Message from the President | October 2018

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

The Chamber is knee-deep in plans for our biggest event of the year, THE EVENT, when we honor businesses and leaders across our community for doing great work. Growing up with a family business, I witnessed firsthand the effort it takes to achieve success. I watched my father toil for long hours and weekends at the office, grapple with tough decisions and make sacrifices to get ahead. When it all comes together, it is worth celebrating.

Through social media and in an email, we revealed this year’s honorees. There are so many worthy choices, but here are some reasons why we are recognizing this group.

Schutte Hospitality Group for Hospitality-Who hasn’t enjoyed at meal at Creekview Restaurant? But owner Dave Schutte, who also runs Oliver’s Restaurant and Sear, isn’t stopping there. He is planning to open a brewery on Main St., further adding to the economic vitality of the Village.

Wendel for Innovation– Based in Amherst, but this engineering and architectural firm has 14 other offices across the country, not just helping to build up communities, but doing it in an environmentally responsible way.

BlueCross BlueShield of WNY for Community Service– The health insurer invests more than $2 million in the regions it serves, offering all kinds of free programs and fun activities to help us stay active, healthy and able to “Live Fearlessly!”

ACV Auctions for Entrepreneur-What a Cinderella story! Just a few years ago, the company was recognized at our Small Business event and its growth since then has been monumental. The online car auction went from three founding members to 400 employees. It will soon take over an entire floor of the administration building at the former Trico plant.

Allegra C. Jaros, Oishei Children’s Hospital President for Woman of Distinction-Besides guiding state-of-the-art care for our youngest patients, Ms. Jaros oversaw the building of the beautiful new hospital on the Buffalo Medical Campus and the flawless transfer of patients from its former location.

Northtown Automotive Companies for Business of the Year-You can’t go far in Amherst without spotting the “N” for Northtown. This car company opened its first new car lot at Sheridan and Bailey in 1970, selling Toyotas. It has since ballooned to offering 17 car brands at nine dealerships with two collision shops!

The Chamber prides itself in helping to promote the next generation of leadership and this year we will also be utilizing THE EVENT to highlight our Emerging Business Leaders Class of 2018 (seen in the First Monday photo), as the young professionals wrap up a year of grooming and experiences that will help take them forward in their careers.

I think you’ll agree we have some great stories to tell, so be sure to join us on Monday, October 22, 5:30pm-8:00pm at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. There will also be cocktails, food stations and plenty of networking. Click here for tickets.

Fall also means the Chamber is busy preparing for Health Insurance Open Enrollment.  Are you happy with your current insurance plan? This is a great opportunity to see what the Chamber can do for you. Our team of brokers are ready to explain the 2019 renewal process or help you sign up for new coverage.

We welcome you to stop by during our Open House Wednesdays for Open Enrollment. They will be held October 10,17,24 and November 7,14,28 from 2:00pm-6:00pm at the Chamber office. No appointment is necessary. We are here for you!

The year is winding down quickly. Besides staying committed to meeting your business needs, we look forward to the opportunity to do some celebrating before we all get wrapped up in the holiday season. See you at THE EVENT!