Message from the President | March 2019

President/CEO A.J. Baynes
President/CEO A.J. Baynes

When the Governor came to town last week, the Chamber was proud to be there to greet him. He was announcing his commitment to making the 2% property tax cap permanent. It’s an issue the Chamber supports and has included in its Public Policy Agenda for 2019. New Yorkers pay some of the highest property taxes in the country compared to home values. Holding the line on taxes makes living in WNY more affordable and creates an environment where businesses can prosper, and jobs can grow. Our Tuesday Talk this month is a recap of the news conference with the Governor that was attended by our Board Chair Laura Zaepfel, Board Secretary Mark Gaulin and several other Chamber members. The 2% property tax cap will be included in the Governor’s budget that requires approval by April 1. Check out the video!

As we march toward spring, the Chamber is focusing on our second big event of the year, the Small Business Awards Luncheon and Showcase. It is scheduled for Friday, May 17 at Samuel’s Grande Manor. Once again, we will take over the entire first floor ballroom for our vendor showcase and luncheon. The event drew 300 people last year, so reserve your table today by clicking here. We are also looking for nominations for our small business awards. It’s always a challenge to highlight just a few when we have so many standout small businesses in our community. You can find the nomination form in this newsletter. We would love to hear your suggestions.

The Chamber has been in the news lately, especially on the auction of the Boulevard Mall this spring. The Chamber is optimistic there will be high interest in taking over the struggling mall and revamping the model to suit today’s marketplace. We also support our investor SUNY Erie’s vision to develop the land that surrounds the North Campus. The Buffalo News Editorial Board also thinks it’s a good idea. You can read about it in this newsletter.

The Chamber also attracted the media’s attention at our ribbon cutting last week at Your CBD Store, Williamsville’s first store solely dedicated to the sale of CBD products. The store, located at 8050 Transit Road, sells all kinds of oils and lotions which are derived from cannabis. These hemp products are exploding in popularity as an alternative to prescription medications for whatever ails you. Check out the coverage from The Buffalo News and Channels 2,4 and 7 in this newsletter.

Almost 100 employers and employees took advantage of our New York State compliant Sexual Harassment Prevention Seminar last week. The training is an annual requirement for businesses with at least one employee. Those who participated are now well-informed of the new mandate and how to appropriately handle sexual harassment issues. Couldn’t attend? Stay tuned. The Chamber will be offering another training session later this year.

A full slate of events is planned for March: Driven to Success with Tammy Owen, Lunch Mob at The Irishman and Business After Hours at Evans Bank. You can register for all of them in this newsletter.

Join us as we prepare to usher in a new season, and remember, my door is always open.