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Message from A.J. Baynes: July 2021

Lunch Mob July 2021

What an exciting time in Western New York and at the Chamber. As summer is in full swing, we feel the energy and excitement throughout the community, from full restaurants in the Village of Williamsville to a crowded boardwalk at Canalside, to engaged ProNet's and a very busy Business After Hours this past month, along with our Small Business Awards Luncheon and Showcase taking place on July 22.


We are thrilled to be bringing back one of our mainstay events here at the Chamber. We couldn't be more excited to honor several small businesses, especially after the challenges we all faced during the pandemic. Our Award Winners include "716 Realty," "MusicalFare Theatre," "Rachel's Mediterranean," "Wild Birds Unlimited," "WNY Psychotherapy," and "Friend of the Chamber" Allen Dembski. This event attracts nearly 400 people, and with the opportunity to promote your business by purchasing a Showcase Tablethere will be plenty of networking before and after our programming. You can register for tickets and showcase tables by following this link.


The Chamber continues to hold a steady stream of networking events that ensure you have plenty of opportunities to engage with our membership to grow your business. In addition to networking, we have made a conscientious decision to better represent you and your company through many different avenues (social media, earned media, and events) over the past several years. An example of this was our latest Business After Hours at the M&T Tech Academy located at Seneca One Tower. We drew out over 100 participants on a Tuesday night to hear from M&T CIO, Michael Wisler, regarding how the Tech Academy would serve as a community asset while tying together the many companies who worked on the project to ensure its success. Chamber Investors LeChase Construction, Wendel, and members Millington Lockwood, AMP Interior Construction all played a vital role in delivering on a project that will positively impact our region for many years to come. These types of first-in-class events are what the Chamber continues to brand as we work to highlight the hard work our members are doing in the WNY community. If you have a project you feel is worth sharing with our membership, please do not hesitate to reach out at

This past week, I was fortunate, along with our board chair Mark Gaulin and several other board members, to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the current expansion project at the Albright Knox. This 190 million dollar expansion project titled "AK360" is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2022, and the museum will be rebranded as Albright-Knox-Gundlach due to the enormous generosity of Jeffrey Gundlach. Albright Knox Director, Janne Siren, guided us through the construction and provided us with an incredible description of the vision and thoughtfulness that went into not only highlighting the history of the museum but bringing it to the forefront of a true community asset with plenty of green space for public use. Chamber Investor Gilbane Building Company serves as the construction manager on the project that includes another chamber investor Frey Electric working alongside two friends of the Chamber, Arc Building Partners and 34Group.  


Our Emerging Business Leaders hosted their annual Summer ProMix at Shuck Shack at the end of June. We had a clear night down by the water with incredible food, Spectrum Reach handing out plenty of high-quality promotional items, and plenty of networking. Our group of EBLers' are always looking to expand their network, so if you have a member of your team that is career and community-focused and between the ages of 25-40ish be sure to urge them to join our Emerging Business Leaders.  


This week we head downtown for Lunch Mob at Fat Bob's. Be sure to join us at this also enjoyable and casual networking event! Please register here.


The Chamber is proud of the offerings we have as we improve our circle of benefits. Don't hesitate to contact us if you or your business are interested in providing Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Vision, and or Dental to your team. The Chamber is also excited to provide a very affordable Employee Assistance Program through our partnership with Child & Family Services for employers to offer to their teams.


I close this month, letting our members know that Olivia Dann, after six incredible years of service to our organization, has moved on in her career. Olivia started as a receptionist with the Chamber and became our Membership Manager. We are thrilled about the next step in her career that Olivia has taken, and we are confident you will see her at a Business After  Hours in the future. We remain focused on our membership and will announce our new Membership Manager in the coming weeks.


I look forward to seeing everyone at our Small Business Awards Luncheon and Showcase, if not sooner. Please remember that my door is always open.  

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