy. The same $100 spent at a chain store returns $43 to the local economy.

With all of that in mind, the Chamber decided this year to sign on as a Neighborhood Champion for Small Business Saturday. We signed up with American Express so that Chautauqua County businesses can literally be on the Small Business Saturday map online as a show of support for local shopping. American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to encourage holiday shopping at small, independent merchants. When you buy from online-only merchants, the return locally is zero.

There is nothing wrong with Black Friday shopping at chain stores, but we do encourage you to do that locally. We have plenty of opportunities right here in Chautauqua County, at chain stores where your friends and neighbors may work. But on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, please explore a different type of shopping experience. You will find some amazing gift items: unique treasures, home goods, jewelry, artisan- and locally-made items, local wines and accessories, clothing, pet items, ski wear, and so much more! You may be surprised at the types of gifts and supplies you can find at some of our local, small merchants right here in Chautauqua County! Many of the stores will be planning to offer special Small Business Saturday promotions for their customers, with sale prices and other attractions. In Westfield, a downtown storefront will include a Visit from Santa Claus and refreshments, so the day can be a family fun day as well. And when you set out to explore these small businesses, you can stop for a shopping break at one of our fine local restaurants.

With nearly 50 businesses signed up to take part in our Small Business Saturday promotional advertising, you can find the full list in several local newspapers, or on our website at We are proud of the local merchants doing business here. Please check them out for yourself and see what's so great about Chautauqua County. Shop Small. Shop Local. Shop-Tauqua! Small Business Saturday is Nov. 29.

Chamber Annual Meeting Dec. 17

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will hold its 2014 Annual Meeting at noon, Wednesday, Dec. 17 at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown.

The Annual Meeting will include the election of board members and officers for the coming year. The slate of officers up for re-election is the same as this year: Chair: James Pullan, Jr., Jamestown Mattress Company; Vice Chair: Dennis Rak, Double A Vineyards; Secretary: John "Jay" Warren, Graf Realty; Treasurer: Ann Abdella, Chautauqua County Health Network; Past Chair: Ken Shearer, Chautauqua Marina; Other members: Curt Anderson, Small Business Development Center; Virginia Horvath, SUNY College at Fredonia; Larry Ludemann, DFT Communications; and one new member, Brian Bugaj , Nestle Purina PetCare. The board also includes the chair of each Community Chamber Board: Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce, Fredonia Community Chamber of Commerce, Hanover Community Chamber of Commerce, Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce, Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce, and the Westfield/Barcelona Community Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, the Annual Meeting will include the presentation of the annual Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award. This award is given each year to a member of the community who has worked especially hard to pull together partnerships that make a difference in our county. This year's winner is Ron Graham, founder of Chautauqua Striders and Infinity Visual & Performing Arts.

Invitations will be arriving to all Chamber members in the mail soon. If you are not a Chamber member and would like to attend you are also welcome. You can register now online through the Chamber website at or call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101. We look forward to seeing you there!



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