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Message from the President | October 2020

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

We have officially turned the corner into the fall season and the fourth quarter.  The business community continues to be under tremendous constraints, even as we continue to reopen more and more businesses and head towards many companies' busiest season of the year. Now is the time to set the stage to finish on a high note and prepare for the following year.  You cannot prepare for everything, and we certainly were not prepared for the curveballs this pandemic threw at business this year, but they have made us more agile and, in many ways, more connected.


Sadly, due to the restrictions on large gatherings, we will need to postpone THE EVENT, a highlight to our schedule. THE EVENT has averaged nearly 500 people in attendance over the past few years as we honored those who have excelled in their industries.  The Amherst Chamber looks forward to the day when we can once again safely gather in large numbers and build upon the momentum we have created with our membership.  We will continue to serve as a connector between your business, New York State government, and your peers in the community. Here are just a few updates on our programming, community involvement, and changes coming our way this fall.


New York State requires ALL companies stay informed on the updated sexual harassment regulations.  If you missed our first virtual session, you can still join us today for our second session.  At least one employee from each company must participate in one of these sessions to meet all NYS requirements.  It will be the responsibility of that employee to provide the updated training to the rest of the company.


The Chamber is fortunate to have partners who offer to share their expertise with our members.  Jack O’Donnell from O’Donnell and Associates will present at our virtual ProNet on October 7th on how businesses can navigate Federal and State regulations.  Spectrum Reach will be hosting an online event “Rebuild My Town - Marketing Speaker Series” on October 15.  Our three-part series, focusing on maintaining health and wellness for you and your employees during a pandemic, kicks off October 22. We are thrilled to partner with Horizon Health Services, Independent Health and Financial Partners of Upstate NY.  Lastly, on October 27th, Board Member Holly Hubert from GlobalSecurityIQ,  will be keeping us all up to speed on the latest in cyber technology to protect you and your business as new threats continue to arise. Please be sure to check our events calendar to ensure you are taking full advantage of our programming.


Fall also means the Chamber is busy preparing for Health Insurance Open Enrollment.  Are you happy with your current insurance plan? This is an excellent opportunity to see what the Chamber can do for you. Our team of brokers is on hand to provide information on the 2021 renewal process or to help you sign up for new coverage. We are working tirelessly with our partners at BlueCross BlueShield, Independent Health, and Univera to ensure we are ready to assist you. Do not hesitate to schedule a virtual call with our team.


I'll finish this week's newsletter with a piece of exciting news. Last week, I was asked to speak to the County Legislature on behalf of the small business community. I highlighted the challenges our businesses have seen and the need for additional aid. Thankfully, that aid is coming. We have worked closely with Erie County on a small business grant program, funded via the CARES act, to provide $20 million in grants to small businesses for operational expenses, hiring, and even things like physical building adaptation to ensure compliance with social distancing measures. More details on this program, as well as the application process, are coming soon. The Amherst Chamber is at the forefront of this exciting development and will provide our members with the resources they need to access these funds as quickly as possible. We are proud to play a role in this vital initiative and thank Erie County, and our partners at 43North for their work to get this grant program off the ground.


Continue to be safe and remember my door is always open.

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