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Message from A.J. Baynes: June 2021


As we move towards the halfway point in the year, now is the time every business owner and every employee should be looking at the goals that they set for the year to ensure you are still on the right track. The pandemic taught us that our best-laid strategies do not always go the way we plan. For those of you hitting the mark, keep up the great work, and keep striving to run past those targets. For those of you falling a little short, there is plenty of time to place yourself back on track for success. Use this week to reevaluate your goals and if they are still applicable given the current market condition; if not, set new goals to ensure success, but if you are falling short due to a lack of organization, it is time to reprioritize and dedicate yourself to achieving your goals. It is too easy to find excuses over the next three summer months that will only leave you further behind. If you are struggling to stay on track, take advantage of your chamber membership to meet with any of our staff members to help guide you in resetting your priorities.  

The Chamber went into this year determined not to use the circumstances and restrictions of COVID as an excuse not to grow. We have seen a significant uptick in new membership in both businesses that have long been a part of our community for years and those new entrepreneurs who see opportunity as we navigate the pandemic. We have brought five new investors (Catholic Health, Gilbane Construction Company, Snowden Lane Partners, DoorDash, Lippes Mathias) into the Chamber, with several more in discussions. We continue to design our programming and circle of benefits around the needs of our membership. We have several high-caliber events taking place over the next few weeks and the rollout of an expansion of services to our membership.

We are excited to announce the Chamber will be partnering up with two members to offer an affordable way for your business to provide an Employee Assistance Program and Life Insurance to your staff. We heard from countless business owners about their need to offer a more competitive benefits package to employees throughout the pandemic. Still, the cost of providing these types of programs can be burdensome for any small business. The Chamber never shies from tackling a challenge and we can always find a solution. Join us either June 10th or June 24th to learn more about these incredible programs at a highly affordable price.

We are very excited to bring back Business After Hours at Seneca One in the M&T Tech Academy on the 23rd floor Tuesday, June 22. Several chamber members and investors are involved in this project (M&T, LeChase Construction, Millington Lockwood, Wendel, and AMP Interiors). This “can't miss” event will include a tour of the Tech Academy from M&T Chief Information Officer, Michael Wisler, and Senior Vice President, Keith Belanger. They will highlight the impact the tech academy will make on our community and weave together the involvement of these chamber members, ensuring the project's success. The Tower has seen an incredible rollout of new companies moving their offices there, including our Board Chair Mark Gaulin who is relocating his business, PCI, to the 30th floor. It is an exciting time in WNY, and the Tower represents that excitement; this will be our first Business After Hours in over a year, and we are so excited to bring everyone together. We will be following the current COVID-19 guidelines from NYS; we encourage you to participate at whatever level you are most comfortable with.

We have the third installment of our Spectrum Reach Advertising Academy on June 10th, showing you all the ways to optimize your online presence without overpaying. If you missed the first two sessions, you should try to make this virtual event. We are fortunate to have the relationship we have with Spectrum Reach and access industry professionals from across the country to tap into the newest trends. I am also excited to announce our Lunch Mob this month (June 15th) will be hosted at the Chamber with lunch from DiBella's Subs. It will be great to welcome members into the office and meet with our team. Don't forget to check out the events calendar to register for ProNet or our Emerging Business Leader's Summer ProMix at Shuck Shack, which is taking place June 24. Our Summer ProMix is an excellent opportunity to mix and mingle with the next generation of leadership in Western New York and is fast becoming one of the “can't miss” social events of the year.

Just a reminder, there is plenty of time to register for our Small Business Awards Luncheon and Showcase. SBAL is one of the pillar events of the Chamber, and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate the achievements of businesses over the past eighteen months. Keep an eye out next week when we announce our Small Business Awards winners and highlight those businesses over the next several weeks.

June is Pride Month, and we also recognize Juneteenth. These are important events that help further the discussion of acceptance of all people regardless of race, sexual orientation, and beliefs. Since childhood, we have been taught "The Golden Rule" to treat others how we want to be treated. I hope everyone takes a moment each day to reflect on that, and if we can all be a little kinder and a little more accepting, the world would be a much better place.

I look forward to many great months ahead and hopefully seeing everyone soon; please remember my door is always open.

Small Business Awards Luncheon & Showcase

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