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Message from the President | September 2020

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

As Western New Yorkers, we are no stranger to obstacles. Our community has made one of the most unbelievable comebacks after decades of economic decline and population loss. Just eight months ago, at the Chamber's State of the Town event, there was a palpable energy and excitement in the room and a general sense of optimism about the future of our region. So much has changed since then, but we now have another comeback story to begin writing. And so, with economic activity beginning to percolate after months of stagnation, our community again must rally together to recover, rebuild and renew.


One of the most formidable challenges families and employers face today is the conflict inherent in bringing people back to work without adequate child care plans. This upcoming school year will present both a challenge professionally and personally for those employees who have school-age children. There is no playbook for employers and small businesses on how to manage within these circumstances. At the Chamber, we are working with employers of all sizes to find solutions that balance flexibility, adaptability, and productivity. It's not easy. That's why we are excited to offer a virtual, three-part series in partnership with Independent Health and Horizon Health Services to help employers navigate the personal and professional struggles their employees face. Stay tuned for more information on this incredible and informative event soon. 


We recognize that while our employers and employees continue to find solid footing beneath them, we must always keep an eye on our future. The Chamber continues to work with local leaders on many initiatives to ensure our region's continued growth and prosperity. With dozens of hotel and restaurant members, we now serve on New York State's new Regional Economic Development Council's Hospitality and Tourism taskforce. We are proud to advocate on behalf of our region's vital tourism sector during this crucial time. 


We are also working with the County on their business task force focusing on the many challenges of small business community faces.

We've engaged the Town of Amherst in their “Advancing Amherst” efforts post-COVID. We continue to echo our memb

ers' voices and look to them to help us shape initiatives that will ensure long-term success in our region. 



We continue to offer outdoor networking opportunities to enable our members to connect with one another in a safe and healthy setting. In addition to outdoor programming, we will continue to offer virtual programming to ensure members working remotely and caring for children at home can access the Chamber's services. On the first and third Wednesday of the month, ProNet is offered virtually via Zoom, and on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, we conduct ProNet outdoors. Our members have enjoyed attending outdoor ProNet events, and thankfully the weather has continued to cooperate with us. To ensure we have space reserved for you, please do not forget to register here


Back by popular demand, Lunch Mob returnon September 15 at Sto Lat Bar (enter via Chrusciki Bakery at the Eastern Hills Mall). To comply with all New York State regulations, we require all guests to register for this lunchtime event. You can register here.  


The Chamber is thrilled once again to work with our partners

from ESC and The Coppola Firm to update all business owners on the newest laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, a New York State requirement. We'll provide two opportunities for businesses to attend. Find the dates for these events as well as registration links here


Our agenda is full, and we look forward to adding even more programming throughout the fall. Our programming is and will always be about you: our members. If there is anything we can do better, I welcome your feedback and suggestions.  Please know my door is always open...


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