Our local businesses and economy are dependent upon each of us – Evening Observer

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While small local businesses are appreciative of the passage of another economic relief package, their long-term viability is dependent on of each of us doing our part to support them. There is no amount of stimulus alone that can strengthen our small businesses if they do not have the support of our residents.

There are two critically important ways that community members must step up. First of all, each of us plays an important role in protecting not only our family, friends and neighbors but also our local economy by doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. As we are in the early stages of vaccination deployment, we feel a sense of relief and hope. Yet, the reality is that there is still a long way to go and much still to be done to beat this disease. We cannot put down our guard. Daily deaths in the U.S. have been on the rise since mid-October. On December 29th there were approximately 15,500 one day deaths across the United States. Total deaths of fellow Americans have exceeded 340,000. As we know all too well our community is not magically immune to the disease. At the time of this writing the County announced 116 new cases, 534 active cases and 1,888 individuals under quarantine orders. We have lost 32 fellow county residents who have died as a result of the virus. As we come off a major holiday, into a new year with the confidence of vaccine deployment, while also experiencing ‘COVID fatigue’, this is a tricky as well as risky time for all of us. We must continue to diligently take steps to help stop the spread of the virus by wearing a face covering in public to cover nose and mouth, stay socially distant from those who are not in your immediate household, and wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. The science is guiding us towards these simple steps. It is essential to protecting our family, friends, neighbors and our local businesses.

The second part to supporting local businesses is buying their products and services. The safest way to shop is to shop small local businesses. If you need a product or service, look for local options first. If you are not in the mood to cook and looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner options, look local first. Most small businesses have made it easier to shop local through delivery, curb-side pickup and on-line methods of buying their products or services. Small businesses have also taken extraordinary precautions to make if safe for on-site customers. You can support local businesses by buying on-line through the Chamber of Commerce ShopLocalCHQ marketplace with over 60 businesses and more than 300 diverse product offerings. Gift cards are another great way to support local businesses. By purchasing gift cards directly from the business as a gift or for future use, you are providing an important cash infusion to that business. You can also buy gift cards through the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber now offers three ways to purchase gift cards. If you want to buy a plastic card you can do that through the Chamber and it is redeemable at 150 businesses across Chautauqua County and on the ShopLocalCHQ marketplace. You may also purchase an on-line gift card that is redeemable on the ShopLocalCHQ marketplace. In addition, a variety of local businesses have gift card options for sale on the ShoLocalCHQ marketplace.

So, lets help support local businesses and rebuild the economy by stopping the spread of COVID-19 and through buying products and services from local businesses.

Chamber and MAST Annual Meeting is January 22

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier will hold a joint Annual Meeting on Friday, Jan. 22, featuring Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul as keynote speaker.

This event marks the 20th anniversary of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the 120th anniversary of the Manufactures Association of the Southern Tier. We hope you will join us online to celebrate these major milestones. The Lieutenant Governor is a Western New York native and a proud cheerleader for our region and we are pleased that she can join us for this occasion.

The Chamber will also present its Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award, named in memory of the first President of the County Chamber of Commerce who worked diligently to bring multiple organizations together. Representatives for both Boards of Directors will also be elected. More details will be announced in the weeks ahead.

This joint annual meeting will be held online via Zoom at noon, Jan. 22. You may register any time at www.chamberrsvp.org.

Doors Open Jamestown goes virtual

Doors Open Jamestown is going online this year, with a fun and engaging experience that invites one and all to Follow the Red Brick Road to the Pearl City!

With many attractions unable to provide the full Doors Open experience, the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce remains committed to promoting the wide variety of experiences and businesses available in Jamestown. Numerous volunteers are coming together to create an interactive online event for Virtual Doors Open on February 27 — a fun and interactive online experience highlighting our amazing array of museums and attractions! This event will include incentives to watch and participate and more details will be announced soon.

As part of this event, local businesses in Jamestown are encouraged to provide their own commercial content. This is a record-your-own video opportunity to showcase your local business. Videos may be up to 2 minutes in length. Space is limited. All businesses interested in submitting a videotaped commercial must register now to reserve a spot. To learn more or to reserve a spot for your commercial, visit www.chautauquachamber.org/jamestown and click on the Virtual Doors Open link. All businesses in the 14701 Zip Code are eligible to participate. Videos must be high resolution with good quality audio and must be submitted by Jan. 23.

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