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A look back on a fruitful 2015, and a message of thanks

December 31, 2015
By Todd J. Tranum - President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the South , Westfield Republican

2015 has been a year filled with hard work and good results. Each year, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association set out to be an essential component of your business operation. You invest in us and deserve no less from us than our best effort. We trust that once again this year that is just what you have received. With a look back through our Five Point Focus, here are some of the year's highlights.

As we continue to drive foot traffic to your door and increasing business for our members, we are proud to have delivered more than 2.3-million web-based referrals to Chamber members in 2015. Our Small Business Saturday marketing efforts and Shop-Tauqua Chamber Gift Check project have delivered intensive and focused messaging around supporting local businesses and keeping the economic impact of our holiday purchases directed squarely at our local economy. The Gift Check program alone has achieved a more than $3-million economic impact in Chautauqua County.

By coordinating more than fifteen events that bring together over 1,100 business leaders to share ideas and create contacts, we are helping to increase sales and business-to-business activity. In-person networking remains a critical part of our model, while social media is playing an even larger role in networking online for all businesses. The Chamber continues to work in both arenas to establish the best possible leads for our members. For the third year in a row we have supported our member restaurants through CHQ Restaurant Week, highlighting the variety of local dining options available right here in Chautauqua County. Over 100 community based activities were organized by the County Chamber and our Community Chambers throughout the year all designed to bring customers together with local businesses.

In order to help contain health insurance costs and provide the best possible options to our members we have reached more than 300 business groups and sole proprietors in the past year to help them access the insurance products that best fit their needs. This year, we were able to expand our private health insurance exchange to provide greater consumer choice and include more plans from more insurance carriers. We also built upon our strategic alignment with Lawley Benefits Group to help medium and large companies remain in compliance with government requirements, analyze data, implement wellness programs, and control costs.

Our advocacy role continues to focus on areas that will help to reduce property taxes and build our tax base. We advocated strongly in the past year for development of the Northern Chautauqua Regional Water District. Working in partnership with the Local Economic Development Committee, the County Executive, and local labor groups, we were proud to support this crucial project which will enhance infrastructure in order to expand the tax base and retain and grow industry in our county. We are pleased and proud to see the pieces falling together for this vital water system and look forward to greater developments in the year ahead. In addition, we continue to support the repowering of the NRG Dunkirk power plant which still needs our support in the wake of a lawsuit that threatens its very existence.

The Chamber also continues to support economic, tourism and workforce development. With a tremendous focus on education in the past year, our Dream It Do It manufacturing career initiative has reached more than 20,000 young minds in our school districts since the program began. This year DIDI placed interns, facilitated teacher work experiences and coordinated tours of manufacturing and technical training facilities. Additionally, the Chamber and MAST is facilitating the Chautauqua County Education Coalition which is funded primarily by the Cummins Foundation, Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant, and the Sheldon Foundation and includes more than 60 organizations and 88 leaders countywide. The Coalitions aligns people and resources to focus on improving kindergarten readiness and aligning students with career opportunities here in Chautauqua County. In addition, we have partnered this year with the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau and the Industrial Development Agency to promote the I Love CHQ Video contest and to seek ways to enhance the overall visitor experience here in Chautauqua County.

All told, it has been a fruitful year. We thank all of our members for their ongoing support in 2015, and look forward to another productive year ahead. Happy Holidays!

Chamber Congressional Lunch now set for Jan. 29

Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce provides an opportunity for local business people to meet with our Congressman. Representative Tom Reed will participate in the annual Chamber Federal Congressional Lunch on Friday, Jan. 29, at Shorewood Country Club, West Lake Road, Dunkirk. The event will begin at noon, and we encourage our members to come with questions for the Congressman.

This event is sponsored by Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Fredonia College Foundation, Fredonia Place, Jamestown Mattress Company, Lawley Insurance, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, WCA Hospital, and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX.

The cost is just $18 for Chamber members or $21 for non-members. To register, please call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101, or visit our website at

Doors Open Jamestown

planned for Jan. 16

Once again this year, attractions in the Jamestown area will open their doors for free, to give local people a chance to see for free what hundreds of tourists pay for each year. Doors Open Jamestown is set for Saturday, Jan. 16 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Participating attractions are: Busti Grist Mill, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Dykeman Young Vintage Emporium, Fenton History Center, Infinity Performing Arts Center, James Prendergast Library, Jamestown Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Jamestown Gateway Train Station, Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, Lucile M. Write Air Museum, Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center and Museum, Lucille Ball Little Theater, Marshall Martz Observatory, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, Robert H. Jackson Center, and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History.

In addition to the attractions, local restaurants will be open downtown and ready to serve you. We hope you will take advantage of this tremendous opportunity, brought to you by the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce and Jamestown Up Close.



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