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Membership offers great ways to build a business

April 28, 2016
By Todd J. Tranum - President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southe , Westfield Republican

If you are a small business owner, chances are you rely heavily on word of mouth, possibly with a little advertising thrown into the mix once in a while, to help reach out to new customers. But the Chamber of Commerce offers many ways to connect your business to new customers, or to enhance your visibility with existing customers.

Through a series of Experience Chautauqua Networking Events throughout the year, the Chamber provides direct interaction with like-minded business people from all over Chautauqua County. The contacts people make on a social level extend into their business lives as well. To help facilitate networking, the Chamber provides events that combine fun, learning, and interaction. In addition, the Chamber hosts one of the largest business gatherings in Western New York each year, our Annual Awards Banquet in October, providing even greater opportunities for members to get to know one another on a personal and professional level.

Each of our six affiliated Community Chambers of Commerce in Dunkirk, Fredonia, Hanover, Jamestown, Mayville-Chautauqua, and Westfield-Barcelona also offers opportunities for networking, as well as numerous community based events that are focused on bringing people together in a variety of settings to improve and enhance the local business community. Any member of the Chautauqua County Chamber is welcome to attend these events. We hope you'll watch our online calendar for a full list.

Sponsorship opportunities through the Chamber align your company with the Chamber's brand and help you gain valuable marketing exposure. Sponsorships are available at a variety of levels, including the Chamber Gem sponsorship program, which creates opportunities for significant exposure of your company and your brand to the community. Gem sponsorship will associate your company's name with noteworthy events that attract a broad business and consumer audience from all over Chautauqua County.

Business information displays are available for Chamber members in both the Dunkirk and Jamestown offices. These display areas are important sources of information for tourists as well as those who may be new to the area or looking to move to Chautauqua County.

Grand opening and open house events through the Chamber can also call attention to your business. If you are a new business this is a perfect way to make yourself known and attract customers. If you have been in business for a long time, an open house could be the perfect backdrop for an anniversary celebration or unveiling of a new product line.

The Chamber is in the midst of a Spring Membership Drive right now and new members will be entered into a drawing for a number of great prizes, including our grand prize of a $300 value Stay & Golf Getaway package at Peek'n Peak Resort. Get your business noticed and make it easy for customers to find you! We look forward to working with local businesses to improve their customer base. Call the Chamber for more information at 366-6200 or 484-1101. The drive ends with our Experience Chautauqua Networking Event Cruise aboard the Summer Wind on May 19.

Business Over Bagels event set for Friday

Do you have questions about how to handle social media issues in your human resources department? Many employers do. To help answer those questions, instructor Lisa Powell Fortna will lead an interactive discussion covering key aspects of the evolving intersection of social media and human resource practices. This Business Over Bagels event will focus on understanding and managing benefits and risks associated with the use of social media in recruitment and employee engagement while promoting and protecting your brand reputation with employees and customers. Lisa Powell Fortna is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and is a member of the American Society of Training and Development. She has over 20 years of experience as a manager and human resources professional and holds a BS in Business Management from Cornell University, an MS in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MS in Adult Education from Buffalo State College. This informative session will be held from 8:30-10 a.m. at the JCC North Training Center, Bennett Road, Dunkirk on Friday, April 29. The cost to attend is just $25 per person for Chamber members or $30 for non-members. To register, call JCC Continuing Ed at (716) 363-6500.

Grape Expectations Wine Festival May 6

The Dunkirk and Fredonia Community Chambers of Commerce invite everyone to attend the Grape Expectations Wine Festival from 4:30-8:30pm, Friday, May 6 at the Clarion Hotel, 30 Lake Shore Drive, East, Dunkirk. This tasting event will showcase wines from Chautauqua County and the Lake Erie Wine Trail. The cost is $15 per person which will include wine tasting, light appetizers, music, a complimentary wine glass, and much more. You can register online at or call the Chamber at 366-6200. Tickets will also be available at the door.



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